6 Tips for a Faster Lightroom Workflow So You Can Get Back to Taking Photos!

The post 6 Tips for a Faster Lightroom Workflow So You Can Get Back to Taking Photos! appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

faster-lightroom-workflow-tips

Many photographers rely on Lightroom to organize, edit and share their photos. While this software has a vast array of tools to help people in several key areas, it has not always been known for speed. Recent updates and GPU acceleration have helped, but if you really want to have a faster Lightroom workflow, there are some simple things you can do to supercharge your post-processing. These aren’t hacks or plugins, but simple tweaks to Lightroom that can make your life a lot easier.

6 Tips for a Faster Lightroom Workflow So You Can Get Back to Taking Photos!

1. Apply a preset when importing images

The first thing you can do for a faster Lightroom workflow is to apply a preset when importing images.

Lightroom has a mind-boggling number of options and sliders to adjust when editing images. If you find yourself using the same types of edits on most of your pictures, you can use Presets to shave hours off your editing. Most people already know this, but you might not be aware that you can apply Presets when initially importing your files.

On the right side of the Import screen, there is an option for “Apply During Import.” Use this to select one of the many presets built into Lightroom (or select one of your own that you may have saved) and have it automatically applied to your pictures as you import them.

faster Lightroom workflow

In the screenshot above, you can also see an option called Nikon RAW import. That’s a custom preset I made that contains specific adjustments I like to apply to my Nikon RAW files, which gets me to a good starting point when editing. That alone has helped me with a faster Lightroom workflow, but applying it to a batch of photos on import is even more of a speed boost.

Don’t worry about messing anything up if you apply presets on import. Like everything else in Lightroom, they are non-destructive, meaning you can always go back and change things later.

2. Sync settings across multiple images

If you have spent any time editing multiple similar images in Lightroom, particularly from an event or photo session with clients, you have no doubt found the Copy/Paste Settings to be useful. Right-click on any image in the Develop module and choose “Develop Settings->Copy Settings…” Then check the boxes next to any (or all!) the settings you want to copy.

Finally, go to another photo, right-click, and choose “Develop Settings->Paste Settings.” Or better yet, use Ctrl+C (cmd+C on mac) and Ctrl+V (cmd+V on mac) like you would on any word processor.

faster Lightroom workflow

I shot dozens of pictures of this wasp. The Sync Settings option let me instantly edit a single image and then apply those edits to all my other images in an instant.

This process works great, but what if you want to paste your settings on to five, ten, or a hundred images? Even the fast method of using Ctrl+V starts to feel like a chore.

Fortunately, there’s a better way.

faster Lightroom workflow

Image 21 is selected, and Images 17-20 are also highlighted. After clicking the Sync… button, all the edits from 21 will be applied to 17-20.

In the Develop module, select a single picture in the filmstrip at the bottom of the screen. Then hold down the [shift] key and select more images. Finally, click the “Sync…” button to synchronize any (or all) of your edits on the original image to the rest that are selected.

When I discovered this trick, I almost fell out of my chair! I didn’t just speed up my Lightroom editing. It supercharged my editing.

3. Straighten your pictures with the Auto button

I’m always a little leery of anything that says Auto when I’m editing pictures. I don’t need my computer to do what it thinks is best – I want my computer to do what I think is best! At best, I use some Auto options, like when setting white balance on RAW files, as a rough draft that I go and refine.

However, there is one Auto setting that I have learned to use over and over again. Learning to embrace Auto for straightening my photos has saved me a lot of time and really led to an overall faster Lightroom workflow.

Image: The Auto button in the Crop & Straighten panel can really help make things go faster when...

The Auto button in the Crop & Straighten panel can really help make things go faster when you need to straighten your photos.

The reason Auto works so well for straightening images is that it doesn’t try to make a guess which affects the artistic goals of the photographer. It simply looks for straight lines such as light poles, buildings, or horizons, and then adjusts images accordingly. It works far more than I initially thought. Plus, it can really speed things up when editing in Lightroom.

faster Lightroom workflow

My tripod was askew when I shot this, but Lightroom fixed it with a simple click of the Auto button.

4. Automatically organize with smart collections

Collections in Lightroom are an easy way to organize your images. You can create as many collections as you want, and one photo can exist in multiple collections. What you may not realize is that Lightroom lets you create Smart Collections, which are populated dynamically according to rules you specify.

To create a Smart Collection, choose the + button at the top-left of the Collections panel. Then select “Create Smart Collection…” and specify your parameters for the Smart Collection.

faster Lightroom workflow

As an example of how this can lead to a faster Lightroom workflow, I create Smart Collections to sort my photos by month for an entire year. I do this each January, and for the rest of the year my photos are automatically sorted month-by-month without me having to do anything.

Image: I create Smart Collections for my personal images at the beginning of each year. My images ar...

I create Smart Collections for my personal images at the beginning of each year. My images are then sorted automatically.

These Smart Collections also do not include any photos with the keyword “PhotoSession” which I apply to all images that I take for clients. Photos with that keyword go in another set of Smart Collections that I use to keep client images separate from personal photos.

Smart Collections can contain dozens of parameters including Rating, Pick Flag, Color Label, Keyword, even metadata such as camera model or focal length. They are an incredibly powerful but very simple way to make your day-to-day Lightroom editing significantly faster.

5. Multi-Batch Export

Lightroom has long offered customizable export presets. These allow you to export photos with certain parameters specified such as file type, image size, quality setting, and even specifying custom names.

faster Lightroom workflow

New in the November 2019 update to Lightroom Classic is the option to perform a single export operation that utilizes multiple Presets. This means you no longer have to do an export operation for full-size JPGs at 100% quality, another export for low-resolution proofs at 80% quality, and so on.

Just check any boxes in the Export dialog box for the presets you want, and Lightroom will take care of the rest!

Image: The November 2019 update to Lightroom Classic lets you select multiple presets for a single e...

The November 2019 update to Lightroom Classic lets you select multiple presets for a single export operation.

This is a great way to save time when you are ready to export your images. It’s not the kind of workflow addition that will change your life, but it’s another simple but highly effective process you can utilize to shave precious minutes from your editing. And as someone who exports a lot of photos regularly, those minutes add up.

6. Cull on Lightroom Mobile

One of my favorite aspects of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan is the synchronization between Lightroom Classic and Lightroom Mobile. While the mobile version of Lightroom isn’t as full-featured as its desktop-based big brother, it does one thing incredibly well that has made a huge difference for me when editing photos for clients.

Click the checkbox next to any Collection to sync those photos with Lightroom CC. This means you can access low-resolution previews of all those images on the web, your phone, or tablet. (Note that this does not work with Smart Collections, only regular Collections.)

6 Tips for a Faster Lightroom Workflow So You Can Get Back to Taking Photos!

I don’t find Lightroom Mobile particularly useful for detailed editing, but it absolutely runs circles around the desktop version when it comes to culling operations. If you have an iPad, this could honestly change your entire approach to culling your images. It also works pretty well on other mobile devices too.

Load a picture in any collection that you have synced to Lightroom CC and then click the Star icon in the lower-right corner. This switches to a mode where you can quickly assign star ratings or flags to any picture. Tap one of the Flag or Star icons at the bottom of the screen to change the status of the image. A quick swipe of your finger will load the next image.

faster Lightroom workflow

Tap the star icon in the lower-right corner of Lightroom Mobile to quickly assign Flags and Star Ratings with a swipe of your finger.

This is all well and good, but there’s one trick here that will send your culling into overdrive.

Slide a finger up or down on the right side of the photo to change the Flag status. Slide a finger up or down on the left side to assign a Star rating. Then swipe to the next image and repeat.

All your edits on Lightroom Mobile, including Star ratings and Flag statuses, are instantly synced back to Lightroom Classic on your computer.

I’m not kidding about the speed of this operation, either.

I used to dread the culling process, but now it takes a fraction of the time it used to. A few weeks ago, I returned from a photo session with over 1,100 images. In about an hour, I was able to cull them to a fraction of that amount, thanks to Lightroom Mobile.

Image: There were hundreds of images from this session that I had to sort through. Lightroom Desktop...

There were hundreds of images from this session that I had to sort through. Lightroom Desktop makes this a burden, but Lightroom Mobile makes it a breeze.

All six of these tips have saved me a huge amount of time over the years. I hope they are useful to you as well.

If you have any other tricks or suggestions for a faster Lightroom workflow, leave them in the comments below!

The post 6 Tips for a Faster Lightroom Workflow So You Can Get Back to Taking Photos! appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

How to Achieve the Perfect White Balance in Lightroom

The post How to Achieve the Perfect White Balance in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

perfect-white-balance-in-lightroom

Achieving the perfect white balance in your pictures can seem like a futile gesture. Don Quixote tilting at windmills is as nothing compared to finding the harmony that exists somewhere between 2,000 and 10,000 Kelvin! Photographers have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad by their desire to get their pictures looking pixel-perfect with the ideal white balance that seems ever just out of reach. Fret not! With a few tips on adjusting white balance in Lightroom, you’ll be turning out beautiful photos in no time.

perfect-white-balance-in-lightroom

Understanding white balance can be a little tricky, but basically, what you are doing is giving your camera or computer a reference point to calculate all the colors in an image. It’s similar to explaining the size of something like a box or a bowl. Unless you have precise measurements, you need to compare it to a common object, so people have a frame of reference.

