Sharpening for Print

  Print making is quickly becoming a lost art form. It is a subject that could fill volumes of  books. Sharpening is one of the most  often misunderstood tool in the photographers palette. I often hear about  and photographers who try to use unsharp mask to sharpen an image that was poorly taken and is blurred for some reason. I have come to the belief that is an effort in futility  If you miss focus, or camera shake has blurred an image, it probably can not be “fixed” by post sharpening. In fact, the best case senario for such an image is it will appear slightly less blurry, while the levels of noise in the image will become very noticeable. One use for sharpening is getting the best possible file for print. I usually apply what is called a high-pass method sharpening to my images. The reason the High Pass filter technique works so well at sharpening images is because any areas in the image which are not an edge are left untouched. The only areas that have sharpening applied to them are the edges, which is exactly what you want, and also what all of those confusing options in the “Unsharp Mask” and “Smart Sharpen” filters are trying to help you achieve. How to use High Pass Sharpen: Open your image ctrl+j to duplicate layer change the layer blending mode to overlay filer > other > high pass set the radius slider to 2.1 (i usually start at 2.1 and go from there) Flatten layers You can also try “soft light” rather than “overlay” on the blending mode. A higher radius setting will add more sharpness to...

Canon’s New 6D

  The first of the year I broke down and purchased the new 6D from Canon. I have been shooting a Canon 5D and 7D for quite sometime. The 7D is about 2 years old and the 5D is a little more than 7 years old. It was probably about time for an upgrade for the 5D, but that camera has served me so well over the years, and I had a tough time finding a camera that I thought warranted an upgrade. I had originally set out to buy a 5dmkiii, and i actually tried to buy one, but they were out of stock, etc. I borrowed an evaluation 5dmkiii, and tried it out for 2 weeks, and that made me decide to wait till I could find one to buy. Shortly afterwards, Canon announced that the 6D would be released and I decided from the specs, that it might be worth waiting for. Long story short, after seeing some images from the 6D, and after MUCH deliberation, I picked one up. At the list price of $2099.99, it is a great camera. It is very similar to the original 5D auto-focus. Auto-focus speed seems just a tad quicker, but the accuracy is much improved. It more accurately lock focus than any other Canon i have used (other than the 5dmkiii). The real difference for this camera is the image quality. It has very similar image performance to the 5dmkiii. High ISO noise is very well controlled. Here are some sample shots The first one is at 3600 ISO, the second one is at ISO 100.   Here are the same images with a little noise reduction/sharpening :...

Adobe Photoshop for Free?

Yep, Adobe has released Photoshop CS2 for free. Pick up your download and serials here. You do have to sign up for an Adobe account, but it is easy to do, and also free. And, as if that is not enough, it is not just Photoshop, but the entire Creative Suite. It seems that Adobe is trying to counter the wide spread use of pirated software with this release. I hope it works. I have a subscription to Creative Cloud, and that works really well for me…. I believe that will be a post for another day. Thanks for...

Black and White via Channels

  Channel Mixer. It can be a scary tool for the new photographer. It is not a tool that is straight forward and simple to use. But, it is really not that complicated. RGB images are made up of 3 channels. One is red, one is blue and one is green. The Channel Mixer, is just that, it mixes these three color channels. There are many uses for it, but one of the most common for me is for converting images to black and white. In the film days, we used to use colored filters to change the tones of colors when making black and white images. A red filter would make blue colors darker and red colors lighter, yellow filters darken cyan colors while  yellow colors are lighter.  You can do the same thing with channel mixer. In this example we are going to take a full color landscape image and apply a red filter black and white conversion. Open your file in Photoshop. I have already finished all my editing on this image. We begin the conversion by opening the channel mixer. go to  image > adjsutments > channel mixer (or you can use the short cut on the adjustments layer like I did) We begin the conversion by opening the channel mixer. go to  image > adjsutments > channel mixer (or you can use the short cut on the adjustments layer like I did)  Click the monochrome button. For this image I wanted to add a red filter, so i bring the strength of the red channel up to 100. I then dropped the green to...

Windows to the Soul?

    I have heard many people argue about what makes a great portrait.  I have always been in the camp, that the eyes are the most important part of a successful portrait. There is an old saying often attributed to Shakespeare  “Eyes are the windows to the soul”  I believe that saying holds true in portrait photography.  Here is a quick method to “pop” the contrast in the eyes. I am starting this Tutorial after finishing all the standard portrait editing ( that is a topic for another day).  Create a duplicated layer (cmd+j), so you are working in a non-destructive manner. Here is where we start. Looks pretty good. There is a little fill light from the flowers, which I really like, nice soft light.  The first step is choose the dodge tool (mdtones set to 41%) and paint the colored part of the eye, paying close attention not to hit the whites of the eyes. This will bring the mid-tone values up a bit (brighter) Then Grab the burn tool (shadows set to 10%) and paint over the same areas, it may take 2 passes with the brush (salt and pepper to taste, dont over do it tho….) Next we are going to brighten up the whites of the eyes with the dodge tool, I used the same settings as before. Notice that I just painted the area just beside the pupils, I do not want glowing alien eyes, just a little more contrast. It is looking pretty good, but when i zoom back, it looks a little strong, so, since I am working on a duplicate layer, I can just turn the opacity down a bit, and bring...