The Top 10 Most Important Tools to Learn to Master Photoshop

The Top 10 Most Important Tools to Learn to Master Photoshop

While Photoshop is an incredibly powerful application that is packed with tools to help you edit and manipulate images, I have found that most people only end up using a small fraction of Photoshop’s tools on a daily basis. In this article, I’ve pulled together a list of tutorials to help you master 10 of Photoshop’s most-important tools. By mastering these tools, you’ll be able to edit and manipulate just about any type of image in Photoshop. Let’s take a look!

Controlling Natural Light Workshop With Erik Valind

Controlling Natural Light Workshop With Erik Valind

Last weekend, I attended the Controlling Natural Light Workshop by Erik Valind at Studios LIC in Long Island City. I’ve been friends with Erik through social media for a while, and recently met him in person at Adobe’s Creative Cloud Announcement back in June. I think that in any field, it is important to learn as much about your craft as possible, so when I heard that Erik was having a workshop nearby, I decided to sign up.

What I thought was so interesting about Erik’s workshop was that it taught us how to shoot at times of the day that weren’t exactly optimal. While most of us prefer to shoot at sunrise or sunset, when the light is the best. Sometimes, that just isn’t possible, so it was really interesting to me to learn some techniques to help me get the shot in the middle of the afternoon, when the light is less than optimal.

Armed with a set of Sunbounce diffusers and reflectors, Erik walked a group of 10 of us through his workflow for both knocking down the harsh sunlight, and building it up so that our subjects can be properly lit no matter what time of day we are forced to shoot in.

During the course of the day, our amazing model Madison Massey patiently posed for the 10 of us while Erik walked us through several scenarios. Each of us got a few minutes to snap a few shots of her during each scenario, and I have to say that I was extremely impressed with how well Madison worked with the entire group, giving each of us plenty of strong poses, and time, to get our shots in.

If you ever have a chance to attend one of Erik’s workshops, definitely give it some consideration. He is a fantastic instructor and did an awesome job planning and teaching his workshop. Below are a few of my favorite photos from the event.

How the New Smart Guides Feature in Photoshop CC Works

How the New Smart Guides Feature in Photoshop CC Works

When Adobe announced some updates to Photoshop CC at their Creative Cloud announcement in New York back in June, they added several new features including new blur effects, focus mask selections, and deeper Typekit integration. One of the features that got lost in all the excitement was one that I’ve really enjoyed using, Smart Guides.

If you use Illustrator, you probably have grown to love its Smart Guides feature. Smart Guides help you place objects on your canvas by showing you how far you’ve moved the object, but they also help you out by snapping that object in to place. In this lightening fast, quick tip tutorial, I will show you how the Smart Guides feature in Photoshop CC works, and will show you how to create a nice polka dotted patten in the process. Let’s get started!

Celebrating Independence Day in New Jersey

Celebrating Independence Day in New Jersey

On July 4th, my wife and I took a ferry across the Hudson River to celebrate Independence Day with some friends that live in Weehawken, New Jersey. For the last 5 years, New York City has held their fireworks display over the Hudson River, but this year, they decided to shoot off the fireworks close to the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River. While that was certainly bad timing for me as a photographer, I decided to make the most of it and bring along my camera and tripod, just in case.

Around 7:45 PM, I made my way to the riverfront and set up my camera to shoot a few shots of the New York skyline. My hope was that when the sun went down, I would be able to see the fireworks from my vantage point and shoot a few photos of the fireworks going off above and behind the buildings.

While I waited, I continued to shoot several shots of the Manhattan skyline. We had some heavy rain in New York that day, so the sky was filled with some beautiful, dramatic clouds, and I did not want to miss them. Since the sun was setting behind me, it was reflecting some really harsh flares off many of the glass buildings, so I had to wait a while before the light was just right. By the time the sun had finished setting, I had taken plenty of beautiful shots of the city.

Since I was set up on the west side of the Hudson, and really far uptown, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to see any fireworks. Around 9:20 PM, I looked downtown and saw a few fireworks exploding above lower Manhattan. I picked up my tripod, and ran as far down the riverfront as I could, zoomed in as far as my 24-70mm would let me and did my best to capture some fireworks photos, as well.

Here are a handful of my favorite shots from July 4th, 2014.

How to Supercharge Your Vacation Photos

How to Supercharge Your Vacation Photos

Last week, after grabbing lunch with a friend, I decided to cut through Central Park on my way home. As you know, the park is one of my favorite places to shoot photos in New York City. Since I had my camera with me, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try to shoot a photo of the Gapstow Bridge, which is one of my favorite Central Park landmarks.

Unfortunately, since it was lunch time, it was the wrong time to be shooting landscape photos. The sun at that time was high in the sky, but since the clouds were diffusing the sun quite a bit, I figured there couldn’t be any harm in giving it a shot.

When I got home, I wasn’t terribly surprised to see that my photo just wasn’t very exciting. The photo was flat, the sky was boring, there were people scattered throughout the scene, and it just wasn’t very colorful. That got me thinking however, if my photo looked this bad, I wonder how bad everyone else’s photos looked? There were at least a dozen tourists shooting the exact same photo as I was, at the exact same time. Their photos probably looked somewhat similar to mine. Right?

If that’s the case, then there had to be hope for this photo. There had to be a way to turn this boring, flat, and colorless photo into something that I would be proud to show off to my friends and family. So being the Photoshop and Lightroom nut that I am, I decided to see what I could do with this photo to help turn it into the scene that my eyes saw, and my brain remembers. That way, maybe I could help other photographers do the same thing.