*How to shoot HDR Composite imagery with people

indbeautyhdr

Sure, we’ve all seen the images that have been run through an HDR-like tonemapping, contrast increasing filter, making the grungy, saturated and contrasty images we’ve all come to accept as HDR, or at least, HDR-like shots.  While the “HDR” look can bring about photographic debates bordering on political or religious polarity, there is a way to actually capture and process the actual dynamic range of a scene, not just try and make it look like a processed, HDR image.  If you’re not a fan of HDR, by all means, feel free to ignore this post, but to and for me HDR can be a very useful tool, and one that, in this particular situation can help stretch a limited budget by being able to get a good range of exposure for a dynamically diverse scene without tons of lighting.  Now, the trick here when wanting to do this with human subjects is that you’re needing to take multiple frames at differing exposure values, which means, in short, a person or people would need to stay statue still to make it work, right?  Not so.  C’mon in and I’ll show you how to get around this unfortunate challenge…

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*Moving upward and onward!

backyard shenanigans

don’t worry, there were no kids harmed during the photoshopping of this image.

Hello everyone!  You may have noticed that I’m quietly adding content to the site.  This is being done to try and make a more complete resource for those visiting the site to reference specific tutorial articles or find gear reviews, etc.  The biggest changes are the new “Tutorial” “Review” and “MyGear” pages up at the top of the page.  I will be trying to catalog the more popular tutorials and reviews for easy reference, and the new gear page has allowed me to link certain cameras, lenses and miscellaneous gear that I use to my affiliate links at B&H.  Yup, you read that right.  I’ve finally succumbed to the monetary necessity of trying to make a little coin to keep the site going.  Read on for my reasoning and ever cheesy gratitude…

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*Photovision 2012 discount, it’s that time of year again!

 

Hello everyone.  If you’ve followed me over the last couple years, you may have seen me post about Photovision, an instructional series that aims to help all photographers with insight into shooting, setting up a business, marketing and technique as well as offers discounts for many photographic goods and services.

 

I’ve subscribed for the last 3 years and have continued to glean tons of great information and would highly recommend anyone interested in getting a detailed behind the scenes look at many working professional photographers to do so as well.

 

This is my link which enables a substantial discount ($49 for six DVDs, normally $199, or access to instant content for a monthly price) and with signups enters me in a drawing, so if you do plan to subscribe, any subscriptions done through my link would be greatly appreciated :)

USE THE CODE “PVFAN” to gain the 75% discount via this link:

 

http://www.photovisionvideo.com?afid=65508

 

Thanks and happy shooting,

 

Tyson

*Kevin Kubota’s Lighting Notebook, along for the ride.

There are a few seemingly predictable benchmarks that photographers reach during their personal photographic journeys. After grasping exposure basics we may gravitate toward gear to replicate a particular style which may then be further embellished when we discover bokeh, selective focus, light painting, or start to really understand aspects of a post processing workflow enabling us to literally develop our own look, or replicate popular or interesting “looks” from our fellow photographers. Inevitably, at some point, photographers start to contemplate integrating added light or modifying and controlling existing light in their compositions. Wether that be for portraiture, action, event, product photography, et al, understanding the use of added light or manipulation and control of existing light is a huge tool available to those who choose to use it. Mr Kubota, popular for his seamless, post production streamlining photoshop actions has invited us into his mind with his recent book “Kevin Kubota’s Lighting Notebook, 101 Lighting Styles and Setups for Digital Photographers” C’mon in for a closer look and a few thoughts as I try to play the role of book reviewer :)

UPDATE!!! - The companion App is now out.  More than a companion per se, I’d say it’s a great way to get this book, it’s content and diagrams on your tablet.  You can view both the book and app, as well as purchase them directly through Kubota Imaging Tools HERE.

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*Snap Art 3, unleash your inner artist!