Image: White balance is like a banana: it’s a reference point.

White balance is like a banana: it’s a reference point.

Digital cameras use white balance as a way of knowing how all the colors in an image should appear. It’s true north on the color compass, so to speak, and helps inform the values for every other color in the image. By using white balance as the foundation for color calculation, your camera will then adjust what everything else is supposed to look like.

Since colors change under different lighting conditions, white balance is often the key to getting your pictures to look just how you want them.

Image: Temp: 5250K, +39 Tint

Temp: 5250K, +39 Tint

The image above has a crisp, bright appearance that seems fitting after a midsummer rain shower. This is mostly due to setting the white balance to mimic the tones of natural daylight.

Image: Temp: 7274K, Tint +26

Temp: 7274K, Tint +26

A change in the Temperature and Tint resulted in an image that seems as though it was shot in the early morning, or perhaps in a warmer climate. This one feels more comforting, while the top photo might be more true-to-life.

All cameras have an Auto white balance setting, which tries to interpret color based on an analysis of the perceived lighting conditions at the time a shot is taken. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the correct white balance. It’s just one particular value that your camera thinks might be appropriate given the algorithms it has been programmed with by the manufacturer.

The nice thing about white balance is that, like almost everything artistic, it’s entirely subjective. You can make your white balance be whatever you want! It’s a tool to make your pictures look not how someone else thinks they are supposed to look, but how you want them to look. Realizing this helped me immensely over the years, and refocused my editing process altogether. No longer do I look for the correct white balance, but instead, I try to find an accurate white balance given how I want my pictures to appear.

How to Achieve the Perfect White Balance in Lightroom

Shoot in RAW

You can use myriad tools to set your white balance at the time you shoot your pictures. Most cameras have presets like Sunny, Cloudy, Fluorescent, etc., to make sure your white balance is properly calibrated for your given shooting conditions.

However, the option that gives you the most creative freedom isn’t any of these at all. It’s the Photo Quality setting, and the first step to achieving white balance nirvana is to shoot in RAW. This lets you fine-tune the white balance ex post facto so you can edit and tweak in Lightroom rather than worrying about getting it right when you click the shutter.

perfect-white-balance-in-lightroom

Adjust the sliders in Lightroom left or right to change the color temperature and tint. Click the eyedropper to select a neutral color for setting the white balance. Use the Select Menu in the top-right to access various white balance presets.

Post-processing is where the real fun begins because when you shoot in RAW, you can edit your picture however you want. If you want your pictures to look warmer, you can adjust the white balance sliders accordingly. If you prefer a cooler look, you can do that too. The point is there is no correct value for white balance on any given picture – the end result is what matters. What that looks like can be entirely up to you.

Setting white balance in Lightroom

Changing white balance in Lightroom is fairly simple, but there are various options you can use to make the process easier and more customizable.

I like to start with the Eyedropper Tool, which lets you specify white balance by clicking on an area of your photo that is almost white. You’ll get the best results if you click on a slightly gray area. As you hover the eyedropper around your picture, you will see a preview of the results in the top-left corner.

Image: When selecting a target neutral color, look for a portion of your image that is slightly gray...

When selecting a target neutral color, look for a portion of your image that is slightly gray and not pure white. This is just a starting point though and should not be thought of as the final word on white balance.

Finally, you can specify your own white balance just by dragging the Temperature and Tint sliders left and right. You can streamline your editing process by copying and pasting the values into other pictures or use the sync feature to instantly apply them to an entire batch.

Finally, the way to set white balance is by using the preset options in the drop-down menu. These options are just preset values for the Temperature and Tint sliders similar to the white balance in any digital camera.

perfect-white-balance-in-lightroom

Creative customization

The mechanics of changing white balance are one thing, but the effect of changing white balance is another matter entirely. Say it with me: there is no such thing as correct white balance. Instead, your goal should be to create an accurate white balance – one that reflects your artistic intentions in terms of color, mood, and emotion.

Consider the following picture as an example. I shot this file in RAW and this is the result using Auto White Balance.

perfect-white-balance-in-lightroom

Temp: 4650K, Tint: +30

It looks fine, and there’s nothing wrong with the picture, but look what happens with a few clicks of the Temp and Tint sliders. I raised the Temperature and lowered the Tint, and the result is an entirely different image.

Image: Temp: 6758K, Tint: -9

Temp: 6758K, Tint: -9

This version feels much warmer and more intimate than the original, almost like rain has fallen on a parched plant. To change the image again, we can adjust the sliders for different values.

perfect-white-balance-in-lightroom

Temp: 3448K, Tint: +38

In the final version, the viewer is left wondering if those are drops of water or ice. The picture feels cold and distant and evokes an entirely different emotion than the second version.

Which image is the right one?

They all are, and for different reasons.

The point is to know what effect white balance has on your pictures and understand how to change it to get your images to look how you want them to look.

I use this technique all the time when shooting portraits. I used to fret and worry about finding the best white balance for each of my pictures when, in truth, I was putting the white balance cart before the emotional horse. Instead, I now ask myself what I want my clients to feel when they look at their pictures and then adjust white balance (along with other settings) accordingly.

The image below has been processed using Auto white balance.

Image: Temp: 6000K, Tint: +1

Temp: 6000K, Tint: +1

Much like the previous example with water drops on leaves, the results here aren’t bad. It’s a perfectly serviceable image that the client would probably be happy to have in their home. However, a few clicks on the white balance sliders can have a dramatic impact.

Image: Temp: 8285, Tint: +5

Temp: 8285, Tint: +5

This picture has a warmer tone and feels more comfortable. One might argue that the top picture is more true-to-life, while another person could prefer the saturated tones of the lower. The options for adjusting white balance, as with anything in photography, are endless. However, the point is to create an image that is pleasing to you.

Take a break

You might look at any of the examples in this article and immediately prefer one particular white balance setting over another. This happens to me during much of my editing sessions, as well. I find myself drawn to one version of a picture while entirely disregarding another. I find, walking away from my computer to reset my eyes is the best option.

After a brief respite from editing, I often find my initial editing preferences dashed to pieces. It helps me see my photos with a set of fresh eyes, especially after removing myself from technology even for just a few minutes. I often find that photos take on an entirely different appearance when coming back to them from a break. I will usually try new things with white balance that I didn’t think of initially.

Image: Temp: 5500K, Tint: +11

Temp: 5500K, Tint: +11

In the photo above, I went back and forth from warm to cool and back again before settling on a middle-ground approach that I preferred. If I had gone with my original instinct, I don’t think I would have liked the final result. Shooting in RAW, as well as trying different white balance options and finally taking a break from editing altogether, helped me arrive at what I felt was the best result.

How to Achieve the Perfect White Balance in Lightroom: Conclusion

Ultimately, the subjective nature of something as fundamental as white balance can seem a little scary. If there is no correct value, how can you even know where to start? There’s nothing wrong with using Auto, but I encourage you to experiment and try new settings you might not have thought of.

Just because your phone or your computer tells you that your picture should have a certain white balance doesn’t mean that’s the correct value. There is no correct value with creative editing! Tweaking and customizing the white balance is a great way to have creative control over your images to make them look the way you want.

Do you experiment with your white balance in Lightroom? Share with us your thoughts in the comments!

The post How to Achieve the Perfect White Balance in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

Lens Hoods: What Are They Really For, and Do You Need Them?

The post Lens Hoods: What Are They Really For, and Do You Need Them? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

lens-hoods-what-are-they-for

Most camera lenses come with something called a Lens Hood, which looks like a short circular tube that attaches to the front. These diminutive devices seem a little strange, but they can serve several very useful purposes. While some people might be tempted to toss them on the shelf and never give them a second thought, knowing what lens hoods are and how to use them can have a significant impact on your photography.

Lens Hoods: What Are They Really For, and Do You Need Them?

Why use Lens Hoods?

Imagine this: it’s a bright, sunny day and you are outside for a stroll. The sun is beating down hard and you’re having a bit of trouble seeing clearly, so you hold your hand up to your forehead in an effort to block the light. Congratulations, you’ve just made your very own lens hood for your face! I know this is a bit of an oversimplification, but the lens hood on a camera is about the same as using your hand or a ball cap to block a bit of light when it’s bright out.

Image: It’s kind of like putting a ball cap on your camera, but a lot more effective.

It’s kind of like putting a ball cap on your camera, but a lot more effective.

Why would this be beneficial for photography? Since you need light to make photographs, wouldn’t blocking the sunlight be counterproductive? It might seem so, but in reality, you aren’t making the scene any darker just as putting a cap on your head doesn’t make the sun any less potent.

Indeed, the primary reason to embrace your lens hood as an essential photographic companion is that it makes your pictures look better. Its purpose is to prevent your photos from developing a washed-out appearance that tends to happen under certain lighting conditions. They also offer other benefits mostly related to the protection of your camera gear.

Image: The lack of a lens hood gave this picture a washed-out appearance.

The lack of a lens hood gave this picture a washed-out appearance.

These types of pictures happen because harsh, intense light enters the camera lens and gets scattered across a portion of the image as a result. Lens hoods can mitigate much of this problem by acting as a shade over the front glass element.

Image: Attaching a lens hood gave the shot much more contrast and vibrance. Shadows can be brought u...

Attaching a lens hood gave the shot much more contrast and vibrance. Shadows can be brought up in post-production, but if a picture is too washed-out, it can be much more difficult to fix.

