10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

The post 10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

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Learning photography well requires a lot of study and practice. Figuring out what the dials and buttons on your camera do takes time and focus. Choosing what to photograph and how you want it to look is challenging for many photographers.

Once you’ve taken some photos, another challenge to face is how to get them looking their best. This is where you need to learn a whole new set of computer skills. The more particular you are about the way your photos end up, the better post processor you need to become.

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Adobe makes two of the most popular photography post-processing programs. Lightroom and Photoshop have been industry standards for many years. As the software develops, it becomes more and more complex. There are many built-in tools to make the user experience more fun. But to make use of them you will need to study and practice.

Photoshop CC Shortcuts

Making the most of your keyboard is about the best way to ensure not only greater speed, but more enjoyment when using Photoshop. The software has many cool shortcut keys that speed up your workflow. They also help you maintain unbroken concentration when you are working on a photograph.

With so many shortcuts, it’s not practical to sit down and learn them all at once. Looking at them in the software does little to inspire. This is why I’ve come up with a list of ten Photoshop CC shortcuts that I think you will find helpful.

From time to time, I make a point of learning a few more. I’ll search for five to ten shortcuts and make a list. I place this next to my computer monitor and refer to it when Photoshopping.

If you’re not used to using keyboard shortcuts with Photoshop, they might seem a bit fiddly at first. Like learning to touch type, the more you practice, the easier it becomes, and the less you have to think about where you are putting your fingers. Learning to use shortcut keys in Photoshop is a similar experience, but you can easily break it down and learn a few at a time.

1. Clone Stamp Tweaks

The clone stamp is one of the most used tools in Photoshop. It’s powerful and flexible to do everything from removing small blemishes to recreating whole portions of a composition. Here’s a couple of keyboard shortcuts that make it even more useful.

Use Alt+Shift+arrows (Opt+Shift+arrows on Mac) to offset the selection area.

Alt+Shift+<> (Opt+Shift+<> on Mac) rotates the selection

Using [] scales the source.

These shortcuts only work when you have a North American keyboard selected in your operating system.

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2. Last-Used Filter

When you’re processing batches of images, you’ll often want to repeatedly use the same filter. To apply the previously used filter, use Ctrl+F (Cmd+F on Mac). Reapply the last filter used, but display dialog box to alter settings use Ctrl–Alt–F (Cmd+Opt+F on Mac)

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3. Lock Transparent Pixels

In Photoshop, using the / key locks transparent pixels. This is helpful when painting or compositing. Working on a layer with transparent pixels, you will avoid affecting them using the keyboard shortcut.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

4. Color Fills

Use Shift+Alt+Backspace (Shift+Opt+Backspace on Mac). This fills opaque pixels on a layer with the foreground color. Shift+Ctrl+Backspace (Shift+Cmd+Backspace on Mac) fills with the background color.

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5. Marquee Tool Tweak

Drawing a marquee by default happens from the edge. To draw a marquee selection from center Alt+drag (Opt+drag on Mac)selection.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

6. Selection Help

To bring back a selection you deselected, use Ctrl+Shift+D (Cmd+Shift+D on Mac). This will restore the last active selection. It is super helpful if you deselect and then notice something else you need to alter.

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7. Layer Mask Speed

Ctrl+\ (Cmd+\ on Mac) switches between Layer and Layer Mask Ctrl+2 (Cmd+2 on Mac) to switch back. This is a pure workflow time saver. It allows you to keep your mouse active on the image rather than dragging it back and forth to the layers panel.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

8. Brush Tool Cursor

With the Brush Tool selected hitting the Caps Lock shows only the cross-hair cursor. This allows you to position your cursor more precisely. It’s also a good shortcut to know how to undo. If you’ve inadvertently turned caps lock on while using the Brush Tool, you may wonder why you can only see a crosshair. Hit the caps lock again, and your normal cursor will reappear.

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9. Revert to Last Saved

F12 reverts the file to the last saved instance of it. This is a quick and easy way to review changes you are making to an image.

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

10. Screen Space Savers

F keys to show/Hide panels. Memorizing these keyboard shortcuts will give you so much more screen space to use. If you are confined to a single monitor, making use of these shortcuts can change the way you use Photoshop.

F5 – Show/Hide Brushes panel

F6 – Show/Hide Color panel

F7 – Show/Hide Layers panel

F8 – Show/Hide Info panel

Alt–F9 – Show/Hide Actions panel

10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts

Conclusion

I suggest you use this list as a starting point. Not all these shortcuts will be helpful for everyone. Think about the actions you use repetitively when using Photoshop and search to discover if there are keyboard shortcuts to make your life simpler.

Making a note and keeping it near your computer will help you commit these shortcuts to memory. Once you have them, do some more research and make another list of shortcuts you’d like to learn. Making a concerted effort and being consistent with using these shortcuts, you will learn them quickly.

There are over 500 keyboard shortcuts for Photoshop. Master these, and then you can also customize your own.

If you’ve got a few favorite shortcuts you think others may not be aware of, please share them in the comments below.

 

The post 10 of the Most Useful Photoshop CC Shortcuts appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes

The post How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

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With Fall fast approaching, we will soon be surrounded by beautifully warm-colored leaves and vegetation, filling the air with the sweet scent of Autumn. This is a photographer’s paradise, especially the ones who are also social media mavens following artistic trends. But what if you, like me, are not so lucky to live in a place that actually has seasons?! I live in Southern California, and finding trees that actually change color is…pretty uncommon, to say the least. So what are lonesome Californians to do?! Turn to post-processing, to make your images have fall vibes!

What defines a Fall or Autumn vibe in images?

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All there is to portraying specific ideas or ‘vibes’ are color. We associate colors with seasons, inspired by the colors that nature gives us during those times (in locations that actually have seasons. Is my bitterness over Southern California’s lack of seasons showing yet?!). Winter tends to be cold and blue, Spring is rainbow and vibrancy, Summer is warm greens, and Autumn is oranges, reds, and yellows.

Although you can sit there for several hours and recolor every leaf into a different Autumn color, for the most part, Fall vibes can be achieved by playing with and removing colors that are associated with the seasons we are not trying to mimic. Fall is warm and full of reds, oranges, yellows, and more rustic tones.

How to make your images have fall vibes in post-processing

Taken this summer, this is the base image we will be working with to show you how to make your images have fall vibes. I find that images with very shallow depth of field (like the one below) are a bit easier to work with when altering their colors.

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes

For the sake of explanation, the edits shown below are quite extreme. Use your judgment and personal taste to determine how far you take them.

