Converting to Mono

August 4th, 2010 by Richard Peters

This week we're running a series of Workflow Tips by pro photographer Richard Peters.  Check back each day for a new tip!

The perfect mono conversion…its so subjective and down to personal taste does it even exist? Here is my quick 3 step process to having a go.

Before and after mono conversion

Before and after mono conversion

Desaturate? Channel Mixer? Greyscale?

Of course there are many different ways to do a mono conversion and none of them are right or wrong. Some of you may have better or faster ways but this is the way that seems to give me the most pleasing results in a reasonable amount of time, especially for portraits.

Selective sharpening

August 3rd, 2010 by Richard Peters

This week we're running a series of workflow tips by pro photographer Richard Peters.  Check back each day for a new tip!

Another of my quick processing techniques, sharpening for web sized images. Whenever you re-size an image for the web you’ll find it looks a tad soft (if you think your images don’t, apply some sharpening and see how they suddenly seem to pop from the screen more than before), it’s easy to get back that nice crisp, clear look though. As usual there are many ways of doing it…I keep it nice and simple as this article below will show.


No sharpening and selective sharpening

Whilst the image above looks quite sharp to start with, I wanted the fine feather detail and head area to stand out just that little bit more, and this is how I did it. Remember, sharpening should always be the LAST step in your processing!

Quick and Easy Canvas Extension

August 2nd, 2010 by Richard Peters

This week we're running a series of workflow tips by pro photographer Richard Peters.  Check back each day for a new tip!

Ever had one of those shots that ‘almost’ worked but the framing was just off? Or you wanted to clone out a small distraction near the edge of the frame but there was too much detail to try and match with the clone stamp? Well here is a very quick and neat way to add in some extra canvas, and fill it with original picture information so it matches the rest of the image perfectly. It takes 30 seconds and requires no fiddling with the clone stamp and paint brush – which also makes this technique ideal for Photoshop beginners as well as more advanced users.

Before and After canvas extension

Before and After canvas extension

Ok, so the base image I am using for this demonstration is a little tight in the frame but it’s nice enough and serves as a good image to do this quick tutorial with. It’s a simple duck swimming across the water, however, I ran out of room to pan and so caught the duck too far to the right of frame so the composition isn’t ideal. The image would of course look better if the duck had a little more room in front of it than behind. The way a lot of people would tackle this is to extend the canvas and use the clone stamp and paint brush to try and put some detail back in the shot. This method is fine if you only want to touch up a plain area, but, as soon as you start needing to add in area’s that have some detail or a variation in light/colour change etc…well, things can start to get fiddly and time consuming as you try to match the old canvas with the new…but without having duplicate area’s of detail or patches of light and dark that don’t flow together well – the tell tell sign of a rushed clone job.

With this image there are some texture/ripples in the water and although they are quite simple I don’t really want to have to spend time trying to clone them. So, let’s see how I quickly gave the duck a little more space to swim

Jump Into Creative Outdoor Lighting

July 30th, 2010 by Rick Sammon

Here’s the first installment in a series I plan to post on quick lighting tips. Let us know if you want to see more stuff on lighting –  indoors and out.

These pictures were taken by Vered Koshlano, the co-author of my book, Studio and On-Location Lighting Secrets.

In the top photograph, a remote flash, mounted on a stand and placed in an octodome softbox, was used to freeze the action of the model jumping. Compare the contrast and detail in that image to the second image. That image looks flat, because the day was overcast, and overcast days produce flat lighting.

Is there a future for the solo nature photographer or photojournalist?

July 29th, 2010 by Jerry Monkman
Rock climbers on Cathedral Ledge.

A couple rock climbing near the top of Cathedral Ledge. Echo Lake State Park in North Conway, New Hampshire. White Mountains.

