Guide to Fixing White Balance in Processing

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Although I continually suggest setting your white balance privately (and here’s my favorite thanks to do it!) it’s comparatively straightforward to correct your white balance in process, in either Photoshop / components and Lightroom. If you have got a neutral tone in your image, then you’ll virtually fix it during a matter of minutes (if you do not, it is a bit a lot of difficult, however still do-able!))

Checking and fixing your white balance ought to be the primary factor you are doing in writing to a picture, thus here’s a way to do it!

Step One: Grab Your White Balance Tool

The first thing you need to do is grab your white balance tool – this looks like a big dropper. They look a little bit different in ACR and Lightroom, so I’ve taken a screenshot of each below so you can see what they look like.

Step Two: Check Your Neutral

On the left is an image that I took where I didn’t set the correct white balance in camera (tsk, tsk) and I’ll use this today to demonstrate a couple of different ways to set your white balance in processing.

You can probably tell just by looking at it that it is too cool (all that blue!) so we need to check and change the white balance on this one for sure!

However, if you weren’t so sure whether the white balance is correct, you can check it – by hovering your white balance tool over a neutral area.

In this particular image, there are a number of neutrals we can use (neutrals being anything white, black or grey) and having a neutral like this in your image makes setting the correct white balance much easier. In this case, we could use the sidewalk / pavement or even the grey boots to set our white balance.

All you need to do is take the white balance tool and hover over your known neutral. If the RGB numbers aren’t all almost equal (it doesn’t matter what the numbers are, just that they are all the same or nearly the same) then your white balance is off!

Step Three – Click on The Neutral Area

Changing your WB super easy, simply click with your dropper on your chosen neutral area – in this case I’m clicking on the concrete on the sidewalk – and your image will change to the correct white balance by making the RGB numbers of that area the same. (told you it was easy!)

As you click around the neutral area you will find that your will get a slightly different color to your image. All you need to do is choose a white balance that is most pleasing to you, or what looks the most like the scene really did. Get it as close as you can at this stage.

Step Four – Fine Tune with The Sliders

From here, you might need to fine tune by moving the sliders that are just underneath your dropper tool in Lightroom (or at the top of the basic panel on the right in ACR)

If you’re thinking that it’s still too cool / blue move the temperature slider to the correct toward yellow, too heat and you progress it move it towards blue. you would possibly conjointly ought to modify your tint sliders – once more if the image is wanting too pink overall then move it toward inexperienced, and if it’s too inexperienced slide it over by some notches toward the magenta slide. If you’re unsure, move the sliders separately – you’ll begin to examine a distinction and see if it’s higher or worse than before!

Help! There Isn’t A Neutral (or it gives you a wonky looking image)

 

Assuming you shot in RAW (and if you don’t this can be a reasonably smart reason to try and do so!) you may have an inventory of white balance choices from the drop menu right the correct. merely select the white balance that was nighest to the conditions you shot in. For this explicit image, the day was terribly overcast, therefore i might select Cloudy or Shade from the change posture menu.

From there, again, you will probably need to move your sliders to get the right white balance.

If you are a JPEG shooter you won’t have these drop down options, your only option is to move the temperature and tint sliders to get it right (and make a note to find out how to make the switch to RAW)

Here’s the same image with the white balance corrected.

From there, again, you will probably need to move your sliders to get the right white balance.

If you are a JPEG shooter you won’t have these drop down options, your only option is to move the temperature and tint sliders to get it right (and make a note to find out how to make the switch to RAW)

Here’s the same image with the white balance corrected.

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10 Steps for Basic Portrait Editing in Light room

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One of the good options of sunshine area is that the ability to synchronise settings. It’s an enormous time-saver once you have a series of pictures, all shot in similar conditions. Once you’re proud of the overall settings (white balance, shadow-highlight magnitude relation, etc.) of 1 image, you’ll synchronise the remainder of the pictures within the series, with constant settings. After that, you’ll solely got to fine-tune the others.

This before image is too cool for my liking, and there is not enough separation between the model’s hair and the remove background. I am also going to smooth out her skin tone, and bring a bit more sparkle to her eyes.

As you work through each step on your own image, play around with the sliders to see what effect each one of them has.