Also, the tutorials I am listing below use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. However, they can easily apply to other editing software too as many feature similar options and sliders. Even the free mobile version of Photoshop and Lightroom have these sliders.

Adobe Lightroom

I turn to Lightroom for these kinds of color adjustments because it’s quite quick and simple to do. You can also copy the settings and apply them to an entire batch of images rather than having to do each one by one. Our final image will look like this:

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The HSL Panel

The HSL panel is the first panel I go to when I want to create a summer vibe in my photographs. Conveniently, this is one of the first open panels in Lightroom.

HSL stands for “Hue, Saturation, and Luminance,” and is a panel box in Adobe Lightroom (with similar panels in other programs). I like to say that this is the panel that adjusts each of the colors individually. Each slider is divided by colors: red, orange, yellow, green, aqua, blue, purple, and magenta.

Hue is the color. On a technical term, the hue is the wavelength of the light reflected. This describes why an object that is a solid color appears different depending on the amount of light that hits it. On the HSL panel, the Hue slider can change how specific colors look. For example, the reds can be made to be more orange in color or more red.

Saturation determines how intense a color is. Pulling the slider to the left makes the color more gray, pulling the slider to the right makes it more true to pure tone.

Luminance lightens or darkens a specific color. Luminance refers to the reflective brightness of colors. I use this slider to make colors that are a bit too light, much darker in photographs so that they don’t stand out to the eye too much.

With the image above, our primary objective is to change the green to more fall colors. In this case, I will make the green more orange. I can achieve this by adjusting the Green color slider under ‘Hue’ and subsequently adjusting the colors surrounding the green. The awesome thing about sliders is that you have full control.

Next, I drop down to saturation and adjust how true to tone each color is and decreasing the color we want to remove altogether (for example, the green).

Finally, with the Luminance slider, I brighten up all of the warmth we have put into the photograph.

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes

Split toning

If you find solely using the HSL sliders isn’t enough, you can add more of the color you want using the Split Toning menu. Split Toning is located right below HSL.

Split Toning is just toning applied to different areas of luminance. You can color your shadows with one color, and your highlights with another. In this case, I toned both the highlights and the shadows to bring even more warmth into the image.

When I do Split Toning, to make it easy to see what I am doing, I bring the Saturation up to its maximum 100 value point and then click on the little color rectangle next to Highlights and then next to Shadows. Clicking this rectangle brings up a color selection box. I then select the color I am interested in and proceed to significantly lower the sliders until I achieve the shadow or highlight coloration I desire.

The settings I used for the image above are these:

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes

Masks

If you’re following along in your own editing program, you may find that making all of these color adjustments have now impaired parts of our image that you may not want to be colored like that. In my photo, the whites of the dog became far too yellow for my liking. You can use Masks to remedy this by selecting the parts of the image you do not want the effect applied to.

Locate Masks at the very top of the right-hand tabs when clicking “Develop.” I like to use the Adjustment Brush which is the long selectable line directly under “Histogram” in the screenshots below.  Then, you paint on the image and can make adjustments on the painted section independent from the overall image. In this case, I removed the warm effect from the dog and brightened the dog a bit. The red haze shows you where you applied the mask.

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Adobe Photoshop

There are many, many, many different methods of achieving the same end result in Adobe Photoshop.

Photoshop is a large, and at times, complex program. To keep it simple, I’ll explain my favorite color adjustment methods similar to the adjustments in Adobe Lightroom. For another example of a Fall-vibe in a more muted tone than the edit above, we will replicate the image featured below:

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Before we even get started, in the Layers panel, duplicate the Background (main) layer and work on that. As a rule of thumb, never work on the original layer and make all adjustments on a new layer. This helps you remedy mistakes, give you the flexibility to change your mind, and use masks to remove the effect from the parts of the image it shouldn’t apply to!

Hue/Saturation

The term ‘saturation’ in general describes the level at which something is absorbed. For example, a sponge heavily saturated with water. In photography, saturation refers to how pure a color is. How red is red? How blue is blue? You can imagine a color  “absorbed” in the photograph like a sponge, with a higher saturation resulting in a more significant color.

Hue is a color attribute that explains how discernible a color is to its true color (for example, how green is the green?). Hue is based on color wavelength and is completely independent of a color’s lightness or darkness and intensity.

You can use the Hue/Saturation slider in the Image > Adjustments window!

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes

Where it says “Master” (which will adjust everything simultaneously) you can select individual colors to adjust. This is great to use on images that don’t involve a lot of color variation.

How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes

Selective Color

The Selective Color in Photoshop (also located in Image -> Adjustments) is similar to the HSL sliders in Lightroom. Selective Color allows you to modify each color (located in the drop-down menu under “Color”) by either adding or decreasing CMYK colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black). CMYK is the color mode that a printer operates in.

I like using Selective Color with images that feature a lot of white because I don’t necessarily want my whites toned the same as the rest of my image. You can adjust the white itself in Selective Color, which is pretty cool. This allows me to keep the white dog more authentic to the original rather than making the Great Dane orange.

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Color Balance

Another way to adjust the colors in the image is by utilizing the Color Balance sliders. This can also be located under Image -> Adjustments. Color balance is the global adjustment of the intensity of the colors. This what I use the most when trying to create some fall vibes in my photographs.

I prefer this method because it’s the fastest slider set to use – but the end result does tend to look a lot like a filter. If that’s the look you’re going for; awesome! But if not, Selective Color may be of better use to you.

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Conclusion

Whatever method you implore to make your images more Autumn oriented, enjoy those warm fall vibes and glow up that Instagram feed!

Do you have other tips on giving your images fall vibes? Try these methods and share your images with us in the comments below!

The post How to Make Your Images Have Fall Vibes appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Anabel DFlux.

Try Out These Awesome Photography Printing Mediums for Fantastic-Looking Photos

The post Try Out These Awesome Photography Printing Mediums for Fantastic-Looking Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Erin Fitzgibbon.

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An awful lot of blog posts focus on the mechanics of the photograph. They discuss composition, shutter speed, aperture, etc.  Other posts talk about post-processing and making an image into a piece of art. Do a search and you’ll find hundreds of articles that show you how to clone, or how to use HDR. There’s a third section to this whole process of photography that so many forget to discuss. The digital age and social media have given us another way to share our art. We post the photograph online-only worrying about how it appears on the screen. We’ve forgotten that part of the beauty of our work is more concrete. We have forgotten how amazing it is to print our work, so this article will look at photography printing mediums.

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Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay

If we do print our work, we tend to choose something standard. We upload our work and look for a cheap frame. It’s done. We don’t think very much about the photography printing mediums we use when printing our work. There’s so much we can do now. The media used to print a photograph is just as important when creating art as the first two stages of the process. We should consider all three as vital to the process.

