Blend Modes – Learning to Love Them

No matter what editing software you use today, it will likely include layers, masking and blend modes (also known as blending modes).  Everybody’s doing it now – Photoshop and Lightroom, of course, but also ON1, Luminar, Topaz, etc.

orange-translate-buttonAnd the more software that includes blend modes, the more frustrated I get at their lack of ability to explain in plain English exactly what they are.  I’ve read countless blogs, gone to workshops partly to understand them, watched countless YouTube videos looking to make sense of them, and more often than not, the recommendation of the instructor is simply to try them and see what happens.  My brain needs more.  I want to be able to explain them.  This post will try to do that.

Before you run screaming from the room, I’m not going to give you the item by item breakdown of all of the blend modes available in any software.  My intent is to help you understand what a blend mode does generally and how to make a choice among the ones you have available in your software. Continue reading “Blend Modes – Learning to Love Them”

How Important are Megapixels?

Whenever I look at a new camera (purely for interest these days), the first stat I normally read is the megapixel count.  There seems to be a lot riding on this one number, as though it somehow conveys the quality of the images you will obtain and the performance of the camera in different conditions.  We’re also taught generally that bigger is better.

Sony

Sony recently announced its 61 megapixel flagship.  61 megapixels is surely “better” than the 24 megapixels of my Fuji or the 20 megapixels of my aging but trusty Canon.  On all counts, nothing could be further from the truth.  Here’s why. Continue reading “How Important are Megapixels?”

The Changing Face of Photo Editing

A bit late with this post.  It is summer, after all, here in Canada.

A couple of new announcements in July caught my attention because I use both products but also because they are clear examples of the changing face of photo editing.

Attention - Hot NewsSkylum announced the upcoming release of Luminar 4, scheduled for sometime in the fall.  Originally released in 2017, the company and the product have gone through some interesting evolutions.

Topaz Labs released the next version of its Studio software, completely redesigning the interface, and redefining its associated pricing model.

Both products are standalone photo editors.  Both products also provide plugin options for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.  But that’s not what makes them interesting. Continue reading “The Changing Face of Photo Editing”

Scene Compression Uncompressed

I read a lot of blogs, follow a lot of YouTube channels and subscribe to many “handy tips” postings that come into my mailbox daily.  One such recent posting was from Tim Grey, a respected Photoshop expert and professional photographer.

Grey Learning

Viewers had posted questions about the long standing belief that as you use lenses of longer and longer focal length, and compare the same scene shot through these different lenses, the apparent separation between foreground and background diminishes with focal length.  In fact, this has been a long accepted “generality”, passed on from photographer to photographer, that scene “compression” occurs with telephoto lenses.  But as with many things, the details get somewhat “blurry” (pardon the pun) and the specifics of the effect are often not explained. Continue reading “Scene Compression Uncompressed”

Combining Lightroom Online with Lightroom Desktop

I wish Adobe would call in a Communications Specialist to help them rename their products.  It’s Marketing 101.   Product names should reflect what the company expects users to do with the product and what users expect of the product – to provide an easy way to recognize and develop brand loyalty to that product.

Instead, we have Lightroom “Classic” and Lightroom “CC”, which gives absolutely no help in understanding the difference in the products and how they can be used separately or together for an amazing workflow.  This post is about what I’ve discovered ON MY OWN around how these products can be used together.  I’ve also given them new names. Continue reading “Combining Lightroom Online with Lightroom Desktop”

Here We Go – Adobe “Tests” Price Increase

Reports have surfaced in the last couple of days that Adobe may soon be making a pricing change to its photography plan offerings.

Some country-specific sites have started seeing new pricing and new configurations of options, including subscribers in the United States.  It doesn’t appear that this “test” has been applied to the Canadian market. Continue reading “Here We Go – Adobe “Tests” Price Increase”

On Camera Flash – Making It Work for You

I was in my local camera store the other day.  I was purchasing a small speedlite unit to use on my mirrorless camera.  Yes, on-camera.  In a twist of fate, in walks in a colleague from my local camera club, same flash unit in hand.  We chatted with the salesperson, also a friend.

Godox FlashMy colleague then said:  “I’m bringing this flash back.  It doesn’t fire consistently.”  He demonstrated the problem, with the unit set first on TTL mode and then on manual mode while attached to the hotshoe on his mirrorless camera.  He was right.  Without changing camera settings, sometimes the speedlite would fire and sometimes it wouldn’t.  He returned the unit.  But it got me to thinking about how the speedlite and camera work together and how to make sure they always work when needed. Continue reading “On Camera Flash – Making It Work for You”