Friday, May 26, 2017

A Guide to Taking Travel Photography

Expert Advice on the Essentials

Travel photography guides can be hundreds of pages long, offering detailed advice on everything from camera settings to composition. In this short-but-sweet guide, we’ll show you the basics of preparing, taking and storing your photos - what you point the lens at is up to you!

The best way to get the top photography possible from your trip is to travel round with your camera to hand and your eyes and mind wide open. Absolutely everything you see can be made the subject of an interesting photo - just because the street is strewn with rubble doesn’t mean the dust won’t glow like fire as the sun sets. If you’re desperate for a specific shot, come back at several times of the day so the scene might be emptier, busier or better-lit, depending on what the final outcome looks like in your head.

Let’s get one thing straight - you don’t need a degree in photography to get back from your trip with some awe-inspiring shots. It’s perfectly easy to wow your friends (and even get a picture or two published) with a basic camera and very little technical knowledge...

What do I need?

The type of camera you use does not matter. Whether you’ve got a brand new 12 megapixel SLR or a cheap-as-chips compact digital from Woolworths, it’s what you do with it that counts. Great shots can be taken with any equipment.
That said; some things to check if you’d like to get the most of your camera include:

Whether or not the camera has manual functions - These include variable shutter speeds and aperture sizes, and allow you a lot more creative freedom, especially when shooting in poor lighting or difficult conditions.

Whether you prefer shooting digitally or on film - Both film and digital have advantages over their counterparts. Film photography is still the favorite of the purists (partly because the size of your prints can be much larger than a digital sensor allows), but digital photography has taken the world by storm. If you enjoy experimenting, digital might suit you better, as you can instantly see if your latest shot came out as you expected (and you won’t waste countless reels of film in the attempt!).

The option of taking a spare battery or two - Some digital cameras have internal rechargeable batteries - they’re great, but if you run out it always pays to have an extra set on you somewhere. Chargers and Rechargeable batteries can save you a fortune in the long run.

Your storage of choice - If you’re planning on shooting with film, always carry spare rolls with you - there’s nothing worse than running out of shots just as the perfect picture comes into view. With digital, find out how many pictures you can store at maximum quality on your memory card - when traveling it’s always advisable to keep the quality high, as it might be a long time before you get the opportunity to visit again!

Before you leave

There are several things you can do to prepare for a trip if you’re keen on showing off your photographic abilities.

Setting up an account with a website that hosts your photographs for free is a great idea, as it means you can give all your friends and family visual updates of your dream trip. That way, you can just email everybody a link to your page, and they can visit it regularly to be kept up to date!

As a member of gapyear.com, you can upload your travel photos to the site for free. Not a member yet? Tsk. The site is free and easy to join - why not sign up today?

The site is simple to use, but we recommend practicing by uploading a few pictures before you leave the country just so you don’t end up trying to figure it out while you’re spending money in a Thai internet cafĂ©!

Take a look at photographs in guidebooks and travel magazines - they can be a great way to train yourself to avoid the usual snapshots and are an inspiration to really experiment with the pictures you take.

Once you’re out there

A camera shouldn’t just capture what you see - it should encapsulate the feel of a place so that when you return home, your photos can take you right back to the moment you took them: the smell of the air, the sounds all around you, and so on.

Don’t always try to concentrate on the big picture - quite often your best pictures will come from focusing on the little things, such as Lucy Cartwright’s shot of incense sticks on the first page of this guide or the photo of the fire extinguisher above. People might say that the devil is in the details, but you’ll frequently find the best pictures are too.

A lot of people can feel embarrassed to pull a camera out, especially if they’re trying to avoid looking like too much of tourist. We say - forget about being embarrassed! It could be your only chance to get a photo of your subject, so dive in there and take the best shot you can while the opportunity is still there!

