The Digital Photo Guy

Monday Morning Tip – 7/20/09

by on Jul.19, 2009, under Monday Morning Tips

 Today we continue our Back to Basics series of MMTs so newbies can get “up-to-speed” quickly without slogging through all the previous MMTs (I recommend you do so as time permits). Two week ago, we covered the fundamentals of ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Now, we’re going to cover, in detail, how to adjust aperture, shutter speed and ISO on most modern dSLRs and you’re going to be surprised at the simplicity of this whole process. If you have enough coordination to read a speed limit sign, check the speedometer and adjust your accelerator to keep your car at a specific speed, you can manually set and adjust your dSLR exposure.

As always, today’s MMT, Exposure Basics 2, is in the Tips & News area and requires a password that is available to registered users. To register, fill out the Subscription form to the right.

While you’re at it, read my post about RSS and set up your own RSS feed so you can automatically be notified whenever any of your favorite sites are updated. To find all the RSS information, click “RSS” in the Tags area to the right. Tags are like searchable key words.

For you “old hands” who may be bored silly by all this, I recommend you read some of the older MMTs to see if anything jumps out that you either didn’t know or want to know more about. I’m always looking for new ideas for future MMTs.

Quick Tip

Under the heading of, “There is nothing new under the sun”, anyone who has half a clue about the basics of Photoshop (or PSE) knows the Gaussian Blur and Selective Sharpening trick to smooth/soften skin in portraits. It’s been around since before dirt was invented.

However, I discovered a new twist that readers may find useful, especially if you shoot RAW (not in the raw). Since Adobe Camera Raw 4.1, there’s been a negative Clarity slider among the adjustments. It took me a while to get my head around Clarity and even longer to figure out an application for negative clarity (yeah, I know I’m dense).

When processing portraits in ACR, set the negative Clarity slider to between -40 to -70 depending on the skin condition. A young child with smooth, soft skin may not need negative Clarity while an adult with early stage sun damage might need -40. A senior with deep wrinkles might go as much as -70.  Next, open the photo in PSCS or PSE and go through the usual selective sharpening to bring back eyes, nostrils, mouth and hair (if desired). Once I figured this out, I Googled (I hate using Google as a verb) for “acr negative clarity for portraits” and discovered that, as usual, I was the last one on the train. A number of people have figured out this trick so you might want to read what they have to say.

By the way, repeat my mantra, “It ain’t a PBJ, don’t slather on the effect.” In other words, be careful how much Clarity you apply (positive or negative). A little bit goes a long way. Too much and the portrait will begin to glow as if radioactive.

Palomar College “Hands-On” Photoshoot at Kit Carson Park

On Saturday, July 25, I’m leading a “Hands-On” Photoshoot class for Palomar College at Kit Carson Park in Escondido. There’s still time to register at the Palomar College Venture site.

If you’ve attended this class previously, you’re welcome to join me for a free refresher. Please understand that current, paid students have priority. If you refer a friend or family member to register for this class, I’ll send you a copy of Scrapbook MAX!, the best, easiest and powerful digital scrapbook program.

Photoshoot at the Zoo

On Monday, July 27, I’ll be photographing at the San Diego Zoo from 5PM until about 9PM. If you’d like to join me, send me an e-mail and we’ll make plans to meet there.

Meetup Idea

If you’re familiar with www.meetup.com, you know that it’s a way for people with common interests in a given locale to meet. I’ve been thinking of starting a Meet Up Group for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements but meeting via webcast. That way, anyone with a high-speed connection can participate. Each month, we can have a web meeting where someone presents a short lesson/tutorial and others can ask questions.

If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll see what it would take to organize it.

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