A hankering after being able to create landscape panoramas but without the necessary panoramic camera led me to begin by cropping my medium format transparencies then, when I moved from film to digital, to using Photoshop to stitch a series of images together. In this book I describe the use of both Photoshop and Lightroom.
It is available at http://tinyurl.com/ofbqeeg and is priced at
$US1-99. It is formatted for most tablet readers, including Kindle, and also for reading on your computer.
Photographers’ Introduction to Boudoir Photography has just been published on Smashwords and Kindle. Until 15th March it is available at just 99 cents. Then it will revert to $2-99 so get in quick and use the coupon code at Smashwords of MC65U If buying the Kindle edition from Amazon no code is required.
Not long ago I was looking at one of the portrait pictures I had made when shooting on film in a Mamiya C33 camera many years ago and rued the fact that I had not opened up the aperture enough to reduce the depth of field and so blur the background. The result was that the background was just too sharp and so tended to take the eye away from the sitter. To my mind, it destroyed what was a good image of the model.
In film days, that meant that the transparency was all but useless; today, we have Photoshop. So I scanned the transparency and began my experiments with what I thought was the most likely way to achieve the result I was after — to tone down the background by blurring it but to leave the model sharp.
I opened the scanned file and made a duplicate layer. From the Filters drop down menu I selected Blur>Gaussian Blur and played with the slider until I had the background as I wanted it. Of course, this adjustment did not only apply to the background but it blurred the whole image. I then made a Layer Mask (if the Layers dialogue box is not already open, select ‘Layers’ from the Windows drop-down menu at the top of the screen, then click on the grey square with a white circle in it at the bottom of the Layers dialogue box) and inverted it by clicking on it and then clicking Control ‘I’ so that it wiped out the adjustment I had just made and the unadjusted image re-appeared. I made sure that the white square was on top at the bottom of the Tools menu and selected the Brush Tool, adjusted the size to suit and began brushing over the background so that the blurred adjustment began to show through. I had the brush set to 25% so that I could maintain a fine control over the brushing. This approach did work but, having used Photoshop since version 1, I knew that there were always several methods to achieve a result so I began searching through my photographic library and soon found some answers.
More ways of improving your portrait pictures can be found in my e-book in formats for tablet readers and your computer.
Colour film did not kill black and white photography nor has digital. We may live in a colourful world but many of the great images that grace walls both small and large are those devoid of colour. And, among the photographer fraternity there is still a large number of Black and White Enthusiasts. Some of those continue to shoot on film but there are many who are happy to have embraced the new technology and use it to produce their stunning black and white images. In my case, I am not concerned at how the image has been captured or even whether the print was made in the traditional darkroom or on a digital printer. To me, it is the final result that matters and my new e-book, The Black and White Enthusiast, is intended to show how, after many experiments, I have chosen to produce my prints in this digital age. My way is not the only way but it is one that works for me and, maybe, it will work for you.
When I started making images of birds they were either on the ground or perched in a tree or on a man-made structure. Which was all very well but birds are meant to fly — most of them anyway.
So, I began to point my lens towards the sky to try to capture birds in their element. The result? Some great pictures of blue sky and occasionally clouds. Of birds there was the occasional wing or tail tip but no whole bird. This was not going to be easy.
As Guy Edwardes, an expert nature photographer says in his book, 100 Ways to Take Better Nature and Wildlife Photographs (David and Charles ISBN 978-0-7153-3149-1), “One of the most challenging techniques to master in wildlife photography is photographing birds in flight”.
As I found out! Not only is there the problem of keeping the bird in the frame but it has to be kept in focus and with fast flying birds that is quite a problem. I soon gave up on trying to capture a flying swallow — they are just too fast and change direction too quickly and too often. Many of my blue sky pictures were meant to be a flying swallow!
If you want to capture birds on the wing, my e-book which details my learning curve may help you achieve your ambition. (Note: if you have my e-book Starting Nature Photography don’t buy this one as the details in it are already included in the book you have) If you don’t have the Nature e-book then either buy it or the one pictured here!
You can get it from Smashwords for most tablet readers here
Even in the digital age with no film and processing costs, photography is not cheap. When you take into account the camera, lenses, computers, software, printers, paper, inks and all the upgrades that seem to occur regularly to tempt you to spend more money to get the latest super outfit which will be superseded within months, it appears that it gulps money.
So, how can you recoup some of this outlay? What can you do with all those great pictures that fill your files? They must be worth something.
Well, as somebody who over the years has had a go at many projects designed to earn money with my photography let me suggest a way that can produce cash from your camera. Why not use your pictures to produce what I classify generally as souvenir products for your local area? I include in this category such things as postcards, greeting cards, calendars, notecards, bookmarks, and posters.
In this book, I shall take each category and explain how I go about making them, the software I use with suggested alternatives, and the materials.
How to rid yourself of the ‘sun over your shoulder’ mantra and add the wow factor to your pictures by shooting into the light. How to calculate exposure, look for subjects, avoid flare, make silhouettes and make your people subjects comfortable. Many examples of images included.
A black and white duotone of the Thredbo River not far from where I live. If you haven’t tried duotone in Photoshop, there is a chapter on doing it in my e-book Black and White Photography in the Digital Age.