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Author: Jordan Younce

I am a Real Estate and Landscape photography as well as a Graphic Designer based in North Carolina, USA. My passion for photography started with taking photos with a point-and-shoot and now I own a successful photography business. My goal is to help others learn the art of photography, develop their creative side and just have fun.

RAW Photo Edit Contest – April 2019

The New RAW Photo Editing Contest – April 2019

This is a new contest where we want to hear from you, the Sleeklens Community. So here is how this monthly contest will work. Every month, we will release a free RAW/DNG image for you to download. From there, everything is up to you. Feel free to edit the photo any way you want. Be as creative or be as photorealistic as you want to make the image amazing.

 

How and Where to Enter

Once you are satisfied with your awesome edit, add your photo as a comment the to contest Facebook post on the Sleeklens Members Club Page (If you are not a member of this group, please submit a request to join). You can also submit as many photos as you want throughout the entire month.

 

The Winner Will Recieve…

Once the month is over, we special judges will pick the best edits and the winner will receive a $50 Sleeklens Gift Card to use on any Lightroom Presets, Photoshop Actions, Templates, or Course you like. Also, feel free to give love to the other photos that your community members have posted in the comments.

Sleeklens_April2019_Contest_Template_1

 

RAW Photo Edit Contest – March 2019

The New RAW Photo Editing Contest – March 2019

This is a new contest where we want to hear from you, the Sleeklens Community. So here is how this monthly contest will work. Every month, we will release a free RAW/DNG image for you to download. From there, everything is up to you. Feel free to edit the photo any way you want. Be as creative or be as photorealistic as you want to make the image amazing.

 

How and Where to Enter

Once you are satisfied with your awesome edit, add your photo as a comment the to contest Facebook post on the Sleeklens Members Club Page (If you are not a member of this group, please submit a request to join). You can also submit as many photos as you want throughout the entire month.

 

The Winner Will Recieve…

Once the month is over, we special judges will pick the best edits and the winner will receive a $50 Sleeklens Gift Card to use on any Lightroom Presets, Photoshop Actions, Templates, or Course you like. Also, feel free to give love to the other photos that your community members have posted in the comments.

March2019_RAWEditContest-Sleeklens

 

How to Edit Out Fly-Aways in Adobe Photoshop

Fly-Aways in your portrait photos can really make or break a good image. Sometimes you can control it while on the shoot but just simply moving a few out of place hairs but sometimes you just can’t stop them from happening, i.e. if it is a really windy day. In this quick video, we show you jsut how easy it is to simply paint away the annoying fly-away hairs in your image while only using two filters in Adobe Photoshop.

RAW Photo Edit Contest – November 2019

The New RAW Photo Editing Contest – November 2018

This is a new contest where we want to hear from you, the Sleeklens Community. So here is how this monthly contest will work. Every month, we will release a free RAW/DNG image for you to download. From there, everything is up to you. Feel free to edit the photo any way you want. Be as creative or be as photorealistic as you want to make the image amazing.

 

How and Where to Enter

Once you are satisfied with your awesome edit, add your photo as a comment the to contest Facebook post on the Sleeklens Members Club Page (If you are not a member of this group, please submit a request to join). You can also submit as many photos as you want throughout the entire month.

 

The Winner Will Recieve…

Once the month is over, we special judges will pick the best edits and the winner will receive a $50 Sleeklens Gift Card to use on any Lightroom Presets, Photoshop Actions, Templates, or Course you like. Also, feel free to give love to the other photos that your community members have posted in the comments.

November2018_RAWEditContest_sleeklens

 

RAW Photo Edit Contest – October 2019

The New RAW Photo Editing Contest – October 2018

This is a new contest where we want to hear from you, the Sleeklens Community. So here is how this monthly contest will work. Every month, we will release a free RAW/DNG image for you to download. From there, everything is up to you. Feel free to edit the photo any way you want. Be as creative or be as photorealistic as you want to make the image amazing.

