Jenny Cameron

Professional Landscape Photographer known for her unique, creative and evocative style based in the northern Scottish Highlands.

Posts from the ‘Tutorials’ category

Haida NanoPro Magnetic ND 1.8 & NanoPro Magnetic Polariser test review Featured

Introduction

Welcome to my test review– Haida NanoPro Magnetic ND 1.8 (6 stops) and a Haida NanoPro Magnetic Circular Polariser (CPL). Testing for sharpness, magnetic attraction strength, ergonomics, vignette, colour cast and practicalities.

As a landscape photographer– Over the years I’ve learnt the importance of investing in a good quality filter set if you truly want to hone in on your in-camera creativity. I`d go as far to say neutral density filters are almost as necessary as having a decent tripod. It’s something you can buy a bit at a time to build a collection to suit your needs. However, choosing the correct not only brand but these days the correct family (magnetic, round, square, rear-lens etc…) can be the tricky part. Hopefully, I can offer a little help.

Location

I planned a few days photography trip in the far north western mountains here in Scotland with a couple of friends and thought it would be an ideal opportunity to put these beauties through their paces. After testing Haida’s Interchangeable Magnetic VND filters earlier this year- which I fell head over heels in love with for their practicalities and super sharp imagery, I wanted to see if the bar was set as high with the rest of the Magnetic ND family.

Equipment used– Canon 5d mark iv body, Canon 16-35mm F2.8 (ii) lens, Gitzo Systematic 5 series Tripod and ball-head. Haida filters. Software- Adobe Creative Cloud.

Meet the Magnetic family

Magnetic Adapter Ring

Constructed entirely from aluminium for strength and light-weight. I have to commend Haida on the super slim design- From my experience, this helps with any unnecessary vignettes when shooting at wide angles. It screws really smoothly and with ease onto your lens. What I really love about this design is the ability to be able to leave it on your lens permanently so it won’t get misplaced or lost. Once this is in place you’re ready to start adding filters which is done in seconds. It takes longer to get a filter out of your bag than it does putting it on.

Sizes available= 52- 82mm. Step-up rings are also available in sizes 67-77mm and 77-82mm. I’m using an 82mm on my Canon 16-35mm F2.8 (ii) lens.

Magnetic Adapter ring

Magnetic lens cap

What I love about this- If you leave the magnetic adapter ring on your lens you can simply pop on the magnetic lens cap and pack away conveniently in your bag- knowing everything is secured and less time consuming for your next shoot. These are sold separately and not included with a single filter -However, it is included in the kit.


Haida NanoPro Magnetic neutral density (ND) 1.8

Haida NanoPro Magnetic ND 1.8 (6 stops) stacked on top of Haida NanoPro Magnetic CPL.

We will start by looking at the ND 1.8 which is a 6 stop, meaning the light will be reduced by 6 stops of light- Essentially sun glasses for your lens and comes in different strengths. For me personally, as a landscape photographer this is my go-to filter for anything moving- Example- Wispy clouds, to smooth down fast flowing water or waterfalls, creating a dreamy effect. It’s used to darken the whole image evenly from top to bottom and-that allows you to use a wider aperture or slower shutter speed than you would without the filter. This achieves very pleasing results as you have more creative control with depth of field and convey movement in a beautiful motion. Typically used for long exposure photography. Also, very useful for a cinematic look in video making which I spoke about in my previous blog post and video if you’d like to learn more.

Once you start going past a 2 stop ND filter on a wide angle lens you start getting into obvious unwanted vignettes’ and strange colour cast territories’. I can happily confirm from my findings- No vignette, consistent tonality/ contrast with no colour shift (neutrality) and no loss of sharpness from corner to corner in the final raw files which speak for themselves in the images below.

Images below-showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @16mm without/with Haida NanoPro Magnetic ND 1.8. No post-processing on either other than lens correction in Lightroom. Demonstrating how the filter has retained every bit of sharpness. Without filter- ISO 100, F8, 1/30 With 6 stop ND filter- ISO 100, F8, 2 seconds.

Without/with filter

Finally post-processed in Adobe Creative Cloud.

Edited in Adobe Creative Cloud

Specifications

Sizes– Available in sizes 52- 82mm.

ConstructionThe frame part is constructed from Aerospace Aluminium making it super strong and extremely light weight. The glass is made from high quality K9 optical glass for clarity and colour fidelity with a NanoPro coating.

Weight– 18g based on 82mm filter.

Featuring

  • Magnetic attraction.
  • Lightweight.
  • No light leakages.
  • Low profile filtration.
  • Quick to install and switch filters.
  • NanoPro coating, helps prevent dirt/smudges from adhering to the glass, reduced reflections, scratch resistant, waterproof, fingerprint, oil-proof and cleaning efficiency.
  • Fully compatible and interchangeable with magnetic filters from other brands.
  • Magnetic metal lens cap.

Ergonomics’- The downsides of glass filters are they are more prone to scratches and finger print smudges. On location before starting the video for this evaluation, without thinking I stupidly sprayed midge repellent on my hands then picked up a filter- Leaving a thin coat of oil all over! Thankfully with a soft microfibre cloth it was easy to wipe off thanks to the NanoPro coating on the filter. The magnetic strip around the edges acts like a light seal meaning no light leakage whatsoever- It’s a win win innovation. Speed of use and convenience is high on my list, watch my video to see how easy installation is. The ability to add/swop filters fast can make or break a potentially great image as you’re not wasting time screwing on the adapter ring then filter holder, followed by filters, it can be time consuming and often frustrating when the light is moving fast-its that rabbit in the headlights feeling. No more struggling to screw on filters in the winter with numb hands. You can stack up to 4 magnetic filters with this system including other brand magnetic filters. Making stacking filters the easiest we’ve ever had. When you’re finished shooting and ready to pack away you can leave the adapter ring on and put the magnetic lens cap over the top, making life even more convenient for your next composition.


Haida NanoPro Magnetic Circular Polariser

What is a Circular Polariser and how does it work?

