What’s the Difference Between Lightroom’s Exposure and Brightness Settings?

June 29th, 2011 by Bret Edge

Lightroom (and Adobe Camera Raw) are generally very user friendly and certainly don’t require as much time and effort to learn as Photoshop.  However, some of the controls have ambiguous names.  Today I will de-mystify the Exposure and Brightness controls.

I’m often asked by guided clients and workshop participants what is the difference between the Exposure and Brightness settings.  Here’s my take on it:

Moving the “Exposure” slider to the right increases the overall brightness of an image, impacting brighter tones the most.  Moving it to the left decreases the overall brightness while again impacting brighter tones first.

Adjusting the “Brightness” slider primarily effects mid-tones within an image.  Moving it left will darken the overall image, with most of the effect being visible in mid-tone areas.  Moving the “Brightness” slider to the right will lighten the overall image, with most of the effect visible in the mid-tones.

Where’s Fuzzy?

June 28th, 2011 by John Batdorff

The eggs in the flower box

I’ve lived in Chicago for nearly 11 years now and I’ve come to appreciate the little surprises the city has to offer this small town boy. But, last week things took me by surprise.

I wasn’t thrown off by the $4.75 a gallon gas at the local gas station last week. Nor was I surprised when I was in downtown Chicago visiting with my sister and her Girl Scout troop when 3,000+ NUDE cyclists rode down Michigan Avenue protesting the use of fossil fuels. Sure, that one took me wee bit longer to explain to my daughter than the $4.75 gas. But nude people and high gas seem like a normal day here in Chicago.

Instead, what took me by surprise was when I went to water our flower boxes on the back deck and found our poppies had been torn out and replaced with four jumbo sized eggs!

We left the nest alone over the weekend the culprit finally made herself known…a female Mallard duck. I’ve seen a lot in the city but I have yet to deal with this — especially on my watch!

The culprit — a female Mallard duck

Rogue 3-in-1 Grid Review!

June 27th, 2011 by John Adkins

ExpoImaging has come out with a cool new modifier for speedlights called the Rogue 3-in-1 Grid.  These are the same guys that brought us the Rogue Flash Benders for speedlights which are essentially snoots, gobos, bounce cards and flags all rolled in to one customizable shaped modifier.  For photographers who like to pack light, you can't beat the small size and portability of this latest series of flash modifiers.

The Rogue Grid is a really nice system because it has three different grid sizes in one small package.  These grids come in 45 degrees, 25 degrees and 16 degrees spreads that have a somewhat soft-ish fall off to the edges, unlike using a snoot.  This system comes with the two grids (stacking them makes the third grid), the grid holder and a cool little bag to carry the system in.

Photo Tips – Shooting from a Kayak

June 24th, 2011 by Jerry Monkman
The bow of a kayak and moored sailboats at sunrise in Portsmouth Harbor in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Jerry and Marcy Monkman)

Sometime you want to take pictures without your feet on the ground. Here are some tips for keeping your gear safe while shooting from a kayak.  In this video, New Hampshire based conservation photographer Jerry Monkman explains how to keep your camera gear safe while shooting from a kayak.

Check out Jerry's fall Cape Cod workshop here:  Eco Photography

Zoom, Twirl and a Pinch

June 23rd, 2011 by Denise Ippolito




Twirl and Pinch

Image © 2011/Denise Ippolito Photography

To create the look above I started with an image of very small little flowers. I liked the mix of green and pinks but the base image felt weak to me. I decided to add a zoom blur in Photoshop combined with the twirl and pinch filter both found in Photoshop. I used a series of layer masks to keep the center flower in focus. Re-cropped my image placing the flower off center.

To learn more about this technique and others , check out my current eBook “A Guide to Creative Filters and Effects” in the OPG Store.

Check out Denise's website at www.deniseippolito.com



Photo Safari in Tanzania – Andy Biggs Video

June 22nd, 2011 by Matt Dennison

If you’ve never been on a photo safari in Tanzania, you’ll get a taste of one by watching this video. Andy Biggs of Gura Gear fame shows us travel, accommodations, relaxation and wildlife in this video of a typical photo safari.

You’ll want to go, or go back, after watching this video. Thanks Andy!