Step #1: Import your file

In the LIBRARY module, import your image into Lightroom. I actually have created a custom sharpening planned (shown here), that I notice works with the bulk of my portraits. I apply this planned upon import – a handy cutoff, particularly once you’re mercantilism an outsized variety of pictures right away.

To apply a planned on import, visit the righthand panel in LR, to the tab tagged “Apply throughout import”. visit Develop settings > user presets, then click on the planned you want to use.

Once you’ve got foreign your file, visit the DEVELOP module.

Step #2: Adjust the white balance

The colour tint in this photo is a bit cold. There are a number of ways to adjust the white balance. If there was a neutral wall or surface in this photo, you could use the eyedropper tool. In this case, there isn’t a neutral reference, so I have moved the sliders under the white balance section to give the image more warmth.

Step #3: Adjust highlights and shadows

The model’s skin tone is a little too light, and her hair and the background are too dark. To redress the imbalance, pull back the highlights and lighten the shadows. You can fine-tune this later if necessary.

Step #4: Increase vibrance and saturation

The image still looks a little dull. Use the sliders under the presence tab to increase the vibrance and saturation, and move the whites slider up to give your portrait a nice clean look. Now it’s starting to look like my model’s real-life skin tone.

Step #5: Crop your image

You can crop at any stage. I’ve cropped this image for a tighter, better-balanced headshot.

Step #6: Soften the skin

Zoom in to take a closer look at the skin. This model is very young with almost flawless skin. Usually I wouldn’t do much, if any, softening with such great skin. However, for the purpose of this exercise, I will.

Select the brush tool. You can load your brush with any adjustments you want to apply. Although there are brush presets you can use for skin softening, teeth whitening, etc., I find them too heavy-handed.

Set the clarity slider down to around -35 to -40, and the (contrast to +35, and the Highlights to +15 or so – this will help maintain contrast and keep the face from looking flat) sharpness up to +20. This will vary per your subject’s skin, and therefore the quite impact you would like to realize. during this example it’ll simply even out the skin tone and provides it a soft, glowing look. A mature person photographed in stronger lightweight, would force a distinct treatment. The lower the clarity slider, the softer the skin can seem. For a dingy look, increase the clarity slider.

Reducing the clarity tends to deform the image, thus you’ll be able to increase the distinction, deepen the shadows and increase the highlights to balance this out. Keep the feather and flow at 100 percent, and brush everywhere the face with an oversized brush.

Step #7: Fine-tune your adjustments

Underneath the image, check the box “Show selected mask overlay” (or use the keyboard shortcut, O) to see exactly what parts of the image your brush adjustments have touched. Often you’ll find it has covered the eyes and mouth, which is not desirable. Still using the adjustment brush, click on the erase brush tool, and remove the brushed-on effect from around the eyes, mouth, and hair.

Step #8: Brighten the eyes

Zooming in even closer, then use the Adjustment Brush to add clarity and sparkle to the eyes. Note that by increasing the clarity, you also make the affected part of the image darker. Compensate with your exposure slider.

In this photo, I also increased the saturation of the iris a little to enhance the blue of the model’s eyes. Be sparing with this technique to avoid an unnatural look.

Step #9: Add colour to the mouth

Moving on to the mouth area now. Again, this model doesn’t need any work on her lips or teeth; this is for the purpose of demonstration. Using the same technique as with the eyes, brush on clarity and increase saturation. I have also moved the temp and tint sliders up to alter the hue of her lips.

Step #10: Whiten the teeth

To lighten teeth, use the brush tool with the saturation slider decreased, and the exposure slider increased just a little. As with the eyes, be sparing with this step.

6 Tips for Freelance Graphic Designers

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can’t believe it’s already been six months since launching Spruce Rd. in January! Seriously, time flies. i believed it’d be fun to share my reflections from these past six months, and be clear in what worked and didn’t work for my business. I announce concerning the teachings learned from my 1st month of freelancing, if you would like to visualize that out as well!

Stay tuned at the top for a FREE bonus, the Freelance guide list. This list is certainly one thing that I want I had beginning out, and it provides a number of steps for your freelance career to stay you on target.