Photographing people

To learn how to shoot great portraits takes a long time, and we’re not going to bore you with all the details here! A quick summary of the best way to get a good, solid portrait is:
  • Have your aperture open wide, if you’re able to change your camera settings manually - it’ll give you a shorter depth of field and place your subject’s background out of focus, placing them in much sharper relief (it’ll also mean you need a faster shutter speed, so camera shake is less likely). If you’re using an automatic camera, switch it to Portrait mode for the same effect
  • Focus on the eyes. They’re the most important part of the face and the one bit you need to keep in focus. Filling the frame with the head or face of your subject can create a very intimate image.
  • Ask them! In some cultures, pointing a camera at people can look quite suspicious, and you’ll often find them happy to pose for you if you ask nicely. Kids are often great fun to work with - let them look down the viewfinder of your camera or at the pictures you’ve taken if you’re using digital. Occasionally, we agree that’s it’s possible to get a sneaky shot without your subject knowing, but be prepared to accept the consequences if they spot you and don’t appreciate the attention!

Photographing landscapes and architecture

A very different process from photographing people, since buildings and landscapes tend to move around less. This doesn’t make it easier, mind you.
  • When taking a shot of wide open spaces or tall buildings, keep your aperture stopped down as far as possible if you’re trying to get everything in focus - the smaller the aperture (a larger f-stop number) the greater the depth of field. The Landscape mode on automatics and compacts should offer the same result.
  • If taking pictures at night, use a tripod, especially if you’re serious about your photography. Because there’s less light, the camera will need to have its shutter open for longer. Around 1 second will be suitable for urban scenes, but 10 seconds and above still might not be enough for a shot where there are no light sources, like the Australian outback. The tripod won’t shake as much as your hand, and you’ll be able to take much sharper pictures.
  • Take the time to frame your composition - split your frame mentally into a three-by-three grid, and use this to place your subject somewhere other than smack in the middle. Look for simple lines of symmetry and perspective that can make a standard snapshot into something much more interesting. It takes some getting used to, but the rewards are well worth it!
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7 Things To Do Besides Take Photos

Photography Fatigue: There's More to Travel Than Filling Your Phone

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they’ve had enough of clicking the shutter on their camera. It may take years, months, hours or even minutes but at some point, I can guarantee the average person will get photography fatigue and just want to put the camera to one side.



I travel with a Go Pro, an iPhone and a point and shoot camera, I feel ridiculous but they’ve all got their purpose. Sometimes I even add a DSLR on top of that too. I’ve increasingly noticed lately that I’m just not in the photography mood, and as a full-time blogger, my snapping can come more from duty than from love.

I just feel like people are taking all these photos, thousands for every trip, but what do they do with them all? Is it not better to live an experience for real, rather than view it from behind the lens?

1. Look up
When I went on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania everyone was stuck to their viewfinder. You can get the same view as they did if you Google ‘Ngorongoro Crater’ and for a lot cheaper too. The fun of actually being on safari is looking up, looking around and trying to spot the wildlife for yourself. Safaris are all about feeling the Savannah air and looking out to the expanse of the landscape. I understand wanting a photo of the wildlife, I want one too, but when you get home all you have is a photo of a lion like everyone else who’s ever been on safari. You won’t have that feeling of what it was like to be on a safari because you were too busy setting up the camera for the shot.



2. Talk
Instead of looking down, sorting out your camera or clicking the shutter for the tenth time, how about talking to someone? We’re so quick to hide behind our technology these days. In the olden days of disposable cameras, which I just about remember, you’d ask someone else to take a photo (and make a new connection) and you’d take the one or maybe two because they cost 30p per photo to develop. Now it’s all selfies and 7 snaps before you’ve even sorted your hair. Trust someone else to take a photo once in a while and strike up a conversation while you’re at it.

3. Draw or paint
Do people still paint anymore? I’m guessing that if ever anyone made some sort of graph showing a number of paintings done per day compared to a number of photos taken, the lines would cross somewhere around the late 1990s. From 2005ish the photo line would be off the chart. Painting a scene is a great way to really look at an image, to notice all the nuances and characteristics and to record them for yourself. Instead of taking the obligatory photo of a landmark or site as you walk on through, painting gives you the time to actually really sit and look at it properly.



