*New Aurora HDR Pro for Mac OS from @wearmacphun

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While the practice of merging exposures is a topic of much debate, I don’t really care.  If you’re not into it, I totally understand and respect that.  I too enjoy capturing and processing final images using single frames for 90%+ of my own photography.  For the other stuff though, I do love me a nicely balanced, merged exposure and have for many, many years.  I find the ability to bracket and merge in post a valuable tool when needing to be in and out of a space in a shorter amount of time (as opposed to setting up multiple lights for each and every shot which can limit the total amount of finished shots in the same time period).  I’d like to say that clients will happily pay for 4 or 5 hours while you set up and shoot, but I’ve not found many that will A) have that much down time to shoot unless I want to shoot at 3 in the morning, which I totally don’t) or B) have the budget for, or see the value in a photographer that takes that long to shoot a space.  Time is money, and the more I can save myself (and price my time to the client accordingly) the better off I’ll be. 

Over my personal journey with HDR, I’ve used quite a few programs (HDR Soft/Photomatix, Everimaging HDR, HDR Efex, Photoshop…) and when Macphun and Trey Ratcliff recently announced Aurora HDR for Mac users, I was very interested.  Much of my actual paid photography work falls into the interior design and hospitality realm, working with that wonderful group of folks at the ELK Collective.  

My goal has always been a natural representation of light and space, which as many know, can be tricky when tonemapping images through an HDR program.  When shooting an interior space, I want to take advantage of the actual dynamic range, getting detail in the highlights and shadows when and where I feel necessary, not just tone mapping for a more dramatic effect.  Well, I chose to process my most recent shoot using solely Aurora HDR Pro, and here’s what I found out about that program along the way…   Continue reading

*Topaz Texture Effects, updated and on sale through the end of the month.

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For those who may have missed the introductory sale a few months ago on Topaz Texture Effects, it’s back, and includes 42 new textures, and 15 new effects along with performance enhancements.  Topaz has added to and updated the plugin, and is offering it for $20 off (available for $49.99, normally $69.99) through January 31st.  Updatable for those who already own Texture Effects, downloadable for those interested in a full free trial, or for purchase on sale via the Topaz website HERE, and if purchasing, use code “EASYTEXTURE” to get the sale price at checkout.

I reviewed Texture Effects when it was released HERE, and have continued to use and enjoy it.  Not an everyday plugin, but a great one if wanting to create a series of images, or enjoy adding some of that textured moodiness to an image or images.  Like all Topaz plugins, it’s intuitive, fast and creatively powerful.

Find me and share your results with us via the socials, via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram. If you would like to receive email notifications as I post new articles, please feel free to add your email address at the top right of the page here as well.  Thanks for the read, and let me know if you have any questions on this new plugin, I’d be happy to try and help. 

Happy shooting,

Tyson

 

*Topaz End of Year Sale, anything and everything 35% off w/ @topazlabs

Topaz Super Sale!

Hot on the heels of the Complete Collection Cyber Sale, Topaz Labs is offering anything and everything for 35% off.  If you’ve been waiting to try, grab or buy a Topaz plugin or two, now is an awesome time to do so.  You can find the sale on the Topaz Labs website HERE, and use code “TOPAZ2015” to get 35% off of anything that Topaz offers through the end of the year.

If you’d like to see more about my personal favorites, click the following links to my reviews.  I use many of the Topaz plugins, very often for personal stuff, along with most all my paid projects.

Topaz Adjust (reg $49.99, now $32.49) – the flagship Topaz plugin, and a great companion to high dynamic range photography.

Topaz Clarity (reg $49.99, now $32.49) – My go to for beautiful image definition through contrast without haloing.  Simply awesome. 

Topaz DeNoise (reg $79.99, now $51.99) – In my experience, this has been the best noise reduction plugin, hands down.

Topaz Glow (reg $69.99, now $45.49) – If ever you’ve searched for Fractalius, this is like that, only way better.  Fractalized and beautifully surreal effects.

Topaz Impression  (reg $99.99, now $64.99) – Adding a touch of hand painted flair, or going full blown Picasso, Impression is an awesome multi media simulation software.

Topaz ReMask (reg $69.99, now $45.49) – I might use ReMask more than any other plugin (topaz or otherwise).  If you use a layer based editor like Photoshop, and you’ve ever needed to select something (like oh, I don’t know, HAIR!), save yourself an amazing amount of time and try this out.  