 

How and Where to Enter

Once you are satisfied with your awesome edit, add your photo as a comment the to contest Facebook post on the Sleeklens Members Club Page (If you are not a member of this group, please submit a request to join). You can also submit as many photos as you want throughout the entire month.

 

The Winner Will Recieve…

Once the month is over, we special judges will pick the best edits and the winner will receive a $50 Sleeklens Gift Card to use on any Lightroom Presets, Photoshop Actions, Templates, or Course you like. Also, feel free to give love to the other photos that your community members have posted in the comments.

October2018_RAWEditContest_Sleeklens

How To Create Rain in Adobe Photoshop with FREE Action

Adding special effects like rain seems difficult but you can do it very easily with Photoshop. Check out this tutorial and get a FREE Photoshop Action by clicking the image below!

 

free-photoshop-action-how-to-create-rain-sleeklens

RAW Photo Edit Contest – September 2019

The New RAW Photo Editing Contest – September 2018

This is a new contest where we want to hear from you, the Sleeklens Community. So here is how this monthly contest will work. Every month, we will release a free RAW/DNG image for you to download. From there, everything is up to you. Feel free to edit the photo any way you want. Be as creative or be as photorealistic as you want to make the image amazing.

 

How and Where to Enter

Once you are satisfied with your awesome edit, add your photo as a comment the to contest Facebook post on the Sleeklens Members Club Page (If you are not a member of this group, please submit a request to join). You can also submit as many photos as you want throughout the entire month.

 

The Winner Will Recieve…

Once the month is over, we special judges will pick the best edits and the winner will receive a $50 Sleeklens Gift Card to use on any Lightroom Presets, Photoshop Actions, Templates, or Course you like. Also, feel free to give love to the other photos that your community members have posted in the comments.

September 2018 RAW Edit Contest

RAW Photo Edit Contest – August 2019

The New RAW Photo Editing Contest – August 2018

This is a new contest where we want to hear from you, the Sleeklens Community. So here is how this monthly contest will work. Every month, we will release a free RAW/DNG image for you to download. From there, everything is up to you. Feel free to edit the photo any way you want. Be as creative or be as photorealistic as you want to make the image amazing.

 

How and Where to Enter

Once you are satisfied with your awesome edit, add your photo as a comment the to contest Facebook post on the Sleeklens Members Club Page (If you are not a member of this group, please submit a request to join). You can also submit as many photos as you want throughout the entire month.

 

The Winner Will Recieve…

Once the month is over, we special judges will pick the best edits and the winner will receive a $50 Sleeklens Gift Card to use on any Lightroom Presets, Photoshop Actions, Templates, or Course you like. Also, feel free to give love to the other photos that your community members have posted in the comments.

 

sleeklens-contest

Lightroom Mimic Series EP2 – Free Lightroom Preset

We are starting a new video series here at Sleeklens called the Mimic Series which will help new editors learn all of the tools that Lightroom and Photoshop have to offer. We will take an edited photo and try to “mimic” the editing style on a totally different photo.

If you followed along with the video and created your own preset that is great, but if you would like to download the exactly preset used in this video for FREE, just click the image below and download the XMP preset (works on Lightroom versions 7.3+) to use on your photos.

 

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Lightroom Mimic Series EP1 – Free Lightroom Preset

We are starting a new video series here at Sleeklens called the Mimic Series which will help new editors learn all of the tools that Lightroom and Photoshop have to offer. We will take an edited photo and try to “mimic” the editing style on a totally different photo.

If you followed along with the video and created your own preset that is great, but if you would like to download the exactly preset used in this video for FREE, just click the image below and download the XMP preset (works on Lightroom versions 7.3+) to use on your photos

free-lightroom-presets-adobe-photoshop-photography-sleeklens-best-presets-edit

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RAW Photo Edit Contest – July 2019

The New RAW Photo Editing Contest – July 2018

This is a new contest where we want to hear from you, the Sleeklens Community. So here is how this monthly contest will work. Every month, we will release a free RAW/DNG image for you to download. From there, everything is up to you. Feel free to edit the photo any way you want. Be as creative or be as photorealistic as you want to make the image amazing.