When I first got into digital photography many years ago, I didn’t understand the point of lens hoods. I kept them on a shelf at home because they mostly just got in the way and made my camera take up a lot more space in my bag than it needed to.

Or so I thought.

The nice thing about lens hoods is that they are a low-tech solution to what can often be a fairly major problem. Once you start to see the benefits of having a hood on your lens, you won’t see them as a useless waste of space, but essential components of your camera kit.

Image: I always use my lens hoods for portraits. I never know when I will be shooting a backlit scen...

I always use my lens hoods for portraits. I never know when I will be shooting a backlit scene, and if it happens, it’s good to have the hood to shade the lens.

One thing I have realized over the years is that you need to be prepared to meet the demands of whatever situation you are photographing. Few things are more frustrating than realizing you messed up a picture because of something you could have easily solved with a little pre-planning.

Lens hoods can indeed be a little awkward. However, it’s better to have one on your lens than realize afterward that many shots appear hazy and poorly-lit because you didn’t shade your lens properly.

Image: Lens hoods are particularly useful when shooting into the sun.

Lens hoods are particularly useful when shooting into the sun.

Additional benefits

Aside from protecting your pictures from harsh light, lens hoods can physically protect your camera gear too. This is one of the reasons I leave mine on at all times since I often bump and bang my camera. Having a hood protruding from your lens means it will absorb the brunt of most impacts.

If it does get broken, it’s far cheaper to replace than your lens.

Image: After years of use, my lens hoods are full of scratches and scuffs. I’d rather have the...

After years of use, my lens hoods are full of scratches and scuffs. I’d rather have these easily-replaceable plastic parts bear the brunt of any impacts instead of my actual camera lenses!

I try to be careful with my camera gear and I don’t intentionally abuse it, and I think the same is true of most photographers. But despite my best efforts, accidents certainly can happen. In the normal course of a photoshoot, my camera gets picked up, set down, bounced around, tossed into a bag, put in the trunk of my car, used, and maybe even abused just a little.

A protruding plastic ring isn’t going to save my camera if it gets run over by a dump truck, but it has helped avoid countless bumps and bruises over the years. Is it inconvenient to have the hood always sticking out of my lens? A little, but it’s a lot less inconvenient than having to buy new gear!

Image: I had to follow this cat for a little while and practically lay flat on the ground, to get th...

I had to follow this cat for a little while and practically lay flat on the ground, to get this shot. Having a hood on my zoom lens was a little extra peace of mind knowing that it wasn’t going to get scratched or dinged in the process.

If you do feel like your lens hood is a little too much to deal with, most of them have a simple solution. Reverse the hood and screw it on your lens backward. This might cover some of the knobs and switches on your lens, but it will keep the hood handy while simultaneously storing it in a convenient and easy-to-access location.

Image: You can attach most lens hoods backward for easy storage. This helps protect the barrel of yo...

You can attach most lens hoods backward for easy storage. This helps protect the barrel of your lens but can leave some controls covered up.

Drawbacks

There are a couple things to note about lens hoods that could be a factor in helping you decide whether to use them. The first and most important issue involves vignetting. Some lenses, particularly wide-angle lenses, can result in photos with darker corners with the lens hood attached. This isn’t a huge issue and can often be fixed on your computer, especially if you shoot in RAW, but it is something to keep in mind.

Additionally, there’s no getting around the fact that the added length of a lens with a hood attached can be inconvenient. This is especially noticeable on telephoto lenses and it can be annoying if you’re not used to it.

My solution has been to treat the hood as a normal part of any lens in my kit. If it means I need to find a larger camera bag or be a little uncomfortable shooting in tight spaces, so be it. For me, the tradeoff is worth it, but your opinion might be different. Regardless, it is something to keep in mind.

Image: Hoods on telephoto lenses can stick out quite far, but I have just come to accept this as a n...

Hoods on telephoto lenses can stick out quite far, but I have just come to accept this as a normal part of my kit. I don’t see it as an inconvenience in the same way that I don’t treat a seat belt in my car as an inconvenience.

Conclusion

Despite a few downsides, lens hoods can be an important part of your camera collection. I recommend using one at all times, even if you’re not entirely sure you will need it. I have found myself in more than a few frustrating situations where I know I would have gotten the shot if only I had a lens hood. As such, I rarely take them off my lenses now.

What about you? Do you use lens hoods, or have you learned to live without them? What other advantages or disadvantages do they have that I might have missed? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

The post Lens Hoods: What Are They Really For, and Do You Need Them? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Light in Flower Photography for Awesome Photos

The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Light in Flower Photography for Awesome Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

using-light-in-flower-photography

Flowers are brilliant subjects for photography. They are bright, colorful, and are stay perfectly still for you as long as the wind is calm. You don’t need any special equipment or lenses to take great photos of flowers either. You can get great photos with just a mobile phone or a basic DSLR with a kit lens. If you really want to elevate your flower photography to the next level, you need to pay very close attention to one thing – the sun – because the light in flower photography is everything.

Image: 85mm, f/2.8, 1/3000 second, ISO 2200

85mm, f/2.8, 1/3000 second, ISO 2200

Of course, there are other sources of light besides the sun, but this is the most obvious and easily-accessible one when considering flower photography. Unfortunately, you can’t position the sun exactly where you want it, but you can position yourself to make the best use of it. You can also take note of the lighting conditions when you go out to shoot flower pictures. Understanding how the sunlight, and your angle of view, affect the finished product is key to getting great shots.

Don’t let anyone tell you that if you want to get good pictures of flowers you have to do it in certain conditions like a cloudy day or the evening. In truth, you can get great flower photos almost any time as long as you pay attention to the sun and the shot you are trying to get. Let’s take a look at some different scenarios and see how they affect flower photography.

Time of day

The time at which you shoot, such as early morning or mid-afternoon, can have a huge impact on your flower photos. In addition to altering the amount of light available, shooting in the morning or evening changes the type of light. It also changes the angle at which it hits your flowers and the surrounding area.

I shot the picture below just as the sun was coming up. The blurry triad in the background is a street lamp that had not yet turned off. It added a nice background touch to the picture. This would have looked entirely different had I taken the picture a few hours later.

Image: 50mm, f/1.8, 1/180 second, ISO 400.

50mm, f/1.8, 1/180 second, ISO 400.

If you want your flowers gently illuminated for a soft, almost hazy appearance, then early morning or late evening is going to work great. However, if you want your flowers bright, sharp, and punchy, then harsh overhead lighting is ideal.

It all depends on the type of picture you want to take and knowing how the lighting conditions affect the final image.

using-light-in-flower-photography

50mm, f/2.8, 1/1500 second, ISO 200

A monarch butterfly joined me as I was taking the above picture in the afternoon. The bright overhead sun made the reds, yellows, and greens bright and crisp, which doesn’t happen in the early morning or late in the day.

The sun was directly overhead when I took the picture below. This caused each of the colors in this picture to shine. It turned out I wasn’t the only one interested in this particular magnolia flower.

using-light-in-flower-photography

50mm, f/1.8, 1/6400 second, ISO 200

You can get great pictures of flowers at any time of the day. Just make sure you know where the sun is and how it will impact your pictures. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll be able to make better choices about the pictures you are going for.

Types of light in flower photography

Backlighting vs. front lighting

Backlight is when the main source of light comes from behind your subject. This can lead to some creative scenarios, especially when used to shoot subjects with rim lighting. Conversely, front light is when the main source of light comes from the front of your subject, usually behind the photographer.

Either one of these types of lighting works great for flower photography. However, you need to understand how backlighting and front lighting affect your flower pictures, so you know which one to use. I photographed the flower below with front lighting. The sun was behind me as I took the picture.

using-light-in-flower-photography

85mm, f/1.8, 1/3000 second, ISO 100

Front lighting makes the purples really stand out, especially against the background. There are also some prominent shadows along the left-hand side and at the base. These are neither good nor bad, just a result of using front lighting.

A similar flower, shot in the same location a few minutes later, reveals a much different image when employing backlighting.

Image: 85mm, f/2.8, 1/500 second, ISO 560

85mm, f/2.8, 1/500 second, ISO 560

Notice how the petals almost look like they are glowing as the sun shines through them. The shadows are more diffused, which is also due to the late hour of the day at which this was shot. Both pictures are good but in different ways. If you traditionally shoot flowers with front lighting, try doing some backlit shots and see if you like the results.

Image: Another backlit flower, where the shining sun made the yellow flower appear bright and radian...

Another backlit flower, where the shining sun made the yellow flower appear bright and radiant.

Sunny vs. overcast

There’s a common perception among photographers that cloudy, overcast skies make for some of the best lighting conditions. While I certainly enjoy shooting on days like that, the truth is, you can make any lighting condition work for flower photography. You just need to know how the light will affect your images.

One of my favorite flower photos I have ever taken was in the middle of the day just after a bit of rain. It’s a few coneflowers low to the ground. The overcast sky led to even lighting across the entire frame and rich, deep colors. There are no harsh shadows, no translucent petals, and no bright spots in the background. Instead, the frame is a mix of saturated greens, purples, and reds that I really like.

using-light-in-flower-photography

50mm, f/1.8, 1/640 second, ISO 200

Another example of this is the following picture, which I took in the morning after a night of thunderstorms. The clouds overhead dispersed the sunlight into all directions, which gave me an evenly-lit scene that worked great for this particular show.

