Photoshop Smart Objects for Beginners


1 - Photoshop Smart Objects for Beginners

When editing in Photoshop, it is nice to know how the edits affect your image. Edits that you make directly to an image write over the original image. Edits also change its pixels. The opposite of editing directly is the practice of non-destructive editing. This is where the edits on the image are on a separate layer, which preserves both the edited and original image.

Using Smart Objects in Photoshop allows you to edit an image in a non-destructive way. A Smart Object is a layer that saves your image’s original state and permits editing without changing or destroying pixels. It also means you can undo any changes you make.

Why Use Smart Objects?

The main reason to use Smart Objects is to perform non-destructive editing. This means you can scale, skew, rotate, or warp an image without compromising its original pixels or quality. Simply put any transformation you do to the image does not affect the original data.

2 - Photoshop Smart Objects for Beginners

By right clicking on the mirror image layer of the hummingbird, you can convert it to a Smart Object.

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Here the image is resized to be a smaller scale. The red circle shows that only the right side is a Smart Object

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When the image is returned to its original size, the Smart Object (right) is unaffected, while the left side shows destructive editing and decreased pixel clarity.

Advanced Photoshop users are fans of linking ‘Smart Objects.’ This is where you use a single image or file in several Photoshop projects. This is very beneficial when you make changes to the original file. The changes are instantly reflected across all the linked referenced files. In the design world, this is a huge time-saver! It can be useful to photographers who want to change a logo/watermark across a multitude of images too.

Smart Filters

When you apply a filter to a ‘Smart Object,’ it becomes a ‘Smart Filter.’ What this means is, that the filter is not altering the pixels and you can adjust/change them later on if need be.

To create a ‘Smart Filter,’ select your ‘Smart Object,’ choose your desired filter and set your requirement options. To edit any of the applied filters, simply double-click on it and enter your adjustment. You can also change the order of filters or delete them from here. The ease of adjusting a filter/filter values is another great reason to use Smart Objects.

Note: Within the different versions of Photoshop, there are a few filters that cannot be applied as a Smart Filter

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The same filter is applied to both sides, but the Smart Filter is highlighted under the Smart Object on the right image.

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When you uncheck the eyeball next to the filter, your original layer is revealed unaffected.

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Using Smart Filters, stacking and adjusting filters independently of each other is easy.

Masking Smart Filters

When a filter is applied to a ‘Smart Object,’ Photoshop shows you a white mask thumbnail on the ‘Smart Filter’ line. This Smart Filter mask works the same way that Layer masks work, where you paint black to hide and white to reveal.

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Filter Masks works the same way as Layer Masks.

How to Create a Smart Object?

Two easy ways to create Smart Objects are:

1. You can open a file as a Smart Object.
From the Photoshop menu, choose File -> Open as Smart Object. Choose your file and click ‘Open.’

9 - Photoshop Smart Objects for Beginners

2. You can convert a layer to a Smart Object.
Select the Layer you want to convert and from the Photoshop menu, choose Layer -> Smart Object -> Convert to Smart Object. The shortcut for this is right-clicking on the layer and choosing ‘Convert to Smart Object.’

Note: Smart Objects can be created on a layer, a layer group or on multiple layers.

Smart Object Shortcomings

Files that contain ‘Smart Objects’ are larger and therefore require more system resources to open, work with and save. So these can certainly slow down your computer while it processes.

While ‘Smart Objects’ work with the different types of transformations, they do not work with those operations that alter pixel data. So you will not able to dodge, burn, clone or paint directly to a ‘Smart Object’ unless it is first converted to a regular layer. This conversion nullifies the effects of using ‘Smart Objects’ in the first place. If you have to alter pixel data, it is recommended you edit a duplicate layer of the ‘Smart Object’ or create a new layer.

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Smart Filters also make it easy to add and remove applied filters e.g. this vignette added to the image above.


Using Smart Objects is a very powerful tool and a great approach to editing in Photoshop. It allows you to preserve your original image data and work non-destructively. Even though the files are large and can slow down your processing, it retains the quality of your images.

How do you use Smart Objects?

The post Photoshop Smart Objects for Beginners appeared first on Digital Photography School.

DxO updates Nik Collection 2018 with better macOS, Adobe compatibility and fewer bugs

DxO has announced a new update to Nik Collection, the plugin suite it acquired from Google back in October 2017. Nik Collection version 1.1 is the second major update since DxO relaunched it back in June 2018 and puts an emphasis on adding more compatibility for the latest operating systems and Adobe applications.