What worked

Attracting ideal clients

One of the main reasons I launched my own business was to work with clients that were a better fit with my vision. I desired to work one-on-one with clients, who valued the design process, and wanted quality design. I didn’t want my portfolio to be passively influenced by the projects that came my way, so instead I opted for tailoring my blog content and portfolio to my niche market. I am still working on defining this audience right now, but I would say they love good design, are passionate about their small business, and are eager to get noticed online!

I can’t tell you how great it felt to finally work with a client who fit this profile to a T. I am SO thankful for these wonderful clients, and the joy of being involved in launching their business, and bringing it to that next level.

Community

I have been blown away by friendships I have formed online through my business. It really has been one of the best benefits of going out on my own, and was entirely unexpected. It was amazing that the first time I talked to another fellow designer on the phone, I left feeling energized and as if we were long-time friends. Since launching Spruce Rd., I can say I have truly gained friendships that have pushed me both creatively and in my business. I would bet that behind most successful entrepreneurs, there is a team of supporters + cheerleaders that propel them forward. I can say that has definitely been true for my business, and I am forever grateful for it.

Blogging

Prior to going full time with Spruce Rd., I knew that prioritizing my blog was necessary to get my name out there. The blog has brought in the most traffic to my site, most of which has come from Pinterest. If I didn’t have a blog, it would be challenging to build my business online. If you don’t enjoy blogging, definitely don’t pursue it. It consumes a lot of time + energy, so it is important that it aligns with your vision and is something you enjoy. If I didn’t have a blog from the beginning, I would have pursued guest blogging, webinars, or other social media to put myself out there. I am thankful that my blog has brought me clients, and even facilitated collaborations with fellow designers!

Book keeping

On a seemingly boring note, I have not been stressed about bookkeeping! I know this is a hangup for many freelancers, and I decided early on that I would not let it deter me from pursuing my business. I hired an accountant from the get go, invested in an online bookkeeping system (Quick books), that makes my accountant’s life easy, and made sure I kept it updated every week.

Packaged Services

After payment multiple hours per week replying to inquiries with a custom proposal, I finally took the leap and commenced providing prepacked services. Most of the inquiries were looking for similar services, thus I created three tiers of branding packages. I even denote them on-line, that has saved American state lots of time! I no longer waste a potential client’s time in reaching bent American state for a quote, and instead they’re going to instantly browse my prices and see if we’ve got a bent to square measure the proper work. I in addition spent associate excessive quantity of your time at intervals the initial couple months, emailing back and forth with potential shoppers, entirely to go looking out out they weren’t positive what they were looking for. Posting my prepacked services on-line has eliminated the e-mail chains.

Block out time for office hours

Since my husband is in graduate school, his schedule is inconsistent between varied category times, and hours of learning. thanks to this, I even have guilt-free opted for a loose schedule. I worked-out middle day, worked some hours, took a possibility, worked into the night, etc. I had some structure to the day, however no specific set hours. currently that he’s nearing the top of college and encompasses a 9-5 field work schedule, i spotted i want to stay to a schedule. i believe a want for a routine is innate in every people, and that i am realizing that additional and additional.

10 easy Illustrator tools to improve your designs

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Adobe Illustrator is one of the best graphic design software when it comes to designing your own logo and graphics. I use it for a couple of years now, and I am still in love with it.

But a lot of people ar afraid to take the leap in purchasing Adobe Illustrator because it looks too confusing. Can you relate? In this blog post, I will show you the top 10 easiest Illustrator tools to improve your designs. It even comes with video tutorials and a free 8-day email course that will teach you how you can design a professional brand for your blog.

Pen tool

A pen tool is a tool that allows you to create your own graphics. Whether it is a heart or a jar with candy, you can design it all! You almost literally draw your own graphics. The pen tool is also mostly used to design logo’s, printables, for creating patterns, etc.

Curvate tool

Are you having a hard time with creating curved lines with the pen tool? Then one of these Illustrator tools is perfectly for you: The curvate tool. This tool will automatically add curves to your path. So no drama with creating curves again!

White arrow tool

After you just created your graphic, you notice that one anchor point doesn’t look how it had supposed to. Are you going to do it again? Don’t think so huh? Now it is time for the white arrow tool. Click on the graphic, select the anchor point you want to adjust and move it around! Amazing right? And no it’s not magic. This also works with paths. Why don’t you try it yourself?

your designs

Adobe Illustrator is one of the best graphic design software when it comes to designing your own logo and graphics. I use it for a couple of years now, and I am still in love with it.

