The Digital Photo Guy

Monday Morning Tip – 5/18/09

by on May.17, 2009, under Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing

This week’s MMT continues with raw files. Specifically, converting raw files to a format that can be editing in PS, PSE or any other photo editing program. As you may recall, raw is not an acronym but simply means the image data is the original, unprocessed (raw) information straight off the camer’s sensor. (That’s not 100% accurate but close enough for our purposes) Raw is not a standard, every company has their own implementation of raw. This makes means the file has to first be converted to a standard.

For PS and PSE, the standard is PSD (Photoshop Data). Many other photo editing programs can also read PSD with some level of compatibility. However, every program can read and write JPEG and TIFF so those have become de facto standards. A few years ago, Adobe introduced DNG (digital negative) as a standard and, hopefully, other photo editing programs will begin to incorporate that into their repertoire.

If you don’t have PS or PSE, you can use one of the free raw converters. Read the full MMT on the Tips & News page under MMTs. You’ll need a password to access that area which you can get by registering.

Quick Tips

These days, buying off the Internet is pretty much a given. However, as anyone with half a clue knows, it’s dangerous out there. Tales of scams and outright fraud abound so how does one protect themselves when buying pricey items like camera gear. The Number 1 rule is to always do your research. Here are two sites that will help you with research. has a good reputation as a reputable place to check on companys. They have a fairly robust system to catch cheats who post their own “atta-boys” or knock their competitiors. Be careful of other sites that resemble ResellerRatings because they can be set up by a scammer just to lull you into a sense of security.

You can check Don Wiss’ pictures of actual Brooklyn camera stores to determine if they’re legit. If it’s a Mailboxes Etc or UPS store, you might want to dig further. Don also has photos of Manhattan camera stores. Some of these photos are downright scary.

New Video Uploaded

Part 3 of the Restoring Old Photos series has been uploaded. This covers sharpening using both Unsharp Mask (USM) and Adjust Sharpness in PSE7. If you have PSE4 or prior, you wan’t have Adjust Sharpness.

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Upcoming Photography Events

by on May.14, 2009, under Schedule

San Diego Fair – June 13 to July 5

Since I’m caught up on writing Monday Morning Tips for the next few weeks, here’s a mid-week update for people around San Diego. The Del Mar Fair (aka San Diego Fair) has a whole potful of photography events that you might want to check out. This link will open a PDF listing the dates, times and descriptions.

It’s too late to enter the juried photography competition but try to check out the exhibit when you visit the fair. Looking at others works will often give you ideas for improving your own photos.

There are also four 2-hour Photo Shootouts (2x Daylight, 1x Night and 1x Twilight). Click the links for PDF entry forms. You’re given 2 hours to make a photo and take it to the judging area to be downloaded and judged. If any of my former students wins, I’ll have a prize for them. Just send me proof of your win and the prize is yours.

If there’s enough interest, we’ll organize a GTG (get together) at the fair one Saturday and we’ll have an informal shoot with prizes for the best photos. Either leave a comment below or send me an e-mail. We’ll need at least 6 participants for a contest.

Photoshop World 2009 – Las Vegas, Oct 1-3

Yeah, I know, most rational people intensely dislike Las Vegas but it is what it is. PSW is a great way to flatten your PS learning curve.

Yeah, I know, it’s expensive but if you’re serious about developing your PS skills, it is what it is. A single Photoshop class at UCSD will set you back $595. At PSW, for $500 ($600 if you’re not a NAPP member) you have a choice of nearly 100 classes over 3 days. And, at PSW, a day is NOT 8 to 5.

If you’re still reading, click here to read all about PSW. It’s not training, it’s bootcamp! Failure in not an option, you WILL learn!

If you’re really not able to make it to PSW but want to know what you’re missing, send me an e-mail and I’ll pick up an extra Proceedings for you. These are nearly 1000 pages of notes and handouts from the conference. Please note – these are not free. You will have to pay for me to buy and haul these back.

If you plan to be in Las Vegas but won’t attend PSW, you can get a free ticket to the Expo here. Some of the best free classes are at the Expo where sponsors and exhibiters like Adobe, Epson and Bogen offer short classes on a range of subjects.

Finally, if you plan to attend and want to meetup to exchange notes, leave a comment. It’s always great to have someone you can split classes with when two classes you want to attend are opposite each other. It’s like having a virtual you.

Local San Diego Clubs

There are several informal photography clubs in San Diego that schedule shoots on a regular basis. I haven’t attended any in a long time because 1) I don’t have time and 2) I tend to be a solitary photographer.

This Saturday, May 16, the San Diego Digital SLR Photography Group has a shoot scheduled at Old Poway Park. Check their site for details.

On Saturday, May 23, The San Diego Photography Meetup Group has a shoot at Balboa Park for memebrs who also belong to pBase. pBase, for those who may be unfamiliar, is a very large photo sharing site. When you click on my Photo Galleries page, you’re actually being redirected to my pBase account.

I may attend this shoot since I haven’t been to Balboa Park in ages. If you’d like to carpool from North County, let me know.

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Monday Morning Tip – 5/11/09

by on May.11, 2009, under Monday Morning Tips, Schedule, Workshops

Photoshop Elements class with Award-winning Photographer/Author set for August 15, 2009

The instructor has photographed and written for numerous magazines including National Geographic. However, his main commitment has always been to teaching photography.

There will be 2 sessions. The first will be from 8AM-11AM with a second session from 1PM-4PM. These information packed, 3-hour sessions will get you up-to-speed with Photoshop Elements or Photoshop CSx. Everything will apply to both PSE and PS CSx.