DxO says Nik Collection has been optimized for full compatibility with macOS Mojave as well as the 2019 versions of Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, Photoshop CC, and Photoshop Elements. DxO has also fixed a few bugs hidden from the days DxO was in the hands of Google, 'including problems with freezing when installing the macOS version of the software, block effects along the edges of the image, and compatibility issues with certain color profiles.'

Nik Collection on macOS has also been updated to work with the Adobe Photoshop competitor Serif Affinity Photo.

Nik Collection by DxO 2018 version 1.1 is available on the DxO website for €69/£59/$69. Users who purchased Nik Collection by DxO after the June 2018 update can update their software for free.

Press release:

Nik Collection by DxO 2018 v1.1: promises kept!

DxO is offering the latest versions of the plugin suite relaunched in June 2018 with an update that offers improved stability and compatibility with the latest operating systems and Adobe host apps.

PARIS — November 14, 2018 — DxO, one of the most innovative companies that offers imaging solutions for the general public, has announced the immediate release of Nik Collection by DxO 2018 v1.1, DxO's second update to the creative plugin suite designed for photographers and graphic artists. This version is completely compatible with macOS Mojave and the 2019 versions of Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, Photoshop CC, and Photoshop Elements. It also corrects a certain number of interface and compatibility issues with other host applications.

Compatibility with macOS Mojave and the 2019 versions of Adobe software

To ensure the best possible user experience, the Nik Collection was optimized so it could be fully compatible with macOS Mojave as well as the 2019 versions of Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, Photoshop CC, and Photoshop Elements. DxO's development teams have also resolved issues that were left over from the Google version of the plugin suite, including problems with freezing when installing the macOS version of the software, block effects along the edges of the image, and compatibility issues with certain color profiles. In addition, the compatibility problems between Nik Collection by DxO 2018 and Serif Affinity Photo with macOS have also been resolved.

"When we launched Nik Collection by DxO last June, we agreed to deliver the best possible user experience and to provide our customers with assistance and support. We also promised to organize the community and ask for feedback through regular surveys," said Jean-Marc Alexia, VP Product Strategy and Marketing at DxO. "We made progress in each of these areas. Now, we are taking one step further towards our goals by concentrating all the latest product updates in this new version."

About Nik Collection by DxO

Nik Collection by DxO includes seven plugins that offer a full range of creative effects and filters:

  • Analog Efex Pro, a classic lens, camera, and analog film simulator.
  • Color Efex Pro, for color corrections, retouching, and creative effects.
  • Dfine, which reduces noise in digital images.
  • HDR Efex Pro, for editing HDR images.
  • Sharpener Pro, for increasing the precision and detail of digital images.
  • Silver Efex Pro, a black-and-white converter inspired by dark room techniques.
  • Viveza, for locally adjusting color and the tonality of specific areas within the image.

Thanks to exclusive U Point technology, the Nik Collection by DxO plugins can be used to apply local adjustments to specific areas in the image with seamless precision.

Nik Collection by DxO can also be opened with other host programs, including DxO PhotoLab 2, Serif Affinity Photo, Skylum Luminar, and other image processing software that features an export menu to a third-party program or is compatible with Photoshop plugins.

Nikon Z6’s 4K video footage outshines Z7’s, is similar to Sony a7 III’s

You can download our sample video right here.

The Nikon Z6 is a supremely capable video camera that comes with a 24MP full-frame sensor and captures oversampled 4K footage with no crop. It can also shoot 1080/120p footage for slow motion clips. The above sample footage was all shot hand-held with in-body IS turned on using the Auto AF area mode and Fulltime autofocus (AF-F).

Clips were recorded in-camera using Nikon's Flat Picture profile. While not quite as workable as 10-bit N-log footage available over HDMI, a little time spent tweaking Flat Picture footage can lead to very nice results. This footage was edited in Final Cut 10.4.

Video still

Below please find our video still for comparing the Z6's various video modes to those of its peers, including its most direct competitor, the Sony a7 III.


The Z6 and a7 III are taking different approaches to their oversampled 4K output with the Sony doing a better job capturing fine detail. The Z6 on the other hand looks to be using larger-radius sharpening (by default) which results in a punchier look out of camera. As expected, the Z6's full-frame 4K looks better than the Z7's full-frame 4K, which doesn't use all its pixel rows, reducing both resolution and low-light performance.