You can try any and all of the Topaz plugins for free.  I really suggest that you do.  Don’t take my word for it.  Download the free trials via Topaz HERE, and give them a go.  If you do want to buy them, and you do so before December 31st, 2015, you can get 35% off using code “TOPAZ2015”!

Share your results with us via our Flickr Group HERE, or find me on the socials;  Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram.  If you’d like to receive my reviews, tutorials and sale posts as I release them, feel free to add your email to the top right of the page here and you’ll get them emailed as soon as they’re posted.  I’m currently working on a couple fun lens reviews along with a full frame vs micro 4/3 sensor comparison which should be showing up soon after the new year.

If you’ve got any questions, fire them off.  Thanks for the read and I hope that all is well, wherever you are.

Happy holidays, and happy shooting,

Tyson

*The Topaz plugin half off sale is here with @topazlabs

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Starting today through the end of the month, Topaz is offering everything for 50% off.  The entire collection (normally $500) is available for $250 HERE, and as an extra added bonus, for those of us who already own some or many Topaz plugins, we can still take advantage of the sale by logging into our account via the Topaz Labs website (here) and gaining the 50% off on additional plugins by using the code “BLACKFRIDAY2015” at checkout.  The Complete Collection is already at a 50% discount from the full price for all plugins individually ($1,010), so really, if starting from scratch, this is really a 75% discount from purchasing the plugins one by one, which is kind of nuts.  

I’ve never shied away from praise for the various Topaz plugins I use regularly, and feel that there are a handful of irreplaceable plugins in my workflow.  The complete collection includes 17 plugins from DeNoise, ReMask, Adjust and Clarity to the brand new Texture Effects.

Come on in for more details and to see the full list of plugins… 

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*First Look. Brand New Topaz Texture Effects on sale w/ @topazlabs

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Topaz continues to provide fun, intuitive and effective plugins with their most recent release, Topaz Texture Effects.  On sale via Topaz Labs website HERE for 30% off (normally $69.99, on sale through November 20th for $49.99 when you use code “TEXTUREFX” at checkout), as is often Topaz’ MO for new releases.  Come on in to read my thoughts, and to see more…

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*From the hip. A retouch tutorial, using @alienskin Exposure, October 2015 with Billyburg.

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Hi all!  Welcome to a new, recurring feature on the blog here.  I’m partnering with Alien Skin software to work through the processing of images using their Exposure software.  Alien Skin Exposure is one of the most complete software processing solutions that I use, and I just love it.  With each new release, the functionality and depth become greater and more streamlined.  Exposure X is in its final beta, and should be ready to go very soon.  You can download a free trial of Exposure HERE if you’d like, and follow along with one of your own images as we explore what Exposure has to offer, together.  (if you’re looking for a discount code, you can get 10% off any Alien Skin software using the code “tysonrobichaud” so have at it).

Using images submitted by readers, I will retouch, process and in general, just have fun playing around with them as I might one of my own images, sharing my process step by step along the way.  I’ll be using Exposure X today (which may look a little different compared to the screenshots below, when finalized) to process a submitted image from my friend, Billyburg (see more from him on flickr here).  

Without further ado…

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*Moving onward and upward! A new recurring retouching project for the blog w/ @alienskin software.

IMG_7323As many of you have figured out, we stopped our monthly flicker photo blog challenge, much to my dismay.  Flickr’s desire to dumb itself down, into little more than a mobile app proved to be the death rattle for our monthly project which was going really well, bringing in hundreds of submissions for our monthly contests.  C’est la vie.

Well, with these lemons, I’d like to make lemonade because lemonade is awesome, especially if you only use half the recommended sugar and watch your unsuspecting friends, and young children drink it.  

I’ve been in conversation with my friends at Alien Skin Software, and have had the great fortune to be both a contributor to their blog, and a beta tester for many of their programs over the years, the newest of which is the yet to be released, Exposure update.  As a long time fan of Exposure, I’m excited to see the final version.  With this new project, I’d like to gauge interest in having a retouching tutorial, where by I process and retouch submitted images using Exposure, which may then be shared with many, many thousands of viewers here and through the Alien Skin blog.  Come on in for more details, and my hope for this collaboration…

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