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Useful Photography Tip

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm XT10 first impressions (2 of 15)ISO 2001-750 sec at f - 1.4

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Cameras by default are set to metering a scene through the evaluative setting, but they have three different settings. Evaluative will analyze an entire scene and figure out a way to create the scene that the camera thinks you want. Center-weighted metering meters a scene based on what’s in the center of whatever the camera is pointing at and sees. Spot metering meters the scene off of a specific spot that you choose. This is best used in combination with manual autofocus point selection.

Most people shoot and never think about their metering mode. Then when they chimp their LCD screen and don’t like the image, they simply just overexpose or underexpose. But to avoid that altogether, the best route to take is to first consider what you want in the end vision of your photo.

In the image above, Erica was being strongly backlit by the sunlight coming down the avenue. In the evaluative mode, the camera would have compensated for this and made her very dark in order to cater to the highlights. But in spot metering mode, the camera metered for her face due to my metering off of it and autofocusing off of it.

If I didn’t switch to spot metering, the camera would have needed to be set to overexpose the scene by around a stop at most. This can save you a bunch of time in post-production but it can also just make your life easier as far as actually getting the image you want the first time around goes.

In general, the best reason to use spot metering would have to be if only a specific thing in the scene is more important to you and the image more than anything else–such as with a portrait. With a landscape, you’re probably best off with evaluative metering unless you spot meter the highlights, then spot meter the shadows, then find a happy medium point. If you figure this out, you can then go ahead and get the exact photo that you want with less attempts.

Merged-two-images

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Creating more lifelike colors in Adobe Lightroom is really, really simple once you identify and pay attention to specific areas in your images. Best of all–it’s a process that works with every image 100% of the time.

The process goes like this:

– Look at the image and figure out if you want it to be brighter or darker. You absolutely must go one way or the other even if it’s 1/3rd of a stop.

– Slightly raise the contrast and clarify a few points, no more than 10 each.

– Move down immediately to the color channels and identify the most important colors in your scene. For the image above it was red, blue, purple, green, and orange.

– Start by working with the saturation levels of each of your paramount colors. Move the slider back and forth until you get the colors to be exactly how you want them to be. Saturation makes colors more or less punchy.

– Once you’ve done this, tweak each of the colors that you manipulated with the luminance bars. This makes them brighter or darker individually.

– Finally, tweak your white balance providing that the balance isn’t terribly out of the norm. If it’s out of the norm, then do this way before you even really begin editing the image. What you’ll find is that generally you’ll only need to change the white balance just a tad.

And that’s it, you’re done. For the image above we raised the exposure, did the contrast/clarity tweaks, saturated pretty much all of the colors except for purple, and we also individually raised each color a bit more to add even more punch and impact to the scene. The great this is that this works for every photo; but in general it’s worth it to figure out what colors Lightroom believes each section to be. Once you’ve got this you’ll be able to create better color every time.

fireworks for the 4th

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If you’re in the US (where most of our readers are from) or Canada (where lots of readers come from), you’re going to be celebrating the celebration of your nation’s birth very soon. If you’re a reader of this site, then you’re probably going to have your camera in hand as you’re celebrating.

Don’t do that.

No, seriously–don’t handhold the camera. Instead, to get those trademark beautiful fireworks images you should get your hands on a tripod, point the camera and lens up to the sky, stop the aperture down, and use a slow/long shutter speed to capture those picturesque light trails.

As for lens choices, it really depends on where you’re standing. If you’re on flat even ground near sea level, then opt for a telephoto lens and pray for the best. If you’re on a rooftop of some sort or really high up on a building, then go for a wider lens.

Then when you’re all done, turn your lens to your friends and family and try to capture beautiful candid moments as you and your loved ones are celebrating.

And as always, have a happy celebration on Independence Day.

Model: Asta Paredes

Model: Asta Paredes

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Let’s think about the way that we naturally see light in the world: the sun, street lamps, ceiling lights and many more are all above us. So with that in mind, it just makes sense to say that the light that we ordinarily see on a consistent basis is above us, correct?

That’s the basis behind today’s Useful Photography Tip: to get more flattering light on a subject we recommend that you place your light source above your subject but not directly above lest you create shadows under the chin and eyes. Instead, bring it above and to the front to evenly illuminate the person’s features. That means that what you’ll be doing is shooting a photo subject with the light source (like a flash or strobe) behind you, above you, and facing down towards your subject.

If you’re using natural lighting like the sun, then don’t put the sun behind you. Instead, put it behind your subject and spot meter for their eyes. This is called backlighting. In fact, we recommend that any constant light be backlit unless it isn’t very intense on the eyes.

Remember, it’s all based on how we naturally see light when shooting a portrait.

Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400

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Many street and landscape photographers try to see and photograph the world in terms of shapes. If you think that seeing the world in black and white is tough enough, then seeing shapes in the way that they do can be even tougher–but here’s a great exercise to try out. It’s designed to help you figure out the shapes in the world.

Take four of your images and physically print them out. Get away from a screen of any sort and make black and white prints of these images. Then take one of your images and on a separate sheet of paper draw out the geometric lines that you see in the same way. Want to make it easier? Use transparent sketch paper and with the sketch paper over the image begin to sketch the lines out that you see underneath. Think of it as a grid overlay but instead you’re adding more lines in.

Continue to do this with each photo.

When you’re all done with the sketches, take them and study the lines. Then walk around and look for places and scenes with similar line establishments. You’ll begin to see that you’ll start to think and physically see more in terms of geometry.

Give this a shot before you seriously take your next set of images and you’ll see how you’ll start to see and think differently.

SAMSUNG CSC

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The idea of zones and how they should be exposed when shooting landscape images isn’t at all new. But for years in digital photography, what photographers needed to do was do some sort of merging process that included the highlights, shadows, midtones and much more. In more recent years though, imaging sensors have become much better and can capture amazing amounts of detail in the shadows of an image. At lower ISO settings, these are very easy to push and get more out of.

In contrast, not as much detail can be captured in the highlights. So the best way to take a photo of a landscape without using a graduated ND filter is to simply underexpose the image. This will capture lots of details in the highlights and then in post-production it will allow you to push the shadows for even more details overall.

The key to doing this is getting less contrast throughout the image. If you choose to use a graduated ND filter of some sort, then you can create an image with even more details overall.

Alternatively, Adobe Lightroom 6 lets you combine the highlights and shadows of two images together into a single HDR that won’t look over processed.

Literally, that’s all. It’s really that simple.