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Playing With White Balance To Create Interesting Images

Playing With White Balance To Create Interesting Images

You don’t always have to play by the rules when you’re taking your photos.

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We all aspire to get the correct colour rendition and it is very important, especially with shooting JPEGs, but sometimes it is really fun to shoot with the wrong preset and get weird colours. If you shoot Raw, you can do this afterwards on the computer. 

 

Creative white balance

Gear Suggestions:

A camera where you can adjust the white balance makes life easier. This could be a DSLR or compact which has various white balance settings, including custom white balance if none of the presets give you the look you’re after.

Once you’ve found the camera’s white-balance control, take a look at your manual if you’re unsure where the white balance options are, do try the various settings on offer as each one will give a slightly different look to your image. Most cameras have the following white balance settings: auto, cloudy, daylight, incandescent, fluorescent and flash.

 

Technique:

Much of this is you playing with the various presets – or in Photoshop afterwards.

One of the most obvious is shooting with the incandescent setting in daylight to give blue-coloured images. In film days, fashion pros used to use tungsten-balanced colour film in daylight. With digital, you can try this without risking anything and if the effect looks wrong, switch back to auto white-balance and try something else.

Most cameras have the option of using Kelvin. You could set a low value and shoot in normal daylight. The effect can be very pronounced and will enhance the mood of suitable scenes. There is no right or wrong when it comes to experimenting.

 

Guitar

Photo by Peter Bargh, edited in Lightroom.

 

Play with RAW files on your PC

If you have Raw files, you can play with white balance without leaving the computer. Just put the file through the Raw converter again and try a different preset. It is simple to do and because it is Raw processing is non-destructive so you can always go back to the original colour images.

It is worth saying that if you play with white balance in-camera and are shooting JPEGs, the result is more or less what you are stuck with and there is only a limited amount that you can salvage afterwards.

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How to Create a Home Portrait Setup for Under $20

How to Create a Home Portrait Setup for Under $20

If you want to practice portraits at home, but don’t want to spend a fortune on peripherals for a home studio, this is for you.

You can do a lot with a little, when it comes to photography — we know this. But still, people don’t necessarily appreciate just how much you can do without spending much money. Yes, you’ll need a camera, but your phone could do, and don’t be embarrassed if that’s the case. Once you’ve got that, the budget is really going on some sort of backdrop, but you could even work around this. In this video, Adorama uses a 5-in-1 reflector as a backdrop which is something I’ve done several times. However, you can substitute in really anything, depending on what you’re going for. If you have any black felt, or even better, crushed velvet, you can go for that low-key look. Then, for light, this video is opting for all natural.

A doorway is the light “source” of choice, and it’s not a bad one either. The most common approach is a window — the bigger the better — and setting up in front of that. However, if you can find a doorway that leads to the outside, with a hallway inside, you could be perfectly situated to create some surprisingly great portraits.

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Loupedeck Collaboration With Adobe To Create Photoshop Plug-In

Loupedeck Collaboration With Adobe To Create Photoshop Plug-In

Loupedeck CT
 

Loupedeck has created a new plugin for Adobe Photoshop via Adobe’s Unified Extensibility Platform (UXP) and it is designed to provide an enhanced editing experience with Loupedeck CT and Loupedeck Live.

The new Loupedeck plugin is now available in the plugin marketplace found in the Adobe Creative Cloud desktop application across all regions, at no additional cost to Loupedeck users.

Users of the new Loupedeck plugin for Photoshop will experience faster overall performance, as well as feature improvements like:

  • Ability to add adjustment layers and control their corresponding parameters with dials and/or wheel
  • Reset functionality for individual adjustment parameters
  • Intuitive control over Font settings
  • Quickly scroll through and view history panel with dial and/or wheel
  • Increased control over Curves, including the ability to adjust colour channel curves separately and control curve points
  • Smoother control over Brush settings and Zoom In/Out functions
  • Streamline workflow by combining Photoshop actions into macros within the Loupedeck software
  • Full control over Layer Properties
  • Ability to control Quick Actions (e.g. select object, remove background) introduced in Photoshop in 2020
  • Better performance for Camera Raw

The Loupedeck Creative Tools are available for purchase now and feature native integrations with Adobe Lightroom Classic, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Audition, Ableton Live and Streamlabs.