Anyone familiar with my blog knows I’m a fan of artistic, digital image file manipulation.  Be that through actions, plugins or standalone software, I like to use my pictures in a variety of different ways.  One thing I’ve always wanted to be better at, but was never able to hone my skill, is painting.  So, into my life fell digital photography, but there was that tactile, artistic void left behind.  I have tried Corel’s Painter, which is an amazing program, but one that requires just short of a masters degree to fully understand, and is in my opinion much better utilized by those who are already decent actual painters.  Well, I’ve always wanted to be able to finely tune, and offer digital painting as a conversion for a digital picture file both personally and professionally, and until I tried my hand at Alien Skin’s Snap Art 3, I had resigned myself to putting it on the bucket list.  A plugin for either Photoshop or Lightroom, the seamless and intuitive interface can help you produce digital paintings and drawings with a variety of media in a matter of seconds.  Read on for initial feelings and examples…

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*HDR 101, Part 2 – Processing Dynamic Range

My final result

We’ve been out capturing dynamically diverse scenes in Part 1 of the HDR 101 series, now we get them onto the computer and realize that there are a variety of ways to achieve our vision.  From free-ware to thousands of dollars worth of software, there are options.  Some are better than others, and some offer a better bang for the buck (in my opinion).  Regardless, most all HDR software out there will offer you a free trial, so you can decide which works better for your vision.  That said, here are a couple techniques using Photoshop, Everimaging HDR, and a very popular HDR software, Photomatix, along with discount codes if you choose to purchase :)  Read on for more…

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*Free Photoshop Contrast Pop Action!

My lovely friend Kira plays the good sport.

Here is a brief tutorial on how to add a contrasty “look” to just about any picture.  There are sites out there to purchase many of these types of actions, and some of them are well worth the price, but I’ve found that through my years, many other photographers have offered up free advice as I was learning to scrape the surface of Photoshop, which enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of my post processing.  So, in this tradition, I shall try to pay back a bit of that help by offering up this little trick.  I know that many photographers would rather spend their free time taking pictures, not in front of a computer processing them.  I myself find enjoyment on both sides of this coin, but I sure don’t mind being able to quickly automate some of my more “used” techniques.  This is one of them…

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*The 5 minute Greenberg Treatment.

What do you mean John McCain doesn't normally look like that?

For those who do not know, Jill Greenberg is a famous photographer to the stars.  Some of her work has received, uh, criticism, for her use of light or tactics to achieve certain reactions with, or effects on her subjects (see the crying babies in her ‘End Times‘ series, or the now famous John McCain shoot).  I call it art, but I do fall on the crass, perhaps cynical side of the human spectrum.  Regardless of your personal feelings toward her, the lighting she uses is dramatic.   Her style has been duplicated by many a strobist and comes about by a pretty easy to replicate setup.  Now, to do it well, is a bit trickier but we gotta start somewhere right?  Read on for a quick light set-up and easy to follow post processing technique. Continue reading

*Floating in Photoshop! How to levitate in a photo.

*Wanted to thank everyone who has stopped by to read this post over the last few years. I’ve received quite a few emails and seen links back to this article from many different forums based in many different countries. Thank you! As originally mentioned in the tutorial below, this isn’t a particularly original tactic, but if you put your own spin on it, it can produce some really cool imagery. Okay, on to my original posting, and thank you again for everyone who has stopped by. I’ve been really excited to converse, learn and meet with many of you since I started this blog over three years ago!

Enjoy,

Tyson

This is not an original idea, but so few ideas are anymore. While it may be a well used tactic, it can be very effective. I’ve played around with this technique a few times and it is one that when done decently will almost always get a “wow!” or at least a “huh, wait, what?” It is easy to do as well. It requires Photoshop, or if you are fundamentally against paying $600 for software you can download GIMP. I’ve used Photoshop for this one, so if using GIMP, you will need to translate these steps into GIMP-speak which shouldn’t be too hard.

Okay, our goal is to appear to be floating, or hovering so unless you’re an accomplished zen levitation master, you will need to take two pictures to create the illusion.

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*A photographic study in color, Henri Matisse style.

*Henri Matisse – “Woman with a Hat” -1905

Henri Matisse (1869-1954) is known for being one of the originators of the Fauvist style where contemporary impressionist rendition gave way to bold color and hard lines.  His use of complementary colors and shape provided a twist on traditional French painting.  While Fauvism was seen by some to be untrained and wild by comparison to contemporary style at the turn of the century, the use of vibrant, expressive colors enabled Matisse to direct the viewers eye through his canvas leading his viewer’s attention where he wanted it.

I’d like to play with the idea of utilizing complementary color using photography as our medium.

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