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January 2013 Archives

January 14, 2013

Essential Selection: Excerpted from "Adobe Photoshop Masking & Compositing"

Explore one of the most powerful tools in Photoshop for making and perfecting accurate selections. 

Excerpted from “Adobe Photoshop Masking & Compositing,” Second Edition, by Katrin Eismann, Seán Duggan, and James Porto. Copyright © 2013. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and New Riders.

Working with Adobe Photoshop can be a lot like a daily commute, and it can seem like you're in a rut and going over the same territory. When making selections, most people simply grab one of the familiar selection tools from the toolbar and hope a quick drag or click will get the job done. To achieve professional results, relying on the standard selection tools may create disappointing results.

Making selections in Photoshop is such a fundamental part of working in the program that an entire menu is devoted to them, the Select menu. Here we'll take a closer look at the amazing power of the Refine Edge dialog.

REFINE EDGE: In the Options bar for the Marquee and Lasso selection tools is a setting for feathering the selection. Feathering creates a softer edge with a more gradual transition between the selected and nonselected areas. The main problem with choosing a Feather setting in the Options bar is that you cannot see the result and must guess at what number might be appropriate. Fortunately, there is a better way to apply edge feathering, as well as other modifications, to a selection and that is to use the Refine Edge dialog.

Refine Edge can be accessed either in the Select menu or via a button in the Options bar when a selection tool is active. In addition to feathering, the Refine Edge dialog includes a number of other very useful controls for modifying the edges of a selection. This section will primarily be a detailed exploration of the possibilities offered by the Refine Edge dialog, not a strict step-by-step exercise. To properly cover all of the options in Refine Edge, however, we need to start with a basic selection so we have a selection edge to modify; for that we'll use the photo of the curious dog (Figure 1).


Figure 1: This image resource is available to download at ppm.ag/?8. A great majority of the files used throughout the book are available for download at the resource link referenced in the book’s Introduction.  ©Seán Duggan

1. Choose the Quick Selection tool with the Auto-Enhance option selected, and set the brush size to 100 pixels. Start the selection by dragging diagonally down from the top of the dog's left ear. Next, drag down from the right ear to complete the selection of the dog's head. Continue dragging over the dog's body until the selection is expanded to cover the entire dog. A few drags with the Quick Selection tool should do it.

2. Zoom in to make sure that you are not missing any areas, such as by the ring on the dog's collar or the bottom edges of the front feet (Figure 2). If you see areas that should be selected but are not, just click on them with the Quick Selection tool (for fine work, make the brush size smaller by tapping on the left bracket key).


 201301we_Fig 7-32b.jpg


Figure 2: Selecting the dog with the Quick Selection tool and fine-tuning the selection around the dog's collar and feet.

3. With the dog selected, click the Refine Edge button in the Options bar or choose Select > Refine Edge.

Continue reading "Essential Selection: Excerpted from "Adobe Photoshop Masking & Compositing"" »

January 15, 2013

Give Clients a Custom Preview with Shoot and Sell App

By Betsy Finn, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

Today’s client often wants to see, or visualize, a product before they are certain about making an investment. Fortunately, this need for on-the-fly visual aids can be satisfied—at least if you have the right app on your iPad. Shoot and Sell allows you to create instant wall displays whether you are at your clients’ home or in the studio—anywhere.


After installing Shoot and Sell (from Apple’s App Store), my first visit to the app began with a walk-through tutorial. While there is an option to “get started now,” I did appreciate learning about all the features, and about the intuitive controls and options.

Then it was on to the home screen of the app, which is simply a background image, or “wall.” The default wall features a modern teal couch and a neutral tan wall. There are three main controls: +Display, +Image, and Edit Wall. The first two buttons add image units to the wall; +Display adds groupings of multiple images, and +Image adds a single empty canvas.

The Edit Wall button allows you to change the background image to another default background or you can even use your iPad’s camera to take a photo of your client’s wall on the spot. There is a measuring feature that will help you to calibrate image sizes within the app, so that a 20x30 will be displayed in accurate proportion to the dimensions of your client’s room. I thought this was a great feature, as it allows you to show your clients’ images true to actual size on their own wall.


You can also tap directly on an image or grouping to edit, resize, or reposition it. The standard two-finger pinch and rotate commands for an iPad will also work within Shoot and Sell. An additional menu bar appears when editing an image canvas, giving you the ability to do things like rotate, flip, add frame, duplicate canvas, replace image, or delete canvas. When done editing an image, just tap on the wall to apply your changes. Multi-image displays respond similarly to individual image canvases, except that the image display is rotated, and moved as a unit rather than individual canvases.

Continue reading "Give Clients a Custom Preview with Shoot and Sell App" »

January 16, 2013

Operation Photo Rescue Coming to NYC to Restore Photos for Those Affected by Hurricane Sandy

Operation Photo Rescue (OPR), a U.S. not-for-profit organization comprised of a worldwide network of volunteers will be in New York City on February 2nd and 3rd to digitally copy photos for anyone whose pictures were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.