The Z6's cropped 4K also appears to use larger-radius sharpening than the Sony's and looks similar (but still slightly better) when compared to the Z7's. Interestingly the Z6's 4K full-frame footage looks very similar to its 4K APS-C cropped footage. There may be a bit of a noise penalty using the later, but detail is broadly similar.


The Z6's full-frame 1080/24p looks better both than the Z7's full-frame 1080/24p and than the a7 III's 1080/24p. As a whole, the Z6's HD footage has much more sharpening applied than the a7 III's, but it doesn't necessarily show much more tangible detail. This is also the case when comparing the Z6's 1080/120p to the a7 III's.

Photography Hot Spots – Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?

I hear much maligning the days about photography hot spots. You know them, they are the places photographers seem to flock to: Mesa Arch, Tunnel View, Horseshoe BendKjeragbolten (that rock wedged between two other rocks in Norway), etc… The list goes on an on and they tend to be natural wonders. Although, cityscapes are certainly included (e.g. New York’s Manhattanhenge).

Photography Hot Spots - Delicate Arch

But do those photography hot spots deserve their increasingly bad reputation? I asked some fellow photographers to give their perspective on the love and hate of shooting at photographic hot spots.

On The Side Of Love

The Sheer Beauty

Let’s face it; these places are popular for a reason. They are gorgeous! Maybe not when there is a crowd (even the Mona Lisa is hard to enjoy from four rows back in a packed crowd), but there is a reason these locations draw people, with or without cameras.

For instance, we see a picture of symmetry and grandeur of the Taj Mahal and we are drawn in.

Photography Hot Spots - Taj Mahal

And all those photography hot spots in National Parks around the world? Those parks were set up to protect and preserve the often astonishing and sublime beauty we humans are lucky enough to share with this world.

Photography Hot Spots - Machu Picchu

Good Practice And A Chance To Learn

The hard part of photography can be finding subjects. For outdoor and landscape photographers, in particular, more effort is put into researching, getting to and finding the right location than actually shooting.

Hot spots make the learning more readily accessible when the pain is taken out of the hunting process. These days almost any hotspot can be found online with direction or precise coordinates on a map. It is a chance to get out and shoot more and an opportunity to learn from other photographers at the hot spot.

Photography Hot Spots - Seattle

Camaraderie And Socializing

Photographer Eileen Descallar Ringwald explains what she enjoys about the social aspect of hot spots.

While I value getting away from crowds, I do see advantages to be had when in groups. Once in Yosemite on a climbing-focused trip, a photographer I met by chance in the El Cap picnic area told me the elusive moonbow conditions were going to occur that night. I went out at night to the Lower Yosemite Falls Bridge and was at first shocked to see just how many photographers and even non-photographers were there. However, everyone was very polite. People made way for tripods and shared long exposure settings throughout the night. One photographer even shared where he normally went to shoot the Upper Falls. I had a fun time and got some decent shots as well. This was an experience I would have missed if I hadn’t decided to ‘follow the crowd’.

When you get in with the right group, the benefits can multiply. It can lead you in directions you would not have discovered on your own.

Photography Hot Spots - Socializing

Gateway Drug To Other Offerings In The Area

Landscape photographer and instructor Gary Crabbe spends a lot of his time outdoors with this camera. He has used photography hot spots as a means to an end.

The lure of great iconic photo locations should not be ignored or dismissed on the pathway to developing our own personal vision. I always recommend that once you’ve nailed a certain shot, dare to explore further afield or venture off the regularly traveled path. This will allow you to seek out more unique or personal compositions. Regardless of what primary area my travels take me, I always like to find one or two nearby lesser-known locations that fuel a bit more of the journey with an eye toward photographic discovery and adventure.

Photography Hot Spots - Mesa Arch, Utah

I shot Mesa Arch at sunrise (pictured above) because it makes for a beautiful image. I visited the park with my friend Michael Riffle. As we were spending three days in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, he suggested a location nearby that I hadn’t previously explored.

It was Dead Horse Point State Park and at sunrise in October, it looked like this:

Photography Hot Spots - Dead Horse Point

While Mesa Arch and the ‘Big 5’ National Parks of Utah are a big draw, there are so many other unique and interesting sites to explore. While I wouldn’t have planned a trip to Dead Horse Point if I were alone, it, and many other sites, are valuable add-ons made possible by first hitting the Gateway Hot Spots.