My favourite of all the filters has always been the Polariser, often referred to as a CPL ( Circular Polariser/Linear). A vital piece of kit every photographer should have and something which cannot be mimicked with digital tricks no matter how good you are. I really cannot stress enough the importance for the majority of photography genres. All in all you really cannot go wrong investing in a good quality polariser.

I’m no light Scientist and Physics was my worst subject at school- Therefore I won`t attempt a full technical breakdown of how it works, in my mind it’s pure magic! Sorry, in all seriousness it really is science- The basic job of a polariser is to help block out reflective light.

Polarisers tend to get labelled to landscape photography- However, it is not the case and a misconception. They are perfect for nature photographers to cut out some water reflection so you can often see right through to the river bed. Ideal for Macro on insects with shiny bodies &/or water droplets. Wildlife for showing convoluted detail/textures and vibrant colours. Portraiture-on someone’s sweaty brow or wearing glasses. Architecture- reflections from windows. Great if you’re ever shooting a subject through your car window or at the Zoo/Aquarium behind glass, a polariser will be your best friend. Overall, saturation is beautifully increased, cuts through haze, produces amazing contrast, darkens blue skies, especially great with the greens on wet foliage, misty rainbows are made more vivid. My favourite of all is on animal fur, white/light coloured in particular- Basically any reflective surface other than metal a Polariser will give an instant pop to any image.

However, there are some caveats, they only work at certain angles ( told you its magic!). When the sun is positioned either directly in front of or behind the lens the polariser will not work- So, you have to look 90 degrees to your side so the sun is perpendicular to your lens then start rotating the filter and you’ll instantly see the polarising effect.

A common problem of polarisers on wide angle lenses is they don’t give the full effect over the entire image, so for example you would have the effect on say the left side but not the right side and vice versa or other random areas. This is not something I’ve ever experienced with any Haida filters, it tends to be more on the budget brands but it’s something I keep in mind and always test for with new filters.

Haida NanoPro Magnetic CPL on top of Magnetic adapter ring

Always remember with any filter – it brings into the equation a fourth dimension to the exposure triangle. With a Polariser you will generally lose between 1-2 stops of light. As you can see in the comparison EXIF data below, I have lost around 1.5 stops.

Images below-showing straight-out-of-camera (Canon 5d mark iv and Canon 16-35mm USM L Lens) @16mm without/with Haida NanoPro Magnetic CPL filter. No post-processing on either other than lens correction in Lightroom. Demonstrating how the filter has retained every bit of sharpness and controlled highlights. Without filter- ISO 100, F11, 1/15 With CPL filter- ISO 100, F11, 1/6.

Without/ with Haida NanoPro Magnetic Circular Polariser

Finally post-processed in Adobe Creative Cloud.

Edited in Adobe Creative Cloud.

Specifications

Sizes– Available in sizes 52- 82mm. I’m using the 82mm as my lens is a Canon 16-35mm F2.8 (ii). -Step-up rings also available in sizes 67-77mm and 77-82mm.

Construction-The frame part is constructed from Aerospace Aluminium making it super strong and extremely light weight. The glass is made from high quality K9 optical glass for clarity and colour fidelity with a NanoPro coating.

Weight- 23g based on a 82mm filter.

ErgonomicsI have to say how solid it feels in my hand for the size with a good textured grip round the circumference with no harsh edges and smooth as butter rotation on the polariser, such a lovely sleek design. I found the practicalities continue with my Equine work where I often work off tripod I was able to achieve a fast enough shutter speed with the polariser on. By leaving on the magnetic adapter ring and using the magnetic lens cap ( as demonstrated in the video below)-It gave me the ability to quickly pop on the polariser if the light was causing me to loose crucial fur detail in the highlights. Initially, I did feel slightly paranoid that the magnetics may not be strong enough with me moving around in many directions following the horses over rough terrain- However, I’m delighted to confirm they were 100% secured. Speed of use, couldn’t be easier compared to older Polarisers’ which were very fiddly to set up and some even involved using a screwdriver to my horror! Clearly labelled text etched onto the aluminium part of the polariser- Making it easy to read/ identify what type of filter it is.

Features

  • Magnetic attraction.
  • Lightweight.
  • Low profile filtration.
  • Quick to install, switch and stack up to 4 magnetic filters together.
  • Stackable filters without vignette.
  • NanoPro coating, helps prevent dirt/smudges from adhering to the glass, reduced reflections, scratch resistant, waterproof, fingerprint, oil-proof & cleaning efficiency.
  • Fully compatible and interchangeable with magnetic filters from other brands.
  • Magnetic lens cap.

Demonstration video on a Private Highland Estate

Images below taken with Haida NanoPro Magnetic CPL

Image taken with Haida NanoPro Magnetic CPL
“Luie” -Image taken with Haida NanoPro Magnetic CPL- ISO 320, F4, 1/4000 @200mm. Post processed in Photoshop.
“Torin” -Image taken with Haida NanoPro Magnetic CPL- ISO 640, F2.8, 1/6000 @200mm. Post processed in Photoshop.
“Sandy” -Image taken with Haida NanoPro Magnetic CPL- ISO 1000, F4.5, 1/4000 @200mm. Post processed in Photoshop.

Haida Magnetic zipped filter case

  • Holds up to 5 filters.
  • External dimensions- 121x121x47mm (LxWxH).
  • Filter size- 82mm demonstrated in my YouTube Video.
  • Materials- PU Leather and Polyester.
  • Weight- 98.9g.

Overall conclusion for both magnetic filters

To answer my question at the start of this evaluation- “I wanted to see if the bar was set as high with the rest of the Magnetic ND family“-The answer simply is YES! Exceptional quality throughout regarding even tonality-sharpness-contrast-no colour shift and absolutely no vignette on both filters.

The main attraction if you pardon the pun is the convenience compared to traditional systems which can be extremely fiddly and time consuming, especially if you’re unsure of what filter to use so your swapping and exchanging filters frequently. I’m 100% sold with this system and really do love everything about it. As you can see from my video footage the quality is also top notch for professional videographers out there. Let me assure you in no uncertain terms- This Magnetic family have it all! I will most definitely be recommending to my photography friends &/or students. Quite honestly its a breath of fresh air!