Let’s consider some of the following photo printing mediums and the effect they can have on your work. The same photograph print on two different types of photo printing mediums can have a totally different look.

Luster photo paper

Luster paper has a slight sheen to it. The paper is similar to the idea of semi-gloss paint. Luster paper is easy to find in standard photo printing locations. The paper will produce beautiful colors, and it’s cost-effective. There is a subtle texture to the paper, and when framed, there’s less glare.

These factors are important when considering the look you want to create. Luster works well for portraits. Quite often family and wedding photographers recommend it to clients.

Glossy photo paper

Glossy used to be the go-to photo paper. Most of the photographs around my parent’s house are printed on glossy paper. Glossy tends to produce colors that are richer than luster. The details are also very sharp. In general, the image feels bright.

Many people don’t like the glossy feel of the paper. The sheen, depending on the angle can make it hard to see the photograph. Glossy also has a tendency to show scratches.

Portrait photograph printed on lustre paper

For family photos like this one, I usually recommend a luster or matte paper.

Matte photo paper

Matte paper has no sheen. The look is flat. That’s not to mean it’s boring. Matte paper can be very beautiful. It tends to create a somewhat softer look. Prints on matte paper tend to age better than those on luster and glossy paper, and the paper doesn’t show fingerprints the way glossy products will. You can also get some very beautiful prints from matte papers.

Uses for these papers

These papers tend to be used for nature photography, portraits, and weddings. Some photographers also use them for art prints. It’s important to consider the effect you want to create.

As an example, I printed the image below on a glossy paper. The fabric of these ribbon skirt has a natural sheen to it. If I had used a paper with no sheen I would have lost this element, and I wanted to represent the skirt as accurately as possible.

A woman's traditional ribbon skirt

If you notice the sheen on the fabric you’ll see why I specifically chose gloss paper for printing.

Textured art paper

I will admit that textured papers are my favorite type to use when printing art photographs. I love the effect the paper creates. My favorite brand is Epson Cold Press Natural, but there are many available. A little experimentation will help you find your favorite.

Epson Cold Press is a textured matte paper that feels similar to watercolor paper. It’s thick and it absorbs a lot of ink. This paper tends to evoke an emotional response from viewers. I know that sounds strange, but I find the colors richer, and they have more depth. As a result, people tend to be drawn to the work. People often ask how the colors in the work are so rich. Good quality paper really helps produce a striking image.

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In the following photograph, you’ll notice the rich black background. Printing on this paper lets me lay down a lot of ink to create an intensity I wouldn’t be able to otherwise produce.

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This still life was shot with a piece of black velvet in the background. The intense black is important to the composition.

 

Still life photographs on black velvet

Printing on wood

This is a unique process.

You’ll have to look online to find a company that prints right onto the wood. I’ve used Posterjack in the past.

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I’ve used Posterjack to do wood prints.

The effect is interesting. The wood grain will show through your images. It’s a unique look that can elevate the right photograph to new levels. One artist used wood prints quite effectively for an exhibition. The exhibition focused on the destruction of the rainforest for the production of beef. He photographed cattle then used the wood prints to help emphasize his message. In this case, the wood medium added to his exhibition.

While you may not be creating an exhibition for a gallery, the medium could still enhance your photographs. The wood grain works nicely with nature images as well as something with a retro feel to it.

Photography-Printing-Mediums-Rocks and birch bark for a nature photograph

This image works well with the wood grain. Images with limited texture that needs boosting, also work printed on wood.

Acrylic prints

Beautiful rich colors with sharp details work brilliantly on acrylic.

The images will pop and get noticed by anyone who walks into the room. The downfall with acrylic is you have to be very careful – it’s easy to chip the corners on an acrylic print.

Acrylic works very well with images shot at night. The bright lights of a city set against a dark sky can be breathtaking in acrylic.

Night image

This image works so well on acrylic. The glossy nature brings out the intensity of the city lights.

Metal prints

Metal prints, when used with the right image, can create amazing, jaw-dropping images.

Wherever an image has pure white, the silver of the metal will show through.

When used with black and white images, this creates a very unique look. The image also feels very modern. Content like urban landscapes or abstracts of machinery looks striking on this type of media.

Industrial feel to this image

This image looks awesome on metal. The silver works so well and adds depth to the image.

In conclusion

There are loads of photography printing mediums out there for your photographs.  I haven’t even mentioned canvas prints or printing on fabric. Both are pretty awesome options as well.

The reality is, the sky’s the limit.

It’s more important to consider what each medium could do for your work. You should also think about how the medium affects the look of your work. Do you want a retro feel? Maybe you want something muted and understated? Think of a photograph as something with its own unique voice. Let the image, and the message you want to convey, speak to you then consider how you can make the work shine. As I’m sure Yoda told Luke at some point in Starwars, “Choose wisely, have patience, the answer will come to you.”

Do you have any other photography printing mediums tips you’d like to share with us? Do so in the comments!

The post Try Out These Awesome Photography Printing Mediums for Fantastic-Looking Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Erin Fitzgibbon.

How to Use Photoshop Blending Modes for Fine Art Portraiture

The post How to Use Photoshop Blending Modes for Fine Art Portraiture appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

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Layering images experimentally in photoshop can be an exciting way to bring a fine art feel to your photography. It is spontaneous and unpredictable, with different outcomes each time.

The layering technique I talk about in this article is a way you can explore and get inspired by the work of Victorian art photographers like Julia Margaret Cameron. They would have used long exposures because of the limitation of their cameras, which added a dream-like quality to their images.

Instead of long exposures, I have used multiple images shot of the same subject, layering them and using Photoshop blending modes. It gives a different kind of ethereal feeling to the images which you can use on any subject, not just portraits.

Start with a portrait

Your portrait doesn’t have to be sophisticated, but it should be able to be repeated over a dozen shots or so. I opted for simple natural window light, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t use flash instead.

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The image I found worked best was one with strong colors and features with a simple background. I opted to take inspiration from Julia Margaret Cameron’s photography by using simple historical clothes, and an instantly recognizable prop.

You want to try to end up with a dozen or so slightly different images of your subject. Take far more images than you need so that you have lots of choices when it comes to selecting images for your layering effect.

Between each shot, ask your subject to move just a small amount – perhaps their head or their hands, but just a fraction. Try to avoid any dramatic pose changes.