4. Write
Sure, a picture paints a thousand words and all that, but what about writing a few verses on what you see? It doesn’t have to be for any sort of publication but the notes you write now on how you feel will me sacred memories when your gap year is over. If you’re quickly progressing from destination to destination it’s surprisingly easy to forget the details and how you felt at the time. Writing when you’re on you gap year gives you the perfect opportunity to actually sit down and think about all the amazing things you’ve done, rather than just relying on your memory or the photos on your iPhone.

5. Experience
How about you don’t do anything but just soak up the experience and live in the here and now? Put the camera down, any other thoughts to one side and just focus on the here and now. Work your way through your senses when you reach a moment in life you’d normally photograph and think about how it affects each one and enjoy it.


6. Take your time
It’s easy to get caught up in attractions, to follow the crowd and eagerly get onto the next thing before you’re ready all to get the perfect shot or shots. Take time out to a destination. Have a cup of tea, a picnic, or simply sit and people watch. Find out what it’s like to actually be there rather than just to see it and snap it.  

7. Quality photography
Obviously, I’m not suggesting you give up taking photos all together, but maybe cut down on the snap happy attitude and go for quality over quantity. Think about how you want to frame the shot and take the time to set it up. Don’t fill your phone with half-hearted attempts at photography that waste time and memory – go for the money shot. Done!
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Friday, May 19, 2017

Image Sharpening

A. Using the Unsharp Mask Filter

The Unsharp Mask, contrary to its name, actually sharpens your photo by elevating the contrast along the image’s edges. It’s pretty heady stuff that we don’t need to go into, all we need to know is that it works!
1. STEP 1

Open up the image you want to work on, press Command-1 (PC: Control-1) or double-click the Zoom Tool to bring the image to 100%. You want the image to be at least 100%, so you can accurately and effectively see what the sharpening is doing, and know the threshold of the dreaded “halo effect.”
2. STEP 2


Next click on the background layer, Right Click (or hold down command to bring up the Menu) and zip over to Convert to Smart Object. Then dive in to FILTER> SHARPEN> UNSHARP MASK. In the Unsharp Mask preview window, reposition your image so you can see the most prominent details.

3. STEP 3

You have three variables to manipulate: Amount, Radius, and Threshold. “Amount” is how much sharpening you’re doing, “Radius” is the reach of the filter, in terms of how far from an edge the sharpening extends. The value determines the number of pixels surrounding the edge pixels that get affected by the sharpening. So remember, the larger the Radius value, the wider the edges and the more obvious the sharpening… which is a big no-no. “Threshold” is a Strong Safety, so to speak, as in it protects you from other miscalculations or overzealousness!

4. STEP 4
Set the Amount slider to a value to determine how much you want to increase the pixel contrast, between 100 and 200. The actual Amount of sharpening depends on the size and resolution of your image; so you can get away with an Amount of 100% on most images, but for hi-resolution images, you might want to try more than 130% to get a noticeable effect. Next increase your Radius to somewhere between 1 and 2 pixels, so you just start to see the halo around the edges (the telltale sign of manipulation… which you don’t ever want), then dial Radius back so the halo magically fades away… that’s your boundary, your sweet spot.

5. STEP 5
Now that you have the sweet spot, lower the Amount by around 20 to 30 percentage points. For the final tweak, use the Threshold slider. Threshold sets a frontier in which the sharpening takes hold or doesn’t, and that’s based on the total value of the pixels that you’re looking to affect. The value establishes how different the sharpened pixels will be from the surrounding area before those pixels are affected by the filter. This is one of those “seeing is believing” options, so try between 2 and 20 for starters and then raise the Threshold to soften the sharpening until the image looks fabulous. Next, click on the Preview to see the before and after images. Since sharpening brings out some noise in the photo, you’ll want to change the blend mode to counteract this side effect; so change the Blend Mode to the layer you’re sharpening to Luminosity. This projects the image’s value, which is all important when looking to get rid of the noise.