 

How and Where to Enter

Once you are satisfied with your awesome edit, add your photo as a comment the to contest Facebook post on the Sleeklens Members Club Page (If you are not a member of this group, please submit a request to join). You can also submit as many photos as you want throughout the entire month.

 

The Winner Will Recieve…

Once the month is over, we special judges will pick the best edits and the winner will receive a $50 Sleeklens Gift Card to use on any Lightroom Presets, Photoshop Actions, Templates, or Course you like. Also, feel free to give love to the other photos that your community members have posted in the comments.

 

july-2018-photography-edit-contest-sleeklens-train

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RAW Photo Edit Contest – June 2019

The New RAW Photo Editing Contest – June 2018

This is a new contest where we want to hear from you, the Sleeklens Community. So here is how this monthly contest will go work. Every month, we will release a free RAW/DNG image for you to download. From there, everything is up to you. Feel free to edit the photo any way you want. Be as creative or be as photorealistic as you want to make the image amazing.

 

How and Where to Enter

Once you are satisfied with your awesome edit, add your photo as a comment the to contest Facebook post on the Sleeklens Members Club Page (If you are not a member of this group, please submit a request to join). You can also submit as many photos as you want throughout the entire month.

 

The Winner Will Recieve…

Once the month is over, we special judges will pick the best edits and the winner will receive a $50 Sleeklens Gift Card to use on any Lightroom Presets, Photoshop Actions, Templates, or Course you like. Also, feel free to give love to the other photos that your community members have posted in the comments.

 

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RAW Photo Edit Contest – May 2019

The New RAW Photo Editing Contest – May 2018

This is a brand new contest where we want to hear from you, the Sleeklens Community. So here is how this monthly contest will go work. Every month, we will release a free RAW/DNG image for you to download. From there, everything is up to you. Feel free to edit the photo any way you want. Be as creative or be as photorealistic as you want to make the image amazing.

 

How and Where to Enter

Once you are satisfied with your awesome edit, add your photo as a comment the to contest Facebook post on the Sleeklens Members Club Page (If you are not a member of this group, please submit a request to join). You can also submit as many photos as you want throughout the entire month.

 

The Winner Will Recieve…

Once the month is over, we special judges will pick the best edits and the winner will receive a $50 Sleeklens Gift Card to use on any Lightroom Presets, Photoshop Actions, Templates, or Course you like. Also, feel free to give love to the other photos that your community members have posted in the comments.

 

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The Winner for May 2018 is…

Photo by Sharon Spears
Photo by Sharon Spears

 

2nd Place Winner…

Photo by Jessica Lerche
Photo by Jessica Lerche

 

3rd Place Winner…

Photo by Marlis Breitkreutz
Photo by Marlis Breitkreutz

 

Honorable Mentions…

Photo by Dean Vinson
Photo by Dean Vinson

 

Photo by Griselda Contreras
Photo by Griselda Contreras

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How to Become a Photographer and Start Your Own Photography Business

Before You Start Dreaming About Becoming a Photographer…You have a camera, a few lenses, and a desire to start your own photography business; now what? A lot of photographers feel the need to start their own business in a variety of different fields but many don’t know where to start. Sure, having the idea of running your own photography business is great but actually implementing it is an entirely different story. 

In this step-by-step guide, I will walk you through all of the things I wish I knew about starting a photography business and ways to make the most of your startup. This won’t guarantee your success but it will save you time and money to make sure you have the best start possible.

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How to Become a Photographer – Beginning: Learn Your Craft

Before you can even start thinking about providing your photography services to customers, make sure you learn the ins and outs of photography. Don’t just think you can flip your camera into Auto mode and start producing fantastic results. You must learn how to shoot in a semi-automatic mode like Aperture Priority or, if you have mastered that, Manual Mode. Now, just because you are shooting in these modes doesn’t mean you will get great results either, but it will give you more control over your images. For example, if you are taking portraits where your model’s face is really dark, you will need to learn how to adjust your camera’s settings to expose the face better. If you’re shooting in an automatic mode, you have very little control over this and have to rely on correcting this in post-production which might not work correctly and will make for a lengthy workflow.