Layering the images in Photoshop

When it comes to selecting images and editing them, there are many different software packages and options. I’m going to talk about how I use Lightroom Classic and Photoshop to achieve this effect. Even within these two software packages, there are other ways you can accomplish the same effect. As long as you end up with a photograph that you love, then you haven’t done anything wrong!

I start by importing my images into Lightroom Classic and then selecting the ten or so images that will make up the layers of my final image. At this point, I try to choose a ‘base’ image that will be at the bottom of the layer stack in Photoshop and will show through the strongest. Generally, this is my favorite image out of the set.

How to Use Photoshop Blending Modes for Fine Art Portraiture

When you’ve got your images selected in Lightroom Classic in the Develop module, open the ‘Photo’ menu and select ‘Open as Layers in Photoshop.’

This will save you having to manually stack all of the images together. You’ll end up with a single file open in Photoshop with all of your selected images placed on layers.

How to Use Photoshop Blending Modes for Fine Art Portraiture

The next stage is to place your ‘hero’ image (the one that you want to show through the most) at the bottom of the layer stack by dragging and dropping it. Then select all the layers above and reduce their opacity.

Playing with Photoshop Blending Modes

This is when it starts to get interesting. Playing with the different photoshop blending modes for the layers will give you all kinds of different results. Dark images will suit different blending modes to lighter images. You can check out a comprehensive guide to photoshop blending modes here!

You’ll want to turn down the opacity of the layers quite far so that the original ‘hero’ image shows though. The other layers should then become more of a fuzzy halo rather than a focal point for the shot.

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Once you’ve found a blending mode and opacity that looks good, you can start to fine-tune the image.

Begin by identifying parts of the images that don’t really work, and work out which layer they’re on. Then create layer masks and use a black paintbrush to gently fade those unwanted parts away.

I decided to remove almost all of the layers from the face of my subject since it was a portrait, and I wanted to be able to see her clearly. I also took away some distracting echos of hands, which I felt made the final image stronger. Since you’re working using layer masks, you can always undo any of your choices at this stage – just simply paint over the bits you want to see again on the layer mask with a white paintbrush!

How to Use Photoshop Blending Modes for Fine Art Portraiture

As you can see from my layer masks, they don’t have to be neat. Just use a fairly large brush with soft edges and a low opacity and you won’t be able to see the brushstrokes of your mask in the final image.

Finishing your image

Once you’re happy with the basic image you’ve achieved through layering, I’d suggest saving a copy of your work. Then you can experiment further with different techniques.

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Once I’d saved my image in Photoshop, I closed it and went back to Lightroom Classic to work on the shot further. Here, I simply changed the toning of the image slightly with a preset and applied some sharpening to key areas of the picture.

The result was a warmth that always makes me think of Old Masters paintings in galleries. Together with the effect of the layers, it creates a rather painterly fine art image.

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But, of course, there’s absolutely no harm in processing the same image in a different way. This is one of the reasons I love Lightroom Classic – you can create virtual copies of a single shot and work on them all differently!

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This variation I processed in Nik Analog Efex Pro 2, which you can use straight from the Lightroom Classic interface in the same way that you can take photos to Photoshop. The software itself is very similar to Lightroom Classic with its adjustment panels on each side but instead specializes in replicating old film effects.

It is a great way to create an image that pays homage to the great Victorian art photographers.

You could get a similar effect by layering wet plate textures and dust and scratch layers in Photoshop before adding a black and white conversion.

There are many ways to get all these different effects – please try some and post your results in the comments. I’d love to see what you did with this technique and how you achieved it!

The post How to Use Photoshop Blending Modes for Fine Art Portraiture appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

Photoshop Elements 2020 Released With New AI Features and Guided Edits

The post Photoshop Elements 2020 Released With New AI Features and Guided Edits appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

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Adobe has just released its latest iteration of Photoshop Elements: Photoshop Elements 2020, which debuts alongside Premiere Elements 2020.

Now, Photoshop Elements has always been geared toward beginner and amateur photographers, and this year’s release is no exception. Adobe has included new features that ensure it’s easier than ever to produce stunning edits.

Included among these exciting features is Adobe Sensei AI technology, which will drive Photoshop Elements automation. While Sensei AI technology isn’t new, this time it’ll be used to bring photographers options such as:

  • B&W Selection
  • Pattern Brush
  • Painterly
  • Depth of Field

In all four of these cases, Sensei AI is the driver behind easy-yet-powerful edits. B&W Selection allows you to quickly isolate elements from your photos and portray them in color, while giving the background a black and white look. Depth of Field takes a relatively sharp background and gives it a beautiful blur, making your main subjects pop.

And that’s not all. In addition to these new AI-powered options, Photoshop Elements promises a new black and white editing experience with its Colorization feature. Colorization takes a black and white photo and gives it realistic colors (or, as Adobe promises, you can use Colorization to “give new life to an existing color photo”).

Photoshop Elements also offers a one-click selection of your subjects for easy manipulation, as well as a skin-smoothing effect. And let’s not forget the two brand-new guided edits, which are designed to make post-processing accessible to everyone, as the software walks you through the process of creating patterns or making unwanted items vanish from the frame.

Adobe Photoshop Elements isn’t for everyone. Experienced photographers will likely prefer to work with Photoshop CC or Lightroom, both of which pack some real editing power. But for those who are just getting started with photo editing, Photoshop Elements offers a level of accessibility that its more serious counterparts lack. And the guided edits are a great feature for those wanting to learn while editing.

You can purchase Adobe Photoshop Elements as a standalone piece of software for $99.99 USD, or you can get it alongside Adobe Premiere for $149.99 USD.

The post Photoshop Elements 2020 Released With New AI Features and Guided Edits appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

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.

Review of PhotoWorks: a Fresh and Fast Photo Editor for PC

The post Review of PhotoWorks: a Fresh and Fast Photo Editor for PC appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Glenn Harper.

PhotoWorks is an image editor with a fresh, clean interface and a set of tools that work intelligently to get the best from your photos. It helps you turn drab files into spectacular pictures within a few clicks – sometimes only one! The software’s Portrait Magic technology uses face recognition to add expert retouching edits to your photos. A host of other handy features make the PhotoWorks photo editor for PC an enticing proposition.

PhotoWorks interface

The histogram is a constant when you edit in PhotoWorks. It’s good to see a program that knows its value.

Who’s it for?

Automatic photo editing is the forte of PhotoWorks, but the software doesn’t do everything. It doesn’t offer the huge toolbox that many other programs do, with so much thrown in that you have to rummage endlessly to find what you want. It’s designed for ease of use and speed, which will appeal to beginners and casual photographers but might catch the eye of a few veterans, too.

photoworks-photo-editor-for-pc

The clean, minimalistic interface of PhotoWorks. All edits are memorized by the software, so they’re non-destructive.