Image: 85mm, f/1.8, 1/200 second, ISO 125

85mm, f/1.8, 1/200 second, ISO 125

However, these two pictures don’t mean you can’t take great flower pictures in bright sunlight. Far from it! Just know that flower images in bright sunlight will look much different than their cloudy-skied counterparts. The picture below is similar to the one above, but I took it on a bright sunny day.

using-light-in-flower-photography

50mm, f/1.8, 1/8000 second, ISO 360

This picture is neither better nor worse than the one above it, just different. Bright sunlight makes the red petals leap out of the frame. The rich blue sky and deep shadows of the grove of trees add a sense of space and depth that is missing in this picture’s counterpart.

Similarly, I photographed the purple magnolia flower below on a bright sunny day, but with just a bit of cloud cover. It’s kind of a cross between sunny and overcast and yields an interesting picture.

using-light-in-flower-photography

85mm, f/1.8, 1/200 second, ISO 140

The sun was off to the left, making the white inside of the flower petal shine out and compete with the purple in the foreground for the viewer’s attention.

I show all these examples as an illustration that you can get great shots of flowers in a variety of lighting conditions. The key is to use the sunlight (however it happens to be at the moment) to your advantage by knowing how it will affect your flower photos.

A comparison

If you can’t control the light in your flower photography, you can still control the angle from which you shoot your pictures. This has an amazing impact on how your flower photos turn out.

I shot the three photos below on a bright sunny day in about three minutes. The same flower is in each shot, and I used a 50mm lens with an f/2.8 aperture. The only difference is the angle from which I took each photo but that one simple thing changes each picture a great deal.

In this first picture, the flower is front-lit, meaning the sun was behind me and almost directly overhead as I took the photo. Notice the bright orange colors and stark shadows, which create a sense of depth and isolation. The background is shrouded in shadow because of the overhead light and the angle from which I took the picture. I see a lot of pictures similar to this online, especially on social media sites.

Image: 50mm, f/2.8, 1/2000 second, ISO 100

50mm, f/2.8, 1/2000 second, ISO 100

For this next photo, I stood in the exact opposite spot, looking up from below into the sun. Notice how the petals have become brilliantly translucent, and the greenery on the left is bursting with blurry bokeh.

It’s an entirely different version of the same flower and didn’t require anything on my part other than a simple perspective change.

Unlike the first picture, I don’t often see flower shots like this on social media. This is most likely because it’s just not something a lot of people think about doing.

Image: 50mm, f/2.8, 1/2000 second, ISO 100

50mm, f/2.8, 1/2000 second, ISO 100

I photographed this final image from the side, and what’s interesting here isn’t necessarily the flower but the background. From this angle, the background was entirely green, making the oranges and reds of the flower scream out by comparison. The lighting is similar to the first image, but this one is a lot more interesting to me because it’s a mix of colors instead of a flower against a mostly black background.

using-light-in-flower-photography

50mm, f/2.8, 1/2000 second, ISO 100

I really want to stress that none of the pictures in this tutorial are objectively better than any others. What I hope to have illustrated is that paying attention to the light in flower photography, as well as considering alternative viewpoints from which to shoot, can dramatically impact your flower photos.

Image: 23mm, f/5.6, 1/160 second, ISO 200. I had to hold my camera high above my head and fire off a...

23mm, f/5.6, 1/160 second, ISO 200. I had to hold my camera high above my head and fire off a series of shots hoping one of them would turn out. It did, and I’m so glad I didn’t just shoot a single sunflower from my normal eye level.

If you enjoy taking pictures of flowers, hopefully these images will give you some new ideas to consider. And if you haven’t spent much time out in nature capturing the beauty of blossoms like this, I hope you can find some time to go out, look at the lighting in flower photography and give it a try. You might be surprised at what you can get!

I’d love to see some of your shots – please share them with us in the comments below.

The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Light in Flower Photography for Awesome Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

Create Amazing Sunrise Photos with these Easy Lightroom Editing Tips

The post Create Amazing Sunrise Photos with these Easy Lightroom Editing Tips appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

Sunrise pictures can be tricky. Even the most dedicated photographer can get frustrated with sub-par results, often with foregrounds that are too dark or a nice round sun that appears white and washed-out. While things like timing and technique are critical for taking good sunrise pictures, another element is the editing. With a few Lightroom sunrise photo editing tips, you can take a boring, bland sunrise and turn it into a work of art.

Create Amazing Sunrise Photos with these Easy Lightroom Editing Tips

To get a good finished photo you need a solid starting point. That means your initial sunrise photo needs to meet a few basic parameters:

  • It must be shot in RAW.
  • The sky should be properly exposed, which means the foreground will be dark.
  • It’s helpful to shoot with low ISO values to give you as much headroom as possible when editing.

If you start with a sunrise photo that meets these parameters, you can use a few sliders and options in Lightroom to bring out the colors and brilliance that you saw with your eyes when you shot it.

To illustrate this process, I’m going to walk through an example of sunrise photo editing. The picture below is a RAW file straight out of my camera.

sunrise-photo-editing-tips

Original RAW file straight from my camera. Nikon D750, 50mm, f/4, 1/180 second, ISO 320.

This picture might not look very impressive, but that’s the point. If I had exposed for the foreground, the dark areas would be bright and natural. The trade-off is that parts of the sky would be so bright they would be unrecoverable in Lightroom.

Everything needed for a beautiful sunrise photo is fully intact in this dark, underexposed image. I just need to coax out the colors with a little sunrise photo editing.

Step 1: Shadows

The first thing to do is brighten the foreground by adjusting the shadows. Locate the Basic Panel in the Lightroom Develop module and push the Shadows slider all the way to the right.

Image: Boosting the shadows will make the dark foreground a lot more usable.

Boosting the shadows will make the dark foreground a lot more usable.

This makes the foreground much brighter. It is very close to how the scene looked when I shot the picture. I was on my bike, and there’s no way I would have ridden to work that morning in the complete pitch black!

sunrise-photo-editing-tips

With the shadows lifted, the foreground is brighter. You can also see that there is plenty of image data captured in the RAW file to work with.

Step 2: White balance and graduated filters

After bringing up the shadows, the next step is to tweak the colors of the sky and foreground. The graduated filter is perfect for this since your edits are applied gradually, as the name implies.

Image: Graduated Filters are ideal for sunrise photos.

Graduated Filters are ideal for sunrise photos.

The values you use for this will depend greatly on the look you want in your picture. For a good starting point, I recommend lowering the Temperature, raising the Whites, and increasing the Saturation. Feel free to tweak the other settings to your liking, but I recommend being a little conservative at this point. You can always go back and change things later. If you have objects protruding into your sky like trees, buildings, or mountains, you can use the Range Mask option. Then your edits are only applied to the sky and nothing else.

Image: When using a Graduated Filter on the sky, I like to lower the color temperature and increase...

When using a Graduated Filter on the sky, I like to lower the color temperature and increase saturation. You might find other tweaks to be helpful as well.

After adjusting the sky, use a second Graduated Filter to perform a similar operation on the foreground. Click the New button at the top of the Graduated Filter panel, and click-and-drag on the picture to apply your filter.

Move the Temperature slider to the right so the foreground is a little warmer. Then adjust other options like Exposure, Texture, and Sharpness as needed.

Image: A second Graduated Filter in the opposite direction can be useful for giving the foreground a...

A second Graduated Filter in the opposite direction can be useful for giving the foreground a warmer white balance.

There’s no correct way to do this next step because everyone has unique taste and preferences. I used the following values on the image above, but your results will vary depending on your picture.

Image: When applying a second Graduated Filter to the foreground, it can be useful to edit some othe...

When applying a second Graduated Filter to the foreground, it can be useful to edit some other parameters as well, especially Exposure and Shadows.

Step 3: Crop the picture

Some will debate the exact stage in the process where you need to crop your picture. Others will say that a good photographer should use what comes out of the camera and never crop anything! I say it’s your picture and if you want to crop, go right ahead. I recommend cropping after your basic adjustments are in place. Those operations can bring out things formerly hidden and give you a better sense of how you really want to crop the image.

In the image I’m working with for this example, I don’t like the “Speed Limit 35” sign on the right side. If I crop that out, then I need also to re-frame the picture, so the sun is in the middle.

sunrise-photo-editing-tips

You can use cropping to get the dimensions and proportions of your picture just right.

Step 4: General Color Adjustments

After making your initial set of adjustments, and cropping the picture to your liking, it’s time to head to the HSL/Color panel to tweak the individual colors of the sunrise. Bring up the Saturation level of orange, blue, and red while also adjusting the Hue and Luminance to get just the right look. As before, be careful not to go overboard since too much tweaking makes your picture look unnatural.

For the picture below, I adjusted the Hue and Saturation of Blue by +20 each, and the Saturation of Orange by 14.

Image: Adjusting the blues and oranges can really bring out some of the vivid colors of a sunrise pi...

Adjusting the blues and oranges can really bring out some of the vivid colors of a sunrise picture.

Image: Don’t overdo your adjustments or your image will look fake and over-saturated.

Don’t overdo your adjustments or your image will look fake and over-saturated.