This last April I attended the American Society of Picture Professionals’ reinvention weekend in Boston, and the major theme was finding ways for those working in the picture industry to keep working while the landscape of the industry is rapidly changing.  Both stock and assignment prices have been deteriorating for years, if not decades, challenging both stock agencies and photographers to change business tactics in order to survive.  It’s no secret what is causing the decline in prices – digital technology. To some extent, digital cameras have leveled the playing field on the content creation side of things.  More importantly, digital distribution has drastically reduced the cost of selling images.  On the stock side of the business, digital distribution (first in the form of royalty-free CDs, then with the advent of microstock) has enabled stock companies to be profitable without charging large rights-managed fees as the administrative costs of managing a large stock library have been drastically reduced due to digital image management and distribution.  Lower stock prices have also led to lower assignment fees, both on the commercial and editorial side of the business, though to a greater extent in the editorial world, as newspapers and magazines are downsizing and going out of business.

See the Light – Capture the Light

July 28th, 2010 by Rick Sammon


Here is a very quick tip: See the light.

Look for the direction of light (above: back light), the contrast range in a scene (above: medium), and the color of light (above: warm).

In the opening shot for this post, back light, which created beautiful rim light, makes the shot more than snapshot. The back light also adds a sense of depth to the image, much like a background light adds a sense of depth to a portrait.

Beginners Guide: Basic Photoshop shortcuts [video]

July 23rd, 2010 by Richard Peters

If there is one thing I like, it’s to spend more time taking my photo’s than editing them. Of course some degree of processing IS part of the workflow that can’t be avoided…but…you can decrease your time sat in front of the PC by using a few keyboard shortcuts to speed up your Photoshop operation. And what better way to fully show these in operation than a video tutorial!

Less Is More
I try not to do too much editing to my images, with the thought process that if an image requires too much work to get it looking good, I should just go and shoot it again. However when using Photoshop, one of the things that I quickly learned was this…shortcuts make editing a much faster process. There are however MANY to be learned, so I thought I’d go back to basics with a video to show a few of the more commonly used ones as a beginners guide. They may be simple, but once learned, I guarantee they will speed up your editing.

Further down you can see a brief list of what is covered in the video for quick reference. However do check out the video to see examples of them in action, as well as a couple of extra tips that show examples of how you can really use them to your advantage.

In a nutshell
The video above talks about and demonstrates the following basic functions amongst other tips:

B to select the paintbrush
S to select the clone stamp
C to select the crop tool

2011 Workshop Dates

July 21st, 2010 by Alan Murphy

I now have my 2011 workshops dates available.
I will be doing them at the Casa Santa Ana in South Texas. This is a beautiful B & B with grounds that back up to the Santa Ana National Wildlife refuge. It is about 20 mins from McAllen.
We will be spending 3 mornings at the feeder setups, [...]

Photographer Spotlight – Rick Sammon

July 16th, 2010 by Chris Klapheke

From books, to iPhone apps, to podcasts, Facebook and Twitter, Rick Sammon is everywhere.  A Canon Explorer of Light, Rick is also everyman’s photographer.  One of Rick’s basic photography tenets is that he “Specializes in not specializing”.

When we talked to Rick for this article, his opening comment to us was “I never thought, in 1969, when I was 19 and dancing naked in the mud at Woodstock, I’d have 36 books and a bunch of iPhone and iPad apps”.  We knew we were in for a good story.

After Woodstock, Rick attended the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, receiving his formal education in Arrangement and Composition.  He wanted to play jazz, and play he did.  Late night shows and jam sessions over the next few years left him plenty of free day time, so to stir his creative juices, he began shooting images and submitting them to publications.


In 1978 Rick submitted an image and article to Studio Photography Magazine.  On this first submission, the magazine invited him to be their editor.  Rick traded in one keyboard for another, and entered the publication world.

The Dumb Luck Shot

July 15th, 2010 by Rick Sammon

Much as been written on the web about waiting years and years for all the elements in a scene to come together for a “once-in-a-lifetime shot.”

That’s all well and good, and sometimes it’s true.

But sometimes a good shot is just dumb luck. Here is an example.

In the above photograph, the five subjects are completely isolated, the side lighting is wonderful, the reflection is perfect, the background is effective in adding to the “sense of place” of the image, the dog adds an extra element of interest, and the exposure is good.