I should have followed this rule the other day. I photographed 50 people in a row and I need to finish all of those pictures for delivery. It’d be a lot easier to get a great starting point if I had shot a white balance target to begin with. Why Not Use Auto White Balance? Auto white balance reads the colors in the scene and makes a judgment about how to compensate for those colors. It’s supposed to make the color of light look great, but there are a couple of problems when shooting a lot of portraits with a flash. First, if you’re not … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Why You Shouldn’t Use Auto White Balance
My colleagues at Photofocus have heard me and seen me say some very choice words during a time, not so long ago, when I had a monitor that wouldn't or couldn't calibrate! At first, I couldn't tell if it was the calibration tool I was using, or the monitor itself! Monitor Calibration Now color calibration is super important-- it makes it simple for you to edit your images on your machine and basically have it be seen on other color calibrated devices they way that you intended it to. There's a standard called sRGB that was developed to help a … [Read more...] about Finally! A Monitor that Displays Colors Correctly!
You need great light to direct attention to your subjects and help your photos appear natural. If you want to make great light with flashes, you need gels. Gels simply color your flash's light which allows you to match the flash color to the light in a room. When the light from the flash doesn't match the ambient light, it stands out and looks like it was flashed. You'll make more natural-looking photos if you use gels. I recently made a photo for a pro bono ad in a local magazine. This fellow has started a food bank in town, and the local … [Read more...] about Want Natural-Looking Light? Use Gels.
The most common printing problem of WYSINWYG "What you see is NOT what you get" is a non-calibrated monitor. Here is the scenario: You spent hours editing an image; selecting the right colors, making sure the shadows are just right, the black point isn't clipped and so on. You print the image and it's not what you see on your screen. You're confused. When you sent the same image off to a professional lab like Miller's, Bay Photos or Mpix, the image looks great. But when you print from home or print at Walmart the image looks bad. What's going … [Read more...] about Fixing What you see is NOT what you get when Printing
Today we announce the winner of our Spring Flickr contest. We had a great group of pictures to choose from. I guess we could have selected any of several dozen images we liked, but in the end, Astin's shot of the Las Vegas strip wowed us. Here's a short critique of the image and why it was chosen. It appears to be an HDR/Tone Mapped image and the technical bits were done very well. The image just pops right off the page. Note the horizon doesn't cut through the center of the frame, which would be distracting. The fountain center and the tower … [Read more...] about Announcing Our Photofocus Spring 2010 Flickr Contest Winner
Guest Post & Photo by Ara Roselani X-Rite ColorChecker Passport is a pocket-sized plastic case with "target" panels for white balance, color correction and warming/cooling. The accompanying software has an Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop plugin and a camera profiling application. X-Rite, who also makes the Pantone Huey monitor calibration system, recommends it for both landscape and portrait photography. For my demo, I took the passport case on a portrait shoot in an outdoor location on a cloudy day. My model held the case open for one shot … [Read more...] about X-Rite Color Checker Passport Mini Review