Step 5: Detailed enhancements

As with cropping, some photographers have varying opinions on when to do this step while others skip it entirely. I like to do it near the end of the editing process after I have made my other adjustments. However, you might find it better utilized at an earlier phase. Head back to the Basic panel where everything began and fine-tune a couple of other sliders like Highlights, Whites, Texture, and even Exposure if you need to.

sunrise-photo-editing-tips

Final tweaks help put the finishing touches on your sunrise.

At this point, you’re really just putting the finishing touches on, almost like adding a pinch of salt or garlic powder to a pot of soup that’s ready to eat. I sometimes get lost down an image-editing rabbit hole at this step. I find myself endlessly tweaking the sliders in a vain attempt to chase perfection. If that happens to you, walk away from your computer for an hour. When you return, you may be pleasantly surprised at how good your picture looks, with no additional tweaking required.

Create Amazing Sunrise Photos with these Easy Lightroom Editing Tips

You can also use the Spot Removal tool to clean up dust or dirt on the lens as well as fix other imperfections. There are also several Sharpening options to make your sunrise a little more clear and crisp.

From good to great

As with most photo editing situations, your results will vary greatly depending on a variety of factors. I have found that this same process, with different degrees of adjustments to the sliders, works quite well for me. It would probably work as a good starting point for you too. Still, I encourage you to experiment and develop your own editing style over time.

For one more example of how this process can yield good results, I started with the following RAW file. I shot this picture just as the sun was coming up in rural Nebraska.

sunrise-photo-editing-tips

RAW file straight out of my camera. 50mm, f/8, 1/180 second, ISO 100. As with the other image at the top of this article, the original is severely underexposed but contains all the data needed when editing in Lightroom.

I used the exact same process described in this article to vastly improve the picture in less than two minutes.

sunrise-photo-editing-tips

Two minutes later and it’s been transformed into a frame-worthy midwestern sunrise.

I hope these sunrise photo editing tips help you achieve some epic photos!

I’d love to see some of your sunrise shots and hear about the editing process you use as well. Leave your thoughts, as well as any pictures you’d like to share, in the comments below.

 

sunrise-photo-editing-tips

The post Create Amazing Sunrise Photos with these Easy Lightroom Editing Tips appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

How to Make a Manual Lens Correction in Lightroom

The post How to Make a Manual Lens Correction in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

The job of a camera lens is straightforward: it bends and focuses light, and it does so through the use of several curved pieces of glass that move back and forth. It sounds simple but is actually a lot more difficult than it might seem. Byproducts of all that glass are anomalies such as chromatic aberration and barrel distortion which can mar an otherwise beautiful image. Lightroom can fix these on its own to a degree, but to really take control of your pictures you can use the Manual Lens Correction panel to fine-tune your image until it’s pixel-perfect.

How to Make a Manual Lens Correction in Lightroom

Understanding Chromatic Aberration

Before wading too deep into manual lens corrections, it’s important to understand what causes issues such as chromatic aberration in the first place. Different colors of light travel at different wavelengths. As a result, when the glass elements of a lens bend the incoming light, it can be quite tricky to make everything line up properly on the camera’s image sensor. This is especially prominent when shooting at the widest possible aperture since it gets really difficult to get the light to behave properly when you let so much in at once.

The result is purple and green fringes when you see hard edges in a picture. It can also produce distorted images that look either squished or puffed out in the middle. Cheaper lenses, or lenses with very wide apertures, don’t have as many glass elements to correct for these issues. It’s also why lenses like the Nikon 105 f/1.4 or Canon 85mm f/1.4 cost (and weigh) so much! They have a lot of special glass inside to correct for the problems that often happens with their less expensive counterparts.

How to Make a Manual Lens Correction in Lightroom

If you don’t have a few thousand dollars to spend on ultra-sharp lenses, you can fix these image issues in Lightroom.

When you shoot in RAW, you can use the Automatic option. This does a fine job of removing purple and green fringes and fixing barrel distortion based on what it knows about the characteristics of your lens.

Image: Click these boxes to have Lightroom automatically attempt to fix lens-related picture problem...

Click these boxes to have Lightroom automatically attempt to fix lens-related picture problems.

Nine times out of ten it does the job quite well. However, sometimes you will want to tweak things for yourself or just do the entire operation on your own. This is where the Manual option really comes in handy.

Manual Lens Correction

The Manual Lens Correction panel contains three options, each of which you can control separately.

  • Distortion lets you re-shape your picture so it’s less puffed-out in the middle.
  • Defringe deals with purple and green fringes at areas of high contrast, particularly with a lot of backlighting.
  • Vignetting is for lightening or darkening the corners of a picture.
Manual-Lens-Correction-in-Lightroom

The Manual Lens Correction option gives you full control over lens corrections.

Distortion

This is a common issue with many lenses that isn’t always very obvious. However, once you notice it, you’ll start seeing this phenomenon all the time. Fortunately, the fix is simple. It’s usually just a matter of dragging the Distortion slider to the left or right.

Image: Something’s not quite right here. The composition is fine but the middle is bulging out...

Something’s not quite right here. The composition is fine but the middle is bulging out like a balloon.

As you drag the slider, you will see a grid appear over the picture which can help you get just the right value. Look for straight horizontal or vertical lines in your picture, and drag the slider until they line up with the grid.

Manual-Lens-Correction-in-Lightroom

The roof of the building gives a nice guide when correcting for distortion. It’s not quite lined up with the grid yet, but pushing the distortion slider a bit more will fix the problem.

The Constrain Crop option makes sure the final image stays within a square or rectangular boundary. If you adjust the slider too far to the right, the image can get a little too warped. However, checking this option will fix this by essentially zooming in on the picture as it’s being adjusted to avoid an extreme pincushion effect.

Manual-Lens-Correction-in-Lightroom

 

Final image:

How to Make a Manual Lens Correction in Lightroom

Defringe

This is where you can easily correct purple and green fringes that can show up on your pictures. You can adjust the sliders manually, but my preferred way is to use the eyedropper tool to select specific areas of purple and green fringing that you want to remove.

The picture below is straight out of the camera with no lens correction applied. Notice how the edges of the bench have what appears to be slight purple and green outlines. These are caused by the light being bent and shaped by the camera lens. Once you know to look for these sorts of issues, you start seeing them all over the place!

How to Make a Manual Lens Correction in Lightroom

Here’s a close-up view of the same picture. Notice the purple curve at the base of the seat and the green edges at the knurled edge that goes horizontally across the frame.

Manual-Lens-Correction-in-Lightroom

To manually correct these instances of chromatic aberration, Lightroom needs to know what range of colors you want to remove. Use the eyedropper tool to select either a purple fringe, a green fringe, or both, and then fine-tune by adjusting the sliders for Amount and Hue.

Manual-Lens-Correction-in-Lightroom

After selecting your purple and greens with the eyedropper tool, Lightroom will do its best to remove those specific colors around any high-contrast edges. You can fine-tune the defringing by adjusting the Amount and Hue sliders, but I usually find that Lightroom does a fine job just with a few clicks of the eyedropper.

How to Make a Manual Lens Correction in Lightroom

When viewing the full image, you can see these instances of chromatic aberration are now gone, and the picture is much more pleasing as a result.

How to Make a Manual Lens Correction in Lightroom

This operation can be extremely useful with portraits, which are often shot using larger apertures. Even if you don’t shoot close-ups for a living it’s nice to know that this simple, fast fix is available to you.

Vignetting

This option works much like the regular Vignette tool in Lightroom. You can use it to make the corners of your picture lighter or darker, depending on whether you drag the slider to the right or left.

Nearly all lenses exhibit some degree of vignetting, especially when using their widest aperture, but you can easily correct them using this tool.

Manual-Lens-Correction-in-Lightroom

Original image, straight out of the camera.

Sliding the Amount all the way to the left darkens the corners of the picture. It’s subtle but effective at drawing the viewer’s attention to the subject in the middle.

Image: Vignette amount -100

Vignette amount -100

Conversely, sliding the Amount all the way to the right makes the corners lighter. This is often useful to correct for the vignette that is inherent in many lenses at wider apertures.

Image: Vignette amount +100

Vignette amount +100

Conclusion

While you can use Lightroom’s automatic lens corrections, it’s nice to know how to correct for things like chromatic aberration, distortion, and vignetting on your own using manual lens correction. The best part is that none of these edits are permanent and you can undo your changes any time due to the non-destructive nature of Lightroom. So if you just want to try these out and see what happens, go right ahead!

 

manual-lens-correction-in-lightroom

The post How to Make a Manual Lens Correction in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

How to Take Epic Sunrise Photos with a Zoom Lens

The post How to Take Epic Sunrise Photos with a Zoom Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

epic-sunrise-photos-with-a-zoom-lens

Taking a beautiful sunrise picture might seem simple: just point your camera or mobile at the sun as it creeps over the horizon and you’re good to go. While this can certainly result in an interesting image, you can take sunrise pictures to a whole new level with a zoom lens and a bit of camera knowledge. If you have a lens with a longer focal length that goes to 200 or 300mm, you can get some epic sunrise pictures with a zoom that showcase the majesty of nature in the morning.

Sunrise-Photos-with-a-Zoom-Lens

200mm, f/11, 1/500 second, ISO 100

Seek the sun

Before you can take a good sunrise picture, you need to do a bit of planning, so you know when the sun is going to come up. It also helps to know where to look so you’re ready when the moment hits. A quick internet search with your location and the words “sunrise time” will help you know what time to take pictures. As far as where to look, that’s up to you.