Before & After Image Sharpening

B. Using the Smart Sharpen Filter

The other way to sharpen images is to use Smart Sharpen. Smart Sharpen looks for areas of contrast and that’s where it does its magic - the greater the contrast, the greater the amount of sharpening. When you pull up the Smart Sharpen window, select the Advance Radio button for more control. Also in that window is Shadow and Highlight tabs, which give you the ability to modify the sharpening just in those areas of the image, pretty neat, huh? 

1.Step 1

Press F for Full Screen View Mode, so you see an uncluttered image. Now you can either work on the sharpening as Filter or a Smart Object, either way, you’ll need to go FILTER> SHARPEN> SMART SHARPEN. Now in the Smart Sharpen window, you’ll want to dial up the Amount and the Radius to find the sweet spot that makes your image most flattering.

2.Step 2

Next choose the type of sharpening, under the Remove drop-down. The default is “Lens,” which is pretty rigid in what it’s removing. “Gaussian” is fairly diffuse and soft in terms of what and how it is sharpening your image. “Motion” enables you to remove the unfocused elements that are attributable to camera shake or subject motion. You set the Angle in which the sharpening needs to take place, to match the direction of the motion blur to remove the blur.

3.Step 3
If your image is multilayered, select the layer containing the image you want to sharpen. You can apply Unsharp Mask to only one layer at a time, even if layers are linked or grouped. You can merge the layers before applying the Unsharp Mask filter, for an overall change.

Before & After Image Sharpening.



Note About Sharpening 
Sharpening should be the last enhancement you do to your photo just before outputting to a printer. The reason is that if you’re planning on manipulating the contrast, this will increase the sharpness of a photograph to a certain extent as well. So if you’re going to sharpen your picture, do it after you’ve worked out all the contrast issues.
Conclusion
The degree of sharpening applied to an image is often a matter of personal choice. Sharpening your photo ever so slightly enhances the visual vibrancy of your subject, but you must practice, practice, practice working with these filters so they won’t be obvious in your work.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

How to Create a Faded Cross Processed Effect in Photoshop

Cross processed effects can be great for giving photos an interesting look, and in some cases, it can add a bit of a vintage feel. We have a free Photoshop action for easily creating a faded cross processed look, and in this tutorial, we’ll show how you can create the same look from scratch in just 3 steps.
We’ll be using this sample photo.


And here is the effect that we will be creating.


With this sample photo, it has a nice vintage look at the end.
During the process, we will be creating 3 different adjustment layers to get this effect. If you’re not familiar with how to create and adjustment layer in Photoshop, all you need to do is click on the icon shown below and then select the type of adjustment layer that you want.


Step 1: Curves Adjustment Layer

Add a curves adjustment layer and apply a curve like the one below.


This will give the faded effect by lightening the dark areas of the photo. Next, move to the red channel and apply an S-curve.


Then move to the green channel and apply a similar S curve.


Then we’ll move to the blue channel and reverse the S curve.


These changes to the red, green, and blue channels will create the cross processed look. At this stage, our photo looks like this.


Step 2: Levels Adjustment Layer

The next step is to add a levels adjustment layer and change the shadow input setting to 20 and the mid tone input setting to 1.10.


Step 3: Brightness and Contrast Adjustment Layer

The last step is to boost the contract by adding a brightness and contrast adjustment layer and setting the contrast to 25.


That completes the process, and here is our finished photo.


Don’t forget that you can get this effect very easily with the free faded cross processed Photoshop action.
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Friday, May 12, 2017

A Guide to Photography for Beginners

Learn to Take Amazing Travel Snaps

Let’s dispel a myth right away - you don’t need to be a professional to take travel photos. You just need to know the basics of your camera and follow a few rules. Some of the best photos you'll take will be from being in the right place at the right time, and that happens often when you're traveling.

I have broken this short guide into five sections to give you some fast tips on travel photography. Happy snapping!

