Most Popular Posts

Hey Gang -

I am taking a few days off from posting. Until I return, here are the most poplar posts for the past two weeks. Enjoy.

Light - The Main Element in Every Photograph

My latest Kelby Training class - Light, the main element in every photograph, is here.

This class is a follow-up to my class: Composition - the strongest way of seeing. Put exposure and composition together, and you have a good image!

I chose that title because every photograph you have ever taken and every photograph you will ever take has the same main element: Light.

I did, however, have alternate titles:
- Get the Very Best In-Camera Exposure
- Get a Creative Exposure (as opposed to a good exposure)

The class covers seeing the light and controlling the light in the studio and while traveling (in the city or in the great outdoors). I also touch upon black and white and a a couple of CS6/LR4 enhancements.

As you may know, I like to make learning fun. In the class I talk about why a good exposure is like a slice of pizza. I also talk about how lenses see light and how cameras see light compared to how we see light.

I talk about shooting in bright light and in low light; shooting indoors and outdoors; using a reflector, diffuser and a flash; and envisioning the end result.

I also talk about seeing the light: the contrast range in a scene, the direction of light, the intensity of light, the color of light and the movement of light.

I use my latest photographs to illustrate the topics. Below: the only difference in the photographs is the light.

If you learn how to see the light and control the light, you'll get the very best in-camera exposure.

Explore the light,

Quick Digital Imaging Tip 35/101: Expose for the Highlights. Please!

This is tip #35 of 101 digital imaging tips I plan to post here over the next few months. Stay tuned.

Today's tip: Expose for the Highlights. Please!

"Expose for the highlights." That's one of the chants on my workshops & photo tours, as well as in my seminars.

Sure, in Adobe Camera RAW, Lightroom, Aperture, Canon Digital Photo Professional, etc., we can rescue a little over a stop of overexposed areas of an image. But if the highlights are more than one stop overexposed, we are usually sunk. In most cases, they are lost and gone forever.

That's why it's important to check your camera's histogram. That's another chant on my workshops. :-)

Make sure you don't have a spike on the right of your histogram. Also check your camera's overexposure warning. With these two in-camera features, there is no reason, whatsoever, to blow out important highlights.

I exposed for the highlights when taking the opening picture for this post. Below I simulated what happens when you don't follow this most-important rule. Yuch.

Sure! Rules are meant to be broken. Below I intentionally overexposed the highlights in the background to blur out some of the detail in the background.

So, follow the "expose for the highlights" rule – and break it when it makes sense, but only when it makes sense.

For more info on getting a good exposure, see my book: Rick Sammon's Exploring the Light.

Explore the light,

P.S. Shadows/highlights is a good adjustment for rescuing overexposed highlights, as well as blocked up shadows. Keep in mind, however, that you can only do so much with an incorrectly exposed image.

Quick Digital Imaging Tip 14/101: Set Your Camera's LCD Monitor to Display the Image and the Historgram

This is #14 of 101 digital imaging tips I plan to post here over the next few months. Stay tuned.

Today's tip (from Laos): Set Your Camera's LCD Monitor to Display the Image and the Historgram.

The histogram is the best (only) way to check your exposure. If you are not checking your histogram, you are not checking to see if you have the best possible in-camera exposure.

The image on your display only gives you an approximate idea of the exposure. It's a JPEG of your RAW file.

Explore the light,

P.S. Bonus tip: Keep your radar on all the time. The opening picture for this post is one of my favorite images from today. I got the idea after seeing the scene in a remote village: a young woman hanging several weaving on a line. I noticed the opening in the weavings and thought that it made a perfect frame for the woman. I simply asked her to walk into position and took a few shots.

Actually, I asked my guide, Vong a thit, the best guide in Laos, to ask the woman to pose for the photograph. Vong's email address: vongla@yahoo.com.

Hey, I know the image below is just a snapshot. I just wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the village.

I also shot the image vertically. It's usually a good idea shoot a scene both horizontally and vertically – because you may prefer one over the other at a later date. Which version do you prefer?

If you like digital imaging tips like this one, as well as general photography tips, check out my 24/7 Photo Buffet app.