Thursday, 5 June 2014

5 Ways to Keep Your Photography Talent Sharp

5 Ways to Keep Your Photography Talent Sharp

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

5 Ways to Keep Your Photography Talent Sharp

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 10:30 PM PDT

There are so many rewarding aspects in life, and one of them is growing in something you love, something that you’re good at. Not only do we feel a sense of accomplishment, but we feel larger on the inside. Whether you’re a professional photographer or an enthusiastic hobbyist with a knack for photography, improving your talent is a special thrill. On the flipside, there are few things more frustrating than that feeling of being stuck under a glass ceiling where you feel jaded, your work starts to feel dull, your passion begins to wane, and your creative juices dry up. We all plateau from time to time, and it’s important to get out of the rut quickly. So, how do you sharpen your photography talent? Here are five ways to get back on track.


“The Photographer” captured by Romain Guy

1. Find a Mentor

One of the best ways to reignite the flames is through mentoring: getting fresh eyes on what you do from someone you respect, someone ahead of you in the field you’re in. It’s amazing how a few hours with a coach can breathe fresh wind in your sails, restoring the sharpness to your game and re-awakening dormant creativity. Yes, it requires an investment of time and money, but it’s an investment in you… helping you break through that ‘ceiling,’ enabling you to soar higher.

2. Start a Personal Project

At the risk of sounding a little simplistic, taking on the challenge of a photo-a-day project (whether it’s for a week or a month) is another way of shaking things up and breaking out of any creative lethargy or dullness. Whether you aim to photograph those simple around-the-house moments that happen as part of your everyday family living or adopt a theme for the week (such as ‘colours’, or ‘old versus new’ or ‘light versus dark’ or… the choices are endless), this seemingly small commitment gets the sparks flying and the juices flowing. Experiment a little. Try something new, different, even odd. Go wild. Colour outside the lines. Have fun.

photo-a-day project

“Project 365: Week 7″ captured by Stacie

It always surprises me how easily and quickly we can get into a rut, settle for less, and allow limitations-related to time, money, attitude, circumstance, and so on-to bind us. Thinking outside the box, even in small ways, can set us free and jumpstart a new adventure in creative expression.

3. Stick Your Neck Out

All artists experience times when the streams of creativity run dry. Writers get writer’s block, painters get canvas shock, actors get stage fright, and photographers get image fatigue. You know the feeling: what used to just flow easily now takes a Herculean effort; what was once fresh is now dull and dreary. It takes more to do less. When spontaneity is replaced with drudgery you know you’ve got to do something quickly to stop the rot. While there are a number of things you can do, the third thing we’re going to look at is this: stick your neck out.

A new challenge often provides the necessary shot of adrenaline we need to find another level, to dig a little deeper. We often get stuck in the routine of what we do, where familiarity breeds apathy. Sticking your neck out can break you free from these shackles. So, what do I mean?

Enter a photography competition or submit your images to a photography forum and invite constructive feedback. Besides the feedback you’ll receive, this instantly snaps you out of the mundane. Sometimes we just need a bit of challenge, and most artists perform better with a little prod.

photography competition entry

“Mala Strana,” which received an Honorable Mention in the International Photography Awards 2007, captured by Stefano Corso

If you’re not keen on sticking your neck out, then another way to expose yourself is to step out of your current photography niche. If you’re a portrait photographer, experiment with landscape photography. Get outside, shoot the sunset, a waterfall, or a mountain peak. If you’re a wedding photographer, photograph a friend’s baby—and try a load of different props. The change forces us to rethink things, experiment, innovate, and create. In doing so, you stir up dormant creativity, get the synapses sparking again, and get a fresh handle on your own niche. (And you’ll have heaps of fun.)

4. Unstring the Bow

An inability to get out of a rut can be the deathly for an artist, whether you’re a writer, a painter, or a photographer. And sometimes, the answer is inaction, not action. In contrast to the first three points above that focused on actionable steps, this sharpen-your-talent suggestion goes in the opposite direction. Intentional inaction — or unstringing the bow.

creative talent

“The Painter” captured by Giulio Magnifico

To mend creative dullness and get the juices flowing again, action steps usually prove just the tonic needed. However, there are times when, emotionally, you cannot even think of trying something new or challenging yourself; the thought of tackling a new project sends you into a flat panic. You feel spent, empty… like you’re running on fumes. In this case, rest is the only antidote.