All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. “Haida” in English translates to “All rivers run into the sea, all rivers flow to one”. If you’d like to visit their website , Facebook  or Instagram.

If you would like to see more of my work; Follow me on Facebook , Instagram , Viewbug YouPic & 1X.

I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions or contact me below or Facebook Messenger.

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“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2021

Test review- Haida NanoPro ND filter kit for DJI Mavic 2 Pro.

Test review of Haida ND filters for DJI Mavic 2 Pro ~for not only photography but also videography”

by Jenny Cameron.

Introduction.

Welcome to my test review of the Haida NanoPro ND kit. Designed specifically for use with DJI Mavic 2 Pro. The pack includes four solid neutral density (ND) filters (3,4,5 & 6 stops).

DJI Mavic 2 Pro with Haida ND filter attached.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro with Haida ND filter attached.

This is all very new to me having never used a drone before and knew very little about videography. Fast forward three months, the main problem has been fighting weather, which here in Scotland is no easy fate. We get a lot of rain, wind, snow and sub-zero temperatures, all do not go hand in hand with flying a drone. On a more positive note- Two things which must be earnt and not simply paid for is “experience & perseverance “. So, overall I’ve put these filters through their paces and learnt a ton which Id like to share with you.


What made me want to buy a drone?

As a landscape photographer, I felt restricted and frustrated from many missed unique perspectives my DSLR couldn’t possibly reach, desperate for that “something” to reignite my creative fires and quite honestly I`d lost my mo-jo. Inspiration was in great need. December 2020 I had a eureka moment to get a drone as an early Christmas present. I couldn’t wait to see the bird-eye views, the whole cinematic look really excited me, this brand new world was ready to burst open in front of me during the dismal dark days of the global pandemic.

As a Haida Ambassador, my first port of call after ordering the drone was speaking to Haida as I knew they did filters for the DJI Mavic 2 Pro & Mavic Air 2. They kindly sent a filter set to fit my drone. I’ve been using Haida filters for the past three years now for all my landscape portfolio work, therefore only natural I wanted the same quality for my drone imagery. Let me tell you guys the dark clouds have lifted and I’m back to the early days when I first started photography, excitingly wanting to learn everything and eager to put into practice.


What’s in the box?

Four neutral density (ND) filters in total- ND8, ND16, ND32 & ND64. In a very neat hand-sized/ convenient plastic box that easily fits in your jacket pocket. The packaging of a product can sometimes be as important as the product itself as you will most likely be using a lot switching different filters in the field.


What is a Neutral Density (ND) Filter?

ND stands for neutral density. Commonly described as expensive sunglasses for your camera. However, there’s a bit more to it than that without too much techy-talk. Basically, on the photography side, they absorb light by limiting unwanted light from reaching the camera sensor without effecting colour, hue, sharpness, contrast and clarity. And for videography, they provide smooth/softer transitions and more natural professional-looking footage. Overall, provide the user with more creative freedom and viewer more eye-candy.


What do the numbers mean?

All ND filters come in different strengths, the lower the value the lighter opacity the glass is and less light is absorbed. The higher the value the darker the glass, the more light it absorbs.

How do I know which filter to use?

ND strengthND 8 ( 3 stop)ND 16 (4 stops)ND 32 (5 stops)ND 64 (6 stops)
When to useReduces glareSunset & low light situationsBright days with direct sunExtreme sun, snow &/or water.

How to attach the filter?

First, remember to turn off your drone to avoid damaging the gimbal. Support the gimbal with one hand, remove the DJI Mavic 2 Pro lens by gently pushing down and twisting till it lifts off. Then replace with the Haida ND filter at a slight angle with your other hand and twist. You will feel it lock in place, now your filter is firmly attached to the lens, switch the drone on and you’re ready to fly.


Video below showing Haida ND8 filter on DJI Mavic 2 Pro.


Long exposure photography isn’t for me therefore I don’t need any ND filters? Wrong!!

Let me explain- These days our eyes have become accustomed to a more polished aerial cinematography and photography look/feel from watching movies and such over the years. If you think back 20 years how movie standards have progressed in terms of footage quality. Even as little as 15 yrs ago, 4K stabilised footage was un-thinkable, its what we saw only at the movies, technology is moving fast! However, we all now expect far more than we did back in the day. This is achieved by something called the “180-degree shutter angle rule”- which mimics motion the same way a human eye experiences in real life. It helps reduce your shutter speed whilst maintaining proper exposure. For example- shutter speed should be double your frame rate for smooth motion blur, producing more natural and professional-looking footage- rather than harsh/ robotic movements. So, for instance, if shooting at 25 frames per second you need to move your shutter speed to 1/50- Or, 30 frames per second would be 1/60 shutter speed. Also, post-production is easier, especially with colour grading. Without ND filters you would have to increase your shutter speed to maintain exposure in your shots which will effect the footage quality in a really bad way making it over sharp and jittery. Hence why I can’t stress highly enough the importance of ND filters for a drone, it’s not about doing long exposures- Although you can still use them the same way you would on a DSLR as I will demonstrate in the images below in the Scottish Highlands.


Images below- taken with DJI Mavic 2 Pro in tripod mode. Raw format. Without/with Haida NanoPro ND8 (3 stops) filter. Same settings used for both images. Camera manual mode- ISO 200, F6, 1/4 sec.

Without filter. ISO 200, F6, 1/4 sec.
With Haida ND8 (3 stops) filter. ISO 200, F6, 1/4 sec.

Waterfall videos below showing without/with Haida NanoPro ND16 (4 stop) filter on DJI Mavic 2 Pro. Same settings used for both videos. Manual mode, ISO 100, F4, 1/8 sec @ 24 FPS. Location- Sutherland, Scotland.

Without filter
With Haida ND16 (4 stops) filter for DJI Mavic 2 Pro.

Videos below showing without/with Haida NanoPro ND32 (5 stop) filter on DJI Mavic 2 Pro. Same settings used for both videos. Manual mode, ISO100, F6 1/30 sec @24FPS. Location- Sutherland, Scotland.

