Essence
Creative Commons License Photo by: Mishel Churkin

Light graffiti is one of the night photography ideas we talked about a while ago. Check this page out for 20 beautiful examples of light graffiti. Also check out 10 Amazing Light Graffiti Artists and Photographers: From Light Writing to Extreme Exposures. Amazing? If you are interested in doing it yourself, watch the video below for the basics to get you started.

Posted in Popular Photos, Tips and Techniques on January 11th, 2009. No Comments.

Different light sources have different color temperatures.  The lower color temperatures are associated with longer wavelengths (redder) while higher color temperatures are associated with shorter wavelength (more blue). Unlike human, camera cannot intelligently decipher the scene it sees and tell what is white and what is not. Therefore, to make sure white is really white, we need to correct the color of the photo to remove the color cast from the light source. This is typically a straight forward procedure if there is a uniform and consistent light illuminating the scene. However it will be challenging if there are mixed lights of different temperatures (colors). This is actually quite common for landscape photography. Not only the light from the Sun has different colors at different time of the day but also the color of light is modified by clouds or the shade.  To illustrate the problems, please see the following different versions of the same photo with different white balance settings. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques on January 4th, 2009. No Comments.

This is a video tutorial showing you how to use Capture NX2 to change the gray background of a product photo to pure white. Ideally a good lighting setup and proper exposure should be able to get you the result you want. However in cases the lighting or exposure isn’t perfect, it is relatively easy to fix the gray background so the product stands out of a pure white background. This type of product photo gives a clean modern look. They are quite popular these days.

A few quick tips on how to get good product photos:

  • Use a light tent or large softbox or umbrella close to the subject to get the wrap around lighting for reduced shadow or shadow-less images. Another options is to use bounce panels placed around the setup.
  • If possible, light the background independently of the main subject for better control of the exposure. This allows you to get pure white background while getting proper exposure on the product.
  • The large white background can fool the camera’s light meter. Use manual camera and flash exposure settings to ensure consistent result. Use a flash light meter if you have one, or use exposure bracketing.
  • If possible, shoot tethered so you can inspect the image in details on a computer monitor instead of the tiny LCD on the back of the camera.
  • Make sure the white balance is properly set.
Posted in Tips and Techniques, Tutorials on December 31st, 2008. No Comments.

ImageMagick is a very powerful software suite for manipulating images. Most of the functionalities of ImageMagick are typically utilized from the command line or APIs in various programing languages. The lack of user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) perhaps limits its popularity among photographers. However it is highly recommended for anyone who needs to deal with large number of photos in batch mode. I will show you how easy it is to use ImageMagick to create photo montages (not photo mosaic). Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques, Tutorials on December 29th, 2008. 1 Comment.

Previous I posted this Capture NX2 tutorial on how to create a high key portrait. I have create a video tutorial showing the same easy steps but with a different example. Here is the video on Vimeo (view HD version for best quality).

Youtube version is here.

Posted in Tips and Techniques, Tutorials on December 28th, 2008. No Comments.

I have many posts here at DPTnT about Nikon Capture NX and NX2 but few about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. The reason is simple: I can do many things in a more straight-forward manner in Capture NX and I don’t typically have tons of images to get through quickly.  

I had Adobe Lightroom since 1.0 was launched in early 2007 even through Lightroom’s history dates back to 2002. Before that, I was a user of Pixmantic’s excellent Rawshooter Premium RAW converter. Adobe acquired Pixmantic in June 2006 and incorporated many of Rawshooters features and technologies into the eventual release of Lightroom 1.0. Unfortunately the free version called Rawshooter Essentials was killed by Adobe and the RAW world lost a great piece of free software. The reaction back then was mixed and the path for Lightroom hasn’t been smooth either until V1.4 and 2.x were released. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques on December 27th, 2008. No Comments.

Video is so popular these days, I am compelled to do it myself.  In the following very short (<50 second) video toturial, I demonstrate a simple way of creating a digital “negative” image by using the curve adjustment in Capture NX2 Quick Fix tool. This can also be done using a Levels & Curves or LCH adjustment step. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques, Tutorials on December 26th, 2008. No Comments.

The Auto Retouch Brush is a nice addition in Capture NX2 for removing unwanted details such as dust spots, blemishes, or distracting objects. The tool is supposed to use a “unique blending algorithm that matches the surrounding structure, color, and tonality”. In practice, I found the tool isn’t performing as consistently as it should be. Different attempts are often needed to remove the unwanted objects based on the particular details of the photo. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques, Tutorials on December 13th, 2008. 3 Comments.
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