Hosted by the School of Visual Arts Masters in Digital Photography program and supported by Chase, PhotoShelter, DigMyPics, Imagingetc, and Ken Allen Studios, the OPR team will be onsite at 133 West 21st St, Room 101c in Manhattan on Saturday, February 2 and Sunday, February 3, 2013, 10am-5pm on both days. Walk-ins are welcome and appointments are available via http://goo.gl/Bjrym.

Anyone with photos damaged from Hurricane Sandy may bring up to 20 photos to be evaluated and potentially restored. Photos that can be repaired will be digitally captured with state-of-the-art imaging technology and later restored and printed. Restored photos will be mailed to owners at no cost. The original photo remains with the owner.

All photos need to be dry and removed from picture frames and albums. Those that cannot be extracted will still be copied, but the quality may suffer. Photos that are stuck together can be separated by soaking, but should first be tested on a corner to see if the emulsion is stable enough to soak. Further instructions on care can be found on Operation Photo Rescue’s homepage: www.operationphotorescue.org.

"Capturing Love" Delivers Sage Same-Sex Wedding Photography Guidance

 By Joan Sherwood, Senior Editor

“Capturing Love”
By Thea Dodds and Kathryn Hamm  
Authentic Weddings, $32.95

Same-sex wedding photography, which has been a very small niche market, has the potential to grow exponentially in the next decade and beyond. Same-sex marriage is now legally recognized in nine U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and all of Canada. Consider that many of the couples first in line for their license have already been together for years and often decades. They may not splurge on all the lavish trappings that some young couples do, but they typically seek out good, professional photography to document their special day. They want a photographer who “gets” them, who understands just how much it means to them to be able to marry, and who knows that “square one is understanding that a one-size-fits-all approach to working with same-sex couples will not be effective,” say the authors of “Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography.”


Cover photo ©It's Bliss Photography

This book is an insightful, practical, visual guide to photographing same-sex weddings. It features a gorgeous selection of photographs from 38 outstanding gay and lesbian wedding photographers depicting the real-life happy moments of 46 same-sex couples.

Co-authors Kathryn Hamm and Thea Dodds complement each other well in their areas of expertise. Hamm is the president of GayWeddings.com, an online boutique and resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples since 1999. Dodds is an award-winning photojournalist, co-founder of the non-profit organization Greener Photography, and a PPA member. Dodds’ influence is evident in the book’s emphasis that wedding photographers must have a solid foundation in technique, posing, and professionalism, because to shoot same-sex weddings, the photographer will have to develop an expanded skill set and understand how and when to revise the traditional rules to best serve their same-sex clients.

Weddings are changing, and photography education needs to change too. For wedding photographers, it can be a challenge to pose and set up a wedding portrait in a way that truly reflects the uniqueness of each couple, especially when they’ve been trained to use a certain set of poses that were designed for a man and a woman. We hope “Capturing Love” inspires every photographer shooting a same-sex wedding to think outside the box, and to create photos that truly capture the one-of-a-kind magic present at each couple’s wedding day.  —Thea Dodds


Left ©Andrea Flanagan Photography; Right ©Tammy Watson Photography

The main body of the book does an excellent job of explaining the importance of getting to know the couple and understanding how they see themselves, what the elements of their ceremony mean to them, who among the guests should be included in photographs, and the role they have in the couple’s life. There are wonderfully informative sections on poses and composition for engagement sessions and wedding day photos of two brides and two grooms and how some popular shots can be altered to showcase the same-sex dynamic. The illustrations reflect a natural style with real couples who feel free to be themselves in front of the camera. In the examples, the photographer describes the circumstances and challenges of the shoot, and why they made the decisions they did. These are accompanied by an analysis of the image from the authors, noting what makes it a good image and offering relevant suggestions to the reader.


Left ©Cean One Photography; Center ©Brian Pepper & Associates; Right ©Maggie Winters Photography 

Hamm and Dodds emphasize how important it is to capture authentic images that reveal who the couple is and how they feel about each other. The marvelous selection of photographs that illustrate this book do that so well that I felt I was sharing the moment as I viewed them. I found myself smiling over the brilliant joy and tenderness portrayed in the photographs, some even bringing a tear to my eye. I may be a little more sentimental about the topic than others, though. My own wife and I were together for 13 years before we were able to marry legally in Toronto in 2004. Our wedding gift from my family was flying in our photographer from Seattle to document our special day and the courthouse ceremony. She captured a tear rolling down my cheek then, too.


©Kristin Chalmers Photography

“Capturing Love” is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to become the go-to same-sex wedding photographer in their market by earning their clients’ trust and adoration. Its message is imbued with the warmth and understanding its authors feel for this market, the advice is solid, and the collection of same-sex couple photography is the best I’ve ever seen. Follow this advice and your clients will love you.

“Capturing Love” will be released in a limited run from publisher Authentic Weddings on Jan. 16, with a full release to follow in March. The book is available for purchase at Lulu Press, for $32.95 USD.

Thea Dodds will be at Imaging USA Jan. 21 and 22. You can reach her at thea@capturingloveguide.com or phone/text: 617-759-3964.

January 29, 2013

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About January 2013

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in January 2013. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2012 is the previous archive.

February 2013 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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