But a lot of people ar afraid to take the leap in purchasing Adobe Illustrator because it looks too confusing. Can you relate? In this blog post, I will show you the top 10 easiest Illustrator tools to improve your designs. It even comes with video tutorials and a free 8-day email course that will teach you how you can design a professional brand for your blog.

Pen tool

A pen tool is a tool that allows you to create your own graphics. Whether it is a heart or a jar with candy, you can design it all! You almost literally draw your own graphics. The pen tool is also mostly used to design logo’s, printable, for creating patterns, etc.

Curvate tool

Are you having a hard time with creating curved lines with the pen tool? Then one of these Illustrator tools is perfectly for you: The curvate tool. This tool will automatically add curves to your path. So no drama with creating curves again!

 

White arrow tool

After you just created your graphic, you notice that one anchor point doesn’t look how it had supposed to. Are you going to do it again? Don’t think so huh? Now it is time for the white arrow tool. Click on the graphic, select the anchor point you want to adjust and move it around! Amazing right? And no it’s not magic. This also works with paths. Why don’t you try it yourself?

your designs

Adobe Illustrator is one of the best graphic design software when it comes to designing your own logo and graphics. I use it for a couple of years now, and I am still in love with it.

But a lot of people ar afraid to take the leap in purchasing Adobe Illustrator because it looks too confusing. Can you relate? In this blog post, I will show you the top 10 easiest Illustrator tools to improve your designs. It even comes with video tutorials and a free 8-day email course that will teach you how you can design a professional brand for your blog.

Pen tool

A pen tool is a tool that allows you to create your own graphics. Whether it is a heart or a jar with candy, you can design it all! You almost literally draw your own graphics. The pen tool is also mostly used to design logo’s, printables, for creating patterns, etc.

Curvate tool

Are you having a hard time with creating curved lines with the pen tool? Then one of these Illustrator tools is perfectly for you: The curvate tool. This tool will automatically add curves to your path. So no drama with creating curves again!

 

White arrow tool

After you just created your graphic, you notice that one anchor point doesn’t look how it had supposed to. Are you going to do it again? Don’t think so huh? Now it is time for the white arrow tool. Click on the graphic, select the anchor point you want to adjust and move it around! Amazing right? And no it’s not magic. This also works with paths. Why don’t you try it yourself?

Lasso tool

You already probably figured out that you can select things by dragging a square. But what if we want to select another shape that doesn’t fit in the square? That is why Illustrator has a lasso tool. With one of these Illustrator tools, you can draw a selection. I found this out a year after I started with using Adobe Illustrator, and I don’t want you to happen the same, haha.

Pathfinder

The pathfinder is one of the most amazing Adobe Illustrator tools. With this tool, you can cut out shapes, merge shapes, divide them, and a lot more. I use this Adobe Illustrator tool most of the time when I want to merge shapes or cut out things. I created a graphic here, that I also used in my other post:

Gradient Mesh tool

Say hello to the most amazing gradient tool ever. With this, you can create gradients that adjust themselves to the shape you created. Yea that probably sounds really hard. Let me try to explain this Illustrator tool, and if you still don’t get it, you can watch the video down below.

After you created a shape, select the Gradient Mesh tool, and then click somewhere on your Graphic. Now you probably see a weird misshaped cross now with a little square (we call that an anchor point) in the middle. Now grab the white arrow tool, and then select the anchor point, and give it another fill color. Now it is a gradient. You can add as many squares as you want if you want to create a more detailed gradient.

Image Trace

A lot of graphic designers hate this Adobe Illustrator tool, but it actually is really handy. If you just want to trace a logo, (for example twitter to design your own share buttons) you can just insert the image, and then click image trace. The image tracer will automatically trace the logo. Now click expand, and ungroup, and you can move the part around that you want. Just delete the unneeded parts, and tadá, this is how you create your own share buttons the easiest way.

