Photography Tutorial on How to Add Light in Photoshop

Thought I would do a bit of a wedding photography tutorial on how to add light in Photoshop today, so I can take a bit of a break from wedding photography editing! The editing is the stuff wedding photographers do whilst not photographing weddings, so it’s quite a big part of the job and I thought I would share this recent shot I got and go through some of the steps to get it looking how I wanted it to. It’s worth noting this can be done in any room with a bit of light coming through the windows but if you have an big impressive church to capture it might have a bit more impact! When I was taking this every now and then I could see these cool shafts of light coming through the windows but it wasn’t really enough to capture so I had already planned how I was going to edit this shot after the wedding (you can’t stop these sorts of things and just wait for the light, it’s a wedding at the end of the day). Anyway this was the end result but I will go through some of the main steps I took to get it.

This photography tutorial will be split between Lightroom (LR) for the early stages and Photoshop (PS) for the later stages. The shot was taken with a Canon 5DII with a 24-70 f/2.8L lens. Taken in manual mode at 24mm, f/2.8, 1/100 ISO3200. This is the image, unedited, straight out of the camera. One important point, generally if you shoot a lot in Av mode these types of shots tend to underexpose as the camera sees the big bright windows and thinks there is more light then there should be so it is important to either increase your exposure compensation (if in Av mode) or just go to manual and have an experiment with your settings.

Converging Verticals
The first thing to deal with is the converging verticals which is common when photographing any architecture, basically buildings look like they are falling backwards as the vertical lines go up. This is a very quick fix in LR in the develop panel, lens correction, manual. I just move the vertical over until the walls appear parallel (in this case I used the imposing columns/arches to line up with the grid).

It is also a good idea to check the ‘constrain crop’ box, this way LR will crop in to remove the white sections that will appear. You will lose some of the sides on this so it is worth remembering to go a little wider when taking the photo to account for correcting the verticals later. After the verticals were corrected I just tweaked where the crop was going

Colour Temperature
I then adjusted the temperature of the image using the white balance slider, again in the develop module. I love my images to look nice and warm so I sent this one from the cameras reasonable cool estimate of 3800K to a much more pleasing 5000K

Noise Reduction
I then did some noise reduction in LR. The church looked nice and bright but to get this I had to go to ISO3200 which isn’t ideal really so I wanted to get rid of a bit of the noise. This again is in the develop panel under ‘detail’ and the amounts will vary depending on what camera and ISO level you use. I have some presets set up so it’s just a case of clicking on the appropriate one (there are loads of noise reduction presets for LR out there or you can go ahead and save your own. Same really for sharpening, which you can auto apply when you import your RAW files.

Photography tutorial on how to add light in Photoshop – Adjustment Brush
The last thing I did in LR was use the adjustment brush (again in develop panel) to just bring back a bit of detail in the stained glass window. I did this by bringing down the exposure on the adjustment brush by 0.3 and reducing the highlights by 25. After that I then took the image into Photoshop for the shafts of light.

I began by using the polygonal lasso tool, on a new layer, to draw out the shaft of light from the first window, the important thing to remember is the light must spread out a little. I could use the pools of light on the floor of the church and the sides of the pews to line up the light. After this was drawn I then filled it white (ctrl + backspace)

As light isn’t that sharp it must be diffused slightly. With the light shaft layer active (no selection), go to filter, blur, Gaussian blur. I went with about 25 pixels but this again is dependent on the image. This will diffuse the shaft a little. I then reduced the opacity to suit (between 20-50%)
The next thing to do is apply a graduated layer mask to the shaft of light. This is done by adding a layer mask then selecting the graduated tool, making sure it is going from black to white and then drawing a line in the opposite direction to the light, in this case from the bottom left up to near the window. Again this may take a bit of experimentation to get right.

If you want to add a bit of warmth (or any colour) to the light you just add an adjustment layer, solid colour and then pick the colour you wish to add to the light (the whole screen will go that colour, don’t panic) you then hold ALT and click the line between the solid colour layer and the light shaft layer, this will then only apply the solid colour to that layer.

It is then just a case of repeating this for any other windows and tweaking the opacities of both the light and the colour overlay. The thing to remember is all the light layers must be going in the same direction through the windows. They will nicely stack up on themselves to create a nice effect. I grouped mine so I could adjust the opacity of the whole group.

Photography Tutorial on how to add light in Photoshop
The last thing I did back in light room was a bit of a vignette but you can also do these in PS no problem but that’s another tutorial. I hope this has helped and/or inspired you with your photos, it’s a great little trick to be used if the circumstances are right. Thanks for looking folks, feel free to share this tutorial with anyone who will appreciate it.