It’s Never The Same Place Twice

Sure, you’ve seen the photos and you might have even been to that photography hot spot. But times and weather change. Different light means a different mode. Fewer people, more people. A chance encounter with wildlife.

It all makes hot spots different for everyone on each occasion. They are an easy way to grow as a photographer because they teach us not to be complacent and accept that, “Well, I shot that already. It never changes.”

For instance, another day at the Taj Mahal can bring a new feeling. Maybe the shot works better with people? Maybe the light isn’t as crisp? Take the opportunity to learn from them.

Photography Hot Spots - Taj Mahal

On The Side Of Hate


Photographer and tour operator, Genevieve Hathaway, knows a thing or two about crowds.

Crowds at locations can provide challenges for photographers. Especially iconic travel locations can be very crowded making clean compositions tough, making it hard to find spots to shoot. It’s also hard to try and capture more authentic, idyllic scenes. It’s great that so many people are traveling, but this provides photographers with new challenges in composing our shots and even in competing with other photographers for the coveted angles. I think these challenges can push us to be creative. They are opportunities to find new angles at favorite sites, wake up early to beat the crowds and to even discover more off the beaten path locations to shoot.

Photography Hot Spots - Crowds

Rude Photographers More Interested In Getting ‘The Shot’ Rather Than Ethical Or Polite Behavior

We’ve all met them: rude photographers. They seem to care only about themselves and getting ‘the shot.’ I asked Canadian photographer Michael Russell for his take.

I have to wonder if the photographers who yell and scream, push people out of the way, damage plant life and infrastructure, or otherwise act to disrupt others, have any understanding as to why a great view at an iconic location is special? Even when the light isn’t great or there are too many tourists on the trail in front of their camera; do they feel anything? A photographer who acts out because something went wrong while hunting for a preconceived trophy is at best missing the gift of visiting these places. At worst, ruining the visit for everyone else who does.

Photography Hot Spots - Rude Photographers

Uninspired Execution

Pam Boling, a talented, multi-faceted photographer from Las Vegas, sees a lack of effort and originality as a common outcome.

I am most inspired when I am shooting portraits or landscapes. My most lucrative client, however, is the commercial client. Commercial content rarely inspires me. Getting the exposure right in commercial environments can sometimes be the most challenging: I am often faced with window light, fluorescent lights, OCF, harsh backlight, and sometimes reflective surfaces. I think the photographic process – whatever the subject – eventually becomes the driving force once the toolbox is worn around the edges. Some photographers don’t go beyond the normal tools and the results are uninspired.

Photography Hot Spots - uninspired

False Impression That Photographers Are Great When Copying

Freelance writer and photographer Peter Tellone put it most succinctly when it comes to copying others.

Copying greatness does not make you a Chef, it makes you a Cook. The entire point in this madness that is art is to be the Chef.

If you don’t expand your vision, if you don’t break out of the mold of others, you are nothing more than a fancy copy machine.

These hot spots make it easy to take a great photo because the scene, in and of itself, is already amazing. You just need some decent light to get a decent photo. To be great you need to build, expand and reinterpret what others have done, and what the scene gives you.

Photography Hot Spots - No so great


I have tried presenting both sides to the controversy of iconic photography hot spots. Honestly, I can see both sides of the story. Some positive aspects and some negative.

What do you think? Do you love or hate photography hot spots?

The post Photography Hot Spots – Love ‘em or Hate ‘em? appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Fujifilm announces new firmware for GFX 50S, X-T3, and X-H1

Fujifilm has announced the impending arrival of new firmware updates for its GFX 50S, X-T3, and X-H1 mirrorless cameras. The updates bring improved in-body image stabilization on the X-H1, 4K HDR and F-Log video for the X-T3, and a new 35mm format mode for the GFX 50S.


The new firmware for the Fujifilm GFX 50S, version 3.30, is due out by the end of November 2018. Fujifilm says the update adds support for a new 35mm Format Mode when using GF- and H-mount adapters, which crops the center of the sensor to a size of 36mm x 24mm, a makes for a 30.5-megapixel image. The update also improves upon the eye-sensor responsiveness, adds simultaneous deletion of RAW and JPEG files, and supports color adjustments for the EVF and LCD displays.


