8 Pet Photography Tips for Animal Lovers

Pet Photography Tips

Pets are a part of your family, so it is not surprising if you want to take your animal photography skills to the next level, just to photograph them. Here are a few tips to help you take amazing photographs of your pets to upload online, to print, and just to share with others:


1. Be patient and keep your camera ready

As a pet owner, you may know the tricks to keep them calm. However, just like kids, you pets may not be very co-operative when it comes to photography. Your furry friends may be excited and playful when you decide to have a professional photo shoot for them. Be patient enough; you will capture that precious moment.


2. Photograph their unique character

Every animal has something unique. A cat that loves to take a nap in a laundry basket or a dog that loves to catch a Frisbee should be photographed during those special moments of theirs. Observe your pet or think about his activities to find that unique character.


3. Use props and capture the action

Props will work wonders with puppies and kittens. Otherwise, you may end up chasing them around the backyard for hours and end up with no decent shots. Shoot in Shutter Priority mode to freeze the action. Focus can be set to continuous focusing. It is wise to use continuous shooting mode to get multiple shots. Hold down the shutter button as long as you need to capture the pet in action.


4. Plan the background

The last thing that you need is a busy background, which would make your pet indistinguishable from the background. Pick up ideal locations for the photo shoot or use a wider aperture setting to blur the background of the image.


5. Use natural light

Flash can annoy animals. Additionally, it gives washed out look for light colored animals. Also, with flash photography, your pets may end up with red eyes in the image. Take your pet for an early morning walk and photograph them in natural light.


6. Go macro

Pets are beautiful and expressive. Fill your frame with their beautiful eyes, fur, or even whiskers.


7. Try out telephoto and wide angle lenses

A telephoto lens is useful when you need to capture your pet from far away without disturbing him. Use a wide angle lens for a creative and fun perspective.


8. Get in the photo with your pet

Wouldn’t you want to capture some special memories with your furry friend to cherish forever? Use a remote trigger to take that photograph. If you have kids, do not miss the opportunity to photograph some cute moments. Animals love kids and vice versa. Shoot a lot as you may not be able to make them both corporate for a photo shoot.


Try out various techniques like tilt-shift or black and white photography when photographing pets. You may get some amazing results.


Are you pet owner? Photograph your pet right away. Do not forget to share links to your images with us in the comments below.


How to Use Photoshop to Convert Color Photos to Black and White

Black and White Photography

Black and White Photography

Photographers once had no choice but to shoot in black and white, as it was the only known technique then. Even decades after the invention of color photography, black and white photography remains popular. Today, it is considered to be an art, and many photographers believe that it is the purest form of photography.

It is always advisable to use in-camera settings to take black and white images. However, there are instances where you realize that your composition might have been better without the colors. It is never too late. Here are some color-to-black and white conversion techniques using Photoshop.

1. The Grayscale Mode

Choose Image > Mode > Grayscale and click ‘discard’ when a window pops up. This is the simplest way to get rid of the colors in your image. However, the downside is that it does not give you the best results. When you use the Grayscale Mode, Photoshop takes the original color information into account and essentially ‘guess’ what the black and white version of the image should look like. It simply replaces the millions of colors in RGB mode with black, white and various shades of gray in between.

2. Hue/Saturation Tool

Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation. The saturation slider should be moved to the extreme left (value of -100). This will give you a similar effect as in the Grayscale Mode. However, the advantage is the availability of an adjustment layer. As this process is non-destructive, you can simply get the original image by deleting the adjustment layer.

3. Channel Mixer

The Channel Mixer allows photographers to use the full potential of information in their color images. This conversion method permits some extent of control by adjusting the ratios between the red, geen and blue channels. The Channel Mixer in Photoshop functions much like color filters for your lens. When you set the brightness of the blue channel to 100%, the effect would be similar as that of an image taken with a blue filter on the lens. Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Channel Mixer. Play around with the sliders till you get the desired results

4. Black and White Adjustment Layer

Choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black and White. The exciting feature of this technique is the ‘targeted adjustment tool’. You can stroke tones manually in your photograph to make them lighter or darker. You have access to six color sliders and a preset menu to gain complete control over the conversion.

