My Favorite Tool for Capturing Balanced Exposures

Lightroom is a very intuitive program and is well suited for both beginning and advanced photo editing. Once you have the basics down in Lightroom and learn to see in your photo editing, it’s time to branch out and use some tools that will take your photography to the next level.

The secret to creating great images in Lightroom is, number one, getting it right in camera. (or as close as possible). I prefer to see a solid histogram that shows that there is information in both the highlights and the shadows of the image. That will make your post processing job a whole lot easier.

Here are some examples of Histograms:

Histogram-balanced

This is an example of a balanced histogram. Notice there are no spikes on either the left wall or the right wall of the graph. If there was a spike flat on the left wall, it would mean that there was no information in the dark areas or shadows in the image. If there is no information, you are not able to bring up the darkest areas in post processing. It looks like this image is too dark, but the histogram is telling us something different.

If your histogram is balanced, you will have much more opportunity to create beautiful imagery rather than fight with an over exposed or under exposed area in post processing.

Here’s another example of the first image we looked at after image editing was applied in Lightroom. Quite a difference!

Histogram-balanced

Balanced histogram allows you to bring up the shadows in an image.

The image above is the edited version of the first image in this article. Notice how the histogram has shifted over from the darkest areas of the graph and there are no “blown out” or underexposed areas. With some minor adjustments of bringing up the shadows, and bringing down the highlights, this image changed considerably and went from a “throw out” to a an interesting piece.

Here’s another histogram example:

Histogram-dark

Here’s an example of an underexposed histogram

The example of above is an underexposed histogram. Notice the “spike” on the left wall showing there is no information in the darkest areas of the image. It’s easy to see what the graph is telling you if you look at the dark rocks in the image.

This shows you the benefit of watching your histogram when you are shooting. If the image seems to dark or too light, and you watch your histogram, you will have a good idea of the potential of the picture when it comes to post processing down the line. It’s always important when you are composing a picture to think about what you might do with it in post processing. Then you are intentionally creating an image, not just a snap shot.

Image capture and post processing go hand in hand when you are shooting. Learn how to make the best of your camera and the tools you have available to you!

Learn more tricks to effective photo editing and work flow with my upcoming Lightroom Quick Start or Lightroom presets class.

 

BPSOP Instructor – Holly Higbee-Jansen

HollyHolly Higbee-Jansen is photographer, trainer, blogger, and workshop leader who enjoys teaching and the creative process. Her passions include teaching photography workshops in beautiful locations in California, Iceland, Costa Rica and the American West with her husband Mark. Holly also teaches online classes on Lightroom, Photoshop and photographic technique. Get Holly’s Free E-Book on “Landscape Photography and the Light and find out about her newest workshops at Jansen Photo Expeditions.com.

Reach Holly by email at:  hhjphoto@gmail.com and read her blog at: JansenPhotoExpeditions.com/Blog

Holly Teaches:

iPhone Photography
Skagafoss-1
In this class, we will introduce you to the magic of iPhone photography using several shooting and editing apps that will give you the ability to make your pictures sing in a fun and easy way.You will learn how to crop, change saturation, brightness and affect the overall look of your pictures with HDR, drama and grunge filters and other techniques. You will be amazed at the simple and effective methods.

 

 

 

Lightroom Quickstart

Lightroom

Do you want to learn to create images that show the beauty of the scene you saw when you took the photograph? Do you want to learn the other essential side of digital photography, photo editing and get up to speed quickly?

This course is designed to get you up and running FAST in this incredibly powerful program. In this two week information packed class, you will learn how to import, organize and perform simple and effective editing processes that will let you produce beautiful adjustments to your pictures.

Lightroom Presets: Taking Your Photos from Good to Great

Lightroom Presets ClassIn this two week class, we will show you how to create your own presets to use over and over and create your own signature style. You will also learn to use third party presets to help with your creativity and enhance your editing power. You will receive detailed information on the website page each week, as well as tutorial videos to help you understand the course material.

For a complete list of Holly’s current workshops go to:

Jansen Photo Expeditions – JansenPhotoExpeditions.com

Holly’s Blog: http://jansenphotoexpeditions.com/blog

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Jansenphotoexpeditions

Instagram – http://instagram.com/photographyexplorations

YouTube – youtube.com/c/Jansenphotoexpeditions

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+jansenphotoexpeditions

500px – https://500px.com/hhjphoto

 

 

Lensbaby Sweet 80!