Of course, the sun always rises in the east, but it’s necessary to know exactly where it will come up relative to your specific location and time of year. To get the best results, you want to snap your pictures right as the sun appears on the horizon. If buildings obstruct your view, you’re going to need to find a location that offers an unobstructed view in the right direction.

To show how precise this process is, look at the picture below. I shot it as the sun was coming up, but the result is boring, bland, and entirely unremarkable.

Image: 200mm, f/6.7, 1/500 second, ISO 800

200mm, f/6.7, 1/500 second, ISO 800

This was shot precisely one minute and 48 seconds before the picture at the top of this article. Why is it so boring? The answer is a simple truth of the business world: location, location, location. While I looked east for the sun, I didn’t realize it had already crested the horizon behind a grove of trees. I was able to take a vastly improved picture just by repositioning myself 100 meters from this point.

When you go out to take sunrise photos, make sure you can actually find the sun!

Expose for the sun

Nailing the exposure on a sunrise picture is quite tricky. Imagine taking a picture of a flashlight in a dimly-lit room. You’ll end up with one of two results: 

  • The room will be properly exposed while the flashlight is super bright.
  • The flashlight will be properly exposed while the rest of the room will be entirely dark.

 It’s nearly impossible to get a properly-exposed flashlight and a properly-exposed room.

Image: 200mm, f/8, 1/30 second, ISO 280. Aside from being hidden behind the trees, this is also a po...

200mm, f/8, 1/30 second, ISO 280. Aside from being hidden behind the trees, this is also a poor shot because the sky and sun are just too bright. The foreground is fine, but all the color detail in the sky is mostly gone.

That is precisely what it’s like to take a picture of the sunrise, especially with a telephoto lens. What you want is a picture where the bright parts (i.e. the sun and sky) aren’t too bright, and the dark parts (i.e. the foreground) aren’t too dark. Basically you want an HDR image, but rather than shooting on a tripod and combining multiple exposures in post-production, you can do it with a single image by shooting in RAW.

Since RAW files capture much more picture data than JPEG files, you can fix many issues in Lightroom, Photoshop, Luminar, and other editing applications. The trick is to make sure you don’t lose any data to clipping, which happens when bright things are so bright that it doesn’t record data. The same can happen with dark areas too, but it’s usually not as much of a problem.

Image: 200mm, f/8, 1/1000 second, ISO 280. Exposing for the sun gave me a lot more wiggle room to fi...

200mm, f/8, 1/1000 second, ISO 280. Exposing for the sun gave me a lot more wiggle room to fix the darker areas of the picture in Lightroom.

There are a couple of ways to expose for the sun so it’s not too bright. You can set your camera to Center-Weighted metering, which ensures the middle of your picture is not too bright or too dark. Another method (and the one which I prefer), is to have your camera evaluate the entire scene but use exposure compensation to under-expose by roughly two stops.

Regardless of how you meter the scene and set your exposure, the end result is the same. In your resulting image, you want the sun to be visible and not too bright. This means the foreground will be dark, but remember that you can recover everything you need when you process the RAW file.

Use a small aperture

If you have a high-end zoom lens like a 70-200 f/2.8 or a 300mm f/4, you might be tempted to shoot sunrise pictures with the largest possible aperture. Blurry foregrounds and backgrounds are great, right? So why wouldn’t you shoot wide open?

Contrary to what you might think, smaller apertures are better when taking sunrise photos. First, it helps make sure your entire picture is sharp. Bokeh is great on portraits but not so desirable on most landscapes. A blurry foreground (thanks to a wide aperture) can distract the viewer and leave the scene feeling kind of mushy as a result.

Image: 200mm, f/11, 1/250 second, ISO 100

200mm, f/11, 1/250 second, ISO 100

Another reason to use smaller apertures, like f/8 or f/11, is that it gives you more control over your exposure. Remember, the sun is really bright, so you don’t need to worry about not getting enough light in your picture! On the contrary, you actually want to limit the amount of light, especially since you want the foreground to be underexposed. A small aperture helps with this.

Use a fast shutter speed

The sun moves fast – really fast. Or, rather, the earth spins fast. That’s what is actually happening when you see the sun come up. And just like any time you want to capture motion, you need to use a shutter speed that’s up to the task. Slower values like 1/30th and 1/60th will not only make exposure tricky, but result in a blurry sun as it speeds upwards on the horizon.

Sunrise-Photos-with-a-Zoom-Lens

200mm, f/2.8, 1/4000th of a second, ISO 100. I broke my own rule about small apertures here, specifically because I wanted the vehicle in the foreground to be out of focus. The trade-off for such a wide aperture was a very fast shutter speed.

I recommend a minimum shutter speed of 1/250th, and even faster if possible. 1/500th is even better. If you are exposing for the sun, you might even use ultra-fast shutter speeds like 1/1000th or more. Of course, the foreground will be dim, but that’s fine since you can recover those shadows in post-production.

One nice thing about this is it means you don’t need to use a tripod. So that means one less thing for you to bring with you to your sunrise photo shoots. Handheld will work fine, even when zoomed all the way in. That’s because you should have a shutter speed that will compensate for any motion blur due to camera shake.

Be patient, but act fast

Once you have the technical aspects figured out, and you know where you want to position yourself to capture a sunrise, the final piece off the puzzle is patience. I recommend arriving early so you can make sure everything is situated properly. Bring some music or a podcast because you might be waiting a little while. However, it’s better to arrive early than scramble at the last minute.

Sunrise-Photos-with-a-Zoom-Lens

190mm, f/2.8, 1/180th of a second, ISO 250. The sun wasn’t up yet, but I really liked the rich purple and blue colors of the sky – an added bonus of arriving early and waiting. Note the large aperture. It was required to let plenty of light in since there just wasn’t much light available.

As soon as you start to see the sun peek over the horizon, you only have a few minutes to get your shots. Remember to use a small aperture, expose for the sun, and shoot in RAW, and you should be fine. Go ahead and snap a few pictures with your mobile phone too. You’ll be amazed at how much more dramatic and impactful your pictures are with a zoom lens!

Sunrise-Photos-with-a-Zoom-Lens

200mm, f/8, 1/1000th of a second, ISO 100. The sun isn’t in this picture but you can clearly see the morning light on the clouds. I liked the silhouette of the tower against the glowing morning sky too. You can’t get this shot with a mobile phone!

Do you have any other tips for sunrise photos with a zoom lens? Share with us in the comments. Also, I’d love to see your sunrise photos, and I’m sure the rest of the DPS community would also, so please share them in the comments too!

 

 

The post How to Take Epic Sunrise Photos with a Zoom Lens appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Sky Replacement Using Photoshop

The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Sky Replacement Using Photoshop appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

Picture this if you will: you’re out in nature with your hopes, dreams, and a camera to capture it all. You see the beauty of creation stretching out before you, so you carefully and patiently set up your gear to get the perfect shot. Finally, the sun moves to just the right spot, and you hold your breath while you press the shutter button. Then you realize the clouds are all wrong. You can wait for hours for the ideal opportunity to present itself, or you can do sky replacement using Photoshop to drop in another one. It’s not as difficult as it might seem and can lead to some exciting results.

sky-replacement-using-photoshop

The building is in Oklahoma, and I combined it with a long-exposure sky I shot in Kansas.

Before you get started with this operation, you will need two pictures: one with a boring sky and one with a breathtaking sky. If you’re just getting started, I recommend using two pictures shot at a similar time of day under similar conditions. If you replace a sunny sky with storm clouds, the lighting will be all different, and the results will look, well, Photoshopped.

Image: A scenic view in the middle of Kansas. The sky could use some clouds though.

A scenic view in the middle of Kansas. The sky could use some clouds though.

After finding a picture with a nice foreground, you need to get another picture with an interesting sky.

Image: I shot this in the Tallgrass Prairie Nature Preserve in another part of Kansas. These clouds...

I shot this in the Tallgrass Prairie Nature Preserve in another part of Kansas. These clouds would look great in the first image, and Photoshop can help.

The plethora of screenshots below might seem overwhelming, but this entire process is quite easy and a lot less complicated than it seems. Fire up Photoshop, follow along carefully, and you should have some good results in no time at all.

Step 1: Get rid of the boring sky

Open your picture with the sky you want to replace in Photoshop. If you’re not familiar with Photoshop, you’ll see that the Layers panel on the right side has your picture as the Background layer. It’s locked, meaning you need to unlock it or make a copy. Go with the latter route by right-clicking and selecting Duplicate Layer.

Image: Always work on a copy of the background layer so you can revert to it if you need to.

Always work on a copy of the background layer so you can revert to it if you need to.

Click the new layer in the Layers panel to make sure it’s actually selected. You will know it’s selected by the outline that you can see around each corner of the layer thumbnail.

Image: The currently selected layer has white borders around each corner of its thumbnail. Make sure...

The currently selected layer has white borders around each corner of its thumbnail. Make sure the original Background layer is hidden by clicking the eye icon to the left of its thumbnail.

Click the eye button next to the original Background layer to make it invisible. It’s still there if you need it for any reason, but if all goes well, you should be able to do the rest of this entire process using the duplicated layer.

The next thing you need to do is remove the sky, which you can do with a technique known as layer masks. Start by clicking the Selection tool and holding it down until the pop-up menu appears. Click “Quick Selection Tool.” While not perfect, this is a great starting point for people who are new to sky replacements. You can do some fine-tuning to get things just to your liking.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Sky Replacement Using Photoshop

Now click and drag in the sky and watch the selection grow until it covers your entire sky.

sky-replacement-using-photoshop

Use the Selection tool to create a selection around the sky in your original image.