Equipment


There is no standard equipment for taking photos but when traveling you best make sure you have the necessities with you. Most people will be taking a point and shoot or a DSLR due to space constraints. For both cameras, the following is recommended:

  • Make sure you have a big enough memory card for the camera - Rather than buy one huge memory card, I would recommend buying three or four smaller ones and keep them separate from the camera. That way if you lose your camera you don’t lose all of the photos.
  • Bring a charger - Nothing is worse than being in a foreign country and the battery on your camera dying and spending all afternoon trying to find a place that might sell your charger.
  • A padded bag - There is a strong chance you will be knocked around on trains and buses. Make sure you get a bag padded enough to take these blows. Nothing is worse than opening up your bag to find it in pieces after being kicked on a bus.
  • A small tripod - Most cannot take a bit 6ft tripod. But there are some really nifty 1-2 ft fold down ones that fit in a handbag. They aren’t very big but if you want to do self-photographs, scenery or night time shots they are a godsend. 


Using the Camera

Before you go look at your itinerary and see what landmarks there are. But more importantly look at what else there is. Remember that the locals know the best places. If they talk about a park or a museum then it might be worth a look. Most countries know what a camera is and most countries are used to tourists. If you are in a place where there is a lot of action then keep your camera to hand. But not obviously. Do not walk around with it hanging round your neck all the time. I tend to have a hoodie on that it tucks into or if it is warm it sits at the top of the backpack. 

Don’t just look. Observe. With your camera to hand and an eye for a picture, you can often get very spontaneous photographs. If you are in a place where there aren’t a lot of tourists and you wish to photograph the locals the best way to approach it is to not have your camera out. Put it away, go up to the locals and talk to them. Mention you are taking photos and get it out. Show the camera to them and to an extent let them have a go. Once they are comfortable with it then ask if you can take some photographs. The trick with kids is to take one photo and show it to them. Often enough they then laugh and play up to the camera creating a better photo.

Remember you are just tourist taking photos. You are not doing anything wrong. So don’t act like it. Be friendly, and talk to people. Don’t just walk up to take a photo and run away.

Settings


When thinking about settings the best thing you can do is learn about what you have got. If it is a point and shoot then learn what each setting does. Most have settings for indoors, low light and outdoors. Make sure you know when to use these settings. There are no perfect settings to take a photo but there can be wrong settings. So learn what each of them does. If you have a DSLR your horizons are massively widened but so are the settings. If your camera has a manual setting then learn to use it. Start by grasping a basic knowledge of Shutter speed, Aperture, and ISO. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials showing you how to use these. All have an effect on the light and texture of a photo. The best tips to have are to leave it on auto if you are unsure. But when you get to grips with how to use light in the manual setting the world is your oyster.

If you are comfortable with the manual setting then here are a few tips:

  • For photographing people, use a high shutter speed as they move and become blurry otherwise.
  • For scenery, you can have a slow shutter speed. A slow shutter speed often makes things like a sunset look more glowing.
  • If you have a tripod, use it. Especially at night. Slow shutter speeds at night need a tripod otherwise they come out blurred and/or ruined. Unless you are an abstract artist that is.
  • Place the subject off center. A simple photo of a girl leaning against a wall is much more interesting and aesthetically pleasing if she is off center. It’s not rocket science but placing the subject off-centre and following a rule of thirds can turn the most boring photos into something worth looking at.
  • The depth of field is an important setting. This is controlled by the aperture. A small number means a short depth of field and a large number means a bigger one. The rule of thumb is that for people use a small number. This focuses more on the person and not the background. For buildings and landscapes use a large number as this gives you the longer depth so more of the subject is in focus.


What to Look For

If going to a place where there are lots of tourists try to give another angle on things. For instance rather than just standing by the Eiffel tower, go to one of the side streets covered in graffiti and shoot it from there. Give the viewer something different. Once you find your subject, find your angle. How do you want your image to end up?

Side streets and off the beaten path is where I shoot my best stuff. Go to the places you wouldn’t have considered before. You can do this while still staying safe. Don’t just rock up into a ghetto with your camera out.

While people are shooting the landmark, shoot the people. Sometimes the most interesting thing about a landmark is the people there to see it. You could take a photo of the leaning tower of Pisa. Or you could take a photo of the girl on her dad's shoulders pretending to push it over not realizing her ice cream is about to fall on his head. 

