8 Tips for Photographing Men

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

8 Tips for Photographing Men

When I put my hand up to write an article about photographing men, it didn’t occur to me (until I sat down in front of a blank screen) just how big a topic it actually is. While much could be written about photographing men, from lighting ratios to posing, post-processing and more, there seems to be a drastic imbalance in the amount of material devoted solely to photographing men, as compared to women. A guide to how lighting ratios can differ for men, women and children are covered in the article Lighting Ratios to Make or Break your Portrait, and Tips for Posing Men offers suggestions, along with Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to get you Started with Photographing Men. When it comes to context, men are photographed within the genres of photojournalism, fashion, sports, travel, wedding and family photography, and corporate portraiture to name a few. My primary genre is family photography, and I also shoot corporate portraits. There is a growing demand for more relaxed professional portraits for clients to use on their LinkedIn profiles, professional Facebook pages – even online dating sites. Clients want a portrait that flatters, showcases their personality or perhaps the type of work they do, without looking too corporate. For the purpose of this article, I’ll be talking about photographing men mostly within these two contexts. Tip #1: Include him in the consultation process This tips sits at number one with good reason. One of the most common complaints I hear in portrait photographers’ forums is that of the reluctant father/husband – the guy who turns up to the family portrait session, looking like it’s the last place on earth he wants to be. His crankiness is infectious, and makes your job of capturing all those joyful family connections close to impossible. I confess, it was one of my bugbears also until I realized how often I’d been leaving male partners out of the consultation process altogether. In every grumpy dad case I encountered, I had mistakenly assumed that the women I spoke to during consultation would communicate everything to their partners, and in turn, share with me any concerns their partners had. Following a major light-bulb moment, I started to include men in the process, and it made a world of difference. Turns out, they just want to be heard. The more you engage with a man before the shoot, the more comfortable he will be when you are wielding a camera, and the better the photos you will get. This applies whether you’re photographing a paying client, the guy next door, or your brother. Ask him if he has any features he’s sensitive about. A prominent nose, a double chin, acne scarring and a bit of a tummy are common sensitivities. Allow him to express his insecurities without feeling silly, and reassure him that you can work around these with...

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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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Change Your Background To Any Color In Photoshop

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Featured, lightroom, nikon, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait

Change Your Background To Any Color In Photoshop

Whether you’re shooting a product, person, pooch or child, there may come a time when you want to change the color of your background. I’ve seen lots of different methods of doing this over the years and most are unnecessarily complex. The method I’ll show you today is quick, easy, and works perfectly. I’ll be demonstrating this on a product photo, but the same technique can be applied to any subject shot on a solid color background. The more complex your subject, the harder it will be to change the color of the background. The reason for this is you must create a very accurate mask. Things like hair and clothing can be problematic to cut out. However, there are loads of tutorials floating around with guidance on that. The more complex your subject, the harder it will be to change the color of the background, and the reason for this is you must create a very accurate mask. Things like hair and clothing can be problematic to cut out. However, there are loads of tutorials floating around with guidance on that. How To Change Your Background To Any Color And Make It Believable When changing the color of a background, it almost goes without saying that your mask will need to be very good. If not, you’ll have the outline of your old background around your subject. A dead giveaway that something has been done. You also might want to consider how your lights will be affecting the background. For this image, I’m not too fussed. It’s a product shot, and our eyes are used to seeing this type of thing. However, if it were a person I was placing on this background, it would look weird if the background didn’t vary a little, as though it had picked up some of the light from your strobes. A similar point can be made when it comes to the brightness of your subject in relation to the background. A bright, evenly lit subject will look odd on dark background. Thus editing the subject is often necessary. Having created an accurate mask around your subject, you can change the background to any color – that’s obvious and easy; although mask creation can be very time-consuming. Shadows, on the other hand, are another matter. How do you transfer the shadow from one image to another? I’ve seen people do this using Luminosity masks to select dark areas, painting shadows on, all sorts. Transfer Shadows From One Background To Another As you can see the SOOC image above is thoroughly uninspiring. My intention was always to cut it out and place it on a more vibrant background which complimented the bag. The first step with anything like this will always be to create your mask. I do not care how you do it; luminosity masks, pen tool, select focus area, select color...