So You Want To Be A Pro Nature Photographer

June 20th, 2011 by Mike Moats

I see many times people posting interest in taking their hobby of nature photographer to the pro level. Myself and I’m sure other pros have people that contact them asking for advice on what it takes to make a living in this field. My response is that from my experience it’s a seven day work week and can be tough on your family life. I work about forty weekends a year so any family birthdays, holidays, christenings, father and mothers days, sports, concerts, etc, are many times missed.  This is much like the entertainment world, pro athletes, traveling salesman, or any other profession that requires you to be on the road many days a year.



Nature photography is one of the toughest fields of photography to make a living in. I’ve found that for me being diversified is the key to making it. Having multiple streams of income keeps the money flowing. Those streams all take a lot of time to keep them flowing.

Marketing is number one, nobody knows you’re alive and in business unless you tell them. Shameless self promotion is something you have to get used to and you need to be the type of person that doesn’t mind this type of marketing as some would consider this bragging about yourself, but it’s just getting the word out that you’re in business and having some success at what you’re doing.

Kwik Camo Video Overview

June 17th, 2011 by Matt Dennison

Check out one of our favorite products in action! The Kwik Camo Portable Blind covers you and your equipment so you can get that crucial shot. Thanks to Juan Pons for the camera work and editing!

Check out all the models of the Kwik Camo in the store here: Kwik Camo

15 Great Photography Gifts for Father’s Day

June 16th, 2011 by John Batdorff

Dad showing off his Black Rapid Sports Strap

I’ve been scrambling for a Father’s day gift, so I put a call into Chris, my good friend and owner of Outdoor Photo Gear for some suggestions. I know shopping for dad can be tricky, so I put together a list combining of a few of my own ideas and those that Chris recommended. I hope they help…

Under $20.00

Hoodman LCD Protector– A great way to protect your LCD from scratches, dust, etc. I just replaced mine yesterday.

Spudz Micro Fiber cleaning clothes–  These are great to attach to your camera bag so that you have them at all time.

PowerPax SlimLine 6 AAA Battery Caddy (Chris’s Pick)– Keep all those loose batteries under control with a battery caddy.  This is a very inexpensive gift for the neat freak in your house.

Lenspen-  This is a handy tool for cleaning dust and smudges off your lens.

Think Tank’s Pee Wee Pocket Rocket–  This is a great way to organize your flash cards, and I like the clip on strap so that I can secure them to my bag.

Scott Kelby’s Photo Recipes Live: Behind the Scenes: Your Guide to Today’s Most Popular Lighting Techniques. This is a great iPad app, but I will warn you, it’s a large file and will take a little bit of time to download, but for $9.99 it’s worth it.

A Photographer’s Wife

June 14th, 2011 by Mike Moats

Here’s a great post that was on NaturePhotographers.net the other day, and thought you all would like reading it. Thanks Michele for this great insight as a photographer’s wife.  Just in time for Father's Day!

A Photographer’s Wife 
by Michelle Blanchard

  • Yes. I know not all photographers are men. But, being that my husband is one, I’ve learned that a photographer’s wife:
  • Knows that a “going for a walk” really means “stand for long, long periods in one spot”.
  • Becomes accustomed to seeing her husband lay on his belly in public places.
  • Knows that ‘the light’s gone’ doesn’t mean it’s dark.
  • Has learned that photography involves expensive gadgets which break, are easily lost, and are used only once in a very great while.
  • Has learned that photographic equipment multiplies and eventually fills up what used to be the guest bedroom.
  • Is resigned to the fact that camera manufacturers build obsolescence into each piece of equipment, and that after a year of use, the equipment needs to be replaced.
  • Never has to wonder what to get her husband for Christmas and birthdays.
  • Understands that when they board a plane, her bags will be checked, not his camera backpack.
  • Wisely refuses to carry that backpack.
  • Has learned that making statements like “watch your settings” and “did you charge the battery?” aren’t considered nagging.
  • Has learned that, no matter how many photos he takes, she will never see more than one or two.
  • Has learned that, “Okay, here we go” is always followed up with “Oh, wait”.
  • Has learned to check all his pockets for memory cards before washing his clothes.
  • Knows that “blowing out the whites” doesn’t involve explosions or Caucasians.
  • Cannot get her husband to sit still for a family portrait.