Monday, June 15, 2009

Instructor's Tip: Basic Photoshop Optimization

Photo credit: Russ Burden
I hope you enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by one of my favorite instructors, award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. To learn more about how Russ captured the above image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.

Capturing in RAW means spending a bit more processing time in front of the computer for each of your images, but it’s well worth the effort. In what only took a few minutes, I was able to transform the original shot into something that was pleasing.

STEP 1: CROP - The composition that was created in camera left a bit to be desired dictated by the longest focal length of the lens that was on the camera. I cropped the original horizontal into a vertical and got rid of the extraneous material.

STEP 2: Use Adobe Camera Raw to process the RAW file - I tweaked the highlights using the exposure slider, the shadows using the blacks slider and the midtones using the brightness slider. I also removed some of the blue cast using the white balance temperature slider.

STEP 3: Burn Tool - I wanted just the top of the the sky to be darker so the viewer’s eye would drift toward the lower portion of the image and not be lead to the top as it was too bright. To accomplish this, I clicked on the burn tool, set it to midtones at 10 percent and dragged it across the top of the sky two times.

STEP 4: Remove it: The houses along the bottom of the image were distracting so I used the clone stamp tool to remove them. The end result is an image where the paraglider looks as if he’s flying very high rather than skimming the ground.

Photo Credit: Russ Burden

If you're receiving this week's Tip of the Week and you're a local Denver resident, of special interest to you is a Photoshop class I'm teaching for the Digital Photo Academy on Saturday June 27 from 8:00 - 4:00. Feel free to call me for the details or visit to register on line. I'll share many of my tips, tricks and secrets as to how I optimize my images in Photoshop.

Take a class with Russ or a fellow Digital Photo Academy instructor in your area, check out the Digital Photo Academy. I took Russ' intermediate and advanced courses last year, and he continues to be a strong source of knowledge and encouragement as I progress in my photography.

Don't forget to check Take Great Pictures for Russ' most recent tips. On the home page, click on the "Photo Tips And Techniques" button in the left hand column. Additionally, check out his "Digital Tip of the Month" found by clicking on the Digital Photography button.

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