There’s a simple way to make your subject’s eyes pop in a portrait, and it doesn’t involve touching vibrance, saturation, luminosity, or any other color-based edit. In fact, you can make the full edit in 30 seconds.
This quick Photoshop tip comes to us from photographer Mathieu Stern, who uses a simple sharpening technique to make his subjects’ eyes stand out. Here’s the step by step:
1. Duplicate your background layer (your portrait).
2. Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and apply a High Pass filter with a radius of 10 pixels.
3. Set the layer blend mode to Soft Light
4. Alt+Click on the layer mask icon to create a black layer mask
5. Use a soft brush to pain white over just your subject’s eyes.
That’s it. Done right, the filter will take your subject’s eyes from this:
Helping them to stand out without that “nuclear eyes” look that so many saturation-obsessed shooters have accidentally created before. Check out the full demo in the video above, and if you like this video, head over to Mathieu’s YouTube channel for more.
I once read a Quora question that went, “What can I learn in one minute that will be useful for the rest of my life?” I don’t know about the rest of your life, but if you’re a photographer, head over to the Adobe Creative Cloud YouTube channel and check out their ‘Make It Now’ one-minute video tutorials on designing (not retouching) with Photoshop CC.
One of the big problems I have with watching videos on the Web is that, half the time, I get 4 minutes into a 12-minute video that seemed useful before I realize that I was, in fact, totally wrong. There’s another 4 minutes I’m never getting back…
That’s why I love super short tutorial videos like these.
How to Make a Double Exposure
How to Create a Composite
How to Create an Animated GIF
How to Make a Poster from a Template
If you’re new to Photoshop, you may find the video moves too fast for you to keep up; if that’s the case, click on the gear symbol at the bottom right of the screen and select 0.5 speed. Heck, if you want to take notes, go for 0.25 speed.
And that’s it. Congrats! You can now add “Graphic Designer” to your LinkedIn profile! Okay maybe not…
We’re not entirely sure why, but product photography tutorials are coming hard and fast lately. So in case this DIY lightbox wasn’t good enough, and 360° product photography isn’t your thing, here’s a great tutorial that will show you how to capture killer reflective product shots on a sea of black.
The video tutorial was created by London-based photographer and cinematographer Tom Watts, and using the simple setup shown in the video he was able to capture a bunch of high-gloss product photos like this one:
The setup is simple. First, Watts placed a glass table in front of a black backdrop, and added some black material underneath the glass to get a perfect reflecting surface. Then, he set up a big softbox as his key light, a fresnel kicker with some barn doors as a rim light, and a simple square “reflector” (read: cardboard cake base) on the other side for some fill.
You can see the whole setup in this screenshot from the video:
Using this, he’s able to get these product shots on all black with a great reflection to really make the final image pop. The results speak for themselves:
Check out the full tutorial up top to have the lighting setup explained step-by-step, and then subscribe to Watts’ YouTube channel for more videos like this one.
There are a ton of options out there for building your own product photography lightbox, but this is one of the simplest and most functional creations we’ve seen. For under $50, you can build it for yourself.
The tutorial was created spur-of-the-moment by photographer Chris Kuga, who was asked for some product photography while visiting Napa Valley with one of his friends. They needed a lightbox, stat, so they headed to a hardware store and crafts store and were able to get everything they needed for $100. After a bit of thought, that shopping list was paired down to just $50 for this tutorial.
Here’s what you’ll need: white poster board, a large cardboard box, a couple of clip lamps, and some transparent paper or fabric. You’ll also need an xacto knife, some packing tape, and a sharpie.
To build the lightbox, simply close up one end of the box, cut two squares out on either side and cover them with fabric, and then drape the poster board on the inside. Finally, place the lamps on either side of the box, outside of those fabric diffuser panels, and you’re done!
The lightbox drapes your product in nice, soft light that will work great whether you’re using a DSLR, point and shoot, or smartphone. Check out the full tutorial above to see how Kuga built his, and then check out this post to see how you can turn a simple lightbox like this into a 360° photo platform.
Here’s a quick tip that will save every newbie photographer (and probably more than a few intermediate shooters) some agony and embarrassment: how to properly fold a reflector in one easy motion.
The video was created by photographer Jason Lanier, who has seen far too many beginners struggle with this basic chore. “Folding reflectors is one of the most basic and frustrating things for newer photographers to figure out,” reads the description. “All photographers have struggled with this, and Jason took a few moments to show his followers how to easily fold a reflector.”
We realize this is an incredibly basic skill, but it’s one that isn’t taught/demonstrated nearly enough. So if you don’t know how to fold a big rectangular reflector (or a diffuser or a modifier) and you want to find out, give the quick tutorial a look. Even if you do know, it may be worth watching how Lanier does it.
Here’s a neat little animation from Harman Technologt, the folks behind the Ilford brand of film, that breaks down exactly how a basic film photography SLR (single lens reflex) camera works.
This video will reveal nothing new or ground breaking for the seasoned photo nerds out there, but it’s one of the simplest and shortest explanations of how a camera works that we’ve seen.
Light reflected by your subject enters through the lens elements, passes through the aperture, and is reflected up through a pentaprism into your eyepiece (often through some kid of focusing screen). When you press the shutter, the mirror quickly flips up and the shutter then opens and closes to expose that particular frame of film to light. And that’s it! You’ve now taken a photograph.
The next time someone asks you how a camera “works,” just shoot them a link to this video (and maybe this Web tool, too).
Introductions to basic lighting don’t get much simpler or better than this. You could call it Lighting 101, and whether that light is coming from a window or an artificial light source, the info here qualifies as “must know basics” for anybody with a camera in hand.
The video was put together by YouTube channel Film Riot, and while it’s aimed squarely at videographers, it’s quickly making the rounds on the photography Web because of how applicable these techniques are and how well Ryan Connolly manages to explain them. From broad, to short, to side, to backlight, to Rembrandt lighting and beyond, several of the most popular one-light orientations are covered.
Each style is quickly demonstrated and paired with examples from famous films to really drive home the technique and show you what it looks like in practice.
Beyond one-light setups, they also dive into fill lighting and (more applicable to film, but still useful) cross lighting two subjects facing one another. There’s also a brief mention of how to separate your subject from the background, but, of course, we already covered that this month.
If you’re a lighting expert, this video probably won’t contain any new information, but you might find some inspiration in the clips Connolly uses to illustrate his point. If, on the other hand, you’re a novice, this is about the quickest introduction to basic lighting techniques you’ll find online.