In this review, I’ll look at everything PhotoWorks has to offer. I feel like I’ll enjoy it because this photo editing software for PC isn’t an unwieldy monster with innumerable needless features. PhotoWorks seems knowable from the first time you open it. You can jump in without facing a steep learning curve, though there are good tutorials available online if you need help. Let’s see what it can do.

Opening raw files

Raw files are always an obvious place to start when reviewing a photo editor for PC. Can PhotoWorks handle them? It’s not billed as a raw processor, but it does open most proprietary raw files in addition to Adobe’s standard DNG files.

When you open raw files in PhotoWorks, you have the option of applying one of six profiles to them: Default, Auto Enhancement, Landscape, Portrait, Sunny Day or Black & White. With the Default profile, all the settings in PhotoWorks are zeroed when you open the file, whereas the others are Presets with adjusted sliders.

photoworks-photo-editor-for-pc - raw conversion

You’re presented with six starting points when opening raw files. The default conversion opens automatically on the page.

PhotoWorks is really a pixel editor. It converts individual raw files quickly and the quality is okay – good, even – but problems like chromatic aberration (CA) and chroma noise are present if you examine images at 100%. Should you view images at 100%? Only if you’re creating big prints or trying to impress third parties with technical quality. And if you’re doing that, you may not belong to the target market for this software, though PhotoWorks has potentially wide appeal.

chomatic abberation - CA

PhotoWorks does not currently fix chromatic aberration or purple fringing. If you’re the type of photographer who scrutinizes image quality and needs impeccable files, you could run them through a dedicated raw converter first.

By pairing PhotoWorks with a separate raw processor (e.g. RawTherapee, Darktable), “serious” photographers could have the basis of an efficient workflow. That’d be good for, say, wedding photographers, who would also benefit from the software’s intelligent retouching capabilities. We’ll look at those in more detail later, but for now, it suffices to say they’re good.

Saving the PhotoWorks way

Not long after firing up PhotoWorks, you’ll notice there’s no way to close images. This is unusual, to say the least, but it’s another form of streamlining. You can save edited files and move onto the next image. Your edits are stored, even if you move on without saving, and you have the option of resuming them or starting afresh when you go back to the file. This is true even if you close the program. Edits are non-destructive.

Both Save and Fast Export let you export a separate copy of the edited file in the format of your choice, the main difference being that you choose the format beforehand with Fast Export. You can select from JPEG, TIFF (8-bit compressed), PNG and BMP.

Enhancement

The Enhancement tab is where you make changes to color and tone in your image. It includes an Auto Correction feature that aims to transform your photos in a single click, but you can alter its effect if you want. For instance, let’s say you’re already happy with the tonal range but would like more color, you could switch off the dynamic range and add vibrance to Auto Correction. Plus, there’s a slider that adjusts the strength of the auto effect.

PhotoWorks image enhancement

PhotoWorks includes a blue sky enhancement, which makes it easy to deepen the blue of the sky whilst also warming the photo up. Those two edits are normally at odds with each other.

Most of the color and tone sliders you’d expect to find in top-end software are in the Enhancement section of PhotoWorks under the Main tab. They give you as much manual control as you want. The workspace is so tidily laid out that it puts some established photo-editing brands to shame. The design is thoughtful and user-friendly, and it makes you want to linger. You even get to suggest features you’d like to see.

Two more tabs under Enhancement are Colors and Sharpness. The first lets you adjust hue, saturation, lightness (HSL) and color balance. The Sharpen tool is basically an unsharp mask, and there’s a blur section where you could create dreamy soft-focus effects or counteract over-sharpening. It’s all useful stuff, and the confusing terminology is notably left out.

photoworks-photo-editor-for-pc-sharpening-the-blur-tool

A slightly de-sharpened image focuses attention on form rather than detail. That’s where the PhotoWorks Blur tool is useful. It works well with busy compositions.

Tools

Move along to the Tools tab in PhotoWorks and a carefully selected set of powerful tools reveals itself to the right of the screen. There are not a hundred little tool icons as with complex programs. Some of the tools, like Curves or Tone Mapping, offer an alternative and perhaps more advanced way of working with your pictures. Seasoned photographers will be familiar with these features.

Crop

The PhotoWorks crop tool includes a modern set of aspect ratio presets that fit today’s devices or social media pages perfectly. Of course, you can also use the original aspect ratio, choose a different ratio or crop the photo freely. There’s nothing much missing here. You can rotate the picture, which helps get horizons level or to achieve the most effective composition.

AMS Software, the creator of PhotoWorks, also offers a choice of grid overlays to assist you with composition when cropping. For example, you can choose a Rule of Thirds or Golden Ratio grid to help you decide what to include and where. My only slight gripe here is that the grid lines are often a little hard to see: maybe a different color or opacity control would help.

the golden spiral crop composition

The Golden Spiral crop grid in PhotoWorks.

Geometry (correcting perspective and distortion)

You can correct the perspective of architectural photos using the Geometry tools in PhotoWorks. Like in most photo editors for computers, there’s no auto adjustment, so you have to alter the vertical and/or horizontal perspective yourself using the sliders, but this is generally an easy task.

correcting lens distortion

In this pic, you can clearly see the effects of lens distortion on the window frame. In the inset, I’ve corrected it using the distortion slider.

Correcting optical aberrations such as pincushion or barrel distortion is also possible in this section. Some programs will do this for you with the help of lens profiles, but you can do it easily yourself with the assistance of the included grid and distortion slider.

Change background

PhotoWorks makes it easy to change the background of your photo, so if you want to transplant a better sky or create a composite picture, you can. The process of separating the subject from its background is simple. You draw a green line with the object brush, a red line with the background brush, and then you let the software work its magic. Typically, you need to refine the edge a bit using the same brushes, which could become labor-intensive with intricate subjects. For many photos, the process works fine. There’s even a choice of free-to-use pictures you can add as backgrounds, or you can upload your own.

PhotoWorks - change background

The Change Background feature in PhotoWorks separates subjects from their background with ridiculous ease. I’m not sure there’s enough finesse for complex selections (e.g. fur or fine strands of hair), but there’s a lot of fun to be had.

Vignetting

The vignetting tool lets you correct vignetting that occurs naturally with your lens. You can brighten edges and corners for even exposure. It also lets you add a vignette as a creative effect, focusing the viewer’s attention more on the subject of the picture. This photo editor for PC provides all the controls you need to fine-tune this edit.