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Photographer Uses Her Dad’s Slides to Create a Touching Visual Tribute

Photographer Uses Her Dad's Slides to Create a Touching Visual Tribute

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Photographer Catherine Panebianco—previously featured here—recently published a beautiful new photo project titled No Memory is Ever Alone that pays tribute to her father by using his old slides to bring a piece of his past into her present.

The project is a twist on the “then and now” style images that you’ve no doubt seen before. Most such ideas use historical images, blending them into the modern scene to show how much things have changed since, say, World War II. But Panebianco’s series takes its “then” material from a far more personal source: an old box of her father’s slides.

No Memory is Ever Alone is a visual conversation between my dad and I,” she explains on her website. “He used to bring out a box of slides that he photographed in his late teens and early 20s every Christmas and made us view them on an old projector on our living room wall telling the same stories every year. It was a consistent memory from a childhood where we moved a lot and I never felt like I had a steady ‘place’ to live and create memories.”

By placing these same slides into her current landscape, she’s created a “trail of memories, each [with] its own association for both of us.”

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As Panebianco explains in her artist statement for this series, the project served as a source of connection with both of her parents—she was using her father’s slides, many of which showed her mother, his wife of 60 years, who recently passed away.

The photos act as tribute to them, and comfort for her. As she painstakingly sought out the perfect location, the vignettes she created helped her feel that her mother was watching over her, helping to “create a ‘home’ for me wherever I go.”

She concludes:

I did not want to Photoshop that connection. Part of the process that was necessary for me was to find the right location and feel my dad’s slides united with how I live today—a place within a place, a memory within a memory.

To see the full series, click here. And if you want to explore more of her work, you can visit her website or follow her on Instagram.

(via Colossal via DIY Photography)


Image credits: All photos by Catherine Panebianco and used with permission.

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How to Create Flattering Portraits in Harsh Sunlight

How to Create Flattering Portraits in Harsh Sunlight

When you think of lighting for portraits in a flattering way, you probably do not immediately gravitate toward the harsh contrast of midday sun. However, you might be surprised by just what you can accomplish when shooting in the midday sun, and this great video tutorial will give you three helpful tips for creating better images with it. 

Coming to you from Lindsay Adler Photography, this awesome video tutorial will show you three helpful tips for creating better portraits when working with midday sun. Photographers often avoid this sort of light because it creates harsh contrast, but one great way to get around that is to simply diffuse it using a 5-in-1 reflector. This allows you to turn the sun into a soft and flattering, but still plentiful light source. On the other hand, you can simply embrace the hard light. Sure, it creates very different images than soft light, but on the other hand, that look can be just as good depending on the application. Check out the video above for the full rundown.

And if you would like to learn more about lighting portraits, be sure to check out “Illuminating The Face: Lighting for Headshots and Portraits With Peter Hurley!”

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BBC and Getty Images Partner to Create a More Diverse Library of Family Images

BBC and Getty Images Partner to Create a More Diverse Library of Family Images

The BBC and Getty Images are combining forces to create and curate a library of images and videos of children and families around the U.K. to better reflect diversity in the population.

The BBC Kids Collection, as it is to be known, will be a library of media with the sole focus being to better represent ethic minorities in the U.K. Miranda Wayland, BBC’s Head of Creative Diversity, said: “We know the crucial role the media plays in shaping children’s view of themselves and the world around them, it is therefore vital that we all get it right.”

Over the last few decades, an awareness for the lack of diversity in marketing and media has resulted in some strides being made in ensuring that representation in media is closer to the minority representation of the populace. One area that has perhaps not kept up — though criticism hasn’t been quite as widespread — is stock photography and videography. Stock websites, like the industry leader Getty Images, become a primary source of media for everything from marketing and advertising, through to news and presentations, and so a library that aims to be better balanced on diversity will likely be welcomed, and could lead to further initiatives that focus on areas outside of the family.