Without filter
With Haida NanoPro ND32 (5 stop) filter

Drone footage over Ardvreck Castle including music ♬. Filter used= Haida NanoPro ND64 (6 stop) on DJI Mavic 2 Pro. Video setting- Manual mode, ISO100, F6, 1/30 @ 24 FPS ( frames per second).


Post-processed image below taken with DJI Mavic 2 Pro & Haida NanoPro-ND8 (3 stops). Camera settings- ISO 100, F4, 1/30 on tripod mode.

Post processed in Adobe Creative Cloud

Design & build quality

  • Glass = Unmatched Optic glass, multiple grinding for high definition images which reduces unwanted reflections without colour shifts.
  • Frame = Aerospace Aluminium.
  • Filter case = Plastic, with foam inserts to protect each individual filter for storage and transport. Easy to open.
  • Extremely light-weight, yet robust, putting no negative effect on the drone gimbal.

NanoPro

Each double-coated filter features Haida’s waterproof NanoPro multicoating which repels water and to assure HD quality without colour cast or vignette. This is extremely useful as any water or moisture on the lens during flying can seriously distort &/or ruin your imagery. You may be thinking what does it matter if they aren’t waterproof I won’t be flying underwater? Agreed, certainly not, however when flying at high altitudes the air becomes moist so the last thing you need is water seeping in-between camera lens & filter. This also helps when wiping any excess moisture off your filter, it beads up & easily removed with a microfibre cloth.


Weight -V- gimbal error

After doing some research I discovered a common error with some aftermarket filters. The weight of the filters is too heavy for the gimbal/front of the camera resulting in the camera not working. This is something I needed to be sure didn’t happen with Haida filters. I’m very pleased to confirm none of the filters were a problem & worked perfectly~ Horray!


Price

Of course, the price of a product is an important metric when considering any purchase. However, as the old saying goes- “Buy cheap buy twice”. With all things, photography/videography as I’m sure you’ve discovered doesn’t come cheap. As photographers, we know the importance of a good quality lens. Oftentimes it’s more important than the camera so why on earth would you stick a cheap filter in front of expensive glass? It makes no sense to me, a valuable lesson I’ve learnt over the years. Haida filters are by no means the most expensive on the market but not the cheapest, they sit somewhere in the middle. Available for purchase here.


Positive features (in no particular order).

  • Specially designed for DJI Mavic 2 Pro.
  • Consistence sharpness from corner to corner.
  • Easy to attach and remove. You will likely have to make changes in the field therefore you need confidence knowing the filter is securely attached and doesn’t fall off mid-flight.
  • Durable, compared to plastic alternatives.
  • Neutral colour accuracy or colour shifts.
  • No vignette at all.

Negatives

  • I think the addition of a Circular Polariser and/ or a combined ND/ CPL would be advantageous for Haida.
  • Disappointed no filter cloth and no dedicated filter pouch~ Maybe that`s the female in me.
  • Overall, Id like to see more drone accessories from Haida as I believe Videography is the future.

The Haida brand

As a landscape photographer, I know the importance of quality filters. Hand on heart, I firmly believe in the Haida brand. Yes, I am an Ambassador for them but in no way would I put my name to a brand I didn’t believe in. All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. “Haida” in English translates to “All rivers run into the sea, all rivers flow to one”. If you’d like to visit their website &/or Facebook .


Final thoughts

So, if you’ve been admiring the amazing aerial footage seen online the past few years and thought to yourself — “I would really love to have a go at this drone malarkey but it looks too technical”. -My answer to you would be- “Go for it, absolutely”. Believe me, I’m a slow learner, if I can, then so can you. Its been the best photography purchase this past couple of years and boosted my creative flow immensely. Almost like visiting a new place, as even though you still in your local area everywhere looks very different.

Or- maybe you already own a drone but frequently return home disappointed from your footage and feel you would benefit from taking it to the next level. I personally as a friend would highly recommend the investment of this Haida NanoPro ND filter pack for the DJI Mavic 2 Pro.

For me personally- Each one serves its own purpose. In fact, most recently I’ve tended to leave the ND8 on permanently. Not only does it improve movement in video but enables extra control of the light for still images and video. I’m certainly very happy with all of the filters, had great fun and wouldn’t like being without them.

I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions- Contact me below or Facebook Messenger.

If you would like to see more of my work; Follow me on Facebook & Instagram.

“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2021

Good-bye Winter

Hyperborea

Here in Scotland we’re still in lock-down~ Getting out for photography this past year hasn’t been easy with travel restrictions. I find the whole Covid thing a mental struggle the way its taken my freedom to travel, missing close family in England & photography road trips I so much enjoyed & pretty much use to take them for granted~ a huge lesson I think we`ve all recently learnt. On a more positive/happier note~ I’m very lucky living in such a beautiful remote area with mountains all around & pristine beaches close-by. This was taken a couple of weeks ago on a freezing cold morning when temperatures plummeted to minus 22 Celsius. Thankfully the majority of the snow has now gone and signs of spring on its way.

Techy info

Filters used~ Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable 6-9 stop ND filter @ 6 stop.

Post-processing software & techniques ~ Adobe Creative Cloud & Lumenzia. Focus stacked for maximum sharpness front to back & exposure blended.

Camera settings~ ISO 100, F11, 0.7 seconds @ 35mm.

Equipment used~ Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 16-35mm F2.8 lens. Gitzo tripod.

Video below showing raw file & final edit.

If you would like to see more of my work;
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“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2021

Popular blog posts from the past few months.

Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND filter 77mm.

Haida kindly invited me to evaluate their latest innovation; Interchangeable Magnetic Variable neutral density (ND) filter (2-5 stops & 6-9 stops). My test review will be in two parts, this being part 1 testing the 2-5 stop Magnetic Variable ND filter which not only is the perfect tool for photographers but also videographers. In other words, one ND ranging from 2- 5 stops and another from 6- 9 stops interchangeable in 1 second, yes I did say that correctly, one second!! Have I got you intrigued now? Let me walk you through & you show you this great innovation. Do I sound biased already? I’m sorry I am, but I will be honest & tell you some downsides.

