HDR Photography (an introduction)

By Christopher Rainville
HDR photography, or High Dynamic Range photography, has become quite popular in recent time.  By definition, HDR photography is combining different exposure values to one finished photograph. To understand why we do HDR photography it’s important to know how your camera works and more importantly, how it compares to the human eye. Continue reading

Looking for an Inexpensive Photo Editor? Review of Snapseed for Desktop

By Christopher Rainville
Post processing is a very important step in digital photography. However, post processing editors like Photoshop, Lightroom and even Adobe’s less-expensive Photoshop version, Photoshop Elements, can be considered too expensive for a hobbyist photographer. Aside from the cost, their complexity can be overwhelming for a lot of users especially those just starting out. Snapseed from Nik Software offers a simple to use, and inexpensive entry-level post processing program for about 20 bucks and works on Mac and Windows machines.

The power behind this editor is Nik’s patented U Point® technology that allows users to pinpoint specific areas of the photograph to enhance or make adjustments without complicated selections or masking.  Nik Software makes powerful photo editing programs that are designed to simplify even the most complex enhancements and adjustments.  But I would consider the price of these products to be expensive for the average hobbyist.  Snapseed was a product originally developed for the mobile phone market but has recently been released as a desktop version. The software gives you basic post processing controls for enhancements and corrections yet delivers them in an easy-to-use workflow format. Continue reading

Photoshop CS6, Whats New, Beta Review

There are a lot of new enhancements to Photoshop CS6. The first most notable change is the interface. The new screen looks more like Lightroom 4 then Photoshop with its darker background and light colored tool icons. If you prefer the lighter color of previous versions it can be changed.  There are a lot of changes in this version many of which are enhancements to the way certain items are selected and worked with. Many of these changes although superficial, make working with Photoshop much faster.  There are some items that have been moved to new locations for example users of Mini Bridge will now find it at the bottom of the screen and when opened, a Lightroom style filmstrip will be revealed. A lot of the changes are part of Adobe’s JDI initiative. The acronym JDI stands for “just do it” and stems from the Adobe Photoshop team surveying users and asking them what they would like Photoshop to “just do”. Some of these include, being able to make changes to multiple layers, an easier way to work with layers of text, and enhancements working with brush sizes. There are so many minor tweaks that it would be impractical to go through them all. Besides, most people want to know about the big juicy upgrades so let’s get started. Continue reading

An Introduction to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

When Adobe first introduced Lightroom back in 2007 it was primarily designed for professional photographers. Lightroom takes advantage of the raw file format and allows the user to interpret what the final output should be. At the time, only professional cameras gave the user the ability to output in an uncompressed raw format. Even today, most people do not understand what the raw file format is, so let’s take a minute to explain. If you’re like most casual photographers your camera is set to distribute a JPEG file as a finished photo. This is actually a compressed version of your cameras original file format. Your camera does not actually take a JPEG image it uses a proprietary file format to capture the image and then compresses it to a final JPEG. Each camera manufacturer has their own file format. Nikon uses .NEF, Canon uses .CRW or.CR2, Sony also uses a couple of file formats one being SRF. Some manufacturers use a more generic uncompressed format called .TIF. No matter what file format your camera uses if your camera is set up to take JPEG pictures that will be its final output. Adobe devised a way to convert all of the different file formats into a generic uncompressed .RAW file format giving you the ability to in a sense “develop” your own final output. Today even some of the least expensive point-and-shoot digital cameras offer the users the ability to export in a raw file format whether it be TIF or the native file extension.

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