The next thing to consider is to figure out what you want to photograph. A lot of photographers want to start out by taking photos of anything they can. They fill their online portfolios with tons of images that vary from weddings to pet portraits to landscapes and even family photos. In their mind, they think this will show potential clients that they are versatile and can accommodate any type of situation. In my experience, this actually does more harm than good. Usually, it comes off that you are unorganized and you don’t know exactly what type of photographer you are. This is the last message you want to send to a potential client. You want them to look at your online portfolio and see that you are a great photographer in a certain style. This is where you have to make a decision; what do you want to photograph? If you love working with people, then being a portrait and/or wedding photographer is probably right for you. If you enjoy taking photos of animals then you can consider yourself a pet or wildlife photographer. If you like hiking the outdoors and being surrounded by nature, then landscape photography is probably for you; the list goes on and on. The key is to promote yourself as one type of photographer. Sure you can photography multiple genres but I have found if you promote yourself as a “one style” photographer, you will have better exposure and be able to find your potential clients easier.

Find a Mentor

If you are just starting your photography business and you have never run a business before, you might find it helpful to look for a mentor. A mentor is someone who is willing to share tricks of the trade and help guide you through your journey. Sure it might be scary trying to find someone who you can follow around but the information you will get out of your experience will launch you forward in your journey as a professional photographer. Here are a few tips for finding a mentor:

  • Find your favorite photographer in your new field of study. This means gathering up a list of the photographers you would love to be mentored by and rank them on a piece of paper. Make sure you are finding photographers in the field you would like to practice then simply try contacting them and asking if this is something they might be interested in. Even if some of your favorite photographers aren’t local, you can see if they would consider a mentorship through Skype.  Don’t be afraid to contact them; the worst they can say is no but the photography community is a very welcoming community so it shouldn’t be too hard to find at least one that will take you under their wing and show you how things actually run.
  • Know what you want out of the experience. If you find a mentor that might be willing to help, know what you want out of them and see if that is possible. Do you just want someone to bounce business ideas off of? Do you want someone to critique your photos? Do you want someone just for business advice? This is very important as it will keep you both in check about how the relationship will move forward.
  • Document EVERYTHING! If you happen to find a mentor who wants to help you as much as possible and really show you the ropes of running a successful photography business, make sure you are keeping notes about everything. Write things down. Take photos of behind-the-scenes things that might be going on. Even record conversations if they are okay with that. This is so important as this might be the only time you will have to learn in a real-world setting and you don’t want to lose any of the information.

 

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How to Become a Photographer – Next Step: Discover Yourself and Find Your Niche

When it comes to photography, different situations require you to think about certain things. If you are a landscape photographer, you have different types of gear to think about and different settings you need to learn so you can get the best shots. Here are a few things to keep in mind depending on the type of photography you are getting into and learn how to become a photographer in that niche:

Wedding Photographer

Becoming a wedding photographer can be extremely tough. Not just because you have to concentrate on a couple’s special day and try not to miss out on all of the important moments, but the business aspect can be just as challenging. In addition to meeting with the couples many different times throughout the process, you also have to attend wedding shows, edit hundreds of photos from the day, and keep up with a second shooter (if you are lucky enough to have one). When you are a wedding photographer, you will need to make sure you have a very up-to-date website with your most recent shoots, contracts for the copyright release information, and contracts to secure the wedding date, as well as widespread social media presence so you can target newlywed brides and grooms.  If you want to get your name out there as fast as possible, you will also need to attend wedding and bridal shows to talk face-to-face with the new couples. When it comes to gear, it is best to have two cameras; one with a wide-angle lens and one with a telephoto lens. This will allow you to switch between the two different cameras depending on the different situations. You will probably also need an external flash unit or Speedlite as a lot of reception gatherings tend to be on the darker side. When it comes to editing, it is best to work with Lightroom presets or Photoshop actions as you will be working with hundreds of photos at a time so using a workflow will not only make your photos look great, but also save you time.