3D LUT Color Correction

Color LUTs might just as accurately be called “special effects” since they remap the color of your photos to create a different look. PhotoWorks offers a nice built-in selection of them as well as letting you upload your own in the form of cube files. You can’t save your own LUTs within the software, hence you can’t preview them either, but I’m glad to see this feature in PhotoWorks.

PhotoWorks review - color LUTs

This is the “Drama” color LUT. Interestingly, it compresses the tonal range. In doing so, maybe it makes the viewer feel more hemmed in and on edge.

Tone Mapping & Curves

PhotoWorks includes tone mapping and curves tools for controlling color and tone. Tone mapping lets you overlay a color or texture. You could apply a color to a black-and-white image here for a duotone effect. The curves tool adjusts contrast, changes color temperature, and tint and even corrects color if you use the individual RGB curves.

PhotoWorks - tone mapping

A black & white photo turned into a duotone (i.e. a mix of black and blue) using the Tone Mapping tool in PhotoWorks.

Noise Reduction and Grain

There are tools for reducing digital noise or adding film-like grain in PhotoWorks. This photo editing software for PC doesn’t separate color noise from luminance noise, which would be a nice feature for more advanced photographers. But it will smooth and improve the look of high ISO photos.

The film-grain effect is generally better looking than digital noise in photos. You can add that to give your photos an authentic retro look from the days of analog photography.

Retouch

Some of the headlining features of PhotoWorks fall under its Retouch section. The software harnesses the power of face recognition technology to automatically enhance portraits. You can use its Portrait Magic or Face Sculpt technology to retouch faces and show your subjects at their best.

Portrait Magic

A remarkable feature of PhotoWorks is its Portrait Magic feature, which lets you automatically or manually remove blemishes and enhance portraits. Its toolset includes the following:

  • Skin smoothing
  • Control over redness (improve blotchy skin)
  • Skin tone
  • Eyes (sharpness, contrast, remove dark circles)
  • Eyebrows (sharpness, contrast)
  • Lips (sharpness, contrast, hue, saturation, luminance & glare)
  • Teeth (whiteness)
PhotoWorks portrait magic

It may be hard to see the difference here, but Portrait Magic is good at damping down glare on the skin (aka “face shine”). There are many quick fixes to choose from as well as full manual control. (Image: Pexels)

Even if you know how to fix these things already, this technology saves time. It’s easy to imagine it being useful to pro portrait and wedding photographers. The best results are achieved by addressing issues one-by-one, but there’s a set of quick-fix buttons available to speed things up. You have to be careful with it because the software isn’t infallible. For instance, a pair of glasses get in the way of removing dark circles accurately.

Portrait Magic is so good that you could buy this software for that alone. It’s a great photo editor app for pc or laptop.

Face Sculpt

Just when you thought you’d seen amazing things with Portrait Magic, along comes Face Sculpt. Move a slider and watch the software identify and alter a specific part of the face. You can do these things manually in Photoshop using warp tools and the like, but boy is it easy with PhotoWorks: a deft picture editor and retoucher in one.

PhotoWorks - face sculpt

I’ve done nothing to this photo except turn a hint of a smile into a stronger hint. Like Portrait Magic, Face Sculpt is a powerful tool that can totally transform a portrait. The technology behind it is remarkably precise. Subtle edits often work best. (Original image: Pixabay)

Maybe we should all just accept the way we look, but contrary to popular belief, the camera does lie. It’s easy to take an unflattering portrait because of technical reasons, whether it’s an unflattering camera angle, harsh lighting, poor timing or lens distortion. PhotoWorks lets you remedy such problems.

Face Sculpt enables you to reshape or resize eyes, noses, mouths, eyebrows, and the face itself. You can even turn a frown into a smile. Used subtly, it creates different versions of the truth rather than outright lies. And if it helps the subject feel good about themselves, that can’t be a bad thing.

Healing and Cloning Tools

Healing and Cloning tools in PhotoWorks are also first rate. The clone stamp auto-samples from a similar area and gives you the option of changing the sample location. It’s quick and efficient, and no intervention is usually necessary. The Healing Brush is even faster for fixing small blemishes (e.g. dust spots).

Adjustment Brush

There aren’t any layers in PhotoWorks, but you can carry out local edits with the adjustment brush. Users of Lightroom will be familiar with the concept. Color, tone, and sharpness can all be selectively adjusted anywhere on the image. You can also deal with chromatic aberration by brushing neatly over edges and turning Saturation down, though a dedicated tool would be better.

PhotoWorks - adjustment brush

It’s out of fashion, I know, but here’s a quick demo of selective coloring with the Adjustment Brush on PhotoWorks. This Lightroom-style feature offers infinite possibilities without being as daunting to beginners as layers are.

Graduated Filter and Radial Filter

The Graduated Filter and Radial Filter offer alternative ways of making local adjustments to one or more parts of an image. Whether it’s tone, color or sharpness you’re adjusting, these retouching tools make it easy to emphasize your subject. You can also even up your exposures (e.g. the classic dark foreground and bright sky) and bring out shadow detail. Characteristically, these features are neatly designed and easy to use in PhotoWorks.

graduated filters post processing

Two graduated filters are in play here – one to brighten and warm up the lower half of the photo and another to reduce exposure in the sky a little.

Special Effects

With over 150 special effects to choose from, PhotoWorks gives you plenty of ways to interpret each photo. In the Special Effects section of the software, you can add any effect you like and then adapt it to suit your tastes if you want. Hitting the “Apply” button takes you over to the Enhancements area of the software, where you can tweak color, tone, and sharpness.

Image: A quite pleasing special effect to my eye (Faded Photo -1) and one of over 150 special effect...

A quite pleasing special effect to my eye (Faded Photo -1) and one of over 150 special effects available in PhotoWorks.

I personally like adding textures to photos, so it was good to find a few textured effects among the collection. There is also a Quick Enhancements selection, which gives further opportunity for one-click fixing. You can favorite effects so they’re easy to find later on.

A Photographic Films section attempts to replicate the look of various classic films. It’s fun to play around with these effects, which you could find yourself using again and again in some cases.

Captions (add text and stickers)

Whatever you normally do with your photos, there might come a time when you want to add text to them. Maybe you’re making a Christmas card or designing a flyer. You could be creating memes for social media and entertaining your friends. PhotoWorks photo editor app for PC includes a versatile set of tools to help you create the text you want in the font, color, and style of your choice. A sticker collection lets you add cartoon-like captioning for extra fun.

Review of PhotoWorks: a Fresh and Fast Photo Editor for PC

Conclusion

Beneath the minimalistic surface, PhotoWorks offers a powerful set of tools that are easy to use regardless of your level. The way the software exploits face recognition technology is magical, indeed.