The new firmware for the Fujifilm X-T3 is version 2.00. Set to be released in December 2018, the firmware update brings 4K HDR recording in Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG). HLG footage should simplify the capture of HDR content and should improve post-production capabilities. Fujifilm notes it's only compatible with H.265 (HEVC) and works best when viewed on displays and TVs with HLG format support.

Firmware version 2.00 for the X-T3 also brings simultaneous output of Film Simulation and F-Log footage, meaning it's possible to record in F-Log while viewing the Film Simulation image on an external monitor. Fujifilm says this capability isn't compatible with "59.94P/50P, FHD high speed recording, 4K interframe NR, and HDMI output info display mode."

Continuing on, the X-T3 will now be compatible with All-Intra and maximum bitrate recording with H.264, up to the maximum bitrate of 400Mbps. Also, movie files will no longer be split when the file reaches 4GB so long as it's being stored to an SD card with at least 64GB of storage. It's also now possible to display color temperature on the EVF and LCD displays in Kelvin.

Newsshooter has shared a video showing off some of the new features of firmware version 2.00 for the Fujifilm X-T3.


Last up is the Fujifilm X-H1, which is set to receive firmware version 2.00 in December 2018. The defining feature of this firmware update is the improved image stabilization. Fujifilm says in-body image stabilization will now work better with optical image stabilization in lenses to improve overall stability.

"With an XF or XC optical image stabilized lens, in-body image stabilization worked with 3 axis (up and down / optical axis rotation). The remaining 2 axis (right and left pitch, yaw angle) was controlled by optical image stabilization in the lens," says Fujifilm in its press release. "[Firmware version 2.00] has a new image stabilization algorithm to allow the in-body image stabilization to work in all 5 axis and to achieve more than five-stops (up to the equivalent of 5.5 stops) image stabilization by cooperative control according to the types of frequency and blur amount."

Fujifilm notes lenses must also be updated to their latest firmware to get this compatibility. You can find a full list of up-to-date lens firmware on Fujifilm's website.

NASA shares high-resolution satellite images of California’s Camp wildfire

NASA has shared images of the California Camp Fire as seen from space. The wildfire started on November 8 and quickly spread, ultimately destroying nearly 8,000 buildings and burning 135,000 acres, according to Cal Fire, as well as claiming at least 50 lives.

Some of the images were captured using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer on NASA's Terra satellite, according to the space agency, which says the images show natural colors. Unlike images from the ground, NASA's aerial snapshots reveal the sheer scale of the blaze and how far its smoke has dispersed westward across the state and over the ocean.

NASA is home to its Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Worldview, a platform that provides access to high-resolution images from more than 700 satellites. The images in this application are updated within three hours of being captured, according to NASA, providing a near-real time look at every corner of the planet. Imagery of the Camp Fire, as well as other California wildfires, can be accessed through the platform.

How to Use Creative Aperture to Maximum Effect

One of the most powerful controls on your camera is the aperture setting. It’s so useful that a good proportion of photographers utilize aperture priority as their primary setting, allowing them to quickly change this setting for creative aperture use.

So what are the ways you can use aperture to get creative photos? There are several ways and some different effects that can be achieved. So read on, and see how you can add these creative approaches to your photography.

You can use aperture to create bokeh like this.

Creating Bokeh in Your Photos

Almost certainly the first thing you’ll think of with creative aperture is bokeh. So what is this and how is it achieved?

What is Bokeh?

Bokeh is the area of the photo that’s out of focus, and the level of blur achieved will depend on a number of factors. The word itself come from the Japanese word ‘boke,’ which translates as blur.

Using aperture to blur out the background is an ideal way of making the main subject standout more.

How Creative Aperture Makes Bokeh

You’ll create bokeh by using a lens with a large aperture, and sometimes with a lens that has a long focal length. The best lenses for creating bokeh are prime lenses, mainly because they offer larger aperture. To create bokeh focus on an object in the foreground, and ensure there is a separation to the background. When using a lower focal length with a large aperture the distance of separation between fore and background can be relatively small. If you use a longer focal length with a lens that has a smaller aperture you can still achieve bokeh as long as the background is far behind your foreground object. To sum up use your lenses largest aperture, and ensure you leave enough distance to the background so it’s blurred.