Most importantly, capture what you are doing. If you are having fun at a bar with some new friends get the camera out. Don’t worry about being all artsy with it, capture the moment. If someone tells a joke to take a photo of everyone laughing. You will look back at that photo and remember the joke.

Scenery

When taking photographs of scenery, take one or two. Get the setting right and move on.  There is no point taking 10-15 photos of the same object. Try to make use of the golden hour. The golden hour is the hour before sunset where everything looks magical. People walking along a beach look like they are from Baywatch. The sun setting over tall buildings makes them look like mountains. Use it. Your surroundings may be boring during the day but during the golden hour, they have a whole new perspective.

Look up! Don’t keep your camera street level. Look up to the sky and the scenery up there. The quagmire of colored roofs in Amsterdam or the spiral buildings of Moscow.    

Look down! Get on your hands and knees, take photos of things a foot off the ground. A flower sprouting in the middle of a Berlin pathway. A hedgehog sleeping in a bush by The Louvre. 

All these things are around you but you do not see them as most people's cameras are glued to their face in a region between 5-6ft high. 
Edit your photo online in here: http://photoeditor360.com/

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Photo editor online tutorial

Photo editor 360 is software with the same functionality as other Photoshop software to help you edit the image in the most effective way.
The interface of Photoshop online
The first interface, you can choose how to open the image for editing:

- Create a new image: create a white image or from a clipboard.

- Open image from the computer: browse your computer to select images.

- Open image from URL: open the image from a URL.


The main interface of Photo editor 360 is similar to the Photoshop software that consists of the main parts:

- 1: Main menu of Photo editor 360

- 2: Option bar, which contains the options when you select the Photo editor tool online.

- 3: The main toolbar, which contains the tools for you to choose to edit photos.

- 4: Display section.

- 5: Manage the layers (layers) of the image being edited.

Learn the tools on the toolbar of Photo editor






Crop Tool (C): Crop the image in the selected area



Move Tool (V): Move selected area.



Rectangular Marquee Tool (M): Area selection tools, to select the area of squares, circles, rectangles ... you select the tool icon and select the area type on the options bar.

Lasso Tool (L): Select a region by drawing a solid region of any shape.


Wand Tool (W): Select the approximate area, click the Wand Tool icon on an area of the image, 


Pencil Tool: Drawing tool, help you paint the image.



Brush Tool (B): Drawing the images repeatedly.



Eraser Tool (E): Delete an image, you can customize in the options bar.


Paint bucket tool (G): Fill color for a region on the image.

Gradient Tool: Apply color to the layer or selection in the foreground and background colors. You can select the color gradient on the options bar.


Clone Stamp Tool (S): This is a tool similar to the Brush Tool, you can select an area of the image and use it to draw on another area.


Color Replace Tool: This tool has the function of replacing color on the image with the selected color.


Drawing Tool: Draw shapes on the image you are editing, you can change the shape and color by selecting on the options bar.


Blur Tools (R): Blurring images you can change the opacity with the Strength attribute on the options bar.

Sharpen Tool (Y): In contrast to Blur Tools, Sharpen Tool works to sharpen the image



Smudge Tool (U): Create scratches on the image.



Sponge Tool (P): Make color images more saturated or dazzling.



Dodge Tools (O): Image brightening tool



Burn Tools (N):  Tool to darken images.



Red-eye reduction Tool: Photo fix with red eye.



Spot Healing Brush Tool: Use this tool to remove the scratches, smudges on the image



Bloat Tool (A): Zoom into the selected area.


Pinch Tool (K): Minimizes the selected area.



Colorpicker Tool (I): Get a color in the image into the color picker.


Type Tool (T): Write text, enter text on the image.


Hand Tool (H): Scrolling images instead of mouse cursors



Zoom Tool (Z): Zoom tool, small image



Set main color: Color picker, main color set.


So, you start using Photo editor 360 right now to get a beautiful photo as you like. You can use the tools according to its function to apply to edit your image. Good luck!
Click here to edit your photo: http://photoeditor360.com/





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