Bokeh

Bokeh, also called as the aesthetic photography is a photography that captures out-of-focus images. Specially used in capturing blur images, boken photography captures photographs that are outside the depth of focus. It has endless scope and can be used in capturing anything. Mostly, photographs love taking visible yet spectacular reflections of light sources in this form of photography. This has been regarded as the most creative form of photography. This form has also been used in making barcodes by scientists.

A Guide To Content Aware Fill | Is it Still Useless?

Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Bokeh, canon, Fashion, Featured, lightroom, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait

A Guide To Content Aware Fill | Is it Still Useless?

Ever wanted to remove something from your photos? Stupid question. We all have, and Content-Aware Fill is one of the many tools Photoshop provides which aids us at this endeavour. Whether it be a blemish, person, car, or building, Photoshop is your friend. Content-Aware Fill, however, has often been thought of as less than useful, to putting it politely. But advances in technology have improved it drastically, so Is this still the case, and for those that don’t know, what is Content-Aware Fill anyway? What is Content-Aware Fill? Content-Aware Fill, in the conventional sense, is accessed via Edit > Fill. Make a selection around the item you want to be removed, go to Edit > Fill, and you’ll be presented with the dialog you see below. Select Content-Aware from the drop down menu at the top, click ‘OK’, Photoshop analyses the pixels surrounding your selection and perfectly removes the offending object. At least, that’s how it should work. In practise, the results can vary wildly. As well as this “conventional” form of Content-Aware Fill, you will also find it in other forms throughout Photoshop. There’s Content-Aware Scale (Edit > Content Aware Scale), Spot Healing Brush, Healing Brush, Content Aware Move and the Patch tool. To one degree or another, each of those tools utilises, what I can only assume to be, a similar algorithm. The algorithm analyses the pixels surrounding your selection (or brush strokes) and replaces those pixels, thereby removing the object. The big difference between using Content-Aware Fill via Edit > Fill Vs. any of the other tools mentioned above, is that applying the effect through Edit > Fill requires your layer to not be empty. In other words, you’ll need to duplicate your background or create a merged layer for the effect to work. That can be annoying as it increases the file size dramatically and makes maintaining a non-destructive workflow a little more problematic. However, if you insist on continuing in that fashion, at the very least use the shortcut Shift + Backspace (PC) or Shift + Delete (Mac). [REWIND: AN EASY & QUICK WAY TO REMOVE DUST SPOTS USING CONTENT AWARE FILL] As well as the blank layer annoyance, another big difference between the methods mentioned above is the ability to adjust Structure and Color. The Patch Tool and Content Aware Move tool allow this refinement, even after you have made the adjustment. Now, I’m sure some of you are going “huh!?”. Let me explain. If you head over to Photoshop and select the Patch tool (hit shift > J until it appears) you’ll see the following menu and, hopefully, ‘Structure’ and ‘Color’. Those two settings allow us to restrict Photoshop. The higher the number, the more we give Photoshop free reign to adjust either the color or structure of whatever we are editing. Pick an image, use the patch tool to remove an...

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4 Steps on How to Read Images and Learn to Replicate the Results

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Bokeh, canon, Featured, landscape, Photography Tips, photoshop

4 Steps on How to Read Images and Learn to Replicate the Results

Earlier, I wrote an article called: why asking what camera settings were used may not be as helpful as you think, and in it, I touched on the concept of reading an image. Learning to read images – from a technical perspective and not a conceptual one – is something that I believe all photographers must be able to do, as it allows you to get a rough guide on what settings may have been used to create an image. They won’t be the exact settings; but you’re most likely not going to have the exact same lighting environment as what a particular photo was taken in. A wide aperture was used her to achieve a shallow depth of field. Dive in to read an image To begin reading images you must have, at the very least, a good understanding of aperture, shutter speed and to a lesser extent, ISO. You’ll want to understand how these things affect the image in different ways. For example, if you saw an image with a lot of motion blur, you would know from your understanding of shutter speed that a slower shutter speed was used. As you become more proficient with lighting and off-camera flash, you can even read how the subject was lit with artificial lighting, and begin to replicate how it was done. But don’t worry! This article will be focussing on the three major aspects of photography exposure (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) to help you begin your journey to reading images. What shutter speed was used here – a fast or slow one? Step 1: Shutter Speed – Fast or Slow? I find that determining whether a fast or slow shutter speed was used first, can help greatly when it comes to determining aperture and ISO later. The first thing you will want to ask yourself when assessing shutter speed is; was it fast or slow? This can be decided by how much, or how little, motion blur is present in the image, as that is what shutter speed controls. If everything in the image is pin sharp, and there is absolutely no motion blur at all, then a fast shutter speed would have been used. However, if there is a lot of motion blur, then a slow shutter speed was used. Here are some points that you can take out of knowing if the shutter speed is fast or slow: But how fast is a fast shutter speed, and at what point does the shutter speed become slow? To answer this, think of your shutter speed in relation to your subject’s speed. For example, when photographing sports or other fast action, you may find using a shutter speed of 1/1000th is required to freeze your subjects. This is because your subjects are moving quite fast. However, if you were to photograph people walking down the street, you...

