One of the things you’ve likely seen when looking at product or review pages for lenses is an MTF chart, used by manufacturers to give consumers an idea of how sharp a particular lens is. If you’ve never gotten around to learning how to interpret these charts, here’s a helpful 10-minute video tutorial on the subject. Luminous Landscape and Cambridge in Colour have great tutorials on this as well if you’re more comfortable with text-based tutorials.
Posts Tagged ‘Tutorials’
Photographer Jamie Beck has done quite a bit lately to popularize the “cinemagraph“: Harry Potter-esque photos that are given an extra dimension by adding a dash of animation. If you want to learn how to make your own, Photojojo recently published a great tutorial on how to make them using Photoshop. Photographers Fernando Baez and Christopher Mathew Burt have also published tutorials and some helpful tips.
Image credit: Photograph by Jamie Beck
Here’s yet another awesome Photoshop tutorial by Sean Armenta showing how to use the uber-useful Clone Stamp Tool in Photoshop. He covers not just the basics of the tool, but also various tips and tricks you can use to maximize its usefulness.
(via f stoppers)
Here’s an easy to follow video tutorial by photographer Lucas Ridley teaching you how to create custom bokeh shapes using a construction paper cap placed over your lens. Ridley’s design is flexible, allowing you to swap shapes easily by sliding them in and out of the cap.
Cambridge in Colour is a great photography resource on the web for beginners and advanced photographers alike.
This site has a large number of visual and interactive digital photography tutorials that can help you fill in gaps in your knowledge of digital photography. Articles range from things as basic as “Understanding Depth of Field” to subjects as advanced as “Understanding Diffraction: Pixel Size, Aperture and Airy Disks“. If you’ve never visited this resource, it’s definitely worth a look.
This entry will describe my thought process when editing a portrait, though it could apply to general photos too.
Here’s the original photo I will be working with straight out of camera (i.e. RAW but processed to JPEG without any edits using Adobe Standard for color settings).
My initial reaction is that it’s underexposed on the skin. Then I notice that it’s crooked, but that doesn’t bother me too much in this picture. I also notice that it’s a bit on the cold side. (Read: Check exposure, composition, and white balance. Not necessarily in that order).
So I make some really basic edits. Since I’m not going to crop or rotate (I usually worry about composition first), I increase the exposure until I like where the skin tones are (while making the WB a bit warmer). Sometimes I’ll use fill light or recovery depending on the situation but in this case increasing the exposure was sufficient. In the end, it’s about making the skin look as I want (and harsh change in dynamic range on the skin usually looks bad but it’s not a problem in this picture). The next thing I usually do is to play with the black clipping and contrast until I’m happy. However the contrast in this picture is already to my taste so I didn’t touch anything. Then I sharpen using preset sharpening in LR. I usually don’t change the preset sharpening unless I think it looks bad. So here’s the picture after those edits (hover over to compare):
Now take a look at the following picture. Can you figure out the two things I did to finish it off? (Hover your mouse over it to compare)
The first edit is a bit more obvious than the second. I added a lens correction vignette to the outside. I do this to most of my images and it’s more of a personal taste thing (and to bring the subject out more) than anything else. The second edit is a bit harder to catch, but it’s all in the eyes…
Did you catch it? Look at his eyes. Often for single person portraits, I will do spot editing on the whites of the eyes to make them a bit whiter because they tend to be shaded in soft lighting due to eyebrows/eyelashes/eyelids.
That is all! Of course, this isn’t comprehensive in any way but is just an example of how I typically think and how I thought about this picture.
This article was originally published here.
People often use a shallow depth of field in portraiture to separate a subject from the distracting background, allowing the face (more specifically, the eyes) to be in sharp focus while the background is blurred. Instead of doing this, sometimes I enjoy focusing on something closer towards me, putting the subject’s face out of focus instead and drawing the viewers attention to something else. Here are some examples:
Even if what you choose to focus on does not have any meaning or significance, it can still make the photograph much more interesting than if everything were in focus.
Here I blurred the face enough to bring attention to what I want the viewer to focus on, but not so much that the viewer cannot tell who the subject is or what the facial expressions are.
Combine the shallow depth of field with interesting angles and creative framing to spice up the portrait even more.
Using a shallow depth of field can help you communicate something about a person in a unique way. My friend Joseph often fell asleep on the floor of my room during long undergraduate nights. Here I chose to focus on his hand while telling the story in the blurred background.
Here I tried to make the photograph more interesting by combining a shallow depth of field, a unique angle, and a wide-angle lens.
How to Take This Type of Photograph
The main technique for taking this kind of photograph is to focus on something and then recompose the photograph before taking the picture. The two main factors that will affect how blurred the background are relative distance and the aperture.
For relative distance, the closer you move in toward what you’re focused on, the more blurred the things in the background (i.e. the face) will be. Thus, you might need to get in very close to the point you’re focusing on in order to throw the subject’s face out of focus, and doing this might require a wide angle lens.
Also, the larger your aperture is (lower f-number) the more blurred the background will become, so to achieve maximum blur you should use the lowest f-number your lens allows.
If you have any other suggestions, tips, or examples regarding this technique, leave a comment and share!