Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

Sometime we need to tell a stronger visual story than is available with standard color or black and white photographs.

We want something to “jump” off the page in our image and grab the attention of the viewer and hold it.

If you do, I have something for you.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

As a graphic artist and photographer, I employed something that I feel is part of both worlds. It is a technique I learned a few years ago when I would process wedding photographs that I had taken.

I call it “Painting with Color”.

I have used this photography skill many times when I have designed newsletter and websites because it does demand attention from the viewer.

It’s like underling a word in a sentence to make sure the reader does not sail on by. Some images take on a surreal eerie effect that stumps the senses.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

The manipulation is done in Photoshop and is not hard at all.

First you will want to pick a suitable image. Something that will have a sharp contrast going from color to black and white.

 Not all photographs work and some better than others.

As you play with the tools you will get a better feel of what to look for in the way of an image to use.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

I have made a step-by-step video on YouTube detailing how use this technique on your own photography. Click the link below to view it.

Happy painting.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

.

  1. Open an image in Photoshop. Make sure the “Layer” pallet is open so you can keep an eye on it throughout this whole process. If it’s not open, go to the top > Window > Click layers
  2. You will also want to make sure the “History” pallet is open and can find that in the same place as the layer pallet.
  3. Now the magic begins.
  4. Make a second layer of the image by dragging the first layer into duplicate layer tool located at the bottom of layer pallet. It looks like the paper with fold on it (to the left of the trash can).
  5. You will now be working on the top color image in the layer. That is the image that will be turned into B&W while the bottom image stays color. When you paint that part of the B&W it will give way to the color image below in just that spot only.  
  6. To change the color image on top to B&W, highlight the top image in layer. Go to top > Image > Adjustments > Black & White. Now adjust the B&W using the tool pallet that will show up. Adjust the B&W to the best way that you like it. This is important to make a good B&W because that part of the image that will stay B&W will be most the image.
  7. Now you want to click “add layer mask”. That is also located at the bottom of layer pallet. It looks like an image with a BIG hole in it. This tool will then allow you to paint to the color image below. You will notice a white image will appear next to the B&W on the top layer.
  8. Remember this saying: White reveals, Black conceals. That is what you will want to remember as you move forward.
  9. Now you will want to select the eraser tool in the main tool pallet. If you do not know what that tool is just hover over each tool for a second and a pop up will show which one of the tools are.
  10. When that tool is open, you can the adjust the size of the tool by going to the top and change the brush size. On a Mac computer, the shortcut is the two bracket buttons to the right of the letter P. That is also where you change the mode, opacity and flow. I make the mode: brush and leave the Opacity 100% and Flow 100%.
  11. Remember when I said white reveals and black conceals? To switch back and forth on that tool go back to the main tool pallet and down below you will see two screens with an arrow pointing to both. You will want to make one black and one white. By clicking the double arrow it will switch which one is on top and regulating what the brush is doing.
  12. White will reveal what is on the bottom layer. In this case, it’s the color below. If you made a mistake and painted too much area you can switch to black and it will turn that part back to B&W. Very cool.
  13. Make sure you use the magnifying glass and make the image BIGGER so you can do fine detail. That will give your finished image more believability.
  14. You can leave this image in the layer form when you save it because it will make a Photoshop Document (PSD) file out of it. That way you can go back and work on it some more if you wish. You will also want to make a .JPG so you can share it with others and you can do that by making a “Save As” and clicking .jpg.

 

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black And White Images

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black And White Images

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black And White Images

I learned photography by taking nothing but black and white images.

My junior year of high school back in Waukegan, Illinois in 1969, I enrolled in a photography course.

It changed my life.

I have never been the same since.

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

Four of my Grandchildren.

I learned to shoot, develop film and print in B&W. I learned to navigate a darkroom from top to bottom.

I picked up some amazing techniques.

Getting so close the process helped me to understand the language of photography inside out.

Sometime later, I graduated to shooting color. I shot a lot of transparency images on slide film for myself and  I shot color negative film for wedding and portraits.

But, my heart always longed for B&W.

 

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images
How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

I remember a professional photographer once asked me if I knew how you could tell a good image from a great image?

He said, if you striped all the color out it would then give you an idea what was essential. Color tends to hide the emotion and the sheer story telling ability of a image. The elements are left on their own to speak for themselves

B&W has a way of explaining things in stark terms with nothing to hide behind.

I have always viewed things from my view finder on my camera in Black and White terms. That was how I started in school and have continued to process things in my mind’s eye for the rest of my life.

