*A quick color balancing tutorial vid using Exposure, with @alienskin

Hello everyone.  If you have ever been plagued by color casting or color temperature imbalance, here is a quick and easy way to neutralize color shift in an image.  I shoot a lot of product shots, and often do so with congruous backgrounds.  In these cases, I’ll often use different lights to get everything lit just the way I want it.  This often brings in some issues when wanting to balance that color in post.  Using Alien Skin Exposure (click here to give it a free trial and follow along), by converting a layer to a fairly flat, black and white image, I can control the shift in color while bringing back color where I want it to be.  As opposed to trying to reiterate the video, just give it a watch, and c’mon in for a few example before and afters…

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*Yes! Topaz DeNoise on sale!!! 25% off through June @topazlabs

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I’m often asked about various plugins that I use, and would recommend.  One that I always suggest, and state as one of my go to’s is DeNoise, and it is $20 off through the end of the month (use code “junedenoise” at checkout) HERE!  DeNoise usually goes on sale about once every year for a couple weeks, so if you’ve been waiting for this plugin to go on sale, here ya go!  If you’ve not yet tried DeNoise, I suggest downloading the free trial via the link above, at least and seeing what it can do.  C’mon in for some examples and my take on why I find it to be so useful.

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*Topaz Simplify, on sale through May 31st!

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Hey guys.  Topaz is back with their monthly sale, and this month, it’s Simplify, a plugin that puts a painterly spin on your photos. You can download a free trial, or purchase from Topazlabs HERE, and if you do purchase, use code “MAYSIMP” to get 30% off through May 31st for a sale price of $27.99 (normally $39.99).

If you’ve not yet tried Simplify, download a free trial via the link above, come on in for some more info and insight into this cool plugin and follow along.

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*Lens by lens on the Sony a7II…

lens by lens on the sony a7ii This is purely a personal journey here.  A little retrospective look back at the last couple months to see what I’ve been getting out of the new Sony a7II  (Sony Alpha a7II Mirrorless Digital Camera -Body Only- at B&H HERE).  I tend to spend a lot of time looking at specific things in regard to a lens or camera for the blog here, and I figured I’d compile a few shots from the combination of lenses I’ve been using.  I have mostly used my Canon EF mount lenses via the Metabones adapter (review on that HERE), but have recently acquired the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 because I felt the camera deserved to also be shot with a high quality native mount lens, plus I was curious to see how it handled this new, crazy feature all the kids talk about in auto focus. Click any image below to see a larger version, and let me know your thoughts in the comments. Less talk, more rock as it were.  Without further ado… Continue reading

*Freebie Photography 101, the Exposure Trifecta Part 1 : Aperture

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Welcome to a new series on the blog, FREEBIE PHOTOGRAPHY 101 where we will explore both technical and artistic aspects of photography and our cameras.  The aim with the Exposure Trifecta (the relationship between Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO value) is to learn how to better understand and control our exposure manually through examples and exercises to gain a better grasp on some of the seemingly daunting exposure modes and tools involved.  I’ll add articles about metering, exposure compensation, white balance and other often automated, yet powerful to understand settings that our cameras provide us the ability to control as time goes on as well.  It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting with a phone camera or a fifty thousand dollar medium format machine, understanding how an exposure is created, how a camera works while perhaps overwhelming at first, is easy, it really is.  With just a little time and effort, you’ll be understanding the hows and whys of different photographic effects and how to apply them in different situations.

When starting this blog 5 years ago, I did it to help friends and family who were interested in photography, to share techniques, and help answer questions I’d field to better understand basic photographic principals.  The site has grown and evolved into what you see today, chalk full of camera, lens and software reviews, gear-centric comparison pieces, lighting explanations or post processing tutorials, travel ramblings and editorial articles for the design collective I work with.

As is the cyclical nature of life, I’ve recently been having more and more conversations lately with friends and friends of friends who have shown interest in better understanding these powerful image creation tools and I thought it would be a good opportunity to refresh my original Exposure Trifecta article, written over 5 years ago.  Getting back to the roots as it were, and perhaps act as an introduction to some new friends we’ve gathered along the way here on the site.  So, grab your camera and a cup of coffee, we’re gonna have some fun.

If you feel like you could use a refresher, would like to add your input, or know someone just starting out or looking to better understand the Exposure Trifecta of Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO sensitivity, come one, come all.  Through my amazing ability to ramble on, and the community we’ve built through this site, we’ll get you sorted and knowing how, and when to adjust these exposure variables to understand how to completely control your photographic vision. C’mon in… Continue reading

*The Entire Topaz Collection on crazy sale! $249.99 for all 15 Topaz Plugins

 

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Topaz Labs is cutting the price of their complete collection, normally $430 to $250 for the next four days HERE!

Let it rain, let it pour.  Black Friday has become synonymous with hoards of shoppers jostling to get that $20 dvd player while normally ignoring that there may be another (or many) human beings between them and said dvd player.  Then came Cyber Monday (this next monday) where on line retailers and web based deals come out in force.  As those of us stateside crawl out of our food based comas, the inevitable deals begin to materialize.  For those outside of the states, you might be able to see this as a good opportunity to capitalize on our bizarre seasonal shopping traditions.

Personally, I’m kind of an opportunist shopper.  I store products away in my brain, a mental wish list as it were, and if I see those products go on sale at a deep enough gouge, I tend to jump.  If you’ve hung out on the fence regarding the Topaz plugins, this my friends, might just be one of those times.

Topaz is offering all 15 of their plugins for $249.99 HERE – Use code “BLACKFRIDAY2014 ” at checkout

Great news for those of us that already own one or more of the Topaz plugins.  Click the link above, and if you sign in before checking out (using the email that you’ve had your activation codes sent to for previous purchases, and would have any new ones sent to) you get further discounts as you won’t obviously need to purchase them again, unless you want to.  This sale runs through this Monday, December 1st, so the window is short, but oh so potentially sweet.

All plugins, if purchased individually would total $869.85!  The complete Topaz Collection normally discounts this down to $429.99, so cutting this down to $250 is pretty substantial.  Taking into consideration that Impression alone is $99.99, DeNoise is $79.99, ReMask is $69.99 and Clarity is $49.99 (which are all amazing plugins) the deal is killer.  Add to that, Black and White Effects, Adjust, Clean, Detail, and then 7 more products…  Well, you get the gist.

Come on in for links to my reviews on many of these amazing plugins, and more clarification on how much you save if you already own some of the Topaz programs.

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*MacPhun Black Friday has come early! 40% off the whole enchilada plus a $25 gift card.

IMG_1272 I’ve just recently come across the MacPhun software plugins, and have reviewed Tonality, their black and white conversion plugin.  It’s my go to for black and white image conversion now and I’ve been loving it.  Since my review, I’ve been in contact with the fine folks at MacPhun to do my user reviews on their other plugins here in the near future. If you’re a Mac user, I’d really suggest checking them out. MacPhun is offering their entire collection of plugins which include Tonality Pro, Snapheal Pro, Intensify Pro and Focus Pro for a whoppingly low $129 HERE. The collection at 40% off also includes a $25 gift card to either iTunes or Amazon as well!!! This promotion runs through December 25th, so I’ll do my best to write up some in depth reviews on the other plugins included in this deal, but if you’d like to see why I think Tonality Pro is the best black and white conversion plugin I’ve used, you can read more on that HERE. This also gives you plenty of time to download free trial versions HERE to test drive before buying. Stay tuned for more killer Black Friday software deals… Happy holidays and happy shooting, Tyson