Top 10~ Tips to help create your perfect Landscape Fine Art image. Featured

Have you ever created an image you loved so much you decided to share on every online platform possible but didnt receive the feedback you expected? You put your heart & soul into this creation but nobody understood what you were trying to convey?

How did it make you feel? Crap? Overwhelmed? Confused? Disappointed, self doubt & dare I say almost envious of others? Trust me, I’ve been there. Receiving negative critism isnt easy & can become extremely upsetting. Asking yourself~ Why do I see things different to others? You know photography is in your blood~ I’m telling you right now, never give up & keep going. Its your ultimate passion, right? And remember~ Practice makes perfect.

Here’s my top 10 tips in no particular order

  1. Lighting~ Mood & atmosphere, probably the most difficult thing to learn as its really something that comes from the heart, you have to feel it to be able to see it.
  2. Good composition ~Visual/intuitive balance & direction of flow helps grab the eye. Rule of thirds where you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines. The Fibonacci spiral also know as the Golden spiral helps to lead the viewers eye through the entire picture. Reduce the distracting elements also known as pokies such as random tree branches poking into the edge of the photo, something I personally call “edge- control police”. Although being naughty~ breaking some rules from time to time is not a bad thing & can work out creatively.
  3. Perfect Raw file ~ A photographers fundamental basic, this is the key where you need to go all OCD. Without this you have nothing, no amount of editing will rectify. A raw file is the foundation of the house, without it the whole image will collapse. Its your blank canvas which needs to be absolutely perfect in every way imaginable. Please do not shoot in jpeg, you can bring out so much more from a raw file.
  4. Editing~ clicking the shutter button is only part of what it takes to producing a great image. For me, I liken it to putting make- up on, making the best of what you have. If your shooting raw the image will be very flat & un- interesting, therefore some editing is needed to bring your image to life. You dont need to spend hours at your computer getting a headache from eye strain, oftentimes twenty minutes maximum can really give your image the va- va- voom.
  5. Camera settings~ Technical skills & knowledge of how to use your camera are needed in abundance. When trying to be creative the last thing you need is struggling to remember how to use your camera. This should be as easy as brushing your teeth & come the most natural thing for you so you dont have to give it much thought~ All you should be thinking about is your creative flair & the beauty surrounding you. I learnt my camera settings blindfolded so I knew I could photograph the night sky at ease, not have to fumble around with torches followed by yelling at my camera as I pressed the wrong button.
  6. Colour~ Colour plays a huge role, much more than most people think. Making it look natural but really its very deliberate & a highly thought out process. Colour can sometimes provide the opposite & cause more of a distraction, this is when black & white plays its role, your stripping back elements to create more of an impactful message~ This is more useful in images that portray deep powerful emotions leaving the viewer with the pure essence of the image. Learn & understand the colour wheel.
  7. Focus stacking~ This can only be done on a tripod. Where you take several images of the same scene. Focused at different points throughout the image, so for example~ Foreground, mid-ground, a distant hill & sky. Then blend together as one in Photoshop for ultimate sharpness from front to back.
  8. Exposure blending~ Similar to focus stacking but with exposures. So for example several images of the same scene taken at different exposures~ One for the shadows, one for mid-tones & another for the highlights. Again blended together in Photoshop for a perfect high dynamic range also known as HDR.
  9. Location~ Personally I think this is an important one. I struggle to accept how a photographer can go to a location never visited before & get the most of out it. For me its something I have to visit several times, different times of the day & seasons. I need an intimate familiarity with the place, feel the spirit, question what makes it special to me. Then I concentrate on that element to achieve the best out of it. All this flows continually right through to the editing process & final image.
  10. What elements & message you wish to convey? Start by what you wish to emphasis in the photo, is it a waterfall, lake, mountain or just a wow sky. Search for different patterns & textures which can convey different emotions to the viewer. This is how you begin to tell your story & how you start growing connections with your viewers, it really does become quite personal & evoke deep emotions.

“I believe photography is a message connecting someone’s spirit to reality. In this crazy world we all live in there are times we need to escape all the madness even just for a few seconds to be virtually teleported to another world”.

“Never give up on your dreams”

Jenny Cameron

Haida filter video tutorial

Haida Filter tutorial from my home in the Scottish Highlands during the COVID-19 lock-down. Sharing my thoughts about filters.

Please note; If using any of the 100mm x 100mm (square) ND filters in M10 filter holder and you don’t wish to use any of the round “drop-in” filters, you must use the M10 “drop-in” light barrier which is simple and easy to use the sealing ring to prevent any light leakage (also provided in the kit).

 

Haida M10 filter holder system including light- barrier

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“As a landscape photographer I have learnt how invaluable a great filter system is to my arsenal of tools. It’s something you can buy a bit at a time to build up your collection, but choosing the correct brand is the tricky part. Thankfully for you I’ve made the mistakes and now ready to share my thoughts from the past twelve months of using the Haida M10 filter holder system for the 100mm filter series. Such a genius method and design.”

Included in the Haida M10 filter holder kit

Filter holder, Circular Polariser, light-barrier, one adapter ring which can be purchased to fit most popular lenses in sizes 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 and 82mm. Housed in a smart black eco-leather zipped storage case, with a handy carabiner attached to the top which can be neatly clipped onto your tripod or belt for ease of access, internally lined with a lovely grey velvety fabric with a net pocket for storage, including a handy screwdriver, extra pair of filter holder slots and gaskets to provide a third slot on the front of the Holder ) which I’ve left on permanently).

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Constructed from aviation grade aluminium and PC materials for super strength and is lighter in weight than its predecessor. Its genius design makes it exceptionally user-friendly, with super fast set up, and effortless to change and remove filters. Simply clip the M10 filter holder onto the M10 adapter ring by using the red push-and-release (spring clip) locking lever (see video & photos below). The innovative design gives a very secure and solid connection, and at the same time the ability to rotate 360 degrees. The non-slip spongued coating on the bottom of the filter holder provides a good grip whilst rotating which I think is a nice touch.