 

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images
How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

I love sepia tone images as well as B&W. 

Going digital has been amazing. I have brought some of those old black and white techniques into a new platform.

It’s not simply striping the color out when you desaturate an image but something far more creative from the days of film.

How can I make certain elements “POP” within that black and white digital image?

Photoshop. Thats how!

 

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

Photoshop control and tool panel.

If you would like to see a short step-by-step process and the Photoshop tools that I use to bring back the old film days, go to my how-to video below.

 

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

 

Salvation Army Christmas Dinner

Salvation Army Christmas Dinner

Salvation Army Christmas Dinner

Salvation Army Christmas Dinner

Salvation Army… What an amazing organization.

I organize and direct a group of 10 photographers and about 50 helpers photograph portraits for the poor and needy on Christmas morning just before the Christmas dinner at the Phoenix Civic Center.

For an hour and a half, each photography booth will shoot a new family portrait every 3-4 minutes.

Runners then takes the digital photo card from each camera to a room that has two professional printers and about another 20-people handling and printing the photographs and putting the 11 x 8 portraits into beautiful cardboard frames.

Each family will receive two of these portraits. It’s amazing how fast these printers work.

They are usually done printing about 20-30 minutes after the last portrait is shot. Hundreds and hundreds are passed out the morning.

While these portraits are being shot another group of photographers are shooting children as they sit down with Santa Clause.

Refreshments are served to everyone while the first professional band is playing Christmas music in the background.

FREE haircuts are being cut by a group of 15-20 professional hair stylists in a side room and in another room people can call anywhere in the world and talk to family for 10-15 minutes.  

Salvation Army Christmas Dinner

Salvation Army Christmas Dinner will feed over 5,000 at the dinner itself and then another 3,800 meals go out by car to those who can not making it to the Civic Center.

It takes about 1,000 people to volunteer in various capacities to make this successful.

This is the most amazing event I have ever participated in. Salvation Army brings in professional chefs to cook the turkey dinner and all its fixings.

The dinners are served on china, silverware and fancy table cloths with 10 people per table while professional musicians playing holiday music in the background.

They are the second band to play that day. Presents are handed out to the children when the guests have been fed.

Salvation Army Christmas Dinner

.

This will be my 8th year…I think, I have lost count. 

When you love doing something that happens.

The main husband and wife team that organize the whole  Salvation Army Christmas Dinner have been doing this for over 20 years but I think its closer to 30. They seem have lost count also…

Salvation Army Christmas Dinner
Salvation Army Christmas Dinner

Salvation Army has hundreds of these celebrations and dinners going on ALL across the USA and the rest of the world on Christmas.

God bless them and how He has used them to bless so many of His people.

I think I am far more blessed by my participation in this annual event than the blessing I give to others.

God works like that…

Salvation Army Christmas Dinner Phoenix Arizona

Salvation Army Christmas Dinner
Pull Your Hair Out Issue With Adobe Illustrator

Pull Your Hair Out Issue With Adobe Illustrator

Pull your hair out issue with Adobe Illustrator

Pull your hair out issue with Adobe Illustrator

I had a BIG issue with the new Adobe Illustrator 2017 up-date that made me want to pull what little hair I have, OUT.

I build beautiful websites for people and small business.

I like to use my graphic art skills to make them beautiful so when I started to upload images for a new website for a landscape photographer that I was designing for, I ran into a problem I had not in counted before.

Even though I have also been a photographer for many years and have used Photoshop since forever, I use Illustrator to make sliders, backgrounds with text and many graphics for websites.

When you are trying to combine Photographs with text, Illustrator is just the best way to go. This is what it was built to do.

Photoshop can do it also but it is much harder. It was never really designed to use and add text in a easy efficient way.

SOOOOOoooooo…..

When I designed a slider (narrow photograph) for the top of the website that would rotate with other sliders, something strange happened.

I designed the new slider in the usual way. I then turned it into a .jpg. The image looked fine and just like what the photographer took but when I uploaded it onto the WordPress website it was super saturated like the image below.

Not at all like the original image from the photographer as you can see from the image below…

What!!

I remade it thinking I did something wrong. It came out the same way again.

Thinking it was a issue with that particular new WordPress site, I took the image and loaded it on another website. Same thing happened again.

This is crazy I though as I tried to seek out help from the WordPress community. No answers were forthcoming. I took a deep breath and began to think what was different this time around from all the hundreds of images I had designed and put onto WordPress websites before.