And I’m not necessarily talking about going away on holiday, although that is always a treat. Too often, a holiday getaway adds to the stress — with planning, travel, and expense involved.

Learning to unstring the bow — putting tools down, turning the phone and computer off, disengaging the mind, fanning the flame of other interests, and so on — is the only way to truly recharge your soul. In fact, don’t wait until you’re burnt out to develop a lifestyle (and workstyle) of carving space in your schedule for this kind of rest.

Just as an archer regularly unstrings his bow to keep the strength in the bow and the tension in the string, artists need to regularly disconnect from the intensity of their craft to stay fresh and sharp.

5. Ask Reflective Questions

Staying in the groove, or knowing how to find your groove if you’ve lost it, is critical. We’ve already looked at four ways to keep sharp. The fifth and final suggestion is to ask reflective questions.

Reflective questions? How will that help? Reflecting regularly on one’s work — questioning why we do what we do, for instance — does at least three things. First, it purges us of false assumptions. Along any journey, we develop assumptions upon which we act. These assumptions can often be incorrect, especially when you’re overworked, reacting to challenges at work and home, or battling against due dates. And as we all know, operating on one shaky assumption after another ultimately leads to a mistake.

Secondly, reflection allows you to take responsibility for shortcomings and wipe the slate clean. Nothing kills creativity or robs peace of mind like a heavy conscience. Through reflective questions, we get honest with ourselves, affirm our strengths, and acknowledge our limitations.

Finally, reflective questions ignite creative thought and fresh energy. Through reflection, we reconnect with our convictions and passions. We remember why we do what we do — not just in our head, but in our heart. We feel envisioned and often get back to the basics, pruning back the frills and fluff (things that often merely add gloss, but create heaps of pressure and complexity).

Here’s a reflective question you can ask yourself: How would I start again if I was just getting going today? A question like this often allows us to see beyond the intricacy of what we currently do, putting fresh eyes on the simple matters that actually make it all worth it (and fun).

Socrates once said, “A life without introspection is not worth living.” And the man was fairly smart after all.

Life is full of so many good things. The feeling of growing and improving in what you do and love ranks up with one of the more rewarding experiences. The converse — feeling deflated, dull, and dry — easily ranks down low with draining experiences. For many artists (including photographers), recognizing when this happens and finding ways to reignite the spark is crucial to fulfillment and effectiveness over the long haul.

About the Author:
Lorna Kirkby is a baby and newborn photographer based in Melbourne, Australia ( She serves as a coach and mentor to both newbie photographers and old pros who need refreshment.

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Photography Tips on Facebook: Reaches 75,000 Followers

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 06:47 PM PDT

We love our Facebook followers, they are often the first to know if we have a new in-depth article posted and we value the comments, discussions and feedback we receive there. Today the number of photographers following us on Facebook surpassed 75,000! Thanks so much to all of you, we look forward to more exciting facebook activities! PictureCorrect Photography Tips on Facebook

photography tips on facebook

Serving photography tips to over 75,000 photographers worldwide

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Powerful Advice From Women in Portrait Photography (Video)

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 04:43 PM PDT

In what has historically been a male-dominated profession, two female photographers want to sit down and talk about what drives them as photographers. They share the insights they have gained throughout their years working their way to the top right alongside the men. Join host Marc Silber as he talks photography with Bambi Cantrell and Anna Kuperberg:

Keys to Successful Portrait Photography

Cantrell has been working as a portrait photographer for over 25 years, and she contributes a lot of her success to her ability to look beyond the equipment and tech talk and focus much of her attention on making a genuine connection with the people she is photographing. She shares a couple of valuable insights during her interview:

women photographers

Photo by Bambi Cantrell

  • Realize that cameras do not take pictures. People take pictures. Invest in quality gear, but know that a good photographer can take compelling images with any camera.
  • Have an interest in people. Portrait photography is not just mechanical. You need to have a desire to capture personality in your images.

“Yes, I think you need to know f-stop from a bus stop, but you really do need to go far beyond that and have an interest in people.” – Bambi Cantrell

wedding photographers

Photo by Anna Kuperberg

Kuperberg, also a portrait photographer, feels similarly to Cantrell in that she thinks making a connection to the subject is a vital part of her success. Her advice?

  • Be curious. Look for ways to bring out your subject’s individuality and try to connect.
  • Tune in. The key to capturing a person’s personality is to focus wholly on that subject so you see everything.