To be eligible for a grant of £250 to £1,000, successful applicants will be looking to create inclusive stories, images, and videos of Minority-Ethnic families across the U.K. Though it is worth noting that it is preferred that the photographers live within the communities they are photographing. Dr. Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insight at Getty Images, said: “To ensure the library encompasses a broad range of life experiences captured as true-to-life as possible we are looking for photographers who live within the communities they want to photograph.

Is a lack of diversity in stock imagery something you were aware of? Could you aid in balancing representation?

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How Can You Create a Warm and Cinematic Look in Lightroom?

How Can You Create a Warm and Cinematic Look in Lightroom?

Have you ever wondered how portrait and family photographers get those wonderfully rich cinematic tones in Lightroom? Check out this video for a few simple but effective methods.

In this video, Pye Jirsa from SLR Lounge has teamed up with Adorama to show us how to create a warm mood from a well-shot, daylight-balanced raw image. Because it was shot around about midday, the tones are quite cool and relatively unwelcoming. Not at all unpleasant, but due to the nature of the subject — a father and daughter sharing a happy, candid moment — a warmer tone would certainly help the overall feel. And with a few extra tweaks, it can also help to draw the viewer’s eye towards the pair, who were placed in the far corner of the photo.

One of the most important things to take away from this — especially if you’re a beginner to portrait photography — is that Jirsa starts off with a well-composed and well-lit image. Getting it right in camera is something that is repeated ad-nauseam and for good reason. Regardless of how powerful cameras and raw processors are these days, nothing can fix a poorly lit and composed image. Once you have that keeper of an image, though, the Lightroom techniques described in this video can really help to create something that little bit extra special so that it stands out from the crowd.

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How to Create a Dramatic Effect in Your Landscape Photography by Using Light Painting

How to Create a Dramatic Effect in Your Landscape Photography by Using Light Painting

There are many creative ways to explore within each genre of photography. One that is both challenging and fun and can deliver mysterious and incredible results is light painting.

Technically, photography already means “light painting” or “painting with light,” but a specific technique where you light up parts of your scene is also called light painting. In my latest video, I use this technique to lighten up and create some interest in the foreground of my night photo of a dolmen within a stone circle.

As the scene has stones standing in a circle, it can be hard to distinguish them from each other. By applying some light, either at the side of the stones or between them, you can make them stand out to each other. It is basically the same effect the sun can create when it lights up parts of your scene while leaving other parts in shadow.

Playing around with light painting really hones your analyitcal skills for what works and what does not work. In my experience, I found that side and backlight worked really well, while I had to tone down the front light and only use it as a fill light. For added control of which parts of the scene you want to lighten, you can take several photos, where you light different parts of the scene and then add them together in Photoshop. I show how I did that in the above video. This technique is the same as adding car streaks to a blue hour or golden hour photo. just a bit more complex. as you might very well end up with many more photos. I also added in the Milky Way above the stone circle and dolmen for that extra symbol of something ancient and mysterious.

Check out the video above and let me know if this is a technique you would like to try out.

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The $4.5K Fuji XT-1 Forensics Package Doesn’t Really Create UV Photos

The $4.5K Fuji XT-1 Forensics Package Doesn't Really Create UV Photos

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UV photography has many obstacles. Ultraviolet light, or light from 200nm – 400nm in wavelength, is notoriously difficult to image with normal camera equipment. A normal digital camera will record images in the visible light spectrum, or 400nm – 700nm in wavelength. To unlock sensitivity to those shorter wavelengths, a camera has to be physically modified to allow passage of light below 400nm.

We over at Kolari Vision achieve this by performing a full-spectrum conversion service to your camera’s sensor. This modification gives most cameras the needed sensitivity to see UV light, but this is only half the battle. We then have to filter out visible and infrared light or else any UV light coming through the lens will be drowned out by the much more plentiful visible and IR light, and the ultraviolet signal we are looking for will be lost.

This is where a UV bandpass filter comes in. A proper UV pass filter will allow ultraviolet light to pass through to the sensor while blocking all visible and infrared light that may contaminate an otherwise purely UV image. The trouble is, UV light is so easily blocked by most camera optics that even small visible or IR light leaks will overpower the UV light and create a mostly visible or IR image instead.