I decided instead of making a .jpg I would make and up-load a .png because that format works just as well on websites and the internet.

That one worked and looked great.

Then it hit me!

I had updated my Adobe CC account just a few days before. The updates were from 2015 to the new 2017. Illustrator was one of those programs that was updated.  

I then reloaded 2015 Illustrator back onto my computer and went through the whole process again. The image was created and up-loaded just as it was intended.

No super saturation.

I then contacted a Adobe tech and they had me look at the saturated image in Photoshop and see what mode it was in.

I told them it was in CYMK even though I had asked for RGB in Illustrator.

They then told me it was a known issue with Illustrator 2017 that they are fixing.

I felt good that I had figured out the issue but it took me 3 hours of frustration across a couple of different platforms.

That is why I called this blog “Pull your hair out issue with Adobe Illustrator”

Who knew!

The first river photograph to be used as a slider and saved in CYMK mode. This image is NOT what the photographer wanted. Much to saturated but the colors are also off.

The second river photograph to be used as a slider and saved in RGB mode. This image is just as the photographer wanted.

A river photograph to be used as a slider and saved in RGB mode. This image is just as the photographer wanted.

Remember:

When you are putting images on WordPress or the internet for that matter that the image needs to be in RGB. That was something I knew from my graphic arts classes but I had no idea the new Illustrator 2017 was not making it when I asked it for.

CYMK mode is for when photographs are to be printed on a printer but RGB mode is for photographs to be used on the internet.

I love building websites but you do run into issues that need to be figured out. I am also thankful that there are communities of professionals that I can use to figure out problems and see what is new in my field.

Here are four:

WordPress.org codex: https://codex.wordpress.org/

Wpbeginner: http://www.wpbeginner.com/blog/

Divi nation on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiviThemeUsers/

Website Magazine: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/

I also belong to a local WordPress community in my area that I connect through my local meetup group once a month. I also go to a WordPress boot camp in the Phoenix once a year.

Pull your hair out issue with Adobe Illustrator

Reasons To Shoot In Manual Mode

Reasons To Shoot In Manual Mode

Reasons To Shoot In Manual Mode

 

Why you need to take control over aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

by Rob Lim

Reasons To Shoot In Manual Mode

.

.

You have probably heard, over and over, that you should be shooting your camera in manual mode.

But what is manual mode, and why is it so important for your photography?

Lets figure it out!

Manual mode is one of the main settings on your camera, and it lets you manually control shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. These three settings work together to control the how bright or dark your photo is (known as exposure), as well as change the overall look of the image. Super important stuff!

Now, if you’re just getting into photography you might not even know what shutter speed, aperture, and ISO do, so taking control over them can be overwhelming. But don’t let that stop you from shooting! Here’s a big secret that I don’t even know if I should be saying here… You don’t need to know how to shoot in manual mode in order to take great photos.Gasp! Yes, it’s true. The auto modes (Auto, Program), and semi automatic modes (Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority) on your camera are great places to start.

 

Manual mode is going to give you much more control over the look of your photos.

 

So why learn to shoot in manual mode if your camera can automatically adjust settings for you? Because manual mode is going to give you much more control over the look of your photos. And that, my friend, is a huge deal.

Let’s take a look at the main benefits of shooting in manual mode, and just how that can help you improve the look of your photos!

 

1. Take Creative Control

The biggest advantage of shooting in manual mode is that it lets you take creative control over aperture and shutter speed, and just brightness in general.

Reasons To Shoot In Manual Mode

ISO 100, 50mm, f/1.6, 1/500s

APERTURE

By manually controlling aperture you’ll have more control over the depth of field in your image. (That is, how much of the image is in sharp focus).

This can be super helpful when taking portraits. A large aperture (smaller f/number) will help you create shallower depths of field, which can massively help your subject to stand out from the background – not to mention helping you create some amazing bokeh!

On the other hand, you might want to select a smaller aperture (bigger f/number) if you want more of your photo in focus.

This can be useful for many situations, like in landscape photography where you want to capture both foreground and background in reasonably sharp focus. Shooting in manual mode let’s you make the choice based on what result YOU want!

Reasons To Shoot In Manual Mode

ISO 500, 37mm, f/8.0, 1.3s

 

SHUTTER SPEED

As for shutter speed, being able to control it can help you capture motion in more creative ways.

By selecting slower shutter speeds you can capture shots where your subject shows some motion blur.