  • Light source – One of the most attractive aspects are what are sometimes called ‘bokeh balls.’ When you have points of light in the background, they’ll become enlarged orbs because of bokeh. Look to place city lights in the background during blur hour, or light reflecting off leaves to create this type of bokeh.
  • Tell the story – One way of subtly telling a story in a scene is to blur out the background, but leave enough definition to see what’s happening in the background. Perhaps you can photograph some food, with the chef making that food blurred into the background.

You can use bokeh for simple minimalism in a photo.

Creative Bokeh

It’s possible to get even more creative with bokeh, by turning it into various shapes. The idea behind this involves placing a piece of black card over the front of your lens. You’ll need to cut the shape your want to create with your bokeh in the center of that card first though! To find out more about how to do this you can read this guide. Remember you’ll need some light sources in the background, so how about experimenting with some fairy lights this Christmas!

Get those creative sparks flying with different shaped bokeh!


Lensbaby is a series of lenses produced with the idea of using bokeh in your photo. It’s a little like a tilt-shift lens and will create stretched bokeh as you change the position of the focal sweet spot. This lens can be fun to play around with, though it doesn’t produce the sharpest photos you’ll ever see.

The Sweet Spot

While this area of aperture usage isn’t especially creative, it’s worth knowing about. The lens sweet spot refers to the aperture which produces the greatest sharpness across your photo. Each photo will have a different sweet spot, but generally between f8 and f11 is the sharpest point for your lens. Knowing your lenses sweet spot is essential knowledge for landscape photographers. Keep in mind that if you have elements close to your foreground, you may need to use focus stacking to keep sharpness across the entire image.

Landscape photographers will often use an aperture of f8 for their photos.

Starburst Effect

A starburst can be produced when you have a single focused light source. This can be a street light, all the way up to the sun! The effect is produced by closing your aperture down to a number smaller than f16. Each lens will produce a slightly different starburst as well. This depends on the type of diaphragm used in your lens to open and close the aperture. The lens diaphragm has a number of blades and depending on how many of these there are, your ‘star’ will have different numbers of spikes.

The sun can have a star look to it, by hiding it behind the tree.

  • Photographing city lights – This is relatively straightforward, as you just need to close down your aperture. Keep in mind however that a small aperture will mean your photo is less sharp.
  • Photographing the sun – To do this you’ll need the sun to be partially blocked. This might mean hiding the sun behind some tree leaves, or waiting for the sun to just about disappear behinds some clouds or headland. In these conditions, the sun won’t dominate the rest of the frame as much, and you can create a star effect with it by closing down your aperture.

Starburst Filters

Not related to creative aperture, but this is an alternate way of creating starbursts in your photo. Once again this will create starbursts from a point of light in your frame. The light spikes will be longer though, and you might decide this creative effect is not for you.

City lights provide a great point of light, and this can be made into a starburst.

Get Your Own Creative Aperture Photos!

So now it’s your turn to use one of the key settings to its creative potential! Get your camera on aperture priority, and see what you can produce!

Do you have a favored way of using aperture for your photography? We’d love to hear your experiences with this setting.

Finally, please share your photos with the digital photography school community, by posting them in the comments section below.

The post How to Use Creative Aperture to Maximum Effect appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Google’s Night Sight allows for photography in near darkness

Google's latest Pixel 3 smartphone generation comes with the company's new Night Sight feature that allows for the capture of well-exposed and clean images in near darkness, without using a tripod or flash. Today Google published a post on its Research Blog, explaining in detail thecomputational photography and machine learning techniques used by the feature and describing the challenges the development team had to overcome in order to capture the desired image results.

Night Sight builds on Google's multi-frame-merging HDR+ mode that was first introduced in 2014, but takes things a few steps further, merging a larger number of frames and aiming to improve image quality in extremely low light levels between 3 lux and 0.3 lux.

One key difference between HDR+ and Night Sight are longer exposure times for individual frames, allowing for lower noise levels. HDR+ uses short exposures to provide a minimum frame rate in the viewfinder image and instant image capture using zero-shutter-lag technology. Night Sight waits until after you press the shutter button before capturing images which means users need to hold still for a short time after pressing the shutter but achieve much cleaner images.

The longer per-frame exposure times could also result in motion blur caused by handshake or to moving objects in the scene. This problem is solved by measuring motion in a scene and setting an exposure time that minimizes blur. Exposure times also vary based on a number of other factors, including whether the camera features OIS and the device motion detected by the gyroscope.

In addition to per-frame exposure, Night Sight also varies the number of frames that are captured and merged, 6 if the phone is on a tripod and up to 15 if it is handheld.