Apart from these, some photographers use Gradient Map and Luminosity Blend Mode too for conversion to black and white. With the introduction of Black and White Adjustment Layer feature in Photoshop CS3, it became the most commonly used option.


What’s your favorite technique to convert color photographs to black and white? Try these out and let us know in the comments below. Also, share links to your images with us. We will help you promote them.


6 Thanksgiving Photography Tricks for Unique Images

Thanksgiving is the perfect time of the year for every photographer to try something unique. If you are a beginner, put some additional effort, learn new techniques and transform your so-so photographs into memorable ones. If you are a portrait photographer, try food photography this Thanksgiving. In simple words, get out of your comfort zone and try something different. There are plenty of opportunities for you to capture beautiful photographs – family gatherings, the food being eaten, the decorations, the gifts, and more. Here are a few photography tricks to get unique images:

1. Use Creative Angles
Stunning images appear so due to their startling composition. You could shoot up straight, shoot from ground level or twist your camera to get a unique shot. Most Thanksgiving images look alike as the photographers hesitate to try creative angles. So, go ahead and alter your vantage point to add flexibility in your angles for composition.

2. Go Macro
If you are a professional photographer, you would definitely own a macro lens. So, attach your lens and photograph the minute things around you. Thanksgiving ornaments, table decorations, sweets in the bowl, and wine glasses would make great subjects. If you don’t own a macro lens, you can find some macro hacks online.

3. Use Continuous Mode
There are certain moments during Thanksgiving that need Continuous Mode to capture the array of emotions, expressions and excitement. Switch your camera to Continuous Shooting Mode and take lots of images during the family gathering. You are sure to find an amazing series of images.

4. Try Time-lapse
Set up your camera in the corner of the room where it looks down on the Thanksgiving table. The camera should take a shot every few minutes, over the day, for the duration you wish. You may come up with the most incredible time-lapse series that you have ever seen.

5. Use Soft Light Setting
Does your Thanksgiving dinner include a prayer? If yes, don’t miss the chance to capture those quiet and beautiful moments in a soft light setting. Make sure that you are at the corner of the dining room, not interrupting the prayer. Make the arrangements well in advance.

6. Go for Candid shots
Candid shots are fun, especially if there are children around. You may never get the ‘real smile’ in posed shots. Most people are comfortable enjoying their holiday, without a camera around them. You would need your zoom lens, with a wide aperture and fast ISO for candid photography. Compact cameras are more preferable than DSLRs, simply because they are easier to be unnoticed. Take the pictures when your subjects least expect it.

You must never ignore the family group shots, preparation stages and shots of the turkey, just because they aren’t unique. They are an essential part of Thanksgiving and would make your album complete.

Your photos would look amazing if you could retouch them in Photoshop. If you are busy during your holidays, you can always outsource photo retouching to a digital studio that does it for you, at a very reasonable pricing.

Thanksgiving photography tips and tricks

Thanksgiving Photography Tips and Tricks

Have great holidays! Happy Thanksgiving!


Photo Compositing: Making the Impossible Possible

Almost all Hollywood movie posters are ‘photoshopped’. Even though you know that, you are astounded when your favorite celebrity is seen in an image with flying saucers or dinosaurs. Photo compositing is a technique that allows you to create stunning images, with impossible and unbelievable elements in it. Most studios do this in a professional way, which includes a green screen photography shoot and an elaborate post-production session. However, you can use your favorite images and make a photo composite using Photoshop, without any additional investment.

Watch the video tutorial above, to learn a quick photo compositing technique. Read on for some additional tips:


1. Subject or background, what should you photograph first?

There is no definite answer to this question. However, most photographers shoot their subject first. It may be hard to find a subject who would perfectly go well with your background. Backgrounds are easy to choose later. You may even find a perfect background among stock photographs. Stock photographs could be the perfect source in various other instances too while compositing photographs. How often do you get an opportunity to photograph a wild fire or a flying helicopter? If your photo composite demands such an element, you may depend on stock photos.