 Clipping Mask

Ever wondered how people created a picture in a circle, star or another shape? Well here is your answer. The clipping mask tool. With this Illustrator tool, you can also ‘’cut out’’ thing in the shape that you want, but just a little different. First, you need to create the shape. Whether it is a cupcake or a circle, It is all possible. If you have 2 separate shapes, make sure to merge them first with the Pathfinder tool

After you created the shape, insert an image or a graphic. Place the shape on top. Next, select them both, and go to Object>Clipping Mask>Make. (my screen recorder won’t show the menu Sorry!) Now you know the secret of creating different shaped pictures. Psst, don’t tell anyone. Hahaha actually, you should tell anyone because more people need to know about these Illustrator tools.

Blend tool

Did you ever created 2 different shapes and you were like: If I only could think about a shape that is between those shapes. Hello, Blend Tool! With this tool, you can create 2 different graphics. Next, select them both, click on the blend tool, and they create a kind of gradient from the one shape to the other one. Double click on the tool, and select the specific steps option, and fill in the steps that you want. Go to object> expand. Now they are all converted to different, editable shaped. Select the shape you like the most of them and tada! Amazing right?

Touch type tool

Every Graphic Designer has probably a passion for fonts. We don’t download movies or games, we download fonts (That’s what my boyfriend said once haha). So when you download those amazing free fonts, there is always a little pain in the *beep*: Bad kerning! If you really pay attention to that, you see bad kerning everywhere (unfortunately). So how can you fix that you probably asking? With the touch type tool my friend! With one of these amazing Illustrator tools, you can select each letter of a word, and move it around. Fixing bad kerning has never been easier.

Still not convinced? But now you know why I don’t use Canva, and why I am not going to use it in the future. Why to use Canva if we can create unlimited Graphics with Adobe Illustrator. How many times I have been on Pinterest and I see the same background photo, the same graphic, and the same font every time?!

Tips for Better Sunset Photography

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A beautiful sunset. A scene bathed in spectacular light –sunsets are a photographer’s dream come true, presenting a chance for some truly dramatic images.

But while sunsets present excellent photo opportunities, capturing the tremendous beauty of a sunset can be difficult! It’s hard to convey the complex range of colors, light, and beauty of a sunset, into a simple two-dimensional image. And then there is the issue with camera settings: often, what we see in-person, and what the camera renders as an image, are two entirely different things.

To combat these challenges, arm yourself with the tools that you need to create dynamic sunset images. Whether you’re just getting started with sunset photography, or looking to brush up on some technique, here are some tips that will get you on track.

Plan Ahead

While it’s true that stunning sunset images can be taken spur of the moment, planning ahead can give you an advantage. Scout out ideal locations ahead of time. Try to look for places that have a great vantage point, and interesting elements to include in your compositions.

Check the sunset times, and plan to be there early to set up and get ready. Plan to stick around long enough. Often, about 20 minutes after the sun dips below the horizon, the sky will light up in another beautiful display of vibrant colors. But many people pack up and leave before this ‘second sunset,’ missing out on this opportunity.

Also, be sure to keep an eye on the weather. If a storm is clearing, seize the opportunity and get ready to go capture the sunset. The dramatic colors after a storm and the dramatic light streaming through the clouds make for beautiful sunset images.

Plan Ahead

While it’s true that stunning sunset images can be taken spur of the moment, planning ahead can give you an advantage. Scout out ideal locations ahead of time. Try to look for places that have a great vantage point, and interesting elements to include in your compositions.

Check the sunset times, and plan to be there early to set up and get ready. Plan to stick around long enough. Often, about 20 minutes after the sun dips below the horizon, the sky will light up in another beautiful display of vibrant colors. But many people pack up and leave before this ‘second sunset,’ missing out on this opportunity.

Also, be sure to keep an eye on the weather. If a storm is clearing, seize the opportunity and get ready to go capture the sunset. The dramatic colors after a storm and the dramatic light streaming through the clouds make for beautiful sunset images.

Camera Settings and Gear for Sunsets

When left to its own devices, the camera will often render an image differently than we would like. Sunsets are a great opportunity to get out of auto mode, and use settings that will give you more control over your images.