Frame alignment and merging are additional challenges that you can read all about in detail on the Google Research Blog. Our science editor Rishi Sanyal also had a closer look at Night Sight and the Pixel 3's other computational imaging features in this article.

The Lume Cube Air is an ultra-portable app-controlled lighting solution

Based on the original Lume Cube, the new Lume Cube Air is a small, lightweight and affordable portable light source aimed at vloggers, casual photographers and other content creators.

The Lume Cube AIR features LED lighting with a 5700K daylight balanced color temperature, 400 LUX at 1m output, and a 60-degree beam angle. The light is waterproof down to 30 feet and weighs only 2oz (57g). A built-in magnet allows for easy attachment to many metallic surfaces but the Lume Cube Air also comes with a conventional tripod mount.

The light is controlled from the Lume-X iOS or Android mobile app which lets you connect to and combine multiple Lume Cube AIRs and control brightness, light mode and strobe speeds. You can also check battery levels, all via a Bluetooth connection.

In the box you'll find white and orange diffusers for color correction, a lanyard and a USB charging cable. The Lume Cube Air is available now from and select retailers globally for $69.95.

Press Release:


Unique features, slimmed-down size and extra accessories provide an all-in-one lighting solution for every content-creation challenge

CARLSBAD, Calif. – November 14, 2018 – Known as the world’s most versatile light for content creators, Lume Cube announced today the launch of the all-new Lume Cube AIR. Derived from the original Lume Cube, the Lume Cube AIR is the smallest, lightest, and most portable lighting device designed to help content creators capture better photo & video. With newly designed features, improved LED output, and multiple accessories included in every box, the latest solution is an affordable, all-in-one light that allows anyone hitting the “record” button to produce professional quality content on any device, from a smartphone to a professional DSLR camera. It is available now from and select retailers worldwide for $69.95.

“As an innovative brand in the imaging market, we are committed to delivering valuable tools to help the growing community of content creators around the world capture stunning photos and videos,” said Riley Stricklin, co-founder at Lume Cube. “When developing the Lume Cube AIR, we made listening to our customers a priority. We wanted to ensure we fully understood their needs so that we could craft a portable lighting solution that best enables them to create quality, on-the-go content, all while at an economical cost. Based on this feedback, Lume Cube AIR has been designed as small and as sleek as possible, has a built-in magnet for more versatile mounting options, and includes multiple accessories inside the box to ensure our customers have everything needed to capture professional quality content in any environment.”

From the digital influencer and YouTube star, to the at-home vlogger and casual photographer, the Lume Cube AIR offers the perfect combination of size, power, durability, and light quality needed to illuminate any scene, whether on or off camera. For the first time, users will receive two diffusers (white and orange) inside the box that provide both diffusion and color correction capability, which is essential for any broadcast or live streaming application.

The Lume Cube AIR features:

  • Unmatched Light Quality & Custom Lens – Packed with the best LED specs for its size, the Lume Cube AIR lighting has a CRI rating of +/- 90, a 5700K daylight balanced color temperature, 400 LUX at 1M power, and a 60-degree beam angle.
  • Compact, Waterproof & Durable Design – Weighing in at just 2oz with overall dimensions of 1.625” x 1.625” x 1.125”, the Lume Cube AIR is the smallest and most portable light of its kind, allowing content creators to uncover new creative opportunities whether in the rain or submerged under water up to 30 feet.
  • Bluetooth & App Control – From the Lume-X iOS or Android app, users can connect to multiple Lume Cube AIRs and control brightness, light mode, strobe speeds, battery levels, and more. The Bluetooth functionality allows for a seamless connection and fast adjustment of any lighting set-up, creating a truly smart mobile studio.
  • Built-In Magnet – In addition to a tripod mountable thread, a built-in magnet provides complete mounting versatility and allows for numerous lifestyle applications outside of content creation. The Lume Cube AIR can be mounted to a bike, attached to a car for maintenance, put in manual Strobe Mode for emergencies, and much more.
  • In-Box Accessories – Out of the box, the AIR is equipped with the accessories needed to tackle any content-creation challenge. The white diffusion, orange (warming) diffusion, lanyard and charging cable provides an all-in-one solution for anybody looking to enhance the level of their content creation.