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5 Important Focal Lengths to Know and the Benefits of Each

Posted by on Apr 6, 2016 in Astrophotography, Bokeh, Candid, Featured, landscape, Photography Tips, portrait

5 Important Focal Lengths to Know and the Benefits of Each

Please note: all focal lengths mentioned in this article are in reference to 35mm full frame sensors. There are photographers that favor the convenience and flexibility of zoom lenses, and those that favor their sharper, lighter and cheaper counterpart, the prime lens. Note: some modern zooms do have prime-like optics. Often, it’s your line of work that will make that decision for you. Whichever variant you favor, you owe it to yourself to experiment with different focal lengths to learn where they each excel, and which ones mesh best with your style. You can achieve this with primes, or zooms if you can commit yourself to not touching that handy zoom barrel. Among the many options, five focal lengths you want to use are the: 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm. Let’s look at each one at a time. #1 – 24mm wide angle Areas it excels in: landscapes, astrophotography, group portraits, and event photography. This one is easy to experiment with because not only are there many affordable prime options available, but you’ll find this focal length at the wide end of many full frame zoom lenses. The 24mm prime lens is sufficiently wide and remarkably sharp, making it an ideal candidate for landscape photography. Zooms are wonderful for landscape photography too, but the locked-in field of view (or a prime lens) will force you to think carefully about your compositions. The 24mm focal length also excels in situations that don’t offer a lot of light. That includes astrophotography, where 24mm lenses with wide apertures (f/.8 or wider) will facilitate shots of the milky way, and in event photography, where you’ll have an ample field-of-view to shoot indoors and add context to your photographs. Additionally, the 24mm focal length is sufficiently wide to capture group portraits with minimal perspective distortion. Just don’t get too close, and watch the edges of your frame. #3 – 35mm focal length Areas it excels in: street photography, events, environmental portraits, and shooting-across-the-dinner-table photography. 35mm is a classic focal length for many photojournalists. Part of that reason is that the field-of-view requires you to be close to the action, but still maintains enough of the environment surrounding your subject to give an image context. This same philosophy applies well to wedding or event photography, and makes the 35mm focal length a great fit. Another great thing about the 35mm prime lens is that it just so happens to be the perfect focal length for shooting a portrait from across the dinner table. Any wider and your subjects face will suffer from perspective distortion (exaggerating their facial features) and any narrower and you’d have to get out of your seat for the shot. #3 – 50mm (normal) lens Areas it excels in: street photography, full-body portraits, walk-around shooting. There are so many reasons to try shooting with a 50mm prime lens. Perhaps the best...

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Sony Releases A 50mm 1.8 & 70-300mm Full-Frame Lenses & The RX10 III

Posted by on Mar 30, 2016 in Bokeh, canon, Featured, Photography Tips, portrait, sony, Wildlife

Sony Releases A 50mm 1.8 & 70-300mm Full-Frame Lenses & The RX10 III

This is one of those weeks that Sony users can and will be smirking and gloating after this news of new lenses, because first, Sigma announced their Sigma-to-Sony FE adapter series which would have Sigma lenses behave like native Sony lenses on Sony cameras like the vaunted A7RII, and that meant 15 Sigma lenses, including the much-adored Art series glass, would be able to be used on Alpha cams. Sony FE 50mm 1.8 I truly hesitate to say the term ‘game changer’ for fear of watering down its meaning, but I just did, because it is. If you wanted a high quality, fast 50mm for your A7, you’d likely have to go with the Sony Sonnar T* Zeiss 55mm 1.8, a great lens in its own right, but at around $1k, not inexpensive. Sigma’s release opened up new avenues, making it possible to use the beloved, and faster, 50mm 1.4 Art on your Sony for less than the Sonnar. Now, if even that’s a bit rich for your blood, or you want something smaller and perhaps more casual without the need of an adapter, Sony has finally released the FE 50mm 1.8, and they’ve priced it at a very competitive $250. It comes in at a weight of less than 7oz, even with a solid metal mount, with an aspherical element Sony suggests will rid the lens of aberration problems, and thus lending to sharp images and higher resolving power. It also has a 7-blade circular aperture for a soft and round bokeh and a DC AF motor. The lens will be available in May, and you can get B&H to notify you precisely when, which is recommended. Get yours here. This means that Sony is now offering well-priced fast prime natives to their system, only needing to be rounded out by an 85. Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS This Sony 70-300mm immediately becomes the longest focal length E-Mount lens yet, and it’s clearly being aimed at Canon’s EF 70-300 f/4-5.6L IS USM. The new Sony telephoto is a touch slower on the short end but the same racked out, and the Sony comes in a hair’s breadth cheaper at $1200 versus $1250 of the Canon. How it compares in the field will be interesting to see, but perhaps more interesting is how much desire there is for a lens like this to begin with. That said, the Sony comes with four aspherical glass elements, 2 Extra-Low Dispersion elements and Sony’s own Nano AR coating, which are all technical names given to feature that are meant to solve the issues of aberration that’s both spherical and chromatic, and distortion. At 300mm, it’s the first FE lens to reach that focal length, but it’s also surprisingly decent for close objects with a minimum focusing distance of around 3 feet. Find it here. [REWIND: SONY A7II | PROOF SIZE ISN’T EVERYTHING,...