This is also why it’s important to make sure that you are using a lens with high UV transmission, as most lenses block too much UV and end up allowing IR and Visible light to trickle in and take over the exposure.

The Fuji X-T1 Forensics Bundle

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We noticed that the Fuji X-T1 forensics bundle included an old B+W 403 UV bandpass filter in their kit built for UV and IR forensic photography. Knowing the limitations of these style UV filters, we set out to test it and see if it actually works for UV photography.

How can you tell if your UV filter is working properly?

A spectrometer will tell you the exact transmission profile of your filter by plotting a graph visualizing just how much light is managing to pass through and at which wavelengths. Another much easier way to verify if your UV filter is doing the job or not is to know what you’re looking for and check the images. We’re going to demonstrate the latter DIY method here with a set of filters to compare.

For this test, we’ll be comparing our Kolari Vision UV Bandpass Filter to another popular UV passing filter, the B+W 403 Ultraviolet. Alongside these two, we’ll also be testing our 720nm Infrared filter as a control to demonstrate what an intentionally infrared image is supposed to look like.

Test number one will be shot with a Canon 50mm f/1.8 II lens on a Full-Spectrum Sony a6400. Test number two was shot with the Fujifilm 60mm f/2.4 Macro lens (also part of the Fuji Forensics bundle) on a Full-Spectrum Fuji X-T2.

Test #1: Snapshots of our parking lot in strong sunlight

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Kolari IR 720nm
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B+W 403 Ultraviolet
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Kolari UV Bandpass

We can immediately see a clear difference between all 3 filters, and that the B+W 403 is performing much more like a near-infrared filter than a UV Pass filter. Leaves and foliage are usually highly IR reflective leading to bright if not completely white vegetation in infrared images. While producing some different coloration, the 720nm and B+W 403 both prominently display this property.

Our UV pass filter, on the other hand, creates very dark if not black foliage. We can also see that the most UV reflective object in the frame is the siding of our building. This is likely due to a UV reflective treatment to the siding to protect from long term sun damage. To Fuji’s credit, the 60mm F/2.4 Macro is actually a good lens for UV photography.

Test #2: Sunscreen Lotion

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Kolari IR 720nm
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B+W 403 Ultraviolet
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Kolari UV Bandpass

As of late, filming in UV has been a favorite method for companies to advertise the effectiveness of their sunscreen lotion, so we’re using that method in reverse here. If the sunscreen is absorbing UV light, it should appear very dark or black. Though the lotion does glisten brightly from certain angles, our filter is the only one showing UV absorption while the B+W 403 is once again performing more like an infrared filter.

Interestingly, the lotion seems almost transparent when viewed through the B+W 403 Ultraviolet. On another side note, the healing wound on my thumb contrasts much more strongly with the surrounding skin with the Kolari UV Bandpass than it does with the B+W UV or the 720nm IR filters. These characteristics are all very strong indicators of whether or not an image is composed of purely UV light or if it is contaminated with other, undesired wavelengths.

Filter Transmission

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A look at each filter’s spectral response curve as measured by our spectrometer shows the underlying reasons why both of the UV pass filters are producing such different results. Our UV Bandpass filter on the left is blocking enough infrared light to prevent contamination of the image. Due to the much higher sensitivity most sensors have to visible and IR light compared to UV, the out of band signal needs to be blocked VERY strongly. We found during development that even 0.1% transmission peaks could wash out the UV signal.

As you can see from the graph, the B+W 403 Ultraviolet is letting in so much infrared light alongside the UV that it is almost completely overpowering the exposure, leading to what is essentially a near-infrared image. The only way the B+W 403 could be used on its own to create a purely ultraviolet image is in a controlled environment with no infrared light present, or to use it with UV film with no IR sensitivity, AKA how it was initially designed to be used.

Combining this filter with another hot mirror style filter to block the IR signal and allow UV can also work, and we hope this is the recommendation Fuji provided their clients, however nothing provided in the Forensics bundle can be used in combination to make this UV filter work properly. Both the B+W UV/IR Cut MRC 486M filter, and the new Tiffen T1 filter provided in some bundles, block UV light.