The session will be recorded so you can review the recordings for free as often as you want for 60 days. DVDs of the sessions will also be available. But wait, there’s more. If you preregister before July 1, 2009, you’ll be eligible for free e-mail support from The Digital Photo Guy for 60 days. So, if you still don’t get it after sitting through the webinar and reviewing the recording, you can send me an e-mail and I’ll explain it to you again.

To preregister, send me an e-mail at this time and I’ll notify you as soon as price is set. At this time, the price will definitely be less than $50. Stay tuned for more details.

Monday Morning Tip

Today’s MMT was inspired by a reader who wanted to batch convert Nikon NEF files to JPEG. She had borrowed a D90 and taken over 500 photos in NEF without knowing how the camera was set. Her friend then tried to read the NEF files with Photoshop Elements 7 but that didn’t work either. My regular readers would have immediately known how to fix the problem but she was totally lost.

Don’t be lost. Today’s MMT covers the advantages of camera raw regardless of whether you use a Canon or Nikon or Olympus or any other dSLR. Next week, we’ll cover the specific steps for converting raw files to JPEG or some other standard format. By the way, raw is not an acronym like JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) or TIFF (Tagged Image File Format or GIF (Graphics Interchange Format). Raw simply means it’s the raw data directly from the camera sensor without being mangled and manipulated inside the camera.

As always, the full MMT is in the MMT area under Tips and News. Register for this site to get the password for that area. You’ll have access to nearly 100 MMTs when you register.

Palomar Classes are now Online

You can register for my classes at Palomar College here. The 2 webinar classes are open to anyone, you don’t have to be in San Diego to take these classes. The “Hands-On” Photoshoot class is a good excuse for out-of-towners to take a vacation in San Diego.

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Monday Morning Tip – 5/4/09

by on May.03, 2009, under Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photoshop CS2/4, Photoshop Elements, Schedule, Webcast, Workshops


Award winning photographer/author to webcast Photoshop Elements with
The Digital Photo Guy

OK, the details aren’t yet firm so I can’t give you exact times or dates. I can’t even tell you the name of the photographer/author but it’s someone that any serious photographer will instantly recognize. In a few weeks, this mystery guest will teach a “Photoshop Elements 1-Click Wonders” webcast that will show you how to get the most out of PSE (all tips will also apply to Photoshop CSx) with the least time and effort. This is for photographers who want to spend more time shooting and less time processing, which is just about every photographer. If we get enough pre-registrations, the class will be less than $50 (his regular classes run from $200-$1000). Stay tuned for details at 11 o’clock.

Monday Morning Tip

This week’s MMT is a continuation of the “back to basics” trend I started several weeks ago. Today, we’ll discuss the two most useful metering modes for amateur photographers. Modern digital cameras sport as many as 4 and 5 different metering modes but, for most photographers including both amateur and pro, 2 are really important.

Pattern Metering (aka, evaluative, matrix, Multi-Segment, ESP, etc) checks the light at multiple points and applies a very complex, proprietary algorithm to develop an exposure solution. Modern pattern meters are very good and will meet the needs of most amateur photographers most of the time.

Spot and Partial Spot Metering is useful in those occasions when the subject is either backlit or spotlit. If the subject is standing in front of a bright window, the meter will be fooled by the backlighting and the subject will be underexposed while objects outside the window may be perfectly exposed. Usually, it’s easier to reposition the subject but what if that’s not possible? Using the Spot or Partial Spot Meter will help you correctly expose the subject, at the expense of the background. In other words, the background may be overexposed but that’s a creative choice for you to make. You can read the entire MMT on the Tips and News page. (you need a password to access all the MMTs, register on this page to get a password)

Quick Tips

In this article, about half-way down, I showed you how to set up My Yahoo! so it would automatically notify you via e-mail, instant messanger or cell phone when new content is added to my blog. At that time, I didn’t know how to set up an auto notification in Google Reader.

It turns out Google Reader doesn’t have an integrated solution but there are several 3rd party solutions here. Basically, you install the small application and it notifies you when an update is posted on this site.

I think it might be easier to open a Yahoo! account and set up My Yahoo! as a reader. You can also use a standalone reader like NewGator.

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Monday Morning Tip – 4/27/09

by on Apr.26, 2009, under Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing

Today’s MMT is posted here (down at the bottom) for all visitors to read. I’m hoping this will encourage more new subscribers. Remember, if you’re still on my e-mail distribution list, I plan to stop sending MMTs via e-mail at the end on June. If you want to receive MMTs after June 30, you must subscribe to my RSS feed as described in this article.

Today’s MMT is about a FREE (do I have your attention?) tool for Photoshop Elements (all versions as well as other photo editing programs) that adds curves to your toolbox. Those who have never used curves might not understand why it’s so cool but if you’ve ever used a Levels Adjustment Layer in PSE, you’ll be happy to know that curves is like Levels on steroids.

I’ve used several curves tools in PSE, most notably from Richard Lynch’s Hidden Power of Photoshop Elements. Richard’s book first introduced me to the idea that Adobe hadn’t bothered to neuter PSE but simply hidden many tools away from prying eyes. Unfortunately, this was back when PSE was till considered an ugly duckling to Adobe’s Photoshop and most people (including me) didn’t want to spend a lot of time learning two different programs.

Today, PSE is all grown up and probably fills about 90% of any amateur photographers’ needs. Yet, there are still a few tools in PS that I’d like to see in PSE. SmartCurves fulfills one such need by adding a powerful curves capability to PSE. Even better, it’s free as in gratis, no cost, zilch, zip, nada, none… well, you get the idea!

I haven’t fully explored SmartCurves so there will probably be an MMT in the future that covers the ins-and-outs of SmartCurves. In the meantime, if you want to learn PSE, I have a new webcast class starting on May 27. Check out the details here.


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