“It’s the job of a photographer, whether you’re a photojournalist and you’re letting events unfold or whether you’re a portrait photographer and you’re more in charge of setup—both of those scenarios you still have the same job of creating a framework in which the person is allowed to be.” – Anna Kuperberg

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Interesting Photo of the Day: Bear and Wolf Become Best Friends

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 02:55 PM PDT

When nature photographer Lassi Rautiainen set out to spend some time in the northern Finland wilderness observing and photographing bears and their relationships with other animals, he was hopeful to gather some worthwhile data. But he probably never thought he would be witness to the heartwarming story told in this photograph:


The photographer captured a touching friendship between a bear and a wolf. (Via Imgur. Click to see full size.)

Rautiainen watched this unlikely pair—a male bear and female wolf—share meals and one another’s company for hours at a time. For ten days straight, he photographed the two meeting up between the hours of 8pm and 4am for some quality friend time and an occasional deer dinner.

In a recent interview with The Daily Mail, Rautiainen explained more about his photo:

“It seems to me that they feel safe being together, and so every evening met up for their dinner. When I realized that no one had observed bears and wolves living near each other and becoming friends in Europe, I concentrated more and more on getting pictures to show what can happen in nature. Then I came across these two and knew that it made the perfect story. It’s very unusual to see a bear and a wolf getting on like this. It is nice to share rare events in the wild that you would never expect to see.”

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How to Easily Change the Color of Something in Photoshop (Video Tutorial)

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 02:34 PM PDT

Knowing how to use Photoshop to manipulate image colors is an extremely useful skill. It can make all the difference when editing and enhancing photos. But with the vast array of buttons and options available in Photoshop it's easy to feel lost. Aaron Nace from Phlearn shows us how to easily change the color of anything in Photoshop, while adding some quick stylizing features:

How To Change Colors in a Photo Using Photoshop

change colors in photoshop

Change Colors in Photoshop

  1. To begin, click New Fill or Adjustment Layer in your Layers panel, and choose Hue/Saturation. It can also be accessed from the tool bar: Layers > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation
  2. As changing hue will probably affect the overall color of the image, we can pinpoint the mask to a specific colour range to isolate the area needing changed. In the Hue/Saturation properties panel, click Master to reveal the dropdown menu of color ranges. Selecting blue will isolate all blues in your image, similarly, selecting yellow will isolate yellows.
  3. Click the eyedropper icon, and select (on your image) where you want to change the color. It will automatically set the master control to the appropriate color range.
  4. The masking layer may still leave a color cast on areas where you don't want it. Use a black paintbrush and simply paint over the areas you need to mask. Similarly, using a white paintbrush will bring it back.

How to Change Highlight Colors

change colors in photoshop highlights

Change Highlight Colors

  1. Create a new layer, or click Layer > New > Layer.
  2. In the tool bar click on Select > Color range.
  3. In the Color Range box select Sample Colors from the drop down menu. Click in the color range within the highlights of the subject.
  4. Set Fuzziness to a level where it selects most of your subject's highlights. Make sure the background or other elements are not shown in grey.
  5. Once your subject's highlights are selected, open a Color Balance Layer > New Adjustment Layer >  Color Balance.
  6. The Color Balance Adjustment layer targets highlights, mid-tones and shadows separately. Click Highlights, and pull the color bars around to get the color desired.
  7. Work on the shadows in your image. Change up the levels of the shadows and highlights to make for more visually dynamic subjects.
  8. If the effects are too bright or too strong, simply lower the opacity on the layer.

How To Add Stylizing Features

change colors in photoshop darken edges

Darken Edges

Darken Edges

  1. Create a new layer, then click on Layer > New Adjustments Layer > Curves.
  2. Drag the S-curve down in the middle and reduce the highlights to darken the image.
  3. Hit Command (ctrl) + I to invert the layer mask.
  4. Use the Gradient tool icon or click Command (ctrl) + G.
  5. Use a linear gradient and set it from white to transparent. Click from the edge of the photo inwards around the corners. It will darken the edges and can create a vignette feel.
change colors in photoshop lens flare