Wind Flowers SW80 Kathleen 8x12

I am so excited to share the announcement of a new Lensbaby, the Composer Pro II with Sweet 80 Optic! This new 80mm optic is the third in the Sweet series of tilting selective focus optics, joining the Sweet 35 and Sweet 50 optics with a sweet spot of sharp focus surrounded by beautiful blur. With apertures from f/2.8-16 and a minimum focus distance of 22 inches, the Sweet 80 will be available either with the Composer Pro 2 or as an interchangeable optic for any of the previous optic swap system lenses.

Selective focus is my favorite way to make photos, I love to create a small area in focus and blur the rest of the image, drawing the viewer’s attention to just one part of my subject. The first thing I noticed while shooting with this optic was the wonderful fall off to blur created by the compression of the longer focal length.  The blending of colors and shapes is beautiful!

Dahlia with Sw 80 Kathleen

Here are some photos I made this weekend with the Sweet 80, the 80mm focal length of the optic is awesome!  The weather was very foggy in my area, with lovely diffused light. My son caught a blue lobster last week (one-in-two-million odds!), so I photographed that as well as flowers. I used f/4.

Blue Lobster V SW80 Kathleen web

Blue Lobster SW80 Kathleen web

Cosmos SW80 Kathleen f4 web

When you want to get closer with the Sweet 80,  you pull out the front of the Optic. This close-focus feature allows you to focus from 22″ from the front of the lens to your subject.

Windflowers SW80 Kathleen f4 web

Fern with aster Sw80 web

Be sure to push that close focus element back in when you want to focus at a longer distance away. Here are some examples with and without using the closer focus feature, all at the minimum focus distance of the optic:

SW80 windflowewr no macro

SW80 macro pull out web
SW80 no macroSW 80 macro outAutumn leaves SW80 v web

SW 80 leaf macro pulled out

 

I also tried adding a +2 macro diopter to get even closer to my subjects:

Single windflower SW-) Kathleen f4 web

Vindflowers plus 2 SW80 web

Dahlia SW80 plus 2 webSW80 Dahlia plus 2 macro Kathleen web

And since I love to shoot wide open with my Lensbabies, I shot some at f/2.8 for max blur too!

SW80 w open Kathleen web

This new optic definitely has a place in my camera bag, and I’ll be reaching for it when I want more background compression than the other two Sweet optics can provide.  Being able to bring the background in closer will make this optic very useful for the way I like to shoot.
Thank you, Lensbaby, for continuing to produce new and innovative ways that allow me to show the world the way that I see it!

Happy Shooting!
-Kathleen Clemons

Kathleen Teaches: 

Lensbaby Magic

Fine Art Nature Photography

Fine Art Nature Photography II

Fine Art Nature Photography III

Capturing the Beauty of Flowers

My Favorite Quotes: Henri Matisse

shooting-throughthings8DM

Coloring outside the lines takes courage.

I’ve enjoyed writing for this category for some time, the first one going back three years. As my fellow photographers that follow my blog know, I don’t limit these quotes to just photographers. Artists of all types and genres are my sources, and as long as their quotes make an impact (as it relates to teaching) on me, then I want to share it with everyone.

My background is in painting and design, so part of my education was spent in Art History; specifically in the study of painting. Among my favorites was the French painter Henri Matisse. Not only known for his use of color, but he was also a printmaker and sculptor. Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage”.

I have often talked to photographers that take my online class with the BPSOP, and my workshops I conduct around our planet about stepping out from the coattails of photography past and present, and of those that would lead you down the path to mediocrity; and photographic purgatory.

I’m talking about those that follow (with the strictest regularity) rules meant to hinder any chance to being creative; they are the shackles of any original artistry. Creative in the sense of following your own path instead of those others have blazed a million years before..at least during the onset of camera clubs…and now the ruts are are beginning to be too deep to climb out of.

Coloring outsides the lines instead of listening to bad advise offered by those that are too afraid to do so themselves takes courage. We have become a  nation of sheep, and find it easier to go with the flow than follow the beat of a different drummer.