Think about those neat nighttime city shots of cars making trails of light, or waterfalls with smooth flowing water. Slow shutter speeds are what let you capture that!

Or maybe you want to completely freeze some kind of action, like a child jumping in midair. Using a fast shutter speed will help you freeze that instant in time.

Being able to choose your shutter speed let’s you decide just how you want movement to be portrayed in your image.

.

EXPOSURE

There are also times you’ll want to take creative control of the overall brightness of an image (by manually adjusting shutter speed, aperture, and ISO).

One example would be creating silhouettes. This requires having your subject stand in front of a bright background, and then deliberately underexposing your subject so that they appear quite dark.

Another example is star photography. In this situation you typically need to shoot with a large aperture (small f/number), have the shutter open for a long time (10-30 seconds), and shoot at a higher ISO.

These are two different scenarios that each require a specific approach to choosing your settings in order to get the look you want!

But it isn’t just unique situations like silhouettes and star photography that benefit from control over exposure.

More broadly speaking, the brightness of your photo is a personal preference, and an artistic choice. Being able to choose the exposure in your image is a big part of getting your message across!

Reasons To Shoot In Manual Mode

ISO 125, 200mm, f/7.1, 1/500s

2. Deal with Tricky Lighting Situations

Now here’s a huge reason to learn to shoot in manual mode: Some lighting situations are simply too difficult for the camera’s auto modes to handle! 

Trying to shoot these scenarios with an automatic mode can straight up give you the wrong exposure, and be an exercise in frustration.

 

Some lighting situations are simply too difficult for the camera’s auto modes to handle!

 

The biggest problem is with backlit situations. If the light behind your subject is much brighter than your subject itself, then your camera will try to adjust the settings in order to capture the brighter light.

This will result in your subject being completely underexposed, and hard to see. Not good.

 

To read the rest of this article go here: Why You should learn to shoot in manual mode.

 

Reasons To Shoot In Manual Mode

Should You Convert Your Photos To DNG?

Should You Convert Your Photos To DNG?

Should You Convert Your Photos To DNG?

Should You Convert Your Photos To DNG?

by

Should You Convert Your Photos To DNG? Yes, yes and a BIG yes and here is why.

The world of digital photography changes FAST.

It’s a fun and exciting time, with new gadgets coming out all the time.

But as a digital shooter you need to think ahead to the future, and figure out how you can protect your images from the changing times!

If you’re not planning right, you might end up with an archive of images that you can’t even open.

Uh oh. Read on to learn more about this subject, and how you can prevent that from happening to you! 

Now, if you shoot in the RAW file format you may or may not have heard of the Digital Negative (DNG) format. The DNG is an open source RAW file format that was developed by Adobe and released in 2004.

You might want to consider converting your RAW files to the DNG format as it offers some serious benefits!

Should You Convert Your Photos To DNG?

This is where you tell Bridge to convert your RAW file into a .DNG. It will also embed all the information into the .DNG so there is no need for a side car to follow tour RAW file around.

The Benefits Of DNG

.

FUTURE COMPATIBILITY

One of the problems in photography right now is that the vast majority of camera manufacturers have their own proprietary RAW formats.

If you shoot Canon you might have noticed your RAW files end with .cr2, or with Nikon it’s .nef.

These proprietary formats might be difficult to read in the distant future since the format hasn’t been openly documented and support from the manufacturer may not always be there.

It’s hard to imagine not being able to open Canon or Nikon files today, but ten or twenty years from now who knows where those companies could be!

Since the DNG format (.dng) is open source anyone can write software to read or write the format.

It’s not limited to Adobe software like Lightroom and Photoshop.

Many different software developers support the DNG format (Apple Aperture for example).

There are also no license restrictions so camera manufacturers could use DNG as their default RAW format instead of their proprietary format.

Some camera manufacturers like Leica and Hasselblad already capture in the DNG format.

If (when) other camera manufacturers adopt a universal format in the future it’s highly likely it will be the DNG.

Should You Convert Your Photos To DNG?

Lightroom will also convert your RAW file into a .DNG when you process your image so if you do not do the conversion when you down load images from your camera you can do it here instead.

SMALLER FILE SIZE

DNG files are around 15-20% smaller in file size than proprietary RAWfiles without any loss of quality!

You also have the option to include the original proprietary RAW file in the DNG which effectively doubles the file size – though it’s not really necessary.

If you would like to read the rest of this article go here: Convert RAW to .DNG

 

Should You Convert Your Photos To DNG?