There are a few nuts-and-bolts things I would like to see in PhotoWorks, such as chromatic aberration removal, more nuanced noise reduction and an exposure warning to help with histogram adjustments (aka levels). The ability to export 16-bit TIFFs would be nice. At some point, though, if you keep adding stuff, the program ends up complex like many others and loses its streamlined appeal.

Design-wise, PhotoWorks positively gleams. It has a beautifully clean interface, uses simple terminology that everyone can understand, and gets a lot of work done with minimal effort. Whether you use it alone or alongside other photo editors for PC, it’s definitely worth a look.

You can download a free trial version and explore the features of the program yourself. Or use the exclusive coupon for dPS readers to purchase PhotoWorks at a 50% discount now!

Disclaimer: PhotoWorks is a paid dPS partner.

 

dps-photoworks-photo-editing-for-pc

The post Review of PhotoWorks: a Fresh and Fast Photo Editor for PC appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Glenn Harper.

How to Make Your Photos Awesome in Lightroom or Photoshop Camera RAW

The post How to Make Your Photos Awesome in Lightroom or Photoshop Camera RAW appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

In this video tutorial, Nemanja Sekulic will show you how to make some dramatic editing changes to your RAW photos using Lightroom or Photoshop Camera RAW.

During the process, you will learn the following in Lightroom (which you can also translate to Photoshop Camera RAW):

  • How to use the Basic Panel including the Exposure Slider, Highlight Slider, Shadow Slider, Color Temperature Slider,
  • The shortcut for viewing before/after (\)
  • How to use the Radial Filter tool – how to make multiple radial filter selections, reposition, and make adjustments to the selection.
  • How to use the Adjustment Brush Tool – including changing your brush size, flow, and feather amounts.
  • How to use it to make selective adjustments in your image, including color, temperature, exposure, highlights, shadows, clarity, etc. to fine-tune your image.
  • How to use selective color with your Adjustment Brush.
  • How to make new Adjustment Brushes to fine-tune the details in the eyes.
  • How to use Hue and Saturation Panels as well as the Split Toning Panel.
  • How to add a vignette.
  • How to go back and readjust any of your Radial Filter, and Adjustment Brush settings.

You can apply these techniques across any image you choose, or you can download Nemanja’s image file here.

You may also find the following helpful:

 

The post How to Make Your Photos Awesome in Lightroom or Photoshop Camera RAW appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

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.

Loupedeck+ Review – the Perfect Editing Companion for Lightroom and Premiere?

The post Loupedeck+ Review – the Perfect Editing Companion for Lightroom and Premiere? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

Loupedeck+ Review - the Perfect Editing Companion for Lightroom and Premiere?

There is something undeniably cool about Hollywood editing studios. I remember seeing one in a magazine as a child and wanting to play with it. Thinking how cool it would be to figure out what all the dials did and edit Hollywood Blockbusters. I never made it in Hollywood, but I can remember my first editing console. Purchased from the high street, it allowed me to link 2 VCR players and have a fade and wipe slider for video. It even had an audio fader that allowed me to (surprisingly) fade audio. At the time it was amazing! I made a lot of skateboard videos using that console.

Obviously we’ve moved to digital everything, but there is something about using knobs and dials to edit that I have always liked. So, when I was given the opportunity to try the Loupedeck+, I jumped at the chance to get hands-on with it. 

What is it?

Simply put, Loupedeck+ is a keyboard-sized photo editing console. The main editing functions are controlled via a series of knobs and buttons.

Loupedeck started life on Indiegogo. The initial Loupedeck was marketed as a photo editing console just for Lightroom. With the Loupedeck+, however, it has become much more than that. The new version has support for several different software platforms too.

This device is still aimed primarily at Adobe users, with support for most of the Creative Suite. There is also support for Apple’s Final Cut and Aurora HDR and is also currently in Beta testing with Capture One Pro, which is my preferred choice of photo editor.

Out of the box

In terms of looks, it is beautifully packaged. However, that doesn’t mean anything if the product itself is not up to scratch. The Loupedeck however, definitely is. Although fully plastic, everything is solid and feels like it will survive long term usage. The only exception to this is the control dial, which does feel a little flimsy compared to the rest of the device.

In terms of the buttons, when making notes, I put down that they are squishy but solid. I still think that’s the best way to describe them. There is also a nice little detail for the cable to connect the Loupedeck. There are grooves that allow you to place it to work with how your computer is setup. It’s not a deal-breaker, but attention to detail like this tends to show the makers care about the end-user. 

dpsloupedeck+-review

The Loupedeck+ is well built apart from the control dial. It just feels a little flimsy. However, in use, it has been flawless so far.

Getting set up 

Once you have unpackaged your Loupedeck, the next stage is setting it up. To do this, you need to install the Loupedeck software. This is a simple download from the Loupedeck website, which then allows you to customize the Loupedeck to your specific editing preferences.

I have left it is standard for now, but I can definitely see me looking into this again to fine-tune it to how I edit.

Once you have the software installed, it is as simple as choosing which software you want to use the Loupedeck with and off you go. Loupedeck has a series of guides for each piece of software that it is compatible with. I recommend having these on hand, especially when using software other than Lightroom. Even with Lightroom though, it is worth having nearby to see what extras you may find yourself reaching for.

The fact that the user guide for Lightroom alone is 31 pages tells you what level of customization is possible.

Image: To get started with Loupedeck+ you need to download the software from the Loupedeck website....

To get started with Loupedeck+ you need to download the software from the Loupedeck website. Once installed, choose your software and away you go.

The learning curve

The learning curve is in two parts; getting used to the Loupedeck from your usual editing routine, and how Loupedeck reduces the learning curve of the software.

To test this, I got my wife to use Loupedeck to work on a wedding we had recently shot. She normally helps make picks, but she has very limited editing experience. She can just about manage to tweak exposure a little, but that’s it.

I put her at the Loupedeck and asked her to try and edit images she thought needed work. After about 2 minutes of me explaining the device, she started. Two more minutes passed before she explained how brilliant it was.

By removing the need to search through the menus (of Capture One in our case), she was able to edit photos easily and without needing constant reminders of the locations of buttons or sliders. It made her experiment more, and within an hour, she felt completely confident using the Loupedeck.

For beginners, this will make the process of learning to edit (especially in Lightroom) so much easier. Everything is at hand, and the layout makes it simpler for beginners to experiment. They can use more of the features of the program without the need to remember the locations in the menus.