This selection isn’t going to be perfect, but it’s a good place to start. You can refine things once you create your layer mask. As long as you have most of the sky selected, you’ll be good to go. You can also use the Magic Wand tool to select portions of the sky, and hold [shift] to keep adding new parts to the selection. This works well if you have clouds or other elements besides just the color blue in your sky.

With the sky selected, click the Add Layer Mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel.

Image: Click this button at the bottom of the Layers panel to create a Layer Mask. This lets you sho...

Click this button at the bottom of the Layers panel to create a Layer Mask. This lets you show and hide different parts of a layer.

The result might surprise you – everything in your picture is now gone except for the sky! (If you still see the original image, remember to click the eye to the left of the Background layer. This will make it invisible, but not remove it from Photoshop.)

sky-replacement-using-photoshop

The initial layer mask shows the sky, which is not exactly what you want for this operation. It’s a good starting point though.

Removing everything but the sky is the opposite of what you want to do! The fix for this is simple: invert your layer mask. Select your new layer mask by clicking on the black-and-white thumbnail in the duplicated background layer.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Sky Replacement Using Photoshop

Now invert the mask by pressing Control-I (Command-I on a Mac) or choosing Image -> Adjustments -> Invert from the menus at the top of your screen. Now we’re really making some progress since the sky is gone but the foreground remains intact.

sky-replacement-using-photoshop

Invert the layer mask to show only the foreground. With the sky out of the way you can now insert a new sky into the background.

If clouds, birds, or other elements of the original sky are still intact, you can remove them by using the Brush tool on your layer mask. (See Step 3 for details on how to do this.)

Step 2: Insert a better sky

There are a couple of ways to do this next step, and I’m sure you will probably develop your own workflow over time. Since this is just a tutorial to get you started though, it should work for most basic sky replacement.

Choose the File menu and then select Place Embedded. Navigate to the folder on your computer with the image you want and double-click on it. This loads the replacement sky picture into your current Photoshop document. You can then tweak the results to get just the right image you want. The image will load on top of the previous image, and you’ll see it at the top of your Layers panel.

Image: When you place a new image into your Photoshop document it will appear at the top of the list...

When you place a new image into your Photoshop document it will appear at the top of the list of layers, which means it’s the only thing you will see in the main image editing screen.

Photoshop layers work like a stack: whatever is on top is, literally, whatever you see on top of your picture. If you want something to appear underneath something else, just click and drag the layers to your liking. In fact, that’s what you have to do with your replacement sky. Click the layer you just inserted and drag it below the duplicated background layer.

Image: Click and drag the sky replacement layer so it’s beneath the copy of your background.

Click and drag the sky replacement layer so it’s beneath the copy of your background.

Now look at your sky picture! Just like magic, the original sky has gone and the new sky shows up in its place.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Sky Replacement Using Photoshop

Step 3: Clean things up

At this point, there are two common issues that generally need fixing. One is that the foreground has some errors that need correcting, like trees or other objects that are cut off or otherwise not showing up properly. The other is that the replacement sky doesn’t quite fit the empty space.

You can harness the power of Layer Masks to fix the first issue. Tap the Z key to switch to the Zoom tool, and click on your picture a few times to zoom in for a close-up view. Hold the space bar to switch to the Hand tool, and click-and-drag the picture to see the spots that need fixing.

Image: These trees don’t really need fixing, but I want to remove them for a cleaner horizon.

These trees don’t really need fixing, but I want to remove them for a cleaner horizon.

Make sure you select your Layer Mask and tap the B key to switch to the Brush tool. Right-click to adjust the size of your brush and other parameters like hardness and shape.

Image: Using the brush tool on the Layer Mask will show or hide specific parts of the layer.

Using the brush tool on the Layer Mask will show or hide specific parts of the layer.

Now click on the parts of the foreground you want to either remove from the picture or add to the picture. (Press the X key to switch between remove and add mode.) What you’re actually doing is painting white or black on the layer mask: everywhere you paint white is shown, and everywhere you paint black is hidden. You don’t actually see the white or black colors, just the results of painting them onto the image.

Image: A few clicks on the Adjustment Layer and the trees have gone!

A few clicks on the Adjustment Layer and the trees have gone!

If you find that your sky doesn’t quite fill the empty space, you can solve that by just adjusting the size of the sky layer. Click the top layer, the one with the foreground, and adjust the opacity to 30%. That way you can see the background layer, the one with the sky, along with the foreground layer.

Image: Set the opacity of the duplicate background layer to 30%.

Set the opacity of the duplicate background layer to 30%.

The result looks like some kind of weird double-exposure error, but it will look fine once you finish the operation.

Image: You can now see the replacement sky and the foreground. This will help you adjust the replace...

You can now see the replacement sky and the foreground. This will help you adjust the replacement sky size and position to your liking.

Select the layer with the replacement sky and choose Edit -> Free Transform, or press Control-T (Command-T on a Mac). Then use the handles at the corner of the sky layer to enlarge it until it fills the empty space.

sky-replacement-using-photoshop

After pressing Transform, click and drag on the squares in the corner of the layer to change its size. Click and drag in the middle of it to change its position.

After you have resized the sky layer, press the [return] key to lock in the transformation. Then go back to the foreground layer and increase its opacity to 100%. This same process is also a great way to adjust the sky in the background even if there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with it. One example of this is if you want to adjust the sky to emphasize a certain portion where the clouds happen to be more interesting.

sky-replacement-using-photoshop

The same image as before, but with the sky zoomed in (i.e. Transformed) to create a more interesting picture.

Once you get the hang of this process, it’s pretty simple. You can do a lot of custom work simply by editing the layer mask you create in the first step. You can also do this just for fun, like the picture below where I replaced the blue sky behind this building with a giant squirrel. If you have kids, or if you just want to have some fun experimenting on your own, this is a great way to explore some of the capabilities of Photoshop.

sky-replacement-using-photoshop

Attack of the Giant Mutant Killer Squirrels!

Once you try sky replacement using photoshop on your own, I’d love to see some examples of your work. Leave the results in the comments below!

 

sky-replacement-using-photoshop

The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Sky Replacement Using Photoshop appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving the Perfect Starburst Effect

The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving the Perfect Starburst Effect appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

Adding a starburst effect to your images is a great way to spice things up and really grab the attention of your viewers.

Seeing rays of light slice through your photo is one of the most enjoyable tricks to pull off, especially if you haven’t really done this sort of thing before. While some software programs let you do this on your computer, the real magic comes when you do it by knowing how to use your camera.

starburst on building

Step 1: Find a light source

Creating the starburst effect isn’t difficult. But it does require a bit of training and practice to pull off. You’ll need a few basics to get started:

First, you’ll need a bright source of light, such as the sun. A street lamp or really powerful flashlight will work too, but the sun is nice because it’s always available and doesn’t cost money to use.

If you don’t mind shooting pictures at night, you can get a starburst effect quite easily with a street lamp or other source of light. However, night photos might not look as interesting or visually compelling as shots of the sun.

Ironically, you also need something to block most of the sun. This is because the sun itself is too large and bright to give you good starburst shots; just a sliver of its light is all you need. Buildings and trees work great, but whatever you use can’t be too far away. If the thing blocking the sun is separated from you by too great a distance, you won’t get the starburst effect.

starburst effect on a building roof

The effect isn’t as pronounced in this image, but it’s definitely there. Using a structure to block most of the sun is a great way to help you achieve a good starburst.

Step 2: Choose a small aperture

As far as your camera goes, the one setting that really matters is your aperture.

To get a good starburst, your aperture should be small, such as f/11 or f/16. This means you will need a camera with aperture control, such as a DSLR or mirrorless system. Nearly all mobile phones use wide apertures and very few of them allow you to have any control over the aperture at all.

So if you want to pull off a cool starburst effect in-camera, you’re going to need a dedicated camera and not just a phone.

Step 3: Set up for your starburst shot

The basic setup for a starburst effect photo is also fairly simple and works best when the sun is lower on the horizon during the morning or late afternoon. You can do it at other times of day, but it’s a little more difficult to find objects that obscure the sun when it’s directly overhead.

starburst on a clock

To achieve the starburst effect, position yourself so that the sun is off in the distance and the object obscuring it is not too close and not too far. Then set your aperture to f/11, point your camera in the direction of the light, and take a picture.

Take care to not point your camera directly at the full sun, as it could damage your sensor or your eyes. Just a sliver of the sun and a small aperture is all you need.

Step 4: Experiment with different setups

If the object you use to block most of the sun is too far away, the starburst effect will be much more difficult to achieve. In the shot below, you can just barely see the points of light emanating from where the sun is peeking over the clouds. It’s subtle and can work if it suits your compositional goals for the image, but I don’t find shots like this to be nearly as fun as other starburst images.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving the Perfect Starburst Effect

There’s a lot of creative things you can do when you start experimenting with starbursts. In the picture below, the sun was obscured just a bit too much by the tree branch. The cicada exoskeleton looks fine, but the photo lacks something in the way of a visual spark.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving the Perfect Starburst Effect

I adjusted the position of my camera by mere millimeters so as to get the tiniest bit of the sun poking out below the branch. The result is a much more compelling photo:

cicada with starburst

The addition of a starburst adds a whole new dimension to the photograph and elevates it to a whole new level.

