A few years back HDR became for many people one of the most hated terms in photography. I believe this was in part due to the overuse of techniques that produced extreme examples of HDR. It was probably also due to HDR being used to resurrect images that should have been allowed to die a natural death. In short, if you don’t like the HDR treatment and style of image you have typically seen, you may not be interested in HDR.
But by disregarding HDR techniques you are also disregarding a very useful tool that help you produce images of excellent quality. The key to this is being able to master and control the traits of HDR that we often pick up on. The image at the top of this post for example is an HDR image yet appears to be a natural photograph; the HDR treatment has been chosen to suit the image. The same can be said of the following black and white image.
My latest book which has just launched on Amazon, provides you with the tools necessary to control the HDR process and look using Nik HDR Efex. It follows the proven and popular format of marrying information with hands on practical exercises.
The first art of the book discusses how to shoot and prepare HDR image sequences prior to merging.
The book then covers the process of generating the HDR image as well as applying Tone Mapping techniques.
The book then concludes with three full length worked examples for which you can download the accompanying image files from my Lenscraft website. This allows you to follow the process on your own computer from merging the initial images through to post production enhancement with other Nik filters.
The book is priced at just £3.99 (or similar in other currencies) and can be purchased from Amazon in the Kindle format.
Links to the book on Amazon UK and Amazon US are given below. Alternatively, you can search for the book title “Mastering Nik HDR Efex Pro 2”.
Recently I found myself in an art gallery looking at some of the paintings. I can’t recall why I was there and it’s not something that I ordinarily do. As I stood, staring at an amazing landscape painting, a realisation struck me. The painter was simply using techniques to create the illusion of light. These techniques had to be mastered but they could also be learned.
Now this might not seem like a revelation to many of you, but it was like a light going on in my head. What I realised was that photography is becoming more and more like painting all the time. Most photographers spend a significant amount of time adjusting their images with tools like Lightroom and Photoshop in order to achieve their vision. What really struck home is that we should be looking to these old master art techniques when adjusting and enhancing our photography.
Looking now at works of the old masters, I see the use of shadows to emphasise light as being a core technique. You might think that I’m just referring to contrast here but I’m not. Their techniques and work are somehow different. It’s not like taking the contrast slider in Lightroom and boosting contrast globally. No, they are creating shadows to give the illusion of light and it’s not something that’s easily replicated with a few sliders in our editing tools.
What I take away from this is that we should be embracing the shadows not remove them. We need to include blacks in our images and not be afraid to make the image low key. Just because we have the tools to look into the deeps shadows doesn’t mean that we should.
This blog post was originally intended to finish with the above paragraph but then I decided to look for photography that reminded me of old paintings and came across the work of Kevin Best on Flickr – amazing isn’t it. I then took a look on amazon and found his book.
What spooked me though is that I had purchased this book a couple of years back but never read it. I’m off to download it to my Kindle again to see what I can learn.
I’m very pleased to be able to announce that my latest book “From Photography to Art with Topaz Texture Effects” has now been published and is available on Amazon. The book covers in detail how to use the Texture Effects software and provides two full length examples for you to follow. In common with my other books you are able to download the starting images for these examples so that you can follow the examples on your own computer.
In addition to the descriptions and examples, the book provides a number of more creative ideas for using the software. For example, did you know that you can use the software to create new Borders and Textures. This information hasn’t been previously shared and isn’t even available on the Topaz website.
If you don’t already have the Texture Effects software, you can use the 30-day demo with the book (available from the Topaz website). The book also includes a 15% discount code should you later decide to make a purchase.
You can find the book using the links below or search for the title on your local amazon store.
I’m pleased to announce the launch of my new book “Black & White Mastery: Adobe Lightroom Edition”. The book is aimed at the beginning and intermediate black and white photographer, who wants to get the most from Lightroom. No other plug-in’s, software or filters are involved; everything is done in Lightroom.
As with all my books there are three, full length, worked examples that demonstrate the techniques discussed in the book. The RAW files to accompany the examples are available for free download from the members’ area of Lenscraft.
The book is over 200 pages in length and contains 161 illustrations. You can purchase a copy from any of the amazon stores and I have included links to the UK and US sites below. The book is priced at what I think is a very reasonable £3.99 in the UK, $4.99 in the US, or similar in other countries.
Ever since I published my book “Essential Photoshop” I have received regular requests for a follow up book. The original book was designed to give the Photoshop beginner all the essential skills required to be able to enhance their photography. It’s been a great success and many people have given good reviews on Amazon. What people have been asking for is a follow up book providing guidance on using more advanced techniques. I’m now very happy to be able to announce the new book is ready.
This latest book is “Photoshop Layers: Professional strength image editing” and is designed to advance Photoshop skills to the next level.
The book is structured into three sections:
Section 1 explains how to work with layers and how you can combine these into your Photoshop editing.
Section 2 looks at using masks to target specific areas of your images with adjustments. It covers how to create both simple and complex masks using fast, easy to apply techniques.
Section 3 examines blending modes for layers and how these can be used creatively in photography.
Accompanying the book is a collection of image files which support the many exercises and examples so that you can follow on your own computer.
The book is available on all Amazon sites and I believe this is the lowest priced, best value book of its kind.
View on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com or search for “Photoshop Layers Robin Whalley” in your countries Amazon site.
I recently posted an article about a new book I had purchased which described photographic locations in The Peak District. Spurred on by my success in finding such a great book I decided to see what other photo location books were available for the UK, and which might cover locations I regularly visit. That’s when I came across “Photographing North Wales” on Amazon.
The book has now arrived and on first skim it appears to be of a similar quality to the Peak District book (the authors and publisher are different). It’s quite expensive until you consider the information it contains. Again I expect this will save me plenty of research although I know and have photographed a few of the locations. Despite this there are many, many more locations that are completely new to me. The locations appear to be well illustrated which gives a good idea of what to expect and this is supplemented with a detailed, factual description. I can’t wait to try out some of these.
I have now purchased a third book that I expect to arrive in the next week. This one covers the Yorkshire Dales, another area that I visit quite regularly but don’t always have a great deal of success. I will report back when that book arrives.
For those readers that don’t know, I live in an area known as Saddleworth in the North West of England. It can be quite a harsh environment but it can also be quite beautiful, cutting into the top edge of the Peak District. Despite having easy access to the Peak District I seldom photograph there, preferring instead to drive up to the Lake District which I know very well indeed.
If you are wondering why I do this, it’s because I have the local knowledge in the Lake District gathered over many years and having climbed most if not all of the mountains (some many times). In the Peak District I am at a disadvantage as I seldom walk there and there isn’t much good reference material to research. Consequently I find that I seldom shoot any images that I like, which sort of reinforces my reason for not going there in the first place.
Hopefully all this is about to change. You see I came across the book “Peak District Through the Lens” which is a location guide for Photographers. Not only does it cover all the best locations but gives a wealth of related information about access and the best times to photograph. It’s by far the most fact filled book of this type that I have seen and I think it’s going to save me many years of on foot research.
If you’re thinking about visiting the Peak District for photography I would encourage you to check out this book. The link to the author’s site where you can buy the book is shown below.