Sharpen your Adobe Photoshop techniques with Outdoor Photographer. Our articles offer Photoshop tips on topics ranging from resizing images to enhancing color. Begin your lesson in Photoshop for wildlife and nature photography now.
When do you really need the 16-bit capabilities of RAW files?
More isn’t always better, but sometimes it helps. More strokes in a golf game is a bad thing, while more runs is good for baseball (unless you’re on the losing side). More heat is great for baking bread, but awful for storing eggs.
Change and enhance color with precision using this adjustment tool
The Hue/Saturation adjustment is found in most image-editing applications, and offers one of the best ways to change colors both globally and selectively. This easy-to-use tool creates remarkably different looks to your color images.
Tame the large files produced by a high-resolution digital SLR
They’re beautiful—one look and I’m captivated. I stare and find myself absorbed by every detail. If this isn’t love, it’ll do. As a card-carrying photo geek, I admit that looking at digital files produced by the new 12- and 16-megapixel SLRs leads to a rush that normally means a trip to the confessional. Okay, maybe I exaggerate, but not by much.
Image quality in a digital camera is affected by much more than how many pixels fit its sensor
Recently, I received a letter from a young photographer friend asking about the issue of megapixels and digital cameras. He wanted to make a purchase and wondered if a slight increase in megapixels was worth the cost: "If one photograph was taken with a 6-megapixel camera and one with an 8-megapixel camera, when would you see a difference as the photos were enlarged?"
One of the reasons I’ve been photographing since I was a kid is because it’s fun. I’m guessing that’s why you enjoy the medium, too, and why you read a photo magazine. Digital photography, especially, has reinvigorated the craft, restoring the fun I had when I first started taking pictures. Anyone who has known me for a while knows that when I’m excited about something, I like to share it with everyone. With that in mind, I’d like to help you use the new technology for digital photography without the fear of doing it right or wrong, but just to have fun with the process. You really can’t screw it up. If you take a poor picture, you can see it immediately in the LCD. No harm done; just delete the shot and try again. Not sure how to use a histogram? Try some different exposures of the same scene and compare the histograms and see what happens. Photography is a visual medium; the LCD makes digital technology visual, too.
Now you can get more out of all lenses, even making low-priced optics perform like the best
When I first started photographing seriously years ago, I wanted to expand my lens choices for my SLR, but I couldn’t afford it. So I did the best I could, buying budget lenses that weren’t sharp wide-open (but were useable stopped down), inexpensive "preset" lenses and so on—maybe not the best lenses in the world, but they worked and I got by.
Resizing an image larger or smaller than the original file is a key digital adjustment
Sooner or later, you’ll run into the challenge of resizing an image. Digital camera files often need to be larger for printing (they magnify in size quite well) or you may need to reduce a photo’s size for e-mailing.
Get better results controlling the image on your monitor with these tips
As you delve into digital image work on the computer, you’ll hear a lot about color management. To be honest, some of the information is valuable and some of it’s a bit obsessive. However, to get a good-looking image, no matter its end usage, you must calibrate your monitor. Adobe products include a simple calibration tool, but for the most accurate work, consider a monitor profiling tool such as the ColorVision Spyder. I mention it because it has came down in price to $149, making it the first unit of its type to be affordable for nearly anyone.
RAW files help to reveal greater shadow and highlight details
From the beginning, photography has always involved an inherent frustration. Our eyes can see an incredible range, from details in the darkest shadows to rich colors in sunlit patches—film has never even come close to recording this range. Nail the highlights, and shadow areas often turn featureless black. Expose the deep shadow detail, and say goodbye to the lighter third of the image.