Note: How aperture alters the starburst effect

To see why a small aperture is important, look at the following photos, which were taken just a few seconds apart. The first used a large f/1.8 aperture, and as a result, the sun is a large yellow blob in the sky and not all that interesting. This is similar to the type of picture you could take on a mobile phone since most of those have large apertures ranging from f/1.8 to f/2.8.

Image: I took this photo with an f/1.8 aperture at 50mm.

I took this photo with an f/1.8 aperture at 50mm.

Stopping down to f/11 changes the image dramatically. Not only is the foreground and background in focus, but the sun is now a brilliant star pattern. This is a direct result of the smaller aperture.

fountain with starburst

I took this photo with an f/11 aperture at 50mm.

A similar effect is seen in the two photos below. Taken at different locations, they illustrate the effect quite clearly. The first shows a row of lights fading into the distance, and because I shot it at f/1.8, they appear as blurry orbs. This isn’t a bad thing, as my intent was for the viewer to focus on the light in the foreground.

row of lights without starburst

I took this photo with an f/1.8 aperture at 50mm.

The next image shows a similar row of street lights, but the small aperture I used caused every point of light in the image to appear as a starburst.

streetlights with starburst

I took this photo with an f/13 aperture at 50mm.

Even the green traffic lights far in the distance are starbursts. You can see how this dramatically alters the overall effect of the picture. If I had used a larger aperture, it would be an entirely different image.

Conclusion

My favorite part of shooting starburst photos is how easy it is once you get the hang of it. It’s also rather gratifying to know you can do it just by manipulating your camera.

starburst at night

Have you tried using the starburst effect in your images? What tips or tricks do you have for the DPS community, or for others who might not have done this type of photography before? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

 

perfect-starburst-effect-in-photography

The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving the Perfect Starburst Effect appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

4 Necessary Reasons to Look Through Your Old Photos

The post 4 Necessary Reasons to Look Through Your Old Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

As photographers, we mustn’t live with our heads stuck in the past. If we’re not trying new ideas, exploring new techniques, or finding ways to push ourselves to be better, we might quickly find ourselves drowning in a sea of irrelevance and mediocrity. However, there is a time and a place to look in the rear-view mirror. Looking back at some of your old photos can have incredible benefits, aside from just happy feelings of nostalgia. Sometimes the best way forward is to look at the path we have taken. Even though to look through your old photos can be embarrassing, there are some clear benefits to doing so.

Reasons-to-Look-Through-Your-Old-Photos

1. It helps you realize you weren’t that bad

I’m a pretty self-conscious guy, and as such, I don’t like looking at pictures of myself. I always find something to criticize, even if they are things that no one else would ever notice! Looking back at some of the earlier pictures in my photography portfolio is the same way. Sometimes seeing the pictures I shot is enough to make me cringe. So I want to throw my old albums out the window!

This is precisely why it’s good to dust off your old photo albums or look through the image folders on your computer you’ve been neglecting for years. Looking through the images you shot when you were new to photography, can more often than not, let you see how you really weren’t as bad and probably much more talented than you realize.

Reasons-to-Look-Through-Your-Old-Photos

I shot this in 2013. While I had a lot to learn about lighting and editing, it’s actually a pretty decent image.

If the thought of looking at your old pictures makes your skin crawl, there’s a good chance you might have been a lot better than you thought. While your early images were probably not perfect, they can be a source of encouragement. You see that you clearly did have some skills – even if they had a little way to go before maturing.

2. You can learn from your mistakes

Even though your older pictures might not be as bad as you think, you can learn a lot from going through your earlier work. Over the years, you have almost certainly improved your techniques in terms of lighting, composition, framing, or even just posing your clients.

Reasons-to-Look-Through-Your-Old-Photos

I shot this in 2014 when I didn’t know how to use a reflector but brought one with me to the session anyway. The colors on his face just don’t look right.

I know how it can be painful or embarrassing to scroll through your photos from five or ten years ago. It’s almost like looking through your high school yearbook and cringing at the silly hairstyles and weird fashion choices from days gone by. If you do this with your images, instead of turning away from your mistakes, learn from them. Realize what not to do now and in the future.

The image below is a good example of this. While my clients were happy, and so was I at the time, when I look at this picture now all I see are errors to fix. I shot it with a 50mm lens at f/2.8 and focused on the man in the back, which meant everyone else is out of focus. I didn’t have a sense of how to pose, nor was I really paying attention to lighting. The list goes on.

However, rather than pretend this session didn’t exist, I use it as a learning opportunity.

Image: One of my first portrait sessions, shot in early 2013.

One of my first portrait sessions, shot in early 2013.

Here’s another illustration of how much I have learned since my early days, especially when it comes to formal sessions. Why is there an orange shoe in the middle of the picture? Also, why is there a giant tree growing out of the head of the child on the left? Why did I use a 1/80th shutter speed?

The world may never know the answers, and I certainly don’t. However, when I see this old picture, it helps me also see what I can do differently today.

Image: Another family portrait session from 2013. Don’t judge me…I was new and didn...

Another family portrait session from 2013. Don’t judge me…I was new and didn’t know what I was doing. My clients liked it though!

3. It helps you refine your editing style

In addition to photography style and techniques, searching through your old pictures can give you a great deal of insight into your editing process.

It’s not easy to see slow, incremental changes over time. However, when you compare your current editing style to that of when you first started, you might be surprised. You may even be shocked at the difference. This can be a learning opportunity and help give you insight into how you might continue to refine and hone your edits.

I took the following picture in the summer of 2013, and I clearly remember spending a long time working with it in Photoshop. The result is what you see here: over-saturated sky, poor dynamic range, and a weird color balance that seems unnatural and icky.

4 Necessary Reasons to Look Through Your Old Photos

When I edited this RAW file, I was way, way over-thinking the process and ended up with kind of a mess. I can still see myself hunched over an old iMac, refining my selections, creating new layers, and fiddling with color edits ad nauseam. Now I’d just pull this into Lightroom, tweak a few sliders, and end up with a much cleaner and more pleasing image.

Here’s another picture that, upon first look, makes me want to chuck my computer out the window and never look at my cameras again.

Image: Shot in the fall of 2014, when I still had an awful lot to learn.

Shot in the fall of 2014, when I still had an awful lot to learn.

This picture is practically a textbook example of what not to do when shooting or editing a picture. Aside from all the issues in the image itself (soles of shoes, people sitting on an old canvas, awkward posing and hand placements, an disregard for background objects), the editing was atrocious.

My subjects are underexposed. The white balance is all wrong, and there’s no sense of contrast. Moreover, I didn’t bother using any noise reduction, so their faces are kind of patchy if you zoom in to 100%.

I’m a much better editor now than I was back when I shot this seven years ago. When I look at this picture and others like it, I can immediately see how I have changed my editing process over the years. It gives me a few ideas of what I should continue refining in the future.

Reasons-to-Look-Through-Your-Old-Photos

When I edited this picture in 2013, I didn’t know what I was doing. But looking back at it helps me remember what to do, what not to do, and what I can change in my current style.

4. Early photos can inspire you!

There’s a lot I wish I could take back about my early photography. However, I feel some of my work now lacks something: a spark of life and a sense of abandon. When I first picked up a camera, I would see photo opportunities everywhere; inside my home, walking around the neighborhood, even my office at work.

With clients, I had a much more carefree attitude, shooting whatever I wanted, whether I thought it would look good or not. It was a carefree time when I didn’t worry about (or even know about) proper technique, good lighting, high ISO values, rolling shutter, or any of that. Like a kid in a candy store, I remember latching on to anything and everything around me.

I even set my alarm early so I could take pictures of my kids’ toys in the living room before the sun came up.

Reasons-to-Look-Through-Your-Old-Photos

I took my camera to a sporting event back in 2014 and shot everything I could see, even if I didn’t know what I was doing. Including these bocce balls sitting on astroturf. I kind of miss that approach, and looking at photos like this helps rekindle it.

When I started taking pictures more seriously, I saw the world differently. Every tree, building, or animal was a fun and exciting photographic opportunity. I’ve lost that over the years. Now I think I over-analyze situations – trying to find the perfect moment, subject, or lighting condition.

Going back through old photos takes me back to a time when I didn’t care about any of that. I just took pictures of what I thought was fun and interesting. It has inspired me to be a little more creative and a little less analytical with my photography now.

Image: I spent half an hour trying to capture this image with my brother in the summer of 2014. We h...

I spent half an hour trying to capture this image with my brother in the summer of 2014. We had such a fun time doing it! I need to do more shots like this…

Looking at your old pictures can bring up some strange emotions, and it can certainly be awkward or feel silly. But buried in your images from days gone by is a treasure trove of education just waiting to be unlocked.

Reasons-to-Look-Through-Your-Old-Photos

This image of a tree borer I took in 2013 remains one of my favorite insect pictures I have ever taken.

Conclusion

The next time you pull up your photo library on your computer or scroll through images in your photo app, go back to your earliest pictures and see what you can learn from them. You might be surprised at how enjoyable and educational your trip down memory lane can be!

Do you ever look through your old photos? What have you learned from them? Share with us in the comments!

 

Reasons-to-Look-Through-Your-Old-Photos

The post 4 Necessary Reasons to Look Through Your Old Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

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