For the most part, I’ve found that photographers want/need  to be safe in their approach to creativity and strive for that first, second, or third place ribbon awarded to those that follow the rules laid out in their respective clubs; or perhaps a big smile and gentle pat on the back from friends or family members…that love you unconditionally.

Without the revolution started by these influential impressionist painters: Pisarro, Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Bazille, art may have never been so radically changed; they challenged the art world and although scorned at first finally won. As photographers we should consider ourselves as painters who have chosen a camera as our medium; our cameras on a tripod is the same as a blank canvas on an easel.

Break all those silly rules that I’m sure all of you at one time or another have either read about or someone has been whispering in your ear; for the most part it’s really bad advice.  If your photos are constantly being degraded from fellow photo club members because they don’t follow their rules…start your own club and enlist only those that dare to be courageous.

FYI, I know of people that have done just that.

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

 

Simple Watermarking – Add Awesome Text to Your Photos in Seconds

wordswagLOW

 

Do you wonder how to create a simple watermark on your Smartphone? 

Watermarking should be part of your work flow if you are posting images online, and here’s a really simple way to add text and watermarks to your images using one of the apps I talk about in my iPhone Photography Class here on BPSOP. This app is called WordSwag and it’s available for not only the iPhone, but for Android as well.

It’s simple interface allows you to create text, watermarks or add sayings and quotes to your images in seconds. You can also import a PNG file with an invisible background from Photoshop and use it on your Smart phone. I give you some tips in this video.

Your creativity will be unmatched!

Take a look at my video here and let me know what you think.

 

Learn how to Watermark with Wordswag from BPSOP on Vimeo.

Good luck watermarking and I’ll see you in class!

 

BPSOP Instructor – Holly Higbee-Jansen

HollyHolly Higbee-Jansen is photographer, trainer, blogger, and workshop leader who enjoys teaching and the creative process. Her passions include teaching photography workshops in beautiful locations in California, Iceland, Costa Rica and the American West with her husband Mark. Holly also teaches online classes on Lightroom, Photoshop and photographic technique. Get Holly’s Free E-Book on “Landscape Photography and the Light and find out about her newest workshops at Jansen Photo Expeditions.com.

Reach Holly by email at:  hhjphoto@gmail.com and read her blog at: JansenPhotoExpeditions.com/Blog

Holly Teaches:

iPhone Photography
Skagafoss-1
In this class, we will introduce you to the magic of iPhone photography using several shooting and editing apps that will give you the ability to make your pictures sing in a fun and easy way.You will learn how to crop, change saturation, brightness and affect the overall look of your pictures with HDR, drama and grunge filters and other techniques. You will be amazed at the simple and effective methods.

 

 

Lightroom Quickstart

Lightroom

Do you want to learn to create images that show the beauty of the scene you saw when you took the photograph? Do you want to learn the other essential side of digital photography, photo editing and get up to speed quickly?

This course is designed to get you up and running FAST in this incredibly powerful program. In this two week information packed class, you will learn how to import, organize and perform simple and effective editing processes that will let you produce beautiful adjustments to your pictures.

Lightroom Presets: Taking Your Photos from Good to Great

Lightroom Presets ClassIn this two week class, we will show you how to create your own presets to use over and over and create your own signature style. You will also learn to use third party presets to help with your creativity and enhance your editing power. You will receive detailed information on the website page each week, as well as tutorial videos to help you understand the course material.

For a complete list of Holly’s current workshops go to:

Jansen Photo Expeditions – JansenPhotoExpeditions.com

Holly’s Blog: http://jansenphotoexpeditions.com/blog

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Jansenphotoexpeditions

Instagram – http://instagram.com/photographyexplorations

YouTube – youtube.com/c/Jansenphotoexpeditions

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+jansenphotoexpeditions

500px – https://500px.com/hhjphoto

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  • Bryan & Chris, What a great class. I just want to tell you how much I learned by taking this course. I have been shooting for more than 20 years and avid fan of you and your photography. I needed something to jump start my photography since I retired recently, and this course was exactly what I needed. I recommend this course to anyone wanting to start learning or need a refresher. Thanks you so much for the work you do in helping your students become much better photographers. On to the next class and as I say to you both "you keep teaching"
    John OBrien Understanding Exposure & Your DSLR
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