It’s designed to take up to three filters ( 100 x 100mm or 100 x 150mm @ 2mm thickness, compatible with other brands at the same size ) on the front of the holder if you wish to stack, and one filter slot at the rear closest to your camera lens where the new round “drop in” M10 filters are used. Boasting a choice of neutral density filters ( 3, 6, 10 and 15 stops), circular polariser (included in the kit), clear-night (light pollution filter), graduated neutral density filters ( 3 and 4 stops) and ND + CPL ( 3 and 6 stops). But only using one at a time which is the only downside if you like using several ND/s and a CPL together. If you don’t wish to use any of the round “drop- in” filters, you must use the M10 “drop in” light barrier (see photo below) which is a simple and easy to use sealing ring to prevent any light leakage (also provided in the M10 filter holder kit).

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Optional extra filter storage case

During 2019 Haida also released a very useful filter case for their M10 filter series or other branded filters of the same dimensions; either 100x100mm &/or 100x150mm. Holding up to nine filters including Haida M10 filter holder, adapter ring, cleaning cloth & memory cards. This has been with me on my adventures for every shoot, Id truly be lost without it. If you’d like to see more about this case please take a look at my test review showing photos & video here.

All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. If you’d like to visit their website &/or Facebook .

I hope this provides you some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions.

If you would like to see more of my work;
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“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2020

From Start to Finish

Here is the Raw file we will be working with. Taken with a Canon 5d Mark iv, Canon 16-35mm USM Lens @34mm, ISO 100, F11, 131 seconds. With a Haida ND 3.6 (12 stop) Filter. On the beautiful banks of Loch Assynt, Sutherland, Scotland.

©Jenny Cameron 2017

 To begin with we are going to make sure we’ve removed any unwanted objects. With this particular image I decided to remove the reeds in the foreground as I felt they looked messy and uninteresting. I will leave the small foreground rock as an anchor point to draw the eye into the scene. We are going to do this with the help of Content Aware technology in Photoshop.

1: Start by duplicating your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

2: With Layer 1 selected ( highlighted in white) > Go to your Tools panel > Select the  Lasso Tool and roughly draw round any unwanted objects (as seen in the image below).

3: Go to Edit > Fill. This will provide you with a pop up box. At the top of the box you’ll find a drop down menu > select Content – Aware. Check the Color Adaptation checkbox, sometimes this can give a smoother color transition. Copy my settings from the image below.

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number 1

4: Just like magic! Photoshop did a great job in removing the reeds, see the results below. You now need to deactivate your selection by holding Ctrl+D, or CMD+D on a Mac. Flatten your image by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one. You can do this sequence several times to improve results if needed.

©Jenny Cameron 2017

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5: The image is looking too blue for my taste.  I’m going to lower the blues in Adobe Camera Raw ( ACR).

6: Open up ACR > You do this by going to > Filter > Camera Raw Filter > which brings up a new screen. >Go to the eighth tab along in the Basic Panel (right hand side) named Camera Calibration > Go to the bottom set of sliders named Blue Primary. Set the Hue slider to minus 14 or thereabouts, and the Saturation slider to minus 100. See my settings in the image below.

4 acr blues

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7: Flatten your Layer stack by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.

8: Again, duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

9: Go back into ACR, this is where we are going to control the light. The light is coming from the left side of the image. Start by grabbing your Gradient filter which is the second tool from the right on the top left row. I use a bright Pink colour ( see my image below) as my Mask colour seen in the lower half of the screen, as its a colour not commonly used in nature, making it stand out to enable me to see where the actual Gradient will be rather than the Overlay option checkbox which gives you a lined area. Simply drag down the Gradient Filter with your mouse to where you think is best and click OK, which takes you back into Photoshop. Flatten your Layer stack by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.

5 gradients acr

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10: You can see in the image below the effect its given from the settings I used.

6 grads

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11: Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac

12: Back into ACR, using the Gradient filter again I lowered the exposure of the water. All the time my aim is to draw the eye to the trees.The lighting is now looking more directional. See my image below of the work so far. Click OK & back into Photoshop. Flatten your Layer stack by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.

7 grads

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13: Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

14: Back into ACR > Take the fifth tool from the top left set of Tools named Target Adjustment Tool ( I call it the Tat Tool ). It will provide you with a movable cross shape icon > zip across to the Basic Panel (right hand side) to the fourth icon named HSL/ Grayscale. You’ll see three  titles named Hue, Saturation & Luminance.> Click on Luminance, place your cursor over the area you want to work on. In my case I’m starting on the trees. > Now drag your cursor/mouse upwards, this will lift the Luminance values. You can see how my settings in the image below has lifted the shadows on the trees and made them stand out more. Also have a play around with the Saturation & Hue sliders with the same technique. Be careful as it’s a very powerful tool and has a tendency to show weird colour transitions if pushed too far.  Once you’ve finished click OK. This will take you back into Photoshop and you’ll need to flatten your Layer stack.

8 hsl

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15:Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

16: We need to take this a further step as the trees aren’t popping off the screen as much as I’d hoped. So…head back to ACR and follow my settings similar to the image below. Again, once you’ve finished in ACR click OK which will take you back to Photoshop. Do not flatten your Layer stack this time.

9 acr brighter

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17: The image is still looking flat and boring with no depth. So lets mask off the brighter areas which are not needed. You can also see in the histogram that some highlights are blown out which isn’t great. We need to control this, hopefully once masked off it should bring them back. If you have never used masks please don’t worry, we will work through it together in baby steps. Once you get the hang of them it will open up a whole new world for you.

18: With Layer 1 selected, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide all. This provides you with a black mask hiding your top layer (layer 1).  Make sure your foreground and background colours are set to the default of white and black. You can do this by pressing “D” on your keyboard. Set your Brush Opacity to around 20- 30 %, its best to build up slowly to give a more natural feathered effect. Now take a large soft brush (1100px approx)  using your white foreground colour (this will reveal your hidden layer) and carefully paint in the light you want to show. You can alter the size of your brush by using your bracket keys. Adjust your Opacity in the Layers panel if needed. Flatten your image by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.