  • Set Your Shooting Mode: Aperture priority is a good choice when you want complete control over the depth of field in an image. Or choose shutter priority for absolute control over the exposure. And of course, try to shoot in the lowest ISO possible (ISO 100) to avoid grainy images.
  • Experiment With Exposures: Switching into shutter priority mode allows you to start with a faster shutter speed, and work down into slower ones, allowing you to experiment with a number of different exposures. Clouds and water can especially benefit from a long exposure time, as the slow shutter speeds will render these elements as soft and streaky, with a painting-like quality. When shooting long exposures, be sure to use a tripod to steady the camera and reduce image blur.
  • Opt for a Graduated Neutral Density (ND) Filter: While exposing for the sky will give you amazing colors, this can cause the foreground to be dark and underexposed. Consider using a graduated neutral density (ND) filter, which will help you to get the exposure just right.
  • Set the White Balance: When shooting sunsets, you’re going to want to ditch the auto white balance. Instead, opt for ‘shade,’ which will help to draw beautiful warm golden hues out of the sunset. Shooting in RAW is always a good idea, since this will allow you to adjust the white balance in post processing.
  • Use Different Focal Lengths: For sunset photography, a wide-angle lens is a great option. These lenses create more distance between the foreground and background elements, increasing the sense of depth in a photo, and helping the foreground elements to stand out. On the other hand, telephoto lenses cause elements in an image to appear more compressed, reducing the sense of depth in a photo. Opt for a telephoto lens if you want to focus in on isolated elements, or to make the sun look bigger in a scene.

Sunset photography presents an excellent opportunity to capture some truly amazing images. Be ready ahead of time, and don’t hesitate to experiment with different camera settings as the light continues to change.

The best sunset photos are ones that have strong compositions, so look for opportunities to create solid images by adding plenty of foreground interest. By taking the time to practice new techniques, and experimenting with different settings, you’ll soon have your own collection of dramatic sunset photos.

Street photography tips you need to capture

Street photography: Getting the perfect shot

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In street photography, there are many factors to consider when you’re capturing a scene. When I first started out, oftentimes I would catch my best shots out of pure luck. But looking back I realize it has more to do with timing than luck.

There’s a lot of waiting involved in photography. You may be waiting for someone to walk by so they don’t enter the frame as you press the shutter button. You may be waiting for that moment of stillness among the chaos or waiting for your unsuspecting subject to look up for that brief second. Observe, wait, capture. You learn to be patient as a photographer. The perfect moment can’t be rushed.

1. Look above

When you’re exploring a new city you will find yourself looking up quite often. If you see a piece of architecture you admire consider shooting it from this point of view. Whether you’re centered underneath or viewing from an angle, it will result in an intriguing photo for sure. It’s also one of the easies to capture if you’re new to street photography.

This photo was taken while looking above at the Willis Tower (also known as the Sears Tower) in Chicago, IL. My goal was to express the enormity of this incredible and well-known building. I internally considered the perspective, the strong horizontal and vertical lines, and even the gradation of light.

2. Look below

The opposite of above is well, below. This is a point of view not captured nearly as much as above as it takes a little more thought. You have to consider your location. Is there a stairway to the top of a building or a steep hill? Fortunately there are plenty highs and lows in most cities. The next time you’re up high, take a look at what you see below and create something new from it.

3. Across the street

One of the best ways capture a building, or in this case marquee signage, is to shoot from across the street. Of course this depends on the type of lens you have too but most of the time it’s easiest to catch a spectacle like this in its entirety from a street over. Had I been on the same side of the building, I would not be able to get this shot.

This photo was taken across from the Chicago Theatre to capture the bright, sparkling signage.

4. Angles

I’m always looking for dynamic angles when scouting out signage. I personally find shooting things from a straight on angle to be uninspiring so I purposefully shoot at a diagonal angle like in this shot.

5. Textures

Another things I’m looking out for when wondering a city are unique textures, abundant in urban settings. I loved how the Hard Rock Cafe logo looked painted on this brick wall in Seattle, Washington. I’m sure your city offers its own texture and street art too!

6. Foreground versus background

Don’t be afraid to let something get in the way. I purposefully captured these images of Vancouver’s Burrard Bridge by standing behind walls to achieve the dark framed edges shown here. In this case, it emphasizes the motion of those passing by on the bridge. It also creates an interesting gradation of darkness. Yes, this could be replicated in Photoshop but you want to capture everything in camera first, right? 🙂 Use foreground and background creatively the next time you’ve found your focal point.

