Photoshop

Rain Today, iPhone Photo Before & After

topazdetailrainAAfter, using Photoshop, which included: reducing the color cast with Saturation, adjusting the brightness with Levels, and sharpening with Smart Sharpen. I did select and feather the shadow areas in the bottom half of the photograph, and then lightened with Levels. The final touches did include the Creative Detail Accent preset with Topaz Detail 2.

iPhone Photographs by Robert Lachman © 2010

 

rainbeforeBefore, the image straight into Lightroom and then saved in Photoshop with no adjustments.

 

More Christmas Tips

By Robert Lachman

When you’re shooting your holiday photographs or videos try to complete the circle. Think of your holiday celebration as a circle and you’re going to complete each part, from start of the season to finish, getting those photos cataloged with keywords, having prints made or even a small book from the holiday season.

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iPhone Photo by Robert Lachman © 2009

1. Charge your batteries. Nothing is worse than running out of power at the key moments.

2. Clear off your flash cards, move your old photographs to the computer.

3. Buy a new flash card for the camera for more photographs if you need it. They just keep getting cheaper, as the file size of the cameras keep going up.

4. Think about getting some detail shots this year to mix it up. Adding variety really makes for a nice slide show.

5. Close-up photos you might include: ornaments on a tree, candles on a table, the wreath on the door, exterior lights on the house, an overall of the Christmas tree, special holiday plates and settings, food preparation, a clock on the wall, stockings on the fireplace, gifts wrapped under the tree, opening the presents and social gathering.

6. Shoot people in groups. This one take the most work. Think of yourself as a wedding photographer moving around the room putting those groups together into two, three or four people. It’s important to shoot 3 or 4 pics of each group. Move everyone closer together and take another photo. You will increase your odds of getting a nice photo of everyone. You can remove the bad ones later when you edit. Most people only shoot one picture and move on. This is a major mistake. Increase your odds and people will give you credit for being a good photographer. Trust me, I’ve shot thousands of pics at parties or it just seems like it.

Photography with Canon G10 by Robert Lachman © 2009
Photography with Canon G10 by Robert Lachman © 2009

7. If you’re using a point-and-shoot camera indoors, a lot of photographers will tell you not to shoot with the strobe because it doesn’t look good. If you’re shooting in a well lit house during the day it may be fine. For the group photos, use the strobe in low light, especially indoors at night. Most point-and-shoots don’t work well in low-light situations. No reason why you can’t try both to see how it looks.

8. Most of the photo editing programs like iPhoto or Photoshop Elements do a nice job of removing red eyes. Learn this feature and your photo snapshots will improve.

9. Remember, you’re going to complete the circle, which includes doing something with the photos. It may just mean getting them into iPhoto with keywords included, making a nice slide show with a program like iMovie or Fotomagico. Don’t forget other options like a book from Apple or Blurb. Sending the photos to everyone on a photo service like Google’s Picasa is cheap and simple. They even have software to export the pics directly from iPhoto. I use it all the time and it’s a breeze. This definitely is a great option I use all the time.

10. And, the most important: BACK UP, BACK UP, BACK UP. You do not want lose your memories. Have a great holiday!

Topaz Adjust Review

topazadjustreview1
After Using Topaz Adjust

Before Using Topaz Adjust
Before Using Topaz Adjust

By Robert Lachman

This week I’m going to review Topaz Adjust software by Topaz Labs, a plug-in for Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

It’s a little hard to explain what this software does, except it’s fun to use and adds a lot of pop to your photos.

According to the company line, Topaz Adjust uses advanced algorithms to achieve unique exposure effects and adjustments in seconds. It offers the user full control over creative exposure, color, and detail effects, and has the ability to save and reuse presets for maximum convenience.

I always love when the software companies say they use advanced algorithms. I can barely pronounce it, how am I going to explain it.

This software takes your boring low-contrast photographs and gives them an HDR end result with added color saturation or the David Hill effect on your portraits.

It makes things a little more contrasty, brings out the color and just adds a different look to your photographs. I really recommend you try it just to see the different outcomes which can be achieved with Topaz Adjust.

The software is very easy to use. It’s a plug-in and I tested it with Photoshop Elements 6. It’s nice when the software will work with both Photoshop or Elements so more people will be able to use it.

It couldn’t be simpler to use. Just open your photo, go to the menu item filter, scroll down to Topaz Lab, then select Topaz Adjust.

The program opens your photo into a new adjustable size window. You can then decide the magnification of your image.

Now the fun part begins. They do have some presets which includes, vibrance, color blast clarity, photo pop, and enhance contrast. Double click on any of these to give you an idea of some of the effects which can be achieved.

The presets give some nice examples but move on to the sliders. This is where you can experience the power of the software. Work in a left to right order as the tutorial on the website recommends.

The first manual setting is is Exposure which reveals six powerful sliders. The important sliders here are adaptive exposure and regions. Give these a try first. A little goes a long way.

Next  try Details which includes the strength and boost sliders. Move to the right and pick Color for added saturation. You may start to see some grain and noise as you work with some of the sliders.

The Noise option will smooth out the grain. It does take the computer time to work out the computations so be patient.
With  large photographs this will take some time. You may be used to blazing speed with your high-powered computer but you’ll need to relax and let the software do it’s work

One important note, this is an experimental and artistic process so it doesn’t work with every photograph.

Topaz Adjust from Topaz Labs is just one of those programs that’s very enjoyable to work with, especially since you only use one photograph and unlike HDR software which relies on multiple images.

You just need to fire it up and start working the sliders. Find a photograph which needs some added pop and color to the clouds or sky or a building which doesn’t have enough saturation.

It can almost make your photographs look like stylized cartoons as you ramp up the effect. It gives your simple photos a super-graphic look.

It’s not for every photograph.  A lot of times you might not want this, but for so many flat boring-looking photographs an extra-cool boost may just be the ticket. Be sure to check it out.