For more information on Lume Cube and the all-new Lume Cube AIR,

Nikon Z6 to ship this Friday for $1999

Nikon USA has announced that its Z6 full-frame mirrorless camera will begin shipping this Friday, November 16th. The body-only kit will retail for $1999.95, while the body plus Nikon Z 24-70 F4 S lens will set you back $2599.95. Adding the FTZ Mount Adapter is only $200 more, which is $100 less than if the adapter is purchased separately.

You can find all of our Z6 content here, and don't miss our sample gallery, either.

Z6 samples by Brandon Woelful for Nikon:

Press Release

The New Nikon Z 6 to Hit Shelves Right In Time for the Holiday Season

Nikon Will Also Offer an Array of Special Promotions, Instant Savings and Discount Programs for their Latest Products this Holiday Season

MELVILLE, NY (NOVEMBER 14, 2018 AT 11:00 A.M. EST) – With the holiday season just around the corner, Nikon Inc. is pleased to announce the retail availability of the new Nikon Z 6 camera, which was announced alongside the Nikon Z 7, Mount Adapter FTZ, and the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S, 35mm f/1.8 S, and 50mm f/1.8 S lenses in late August of this year. In addition to announcing retail availability for this product, Nikon will be offering an array of holiday promotions, instant savings programs and special discounts for a variety of Nikon products.

Nikon Z 6 Availability

The Nikon Z 6 offers an incredible value for photographers and content creators, striking the perfect balance of speed, optical performance and powerfully cinematic video features while maintaining the advantages of a lightweight mirrorless design, all at an incredibly compelling price point. The versatile Nikon Z 6 includes a 24.5-megapixel-BSI CMOS sensor, wide ISO sensitivity range of 100–51,200, 12fps continuous shooting at full resolution, 5-axis in-camera vibration reduction technology, crystal clear 3.6m-Dot Quad VGA viewfinder and full-frame 4K UHD video capture with full pixel readout.

The Nikon Z 6 will be available nationwide starting this Friday, November 16 for the suggested retail price (SRP) of $2,599.95 with the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens and $1,999.95 for the body only configuration.

Nikon Holiday Promotions

Nikon Inc. is also unveiling several new holiday promotions to encourage consumers to share the gift of photography with their friends and loved ones.

For consumers in the market for a new mirrorless camera, the Nikon Z system is an ideal entry-point. Now, for a limited time, Nikon Inc. will be offering $100-savings on the Mount Adapter FTZ when purchased alongside the new Nikon Z 7 or Nikon Z 6.

Additionally, Nikon will be offering numerous special promotions on the extensive lineup of Nikon DSLR cameras, camera kits and NIKKOR lenses, which are great gift options for those looking to take their photography and video capture to the next level this holiday season.

The list below outlines the instant savings available starting on November 22, 2018

Entry-Level DSLR Savings:

- Nikon D3500 Double Zoom Lens Kit: $499.95 (after $350 instant savings)
- Nikon D3500 18-55mm VR Kit: $399.95 (after $100 instant savings)
- Nikon D5600 Double Zoom Lens Kit: $699.95 (after $450 instant savings)
- Nikon D5600 18-55mm VR Kit: $649.95 (after $150 instant savings)

Enthusiast and Professional-Level DSLR Savings:

- Nikon D7500 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Kit: $1,449.95 (after $300 instant savings)
- Nikon D7500 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR Kit: $1,749.95 (after $570 instant savings)
- Nikon D7200 Body Only: $799.95 (after $300 instant savings)
- Nikon D7200 Dual Zoom Lens Kit: $999.95 (after $550 instant savings)
- Nikon D750 Body Only with MB-D16 Multi-Battery Power Pack: $1,399.95 (after $939.95 instant savings)
- Nikon D750 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens Kit with MB-D16 Multi-Battery Power Pack: $1,899.95 (after $1,539.95 instant savings)
- Nikon D500 Body Only with MB-D17 Multi-Battery Power Pack: $1,799.95 (after $469.95 instant savings)
- Nikon D500 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR Lens Kit with MB-D17 Multi-Battery Power Pack: $2,399.95 (after $939.95 instant savings)
- Nikon D810 Body Only with MB-D12 Multi-Battery Power Pack: $2,799.95 (after $629.95 instant savings)
- Nikon D810 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens Kit with MB-D12 Multi-Battery Power Pack: $3,299.95 (after $1,229.95 instant savings)
- Select legendary NIKKOR lenses also available at up to $200 in instant savings

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