Digital cameras these days are getting very clever at adjusting for white balance, but they are still not perfect.
Making sure that you have the right white balance set for each photo you take is going to give you better results. If your photos are looking too blue, too yellow, maybe too green you’ve got to sort your white balance out. Every light source effects white balance differently, a fluorescent light inside will effect your white balance differently than a sunny day outside.
My advice is to shoot on raw if your camera has the ability, leave your white balance set to auto and then adjust it in Photoshop, Lightroom, or whatever post processing application you like best after you have taken the photo. That means you will never have to worry about adjusting your camera white balance while you are out in the field.
I love the tilt shift effect. I shot this from my hotel room on the Gold Coast using my new FujiFilm X-T1 (review will come soon) and then I used Adobe Photoshop Tilt Shift filter.
Join a camera club. There are plenty of camera clubs online, and there’s also plenty of physical clubs around as well. Joining a camera club or getting online onto a camera forum that has other members, you can share your ideas, you can take photos and have them critiqued, you can enter your photography into competitions.
You’ll be able to see how people use their equipment. Joining a camera club or being online in some sort of club is the best way for you to accelerate your learning. There are courses out there of course that you can take, but short of that just find something you can get involved with so that you can learn from other people’s mistakes, and their successes as well.
I don’t often give you an insight into the before and after of a shot. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s magician like thinking, you know, how they never show you how a trick is done. In some ways though, it’s good for you to see a finished photo and then the before photo so you can see what retouching was done. This particular before and after I processed today. I was thinking how nice it would be to be out looking for fungi, it’s been raining all weekend and this can only mean one thing, and that is that the fungi is going to be popping up everywhere!
I went through my Tasmania Lightroom Catalogue and found another composition of this rare blue fungi and thought I would process it for you, and then show you what it looked like before the final clean up. Of course, I had already made adjustments to colour and cropping, a little bit of sharpening and a tweak here and there!
My final thing is to get rid of any distracting elements that do not add any value to the image. I use a set of tweezers when I am there, and remove as much as possible, but sometimes it is easier to take these little annoying bits out in post production.
The Before and After will cycle through every 2 seconds or you can control the image with the arrows on the left and right of the image (They will appear when you hover you mouse over the image). Let me know your thoughts in the comments, thanks!
I know it can be frustrating when you take a photo, and its blurry or over exposed, maybe something else ruined it for you… so you delete it.
If you’re keen on improving your photography skills I think you should look at your bad photos and study them. Try to figure out what went wrong. If you’ve got a blurry photo, look at things like ISO, look at shutter speed, at aperture to try and work out what happened. Was it on a tripod? Did I move? Was the shutter speed less than the focal length? These are all the type of things you should look for when your photos go wrong to try and figure out what happened.
Instead of deleting them all off of your camera, have a look at them and try to figure out what went wrong. Was the composure wrong, maybe the exposure, what is it that I could have improved? Learn from your mistakes!
I think this famous quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson sums it up! “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” Get those out of the way as quick as you can!
Can you find it? Before I headed off to Tassie I decided to get myself a Macro Lens. I had owned one before but hardly used it, and really wasn’t sure on how to! Doing my research I learnt that the Tasmanian rainforest can be abundant with fungi of all shapes and sizes so I decided I would try my hand at some macro fungi shots. It was fun, slowly walking through the forest, eyes scanning the forest floor for interesting fungi to photograph. This one was amazingly small, and it wasn’t until I had it at 100% on my monitor that I realised I had a tiny spider posing for the shot!
This photography tip is sort of related to tip number one, understanding exposure, but I’m going to give you a couple tips about understanding aperture. Aperture is a fantastic tool for creativity. I shoot a lot of my images in Aperture Priority, in fact 90% of the time my camera is in this mode. I will adjust the aperture based on what it is I want in the image.
For example a large aperture, (a low f-number) is great for isolating a subject. If I’m shooting a portrait of somebody I would use a large aperture. One of the effects of a large aperture is the reduction in the depth of field, the larger the aperture, (the lower the f-number), the smaller the depth of field. Once your subject is in focus, your subject will be nice and crisp and sharp, but your background will be out of focus, it will be blurry which makes the subject stand out (this blur is known as BOKEH). A large aperture is sometimes referred to as a ‘Wide’ Aperture.
On the other hand, If I’m shooting landscape and I want everything in focus then I will go for a smaller aperture (higher f-number, narrower aperture), so I might shoot at an F11 to try and get everything in focus in my image. By understanding how to use aperture you can start to be more creative in your photography.
Here’s another from my trip to the old tram shed in Loftus. This was one of the old buses they had. I remember riding on these buses as a kid. I love these locations because they really work well with HDR.
One of the things that I’ve heard a lot in photography is that some people don’t like post processing. There are some people that think that you’re better at photography if you don’t have to post process your image. I think that’s absolute rubbish.
I think it’s almost essential to post process your images. Post processing has been around for a long time and there were plenty of photographers before the digital age that were post processing their images. It was called dodging and burning. In fact a very famous photographer by the name of Ansel Adams who did landscape photography. He had an 11 zone model that he used to use. Using his 11 Zone system He would work out the ‘perfect exposure’ then take his photo knowing he could dodge and burn the highlights and shadows to give more of an even exposure across his frame.
Post processing is completely normal. Even in the old film days they were pulling and pushing exposures, making colors more vibrant. They developed films that were more saturated. The Velvia 50 was a very famous film for landscape photographers because it was more saturated. Velvia created another film that was ideal for portraits, once again the skin tones were more natural. They’ve been doing whatever they can to manipulate photos for many many years. I think in the digital age we need to embrace the technology, and post process to our hearts content.
There are some great programs out there, Lightroom by Adobe is awesome, of course they have Photoshop which is very well known as an application that photographers have used for many many years. I think at the very minimum you should always shoot raw when you select your file type, and then you should be adjusting colors, adjusting contrast and adjusting sharpness. Don’t be afraid to try some of the different presets in these programs.
Remember, at the end of the day it’s your photo, your artwork. It doesn’t need to be what somebody else thinks it needs to be, make an image the way you want, that would make you happy.
You asked for it! I while back I asked what you wanted me to show you and that led to me making a series of short but informative vids showing you tips and tricks in post processing your images. Here’s a quick video showing you how to add a vignette to your images in Photoshop.
Here’s another shot form my trip to the old Tram Shed. Even though I am calling it the Tram Shed, there were a few busses in there too and it was so dark in this corner of the shed that I had to take several very long exposures to create this HDR image. This is one of those times when post processing you image is a necessity and HDR is almost the only way you’re going to get a decent exposure. If you want to learn how to create your very own HDR images CLICK HERE for my free tutorial.
Ps. Remember, you can click on any image to see it bigger!