10 mask

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19:  Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

20: Go back into ACR and grab your TAT tool (Target Adjustment Tool). Im now aiming for the brighter areas of the sky around the trees. With your Cursor drag down the highlights in the area, this will help the trees stand out and blend better.

21: Whilst in ACR go to the Basic Panel> Selecting the seventh icon along named Effects> Select the Dehaze Slider and increase by around 17. This gives more definition and contrast. Press OK which takes you back to Photoshop. Flatten your image by going to Layer> Flatten Layer, which will collapse your Layer stack into one.

22: Duplicate your Background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

23: Still working on giving extra light to the trees. Select Layer one > Blend mode Linear Dodge ( Add) > Set your Opacity to around 75% and Fill to 25%. This really gives great highlights. Again you’ll need to mask off certain areas that aren’t required, (same as in step 18 above to reveal some eye popping light effects). See the results in the image below.

©Jenny Cameron 2017

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24:  Back into ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) to the White Balance tool. This can help with not only colours but also Luminosity too. Top left you’ll see an eye dropper Tool, third icon from the left. Place your cursor over it and drag to a neutral part in your image and click. Try different areas for different effects. Click OK which takes you back to Photoshop.  See the results in the image below. Not a massive difference but each little step really does help.> Flatten your Layer stack.

©Jenny Cameron 2017

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25: Duplicate your Background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

26: Back into ACR > Go to the Basic panel> Seventh icon named Effects> Post crop Vignetting> Add some Dehaze.  Click OK and back into Photoshop. Adjust your opacity slider to what you think looks best in the Layers panel. Flatten your image. Follow my settings from the image below.

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27: Back again to ACR > HSL panel> Saturation section> Take your TAT tool and drag down those brashy blues to help the trees stand out better. Click OK which takes you back to Photoshop and flatten your Layers in the Layer stack.

28: Duplicate your Background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

29: To me the Vignette is looking a wee bit too heavy, so go back into ACR and the HSL Panel. > Luminance section and lift those dark shadows. For me it actually lifted more around the trees which was great as it gave more contrast. Click OK and back to Photoshop. Flatten your layers.

30: Duplicate your Background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

 

31: Go to  > Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask>. Copy my settings from the image below. Click OK.

17 sharp

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32: Go to >Edit > Fade unsharp mask> this brings up a pop up box > Click OK >. In your Layers panel go to > Blend Mode Luminosity. That’s your sharpening all done but do we really want sharp clouds? I think not, so…..lets mask off the parts we don’t want sharp.

33: With Layer 1 selected, go to > Layer > Layer Mask > Hide all. This provides you with a black mask hiding your top layer.  Make sure your foreground and background colours are set to the default of white and black. You can do this by pressing “D” on your keyboard. Set your Brush Opacity to around 30- 40 %, its best to build up slowly. Now take a large soft brush using your white foreground colour to paint in the sharp areas you want to show. You can alter the size of your brush by using your bracket keys. Adjust your Opacity in the Layers panel if needed. Flatten your image.

34: To save for the web, go to > Image> Image size>. Follow my settings below and click OK..

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35: Go to > File > Save as >. This will bring up your personal PC Library >. Now save and name to whatever folder you wish. Remember to select in the drop down menu that you want it saved as a Jpeg.

Final image below.

©Jenny Cameron 2017

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Tips: You can also save as you go along which is something I’ve learned the hard way with my crazy connections here in the wilds of Scotland. My internet can oftentimes drop or slow down, and for some reason it closes Photoshop losing all my work. So if you save as you go it saves any heartache that may happen. Some people like to work in large Layer stacks which is fine, we’re all different and have different circumstances.

I do all my sharpening at the end of the process as Contrast, Clarity and Dehaze to name a few can add to the effect, so if you do it at the end you know the correct amount to add. It also depends on where the image will be shown, in this case it will be posted on social media platforms.

 Try not to focus on the sliders. Place your cursor on the control and move it without looking at it. Look only at your image and how the slider is affecting it. This way it’s easier to see when something will look right.

I truly hope you enjoyed this tutorial & found it easy to understand. If you have any questions you may like to ask please feel free to give me a shout on Facebook Messenger and I’ll be happy to help. Most of all have fun and enjoy your Photography, it’s all about you, not what others may think.

Jenny~

Jenny Camerons Masterclass

Over the years I’ve been asked many times if I do Editing tutorials, and I never have until now when Photography Masterclass invited me to share a few of my favourite  Techniques, so here goes my very first..

I don’t have an exact Workflow that I follow as a rule, every image is different, therefore deserves its own treatment. People often ask what Plugin or Effect do I use, the answer is none. I wish it were that simple but the truth is you need to work at it with several techniques from your Creative self. I’ve been known to spend weeks on one image and even then there’s a possibility it will get deleted or I  walk away for a few months till I’m in the right head space for that particular image.  Other images can flow easily and done in an hour.. It all depends, they’re all different.

So …grab a Coffee, pull up a chair, load Photoshop, and chillax for some unconventional Jenny style editing. OHhh..and don’t forget the biscuits, they’re the most essential part!!

I thought Id start with the ever popular Romantic Orton Effect, its like something you’d see in the Movie Lord of the Rings. Developed my Michael Orton in the mid 80’s, which gives an almost surreal dreamy effect. There are so many different ways to do this and Tutorials all over the Internet. It’s a great effect that I use in the majority of my work and normally applied towards the end of Processing, which I personally think gives an extra polished look. Here’s how I do mine and the image we will be working on below.

©Jenny Cameron 2017

Sgurr nan Gillean, Isle of Skye. Scotland.

1. Duplicate your background layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

2. With this New Layer selected, go to Image>Apply Image. Copy my settings from the image below.

use this one

3. Make another Copy in the Layers Panel by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac .Your Layers Panel should now look like this.

orton

4. Now go to> Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur. Select a Radius around 38 which is what I prefer when using my Canon 5d mark iv in Raw Format, but it depends on the size of your own image file. Have a play around with different Radius.