Digital Photography Tutorial – How To Take Your Best Action Shot

Are you frustrated because your action photos, even simple ones of the kids at play, are always blurry?

In this digital photography tutorial for novices, you will lean how to capture a sharp action photo.

You don’t need to be into photographing racing cars, horse races or footy training to benefit from this knowledge – it applies equally to mums and dads taking happy snaps in the backyard of happy children and frolicking pets.

The Down Side of Burst Mode

Most good digital cameras have what is called the burst mode. This can be good for making sure you actually catch the action but do you get a good image?

Burst mode allows you to take pictures really fast – up to 3 frames a second, so you are bound to get an action photo. But of what quality?

When deciding to use burst mode, remember these photos will most likely be shot at lower resolution. High resolution photos have more information to store, so it takes longer. In most cases the flash is also disabled.

These two small things actually present important limitations to your picture quality so you might want to think twice before using burst mode.

Digital Photography Tips to Help Stop The Action

In this tutorial you will find 7 dead easy ways to take better quality action photos using a simple digital camera or your DSLR. None of the methods is very difficult and you will find one or two which are your favorite.

  • Anticipate the picture you want. Every digital camera has a different time delay in the shutter, so get to know yours. Having a good feel for the delay in your camera’s shutter will help you plan when to take your action shot.
  • Lock in focus and exposure in advance. You can do this by pressing in the shutter button half way a few seconds before the action you want to capture. When you press the shutter button all the way, the camera will already have calculated exposure and focus, which reduces the lag phase even more.
  • Turn on the flash. Even if it is daylight, this is a great idea. It will help you freeze the action simply by adding light, so in the old film-speak it is a bit like having a much faster film of say 400ISO.
  • Choose shutter priority auto-exposure mode. If your camera has this degree of flexibility, it will help greatly. The select the highest shutter speed the camera will allow for the available light. Just remember if the light is not great, you might not be able to choose a high enough shutter speed. Also remember, with digital photographs, what seems quite underexposed might be fine to print up with enough detail recorded to allow a good image. With overexposure the details is truly lost.
  • Lower your image resolution. The smaller the image file, the quicker the camera can record the shot, so the quicker it is ready to take another photo. This way you might get a second chance at capturing the action.
  • Turn off automatic playback. It wastes time and power. Take a peek at your images when the job is done.
  • Keep camera turned on. Most cameras take a few seconds to fire up when turned on, so keep it handy. Also, be sure you have fresh batteries in.

That’s it. By just applying these few simple tips, you can end that blurry frustration and finally be confident of capturing the image of a moving object. Now that you have some great action photos, be sure to post them on your blog or website or a forum for others to critique.

How to Choose a Photography Tutorial

Technique and Passion

There is more to photography than picking up a camera and taking a photograph. With each image that you take, technique and passion must shine through. For this you need to find a well structured photography tutorial and learn about the art of taking photographs.

Most tutorials will cover the pieces of equipment that will be essential and the basics of photography.

Beyond that, you will need to also learn important things like composition, colour, exposure and lighting. That is because they will impact the images that you produce.

Photography Terms You Must Know

When you are browsing photography tutorials, you are going to find that there are some terms that are commonly used. It is important that you understand them to ensure you take away the most from the learning experience.

Shutter Speed- Often listed as a fraction, this is the length of time the shutter stays open.

Aperture- You may find this listed as the F stop. This is how much light enters the lens.

Depth of Field- Controlled though the use of F stops, this is the amount of distance within the subject that is in focus.

ISO- The higher the ISO, the more sensitive your lens will be to light. This can create grainy images. Typically, higher ISOs are going to be found in faster shutter speeds.

Manual- An adjustable camera setting that will allow you to manipulate everything from ISO to the speed of your shutters and even the aperture.

Focus- If you have a point and shoot, this is the area that is outlined in the box. Often, this term will be used to describe the area that will be in focus and sharpest in a photography.

Flash- There are plenty of types of flash, the term though is a reference to the light burst that comes from the camera.

Shooting Speed- Typically used to describe the number of exposures that your camera will take, as you push down the shutter.

Don’t Limit the Tutorials You Explore

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they look at photography tutorials is that they focus in on a single area. Not only will you want to explore the tricks to taking perfect photographs, but you will also want to pay attention to the theory of photography.

Expert photography is a skill that is learned over time. As you practice and study, you will learn new tricks that will help you to capture amazing photographs that people will notice.