Smart Sharpen Primer

Smart sharper primer

As mentioned in a previous article, Unsharp Mask is your starting point in learning how to sharpen in Photoshop, but it’s fairly limited. We’ll be looking at Smart Sharpen next, and tailored towards Adobe’s latest Photoshop CC. Older versions of Photoshop are slightly different but the overall function of the filter is the same.

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Cleaning Image Sensor

Dust is all around us. As photographers we have to encounter dust every day. Cleaning an image sensor is one of the skills every photographer should master. Even if you are shooting inside a relatively controlled environment such as a studio or an office, a little bit of dust is always going to be a part of the equation. Dust and image sensors do not mix well together. Although many new bodies are being marketed as weather-sealed, they are not technically 100% weather sealed. If you stop to change lenses, you expose your camera to dust, dirt and other elements. Additionally, when a lens zooms in and out it sucks in air and with it dust (the cheaper the lens the greater the possibility). This dust settles inside and outside the lens, as well as on the internal parts of the camera.
If dust settles on the rear end of the lens the effect will be visible on the image. This can be easily cleaned with a lens cleaner brush. The same goes for dust that’s settled on the front element of the lens. This is the easy stuff. Problems arise when dust gets through to the inside areas of the camera, such as a mirror and most importantly on to a sensor. These require special cleaning regime to get rid of. Continue Reading

Low Contrast / Soft Contrast

Thanks to photographers like Emily Soto, “soft contrast” has become a popular trend in fashion, beauty and portrait photography.  This distinctive style is defined by reduced contrast, shifted color balance and selective blurring.  Like so many other post-processing effects, there are dozens of different ways to achieve similar results.  If you haven’t dabbled with soft contrast yet, this article should have you getting low, low, low (contrast, that is) in no time at all…
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Unsharp Mask Explained

Someone once asked me, “what’s a quick, uncomplicated way to sharpen photos in Photoshop?” I told him to use Unsharp Mask. His response was more or less along the lines of, “no I said sharpen, not unsharpen.” Despite its misnomer, Unsharp Mask (USM) is relatively easy and quick to use once you know what the controls mean.

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Headshot Tutorial


Taking a good headshot is an integral part of being a solid commercial photographer. It’s also a great way to showcase your subject in a great light so to speak. Headshots can be used for a variety of purposes. Actors, models, entertainers, and business people use professional headshots to send to casting agents, post on LinkedIN or other social sites, and of course good old fashioned self promotion. Continue Reading

Quick and Easy Sensor Spot Removal

Sensor spots are one of my biggest photographic pet peeves.  All over the web, I see so many (otherwise) beautifully captured and edited photos that have annoying little specks in the background.  Here’s our quick and easy method for finding and removing these pesky image invaders…

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Lightroom Basics


Adobe Lightroom is an indispensable tool for any and all photographers. If you are curious about the program or are a bit overwhelmed by the interface then have no fear. This basics tutorial is for you! Adobe Lightroom looks to be very complicated but the more you use it the more you will get used to it? Where do you start? Well after booting up the program bring in down the drop menu and select “New Catalog.”

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Intro to Product Photography


If you are a photographer and want to expand into product photography or are an e-commerce seller and are looking to do in house photography this is an intro to product photos that you can take anywhere with a small budget. For this tutorial my setup is a small cutout of seamless white paper taped to a wall and bench in my home, my camera, a remote mounted flash with F-stoppers Flashdisc on a stand, and a mini figurine of Soundwave from Transformers.

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Adjustment Layers for Flattering Faces

So much attention is invested into Photoshop skin editing techniques, perhaps at the expense of attending to other issues that are as equally important.  Heavy-handed skin filters and blurring actions have a bad habit of destroying detail and reducing overall contrast in an image, producing unrealistically glamorous “Barbie Doll” skin.

But what if your subject needs to look more like a real human being?  For this tutorial, I’m going to ask you to leave the skin alone and instead, focus on correcting lighting issues around the forehead, eyes, nose and chin.  These areas are roughly referred to as the “T-Zone” of a face, and a little well-placed brightening or darkening there can draw an image viewer’s attention away from skin and hair issues. Continue Reading