5. Close the Eye icon on your Background layer (see example circled in Red). Go to Layer > Merge Visible, this will Collapse your Three Layers into Two. Go back to your Eye icon and Open by un-checking it. Your Layers Panel should now look like this.

orton 2

6. Go to >Blend Mode >Multiple. This will look way too heavy and over cooked, so don’t lose hope, stay with me. Go to your Opacity Slider and Dial it down to whatever you feel looks good, usually anything between 12 and 30 Percent.

Tip: You can also Experiment with different Blend modes ..Overlay, Soft Light and Hard Light can work quite well too for more Pop! Word of caution though, dont over do it, it’s very tempting I know but it will stand out as overdone and fake. The trick is so nobody knows how you’ve Edited. Suiltity is your best friend, bet you never thought Id say such word ..lol.

©Jenny Cameron 2017

After

 


Controlling Blown out Highlights.

Apply Image is one of my favourite tools in Photoshop, you can use it in many situations. Here’s how I control any blown out or over powering highlights as illustrated in the Image below.

©Jenny Cameron 2017

Before

1. Start by duplicating your Background Layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

2. Select Blend mode Multiple on your top Layer.

3. Select a White Layer Mask.

4. Go to Image > Apply Image . Make sure your settings are the same as mine below.

kylesku 1

5. You can Experiment with different Blend modes and Channels within the Apply Image box. Have a play, see what you come up with.

6. To achieve different Effects you can take it a step further by checking the Mask check box in the bottom part of Apply Image dialogue box, this will crush the highlights more. Click OK.  Follow the example below.

kylesku 2

7. If you feel it’s too soft and flat you can always add a Curves Adjustment Layer. Start by making the Curve a steep “S” shape > if you double-click on the White Mask it kindly provides for you it allows you to add a Feather, making it not too harsh of a Contrast.  Set the Feather to approximately 10 pixels.

8. Adjust your Opacity to taste and Mask off any areas that you don’t want.

©Jenny Cameron 2017

 


Give it some Punch!  This gives extra Detail/ Clarity.

before jpeg thursday

Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

1. Duplicate your Background Layer by holding Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

2. Go to >Filter> Convert for Smart Filter.

3. Filter > Other > High Pass > Set to 3 Pixels.

4. Blend Mode >Overlay ( or Soft Light / Hard Light ).

5. Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options.

6. Go to the Blend If area in the lower half of the box where you see two sliders ( This Layer and Underlying Layer) > Go to “This Layer” > . As in the image below.

blend if 1

7. Hold down the Alt Key or Option Key on a Mac > Place your mouse over the left slider and click > this will instantly separate the slider in two.

8. Move the sliders to show> 50/100.

9. Do the same with the Right hand slider making sure your still working on “This Layer”> Hold down the Alt Key or Option Key on a Mac > Place your mouse over the Right slider and Click > this will instantly separate the slider in two > Set to 150/200 > Click OK.

10. So your Image looks like mine below. Area to work with Circled in Red.

blen if sunday

11. Ctrl+J, or CMD+J on a Mac.

12. Adjust your Opacity to what you think looks best. You can use the White Masks on the Smart Filters within the Layer Stack to Mask off any areas with a Large Soft Black brush that you don’t want.

after jpeg thursday

After

 


Painting with Light

before with text jpeg

Before

Here we are literally going to be Painting Light and/or Shade directly on the Image. Learning about Light was one of my first Nemesis, it didn’t come natural to me at all, but I knew I had to fully understand it if I wanted to pursue any type of Photography.

Really think about where your Light source is coming from, ie. the Sun, Moon, Diffused Light from a Window or a Light leak/s from Clouds to name a few. Remember one thing, Light always travels in straight lines, and wherever there is light there has to be Shade.

Photoshop really does make this an easy task.

1. Start with your Background Layer in your Layers Pallet.

2. Go to >Layer (on your top row) > New > Layer >You can name this “Light” or whatever you prefer to use and set the Blend mode within the pop up box to Soft Light. Like the example below.

apple

Option: You can use Blend Mode Overlay as an alternative if you prefer, it will give a stronger contrast.

3. Select a Colour  from your Image using the Eye-dropper tool to give a more natural look that matches your image. Look for a slightly more Saturated & Lighter Colour in the Colour Swatch. Always best to experiment till you have the right tone that your happy with.

4. Grab a Large Soft Paint Brush with your chosen colour, this gives a more feathered natural look.

5. Using your Bracket keys for the correct size> Simply paint in the light you need on the New Layer.

6. You can do this with Several Colours. I tend to work in areas and make sure you use a New Separate Layer for each Colour, it’s just easier and more controllable.

Tip: You can do the same for Painting in Shadows with darker colours. Rather than having plain Black and Boring blocked out Shadows.

It’s very time-consuming, there’s no quick fix. The best way I’ve found so far ..Put on some great Music, zone out whilst you Paint some Beautiful Light & Transform your image like a boss! It’s actually very therapeutic.

after with text

After

 

 


Thoughts

Within Photoshop and Lightroom you can change the Background colour by simply right clicking over the area. It brings up a drop down menu, with the options black, dark grey, medium grey, light grey and  customized.. Try changing the colour to see how your image looks on different backgrounds and also zooming in and out, this can really help to show your Highlights and Shadows. Remember to always stick with the Default for your main workflow ( darkest grey). Think about where your image will be  displayed. Social Media platform layouts are all different, sometimes it’s a small thumbnail that viewers see first or maybe displayed in a Gallery.

Never worry what other people think, do it for yourself, what pleases you. I’ve tried listening to the Purists who can’t wait to tell me I’ve overdone something,  but it doesn’t rock my boat, why should I please them?  Would you start a Career in something you don’t want just to make others happy? I think not! You might not always get the most Likes, Comments or Followers on Social Media, but does it matter? Do it for yourself, listen to your heart, it will guide and fulfill you I promise.

I hope you guys all enjoyed this and have lots of fun experimenting with the new techniques.

If you’d like see more of my work please feel free to check out my Facebook500pxViewbug

Jenny ~

 

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