See below for some comments on the B+W UV/IR Cut MRC 486M filter provided with the Fuji Forensics kit. Using this type of dual-pass UV filter on a digital full spectrum camera will simply not work for UV photography alone. We shutter to think about how much evidence may have been shot with the B+W 403 and interpreted as a UV signal, when really what was being captured was infrared.

Our 39mm UV Bandpass filter will however work with this forensics kit perfectly and can rescue the Fuji kit. Alternatively, you can order our forensics package designed from the ground up by experts in multi spectral imaging.

B+W UV/IR Cut MRC 486M

One minor point on the B+W UV/IR cut filter included with the Fuji Forensics kit. While some hot mirrors can be used in combination with an old-style UV filter to isolate the UV signal, this one cannot. It is an aggressive UV cut filter that blocks the UV signal, while at the same time not blocking enough IR. We’ve tested this filter against our own hot mirror filter, and show that it lets in much more IR light, and produces worse color accuracy when used on a full spectrum camera. Fuji provides two of these filters for their Forensics kit to use with the included lenses to restore normal color for regular photography, where it simply isn’t the best filter for this application. It is also an interference-based filter, which can change transmission at different light angles, causing a color shift towards the edge of the frame with wide-angle lenses.

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Normal camera
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Full spectrum camera with Kolari Hot Mirror
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Full spectrum camera with B+W 486 UVIR Cut filter

If you look at the transmission curve, the B+W 486 filter lets in much more IR light than any normal camera sensor filter. Fuji has started offering the Tiffen T1 IR filter in some bundles which cuts out more IR light, this combined with the B+W 486 should improve color accuracy but we have not tested it ourselves.

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About the author: Pat Nadolski is a photographer and technician at Kolari Vision, an infrared camera conversion business based in New Jersey. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Kolari Vision recently announced the Kolari IR ND filter, which it believes to be the best on the market. You can learn more about the company’s service’s on its website. This article was also published here.

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The best superhero backdrops to create a fun theme for your child’s party

The best superhero backdrops to create a fun theme for your child’s party

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When it comes to celebrating anything, a backdrop can be a fun way to add a unique touch to your party. Parties usually incorporate taking photos, so it can be exciting to add a special place designed just for that. Your guests will no longer have to take boring selfies or crowd around a blank wall for pictures. A perfect backdrop for birthday parties, movie releases, and comic con is one with your favorite superhero. These backdrops help take your child’s birthday to a whole new level. They can dress up with friends and strike superhero poses in front of stunning backdrops.

Superheroes are a fun theme for any party. No matter the occasion, you will love a superhero-themed decor. One of the best ways to add a fun flair to your party is with a superhero backdrop. They are the perfect way to capture stunning photos of you and your guests. You can also use one as a fun addition to a Halloween party.

Glittery Garden Superhero Cityscape Photo Background

Best Overall

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This background features a city scene with common comic book phrases like “pow” and “zoink.” It comes with props that each measure about 8 inches by 11 inches. The backdrop is made from a durable polyester fabric and is 4 feet by 5.5 feet.

Allenjoy Superhero Cityscape Banner

Best Quality Material

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This soft fabric backdrop features a brightly colored cityscape. The strong, yet flexible material ensures this backdrop will never wrinkle or rip. It also can be washed and ironed. This cityscape backdrop can be used as a wall decoration, a tablecloth, or a photo booth background. Choose from four sizes: 7 x 5 feet, 8 x 6 feet, 8 x 8 feet, and 10 x 8 feet.

Qian Superhero Photography Backdrop

Most Durable

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This backdrop features a cityscape scene with the word “wham” written across it in big, bold letters. It is made with a thin but strong vinyl material that will help ensure durability and strength. This product will never glare in pictures and is resistant to water. It is available in two sizes.

Parties are all about taking pictures and having a good time. If you have a spot designed specifically for taking pictures, it makes a party that much more fun. A superhero backdrop is perfect for birthday parties, movie releases, and comic con. Backdrops designed to look like comic book scenes allow your guest to pose just like any superhero would, and your child will love having their favorite superhero at their birthday party. No matter what superhero you are celebrating, your party can be elevated and celebrated with a fun superhero backdrop.




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