2. Pay attention to lighting

Your photo composite is never perfect if it looks like a composite. The discrepancies in the lighting on your subject and the lighting in the environment would give you away. Plan your background well in advance and light up the foreground image accordingly. If not, use a setup that would give you options to edit in Photoshop later. A three light setup usually helps in compositing.


3. Make selections carefully and wisely

A good, clean selection is a necessity for composites. It is advisable to use Photoshop CS5 and above, as there are tools that would save you hours of compositing work when compared to the earlier versions. However, you can use the older tools like Channels and Pen Tool to achieve perfection. Also, don’t spend too much time on selection if detail isn’t important. How big would be the specific element in your composite? Would it blend in naturally with the background color or stand out and show up the sharp edges? Consider these factors.


4. Be careful with the subjects’ feet

It is difficult to get the shadow right in a composite as the person was not actually standing there. Also, you may need to plan well ahead about the placement of the subject to make it look real. It would be a tedious work if you include feet, and wants to show movement in the composite.


5. Have a theme and color

Putting various photos together would be easier if the subject and the background share a common theme and color temperature.


Compositing is not just for photographers. Anyone can produce a composite image in Photoshop with a bunch of personal images. Start with isolating the subjects from the background of your photos. Watch the above video from Phlearn, to learn more.


Photo Retouching Workflow for Portraits

Photo retouching is a controversial step for photographers because if overdone or incorrectly done, it makes their photographs look ‘photoshopped’. Yet, no photographer should restrain from exploring the wide capabilities offered by softwares like Photoshop and Lightroom as their images will benefit greatly even from a few basic enhancements.

Whether you photograph your loved one or a model for a fashion, beauty, or commercial photography project, you will save your time if you have a basic photo retouching workflow. Remember – you don’t necessarily apply every step to each of your images. Go through this workflow and adopt those steps that are absolutely necessary for your image.

1. Crop and Clean the Background
No matter how beautiful the model looks, a distracting or unattractive background can simply hamper the final results. Hence, use the Crop tool, Clone Stamp tool and/or the Patch tool in Photoshop to make the background look attractive.

2. Retouch the Skin
This is the most challenging and important part of portrait retouching. There are different types of skin textures and tones, according to which you must choose a technique. Usually, images of younger subjects are easier to retouch as they have smoother skin with minimal wrinkles and blemishes on their face. Take care of large blemishes first and move gradually to the finer ones. If using Photoshop, make sure that you make each change on a new layer. As Lightroom is a non-destructive software, you can always go back to the original image at any stage you want. Reduce wrinkles, especially around the eyes and forehead as required. Pay attention to fine elements like facial hair because you may not get the desired results if the source points you chose for clone stamp or healing brush tools when cloning skin texture are visibly different from other parts of the model’s face.

3. Lighten the Skin
This is a subjective step. Apply a layer mask if you want to reduce the subject’s tan.

4. Make the Eyes More Attractive
Applying Curves adjustment to the subject’s eye area is a simple method to increase the brightness of the iris and make the whites lighter. You can select the whites alone and lighten it, if you want no additional glow in the eyes.

5. Tidy-Up the Stray Hairs
This can be a time-consuming process if you are retouching fine strands of hair. Do this in multiple stages, gradually thinning out the stray hairs rather than chopping it off all at once. The last thing that you want is to give an unnatural look to your model. The best way to make it look real is to leave some stray hairs in the picture.

6. Liquify the Body
Most fashion and glamour portraits are full-length and thereby needs some reshaping. Carefully use the popular trick of Liquify tool and work down the model’s arms, waist and hips. Not that every model needs it or you must do it unless you are absolutely certain about that’s what your client wants.

Once you’ve retouched the image, use the sharpen tool. It will simply make your image crisp and pleasing to look at.