7. Capture a scene from afar

While I love photography details up close to capture the unnoticed, I also know the importance of stepping and back and letting the whole scene in. A great way to capture San Francisco’s Ocean Beach is from the Cliff House. It shows just enough of those on the beach, the shore, the waves, the mountains, and the sky.

8. Reflections

You know window shopping? Well, usually when I’m looking through a window I’m thinking about how I can create some dreamy and abstract photo from it. It’s also a sneaky way to achieving the look of a double exposure.

9. Capture motion

What would a city be without motion? This can be a little tricky to capture but it just takes practice! You’ll want to play around with the shutter speed on your camera to give just the right amount of camera blur you like. The faster the shutter speed, the more you “freeze” the scene (meaning everything is sharp and in focus, no motion). So the more you slow the shutter speed down, the more of an artistic blur you’ll catch in your moving subjects.

10. Lights and shadows

Lighting is one of the single most important elements to consider in photography. (I wrote about this more in a tutorial on the golden hour here, so be sure to check that out)! Whether it’s the middle of the day or the sunlight is fading from the streets, there’s always bits of light and shadow you can use to create dynamic images.

While waiting to cross on Market Street in San Francisco I looked up and noticed the light shining on the sign and the windows from the building in the background. Be observant (and again, patient) and you will find these moments.

11. Abstraction

Abstracting a scene comes fairly easy to me. I enjoy taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. I want to force you to take a second look and wonder, what is that? How did she do that?

There are many ways to abstract a scene but one of the most straightforward ways to do so is to play with the focus on your camera when shooting bright city lights at night. This technique is referred to as bokeh photography. This photo is of the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC. There’s plenty more of bokeh photography where that came from!

12. Never pass up those alleyways

In San Francisco, there are no shortage of alleyways. While I don’t advise walking down them alone especially at night with a camera, I do encourage capturing them from afar. No two alleyways are the same.

13. Framing

Creatively using frames within your street photography can be a great way to emphasize your focal point. The archways from the Burrard bridge framed the couple walking toward me in the image below.

14. Perspective

Strong, directional lines can be powerful in your street photography, giving a sense of perspective or symmetry. Bridges and other architecture in cities offer plenty of lines, shapes, and perspectives. What unique perspectives of buildings in your city have you noticed and can share in your images?

15. Go where the view is

Every city has its spots with the best views to gaze from. I’ve spent years roaming San Francisco discovering these. One of my favorite places to see the city of San Francisco in one view is from Twin Peaks. At night, you can see the stream of lights on Market street from the Ferry Building, the bay and golden gate bridges.

16. People

And last but not least, people. While those passing by can sometimes get in the way of composing your shot, don’t forget they can add an unplanned element of surprise. The thing with strangers walking by is you have to be quick. They aren’t there to pose for you so you have to rely on your instincts to frame, focus, and capture these images.

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Seven Tips To Get Amazing Firework Pictures

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1 Tripod or anything stable you can set your camera on. Such as a fence, a bag, a truck/car hood. You will not be able to hold your camera and get crisp pictures!

2 ISO Even though it’s at night time that you are shooting your light source (fireworks) are going to be bright. So having a lower ISO will be ideal. So start with 100 or even 200.

3 Aperture keep it all in focus with a lower aperture. Maybe start around f/5.6 or f/8 to test out your landscape focus.

4 Shutter Speed  Here is the tricky part. You want to keep your shutter speed open a bit longer than you probably normally do. You might have to take a few trial and error shots before you really nail it! Remember the longer you leave it open like 3-4 seconds you will get the milky streamy light streaks. If you go for a quicker shutter speed like 1 second or less you will get a crisper feel to your light streaks!

5 No FLASH If you use your pop up flash it’s not going to work. You cannot use that at all!

6 Focus if you find your camera won’t focus on the firework light consider switching your lens to manual focus and trying to manually focus on your subject.
7 Arrive Early It’s always wise to arrive early, get your best spot and do some test shots!!! If you’re like me this kind of photography I don’t do it every day, so sometimes having a few minutes without the pressure really helps me to get my settings where I am comfortable!