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Are You Obsessed with Shooting Wide Apertures – Here’s Why You Might Want to Hold Back

Posted by on Mar 25, 2016 in Bokeh, canon, Featured, lightroom, nikon, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait

Are You Obsessed with Shooting Wide Apertures – Here’s Why You Might Want to Hold Back

There’s a scene in the original Jurassic Park movie, that almost perfectly describes one lesson I have learned when documenting the world around me with my camera. In this scene Dr. Ian Malcolm, a brilliant mathematician who is visiting the prehistoric park, expresses severe reservations about the idea of resurrecting long-extinct species during a conversation with John Hammond, the director of the park. Hammond is gleefully explaining the incredible genetic breakthroughs that his scientists have achieved. “Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before.” Incredulous, Malcolm responds with equal fervor and says, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” The same holds true for camera lenses. Just because you can shoot wide open at f/1.4 or f/1.8, doesn’t mean you should. When I first got into serious photography work, I was amazed at the power and light-gathering ability of my 50mm f/1.8 lens. It opened up a whole new world of photographic possibilities, that I continue to explore today, and was capable of producing incredible images, even on my humble little Nikon D200. Unfortunately, like the scientists in Jurassic Park, I did not spend years in the trenches learning my trade and honing my skills in order to learn how to truly utilize the power of such wide apertures, and went through a phase where I shot everything wide open because of things like low light photos, depth of field, and of course bokeh. Always with the bokeh. Now it’s important to note that I don’t regret any of those early lessons but I do want to offer youa few simple things I’ve learned over the years, and a couple reasons why you might want to reign things in a bit and not shoot wide open with that fancy prime or ultrafast zoom lens just yet. 1. Depth of field can be way too shallow I shoot most of my photos with three prime lenses: a 35mm f/1.8, a 50mm f/1.8, and my favorite, an 85mm f/1.8, that I call my supermodel lens. (Seriously, you could just about point that lens at a moldy old scarecrow, and get a portrait worthy of Vogue magazine.) Each of these lenses has its own set of unique advantages and limitations, but as you can probably already tell, the one thing they all have in common is a super wide maximum aperture. Certainly there are plenty of lenses available with even bigger apertures, like the Nikon 58mm f/1.4 or Canon 85mm f/1.2, but when push comes to shove an f/1.8, or even f/2.8 lens, is no slouch either. Wielding one of these ultra-wide beasts can be a bit like riding a tyrannosaurus rex, in that the sheer amount of power at your disposal is kind of insane. But, one advantage of fast primes like this, an ultra-shallow depth of...

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The Four Factors that Affect Depth of Field

Posted by on Mar 24, 2016 in Bokeh, canon, Featured, landscape, macro, Photography Tips, portrait

The Four Factors that Affect Depth of Field

Last week, Max Bridge included me in his article entitled 7 Mistakes From Professional Photographers That Held Them Back. I wrote about the fact that it took me so long to learn about how aperture affects depth of field, and once I figured that out, a whole new world opened up for me photographically. I later learned that other factors, like the focal length of a lens and the distance between the lens and the subject and the subject and the background, also affect depth of field. I’m guessing some of you are in the same mode of discovery I was in a few years ago, so I’ve compiled a bunch of resources to help you understand the four factors that affect depth of field. Wikipedia defines Depth of Field in optics, particularly as it relates to film and photography, “as the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image.” What in the heck does that mean? Let’s find out by exploring the four factors that affect the depth of field in your image. 1. Aperture (a.k.a f-stop) via bdebaca.com Aperture is one of the easiest ways to control your depth of field. It’s why photographers love lenses with a 1.2 maximum aperture. Open your aperture all the way to 1.2 and you’ll get that creamy bokeh (blur) we all love in the background. The gif animation above illustrates quite well how aperture affects depth of field, or as the definition above says, how many of the objects in the scene will appear to be in focus. For a shallow depth of field (at a wide open aperture, f/2.8), only a small plane of the image will be in focus, like the one toy in the middle there. With a wide depth of field (and a closed down aperture, f/22), almost the entire image is in focus. Make sense? Joe Gunawan (a.k.a. fotosiamo) goes into more depth about the differences between shallow and deep depth of field in his article Aperture Guide Part 2: Shallow and Deep Depth of Field. Check it out! 2. Subject to Camera Distance The closer your camera is to your subject, the more shallow depth of field you will have in your image. Pull your camera far away from your subject and more items will be in focus, even when using the same aperture. Here are two great examples from Joe’s article mentioned above. In this image, yes the aperture is at f/2.8, which will help us get that blur in the background, but the camera is also right up close to the subject, which allows the foreground to be in focus and the background out of focus. In contrast, this image was also shot at f/2.8, but since the camera is far from the focal point (the bride and groom) much more of the...

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