For me, as a power user of Capture One, the learning curve was a little steeper. I’ve put this down to Capture One currently being in Beta testing. There are some quirks I needed to get used to when editing, such as using the color balance tool.

There is also the fact that when you use the software every day, you acquire muscle memory from the keyboard shortcuts you use most often. Moving to dials does take a while to get used to.

I do feel that even for Lightroom users (whom this deck was designed for), the change to Loupedeck will mean your editing is slower until you get up to speed. However, I am talking only hours here, not days.

Loupedeck+ and Lightroom

Obviously I wanted to start this test with Lightroom as this is really the program the device is designed for. Now I am not a Lightroom user, so having me use this is more like an inexperienced Lightroom editor versus someone who uses it every day.

I loaded up a selection of images into a catalog and began editing. Using the Loupedeck was completely intuitive. I simply started to edit images without the need to try and remember control locations. It was as easy as twisting the dials with the required name on them. In my experience, the Loupdeck+ and Lightroom work flawlessly together. There is no lag, and the degree of control with each twist feels perfect. Everything is at hand, and if you do find yourself needing something that is not here, you can customize the software until your heart’s content.

It made the process of editing in Lightroom a pleasure and, as a hardcore Capture One user, that is the highest praise I can give it.

dps-loupedeck+-review

It is easy to see that the Loupedeck+ is designed with Lightroom users in mind.

Loupedeck+ and Capture One Pro

Because I’m not a Lightroom user, I went down the road that is Beta testing to put the Loupedeck in my day-to-day editing software. 

Now compared to Lightroom, I found editing in Capture One Pro to be a more clunky affair. The problem is that in its current Beta state, the Loupedeck doesn’t offer the same level of functionality. This is something that Loupedeck are working on and are currently looking for feedback from any Capture One users to help improve the experience.

The basic adjustments work perfectly well in Capture One. To adjust white balance and exposure is just as good as Lightroom. However, there are elements, such as resetting adjustments, that are not there.

The issue here is that the Loupedeck was designed with Lightroom in mind and Capture One works differently. The most obvious example of this is the P1-P8 buttons. In Lightroom, these assign to presets; however, in Capture One, they are simply not set up.

Shooting Fuji, I would love to map this to my film curves, where it would be great to choose the look of my image. However, at present, this is not possible. For more advanced editing, it can be frustrating, and I find myself reaching for the mouse and keyboard more often than I would like.

It’s not perfect by any means, and it does sound a little doom and gloom, but in terms of basic edits, it really did speed up my workflow. I have now edited two weddings with the Loupedeck, and it has definitely saved me some time. Also being super simple for basic adjustments, it really has allowed my wife to do basic edits for things such as exposure.
When editing a wedding, I reach for it straight away. It really is something that after using it, I wouldn’t be without.

The best thing about using Loupedeck+ with Capture One is that I know it can only get better from here. Once there are some more options added, and a few things ironed out from the beta testing, I feel this will be a powerful editing tool.

Loupedeck+ and Photoshop

This is where things start to feel like I was using the Loupedeck for the sake of it. When editing a RAW file, it was great, but after that, I really felt no benefit from using it. When editing in Photoshop, you tend to use your mouse or tablet much more.

You can use it for working with curves, but you need to work with the mouse too, and I found it just too clunky. Other things like zoom in and out, which are mapped to knobs, simply do not work as well as using the middle mouse button.

Unlike using it in Lightroom and Capture One, when working in Photoshop, I found myself using it for the sake of it, rather than reaping any real benefit. I do feel that the Loupedeck+ working with more software is good. However, I feel that, in some cases, it just feels like it is added for marketing over actual functionality. 

Loupedeck+ and Premiere

The ability for Loupedeck to work with Premiere was something that I found myself excited to try. I am by no means a power user, but I know my way around Premiere and edit with it enough to consider myself proficient.

Using Loupedeck with Premiere, though, is where things go a little too far for me. When using it to edit a video, it was just too hard for me to remember what all the functions did. It could be due to my lack of time spent in Premiere, but I think it’s more than that. When photo editing, things like exposure, and contrast are the same no matter which program you use. Video editing, however, uses a completely different language.

It is not that you can’t learn how to use Loupedeck with Premiere. I think once you got used to what each button and dial was mapped to, it would really speed things up. However, as someone who uses the software occasionally, I would find it hard to remember the settings for Premiere.

I think the best way to sum it up is that if you are buying a Loupdeck+ solely for Premiere use, you may face a steep learning curve. For me, to have it as a bonus is nice, even though I can’t really see myself using it.

loupedeck+-review

As you can see from the layout above, Loupedeck is not as intuitive in Premiere.

Conclusion

It’s hard to sum up the Loupedeck+.

Some may see this as a gimmick you will buy, only to put it in the cupboard after a few months to gather dust. But that really isn’t how it is. It’s a well-made, high-quality device that really is a time-saver, especially in basic edits.

I use the Loupedeck+ on every edit now. That must say something. It has sped up my editing (it needs to, I am currently behind on editing a wedding and am writing this article rather than doing that). However, I do still find myself reaching for the keyboard or mouse quite often. I think the best way is to give three different outcomes, depending on what software you use.

If you’re a Capture One user like me, you may find it frustrating. It is almost there, close to being great, but then there are silly little things that are really annoying! However, this is in beta testing, which means things are still ironing out. I am sure this is going to improve moving forward. It’s just a question of whether you are willing to pay for something that doesn’t quite work as you would like it to.

If you’re using this on Premiere or Final Cut, you will need to spend some serious time with the manual. It really is not intuitive in the same way it is for photo editing. If you are willing to put in the time, I am sure it will speed up your workflow. I do question how long it would take to get to this point though.

Lastly, Lightroom. This is still what they designed the Loupedeck for. If you are a Lightroom user, I would definitely suggest getting your hands on a Loupedeck+ – It really does make editing much faster. It worked incredibly well in use, and I enjoyed editing in Lightroom. This really is the highest praise I can give it.

However, where this console really shines is for new users. If you are new to editing, I cannot recommend this enough. I wish something like this had existed when I started editing. It makes the process of understanding how tools work so much more organic. Beginners will get a lot out of using a device like this – It just makes editing more intuitive. My wife managed to edit much better than ever before in minutes.

Moving forward, I will continue to use a Loupedeck+ to edit. Maybe it’s just my old ways. Maybe it means I get to pretend I am in a film studio editing suite. Or maybe, it’s something that I never really thought I would want, but now don’t want to stop using.

In all honesty, I think it’s all three.

 

loupedeck+-review

The post Loupedeck+ Review – the Perfect Editing Companion for Lightroom and Premiere? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

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