Add Lens Flare

Add Lens Flare

  1. Create a new layer.
  2. Use stamp visible to create a layer with everything currently seen on the image. Press Shift+Option+Command +E  (Shift + Alt + Ctrl + E)
  3. In the task bar click Filter > Render > Lens flare
  4. Choose a lens flare, pull up the brightness, and set it at the light source in the image.
  5. Press Shift + Delete to fill the layer with black.
  6. Command (Ctrl) + F will recreate the last filter used—the lens flare.
  7. In the Layers Panel, change the blending mode from Normal to Screen. The image will appear the same but the lens flair is no longer attached to the source image layer.
  8. Manipulate the lens flare. Try to lower the opacity and add a blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur)
  9. Add a layer mask and paint with black paint to tone the flare down a bit.
  10. Add a new Color Balance Adjustment Layer to the entire image.
  11. Pull around the color bars to add warmth or coolness. Try adding more yellow and red to highlights, or add more blues and greens to shadows.
change color in photoshop

Before Changing Colors in Photoshop

change color in photoshop

After Changing Colors and Stylizing

The base and highlight colors of Charles Byron's Honda Civic photograph are manipulated quite easily by using the Hue/Saturation and Color Balance layers. The same techniques can be applied to change colors in your own photographs. Use these techniques to change up a background wall, subtly adjust skin tones, or finally find out how you would look as a blonde.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Timelapse Photography (Video)

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 11:02 AM PDT

We’ve covered some basic timelapse tutorials in previous posts here on PictureCorrect, but given the complexity involved in the process, it never hurts to have just a little more knowledge. In the informative video below, Corey Rich talks about some of the realities of timelapse photography and offers sound advice on how to go about creating a project yourself:

What Is Timelapse Photography?

As Rich explains, timelapse photography is taking a long amount of time and condensing it into a fraction of that time. To do this, you take multiple photographs at set intervals then play all the photographs back at around 24 frames per second, thus creating a video. This technique is how we can watch an hour-long sunset in just a few seconds.

What Do You Need to Get Started?

Rich is using a Nikon D800 which has a timelapse mode. Many other Nikon bodies, in addition to many other brands of cameras, also have this mode built into the menu. This function creates a video file for you. Consult your camera’s user guide if you are unsure if yours has this mode. If you have a model that doesn’t have a timelapse mode, or if you prefer to keep individual still images during the process, you can purchase an intervalometer separately. This allows you to input a specified amount of photos to take and the time interval at which you want them to be taken, but you’ll need to edit the images into a video yourself.


Many DSLRs are equipped with a built-in timelapse mode.

You’ll also need make sure you have a lot of memory. Rich uses a 128 GB memory card. Depending on how long you want your timelapse to be, you could be looking at taking thousands of photos. If you’re shooting RAW, which is recommended, having enough memory to make sure you can shoot uninterrupted is crucial. When buying a memory card, look for one that supports high speed transfer.

You will need a tripod. Not just any old tripod—you’ll want as sturdy of a tripod as you can afford. Using a nice Manfrotto 504HD tripod and video head, Rich still weighs or ties his tripod down for added security. Any movement of the camera can result in a flickering, bouncy timelapse that is hard to watch.

What Do You Need to Know?

You may be tempted to use auto focus mode, or you may forget to switch it off, which result in inconsistent focusing in the frames of your timelapse. Be sure to pre-focus the camera and put the camera and/or lens in manual focus. It is possible to use auto exposure mode, but manual is preferred if you are comfortable shooting in manual exposure mode.

One last setting you won’t want to forget is the white balance. Never shoot in auto white balance as it will also cause inconsistencies and flickering in your timelapse, making it unwatchable. Decide which white balance works for what you are shooting and stick with it.

How Do You Make a Timelapse?

To determine how many frames to shoot, you’ll first want to decide how long of a timelapse you will want to take or how long the event you are recording will occur. When you edit your frames together to make a film in post production, you’ll want to set them to play at a rate of 24 frames per second. This means that for every 24 frames you shoot, you will have 1 second of video.


How many frames you’ll take will depend on the length of your timelapse.

Once you have your tripod and camera setup, your focus and exposure set, and your intervalometer all ready to go, press the shutter release to start the series of photos. Stick around your camera to make sure the timer is firing the shutter at the right times, and check to make sure everything looks like it’s working well.

If you are going to be making a lengthy timelapse, you may want to turn off the LCD viewfinder so it doesn’t show a preview of each image it snaps or you could be dealing with a dead battery before you are finished.

These are just a few fundamentals of timelapse photography, it gets more and more complicated the more advanced you become. There are lots of apps available to help with the timing, and always err on the side of caution, take more frames than you think you will need so you can sort out the best shots.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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