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Tips for Processing Winter Landscapes in Lightroom

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in Featured, landscape, lightroom, Photography Tips

Tips for Processing Winter Landscapes in Lightroom

I see a lot of winter. The interior of Alaska, where I live, gets a solid six months, often seven, of the white stuff. Essentially anytime from October to mid-April, we are likely to have snow on the ground. Unless I put the camera down for most of the year (which I don’t), I end up with a lot of photos on my computer of snowy mountains, forest, and tundra. Come the early-spring, brown season, I have a lot of computer work to take care of. Though the method of processing winter images is largely the same as many other types of outdoor images, you’ve got to approach snowy images with cold focus (insert laughter here). I jest, but actually the cold, and bright blue tones of winter, are elements that should not be forgotten (or overdone). My Approach When I come at an image in Lightroom, I don’t tackle it with a standard formula. Rather, I consider the time and place I made it, what the landscape looked like, and just as importantly, how it felt. Those memories play an important role in my vision for the final image. With that in mind let’s dive into the first of the three winter images I want to walk you through my processing steps. Brooks Range, Alaska – Early winter On a river trip in early September, down the remote Kelly River of the western Brooks Range, my clients and I were hit by the first snowfall of winter. It started the evening before I made this image, with a few big, wet flakes falling from the overcast sky. By the following morning, my tent, the gravel bar on which we were camped, and the entire landscape, was covered in six inches of fresh snow. The snow was tapering off, and I could see breaks in the clouds where patches of blue sky shone through. It didn’t take long before those patches were turned into beams of sunlight on the mountains. I walked down to the river with my camera, and started making images of the shifting light on the land. This shot came out of that session. The light and color is typical of many winter images, bright, with lots of blue. Take a look at the histogram in the upper right, and you can see how it’s pushed to the right, meaning the image is on the bright side (but no blown-out highlights), exactly what I want with an out-of-camera winter shot. Step One – White Balance The first thing to consider is the white balance. Cloudy days tend to cause warmer tones, and snow, particularly under-exposed snow, can take on a yellowish hue. This can be off-putting, so pushing your white balance toward the blues can help provide a more pleasing, and accurate tonality. In this case, my camera selected an appropriate White Balance in the field,...

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Make a Professional Wedding Album in Minutes With Fundy’s New Album Designer 7.0

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in boudoir, Featured, lightroom, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait

Make a Professional Wedding Album in Minutes With Fundy’s New Album Designer 7.0

Back when I was photographing weddings every other weekend, it was common to find me editing late into the night after a full day of work at the day job. Then after hours of photo editing, I’d have to design the wedding album. For larger wedding packages, I’d hire a professional wedding album designer, but for the smaller weddings, it didn’t seem worth the extra money. Having no knowledge of how to navigate InDesign and only rudimentary knowledge of Photoshop, I ended up purchasing some wedding album design templates and painstakingly spent hours putting albums together. Oh, how I wish a professional wedding album design software like the newly released Fundy v7 were available back then… [REWIND: FUNDY ANNOUNCES NEW V7, HIGHLIGHTING NEW PROFESSIONAL AUTO ALBUM DESIGNER] Being someone who likes to just jump in and figure out things as I go – no instructions to guide me – I downloaded the beta version of Fundy Designer 7.0 software to see if it was really worth the hype. Fundy Designer 7.0 is the world’s first professional auto album designer, it is template-free but provides thousands of layout possibilities. That means I can choose the layout and then drag and drop my images in however I want them. Yes, drag and drop. This professional wedding album designer is going to change your life, wedding photographers; here’s how. (Note: The Fundy Album Designer can be used for more than just weddings. You can use it to design any type of album you wish). Image via Jay Cassario – http://www.twistedoaksstudio.com/ 1. Design a Professional Wedding Album In Minutes With The Auto-Design Feature No one has time these days. It’s a commodity in this a fast-paced world and with the amount of stuff we juggle as business owners, spouses, parents, etc. no one has the time nor the inclination to sit down and design an album – much less learn how to utilize InDesign or Photoshop to do so. I downloaded Fundy Designer 7.0, installed it (which took about 15 seconds) and opened it. The opening screen gave me the option of either choosing to have my album sent to one of the album companies on their list, design and export the album to the exact specifications preloaded in the Fundy system (there are 110+ labs and 3400 album sizes and specs within the system) or create a custom size if my album company or size wasn’t preloaded. No more digging through my preferred album company’s website and looking for the exact specs to use. I randomly chose BayPhoto, a lab I’ve used before to see what options popped up. The next screen asked me the size I wanted, they led me to choose the type of material, cover, etc. from an already populated list. So far, I’ve spent less than a minute within the design ecosystem and have used very little energy...

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Huge Savings On Canon & Nikon Full Frame DSLRs & 50% Off Memory Cards (Deal Dash)

Posted by on Apr 16, 2016 in Astrophotography, canon, Fashion, Featured, lightroom, macro, nikon, Photography Tips, portrait, Portraiture

Huge Savings On Canon & Nikon Full Frame DSLRs & 50% Off Memory Cards (Deal Dash)

If you’re reading this you’re aware that in our field, gear matters, and you’d have to have a bank balance bigger than your bank account number for you to acquire all you likely would want when the whim takes you. However, if you keep your ear to the ground like we do, you come about the best photography deals currently on the market, and within our Deal Dashes, we share them with you: Canon CANON 5D MK III The venerable 5D’s third iteration comes from a lineage whose reputation precedes it, and is loved and used the world over. If you’re in the market it’s $300 off the normal price sitting at $2,499, and can get that here. However, in addition to that you can get this bundle for $2,749 with rebate that includes: Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR Camera Body Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 Lens Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash Canon PIXMA PRO-100 Professional Photo Inkjet Printer Lowepro Nova Sport 17L AW Shoulder Bag, Slate Gray Sandisk Extreme 32GB microSDHC Class 10 UHS-I Memory Card That’s quite a rounded kit, and not around for long. Get it here while still available. CANON 7D MK II With a 20MP refined APS-C sensor with dual pixel AF, the 7D MK II quickly became an item to get for many pros and enthusiasts. It’s got a rugged shutter designed for 200,000 actuations, a whopping 65 point AF system, and full 1080p at 60FPS. It’s one of the really attractive offerings from Canon and now is $300 less than normal sitting at $1,499 and even bundled with Lightroom. Get it here. Canon 70D We recently featured a Star Wars desert shoot (see here) which has received international attention and the entire shoot was done on a 70D, proving again that it’s a capable, dependable higher-end APS-C DSLR and right now can be had for $999. It’s unlikely this price will drop further anytime in the near future, and it’s a great buy. Get it here. NikoN (Still Offering HUGE SALES ON FX CAMERAS) D610 The Nikon D610 is the Nikon ‘entry’ full frame camera, and is probably one of the best buys for those wanting to get into full frame since it came out. It is, in fact, my workhorse of choice, and despite the agility and speed of it’s big brother the D750, the D610 remains a staple for many pro photographers, and coming in now at $1,296, a cool $700 less than typical list, it’s an exceptional buy. You can see our full review here, and get yours here. NIKON D810 The D810 is one of the most accomplished cameras to come to market in recent memory, with wide adoption from wedding photographers, fashion photographers, portrait shooters, architectural and the rest. There’s a reason for that: With 36MP, no optical low pass filter, 51 point AF system and in...

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