Portrait Photographer

Much like wedding photographers, being a people person will really help you connect with new clients. A lot of portrait photographers shoot weddings as well but they tend to market mainly towards general portrait sessions. But unlike being a sole wedding photographer, portrait photographers tend to shoot many different things, such as, newborns, pets, professional headshots, senior portraits and much more. Shooting all of these different scenarios can be a good thing because you have multiple opportunities to make money but you might have a tougher time finding a specific demographic to market to. Choosing the right gear for your portrait photography is vital. If you are only wanting to concentrate on environmental portraits (portraits that are taken outside of a studio) then you can probably start off with a camera and a lens with a wide aperture (f1.8 to f2.8). If you are want to try shooting in the studio, first you will need a space to set up your gear. This can be inside your home in a spare bedroom or it can be a small office building that you rent out. You will also need to buy lighting. You can choose continuous lighting setups (which are good for beginners) or if you already have experience with lighting, you can grab a few Speedlite with radio triggers and stands. Regardless of the type of lighting setup you get, practicing with the lighting is much more important than getting more gear.

Real Estate Photographer

Starting out in Real Estate photography has its ups and downs. On the upside, you need minimal equipment to do basic home shoots, however, one of the major downsides is that you usually have to work during regular business hours. This means that if you have a full-time job already and intend to start being a real estate photographer part-time, you will only be able to photograph homes after your full-time job ends. This might cause you to lose jobs as your availability will be limited. You can certainly start out this way, as most photographers start out with working a regular job until they can go full-time, but growing your business can be slower than other types of photography. When it comes to equipment, you really don’t need too much to get started. Obviously, as your business grows, you can update your equipment and incorporate different services, such as drone work, but to get started you really only need your camera, a wide-angle lens, and a tripod. With these simple items, you can succeed at 80% of the shoots.

Landscape Photographer

When starting out and learning how to become a photographer, keep that mindset that you need to enjoy it too. So, out of all the types of photography styles listed here, landscape photography can be the most fun but also the least profitable. The main benefit of being a landscape photographer is the ability to travel and see some fantastic places. All of that being said, being a landscape photographer these days can be extremely tough as you will have to decide how you want to market your photography. If you want to try to make passive income, you could upload all of your images to a stock photography site and wait for someone to purchase your images, contact art galleries in your area and see about setting up a gallery show, or market your photos yourself by visiting local businesses to see if they would like custom artwork produced by you. Depending on the clients, they could be really responsive to the idea and pay good money for your art. When it comes to gear, the sky’s the limit. Obviously, you will want to have a camera with higher megapixels, a variety of lenses ranging from the super wide angle to telephoto lens, and a tripod. This is the basic landscape photographer set up. But depending on how adventurous you are going to be, you will also need a durable camera bag, extra batteries, lens filters, hiking boots, and comfortable clothing.

Sports Photographer

If you are wanting a super fast-paced style of photography then working towards becoming a sports photographer is the best fit for you. One really great benefit of becoming a sports photographer, especially if you are a sports fan, is that you are truly photographing something you love and enjoy. It is also fairly easy to get started. If you are not sure how to get images for your portfolio, all you have to do is visit a local high school and ask for permission to photograph a football or basketball game. Most of the time the schools don’t mind at all, especially if you offer to give the photos back to the school for free. Once you are able to get some great shots via the high school scene, you can possibly move toward the college areas and eventually work towards photographing some pro games. The photography equipment needed for sports photography can get pretty pricey. The most expensive item you will need to purchase is a long, telephoto lens with a wide-open aperture. This will allow you to fill the frame with the action and also get you closer to the action if it is farther away. Having a lens with a wide-open aperture gives you the ability to blow out the background and only focus on your subject. These lenses are usually fairly large as well so you may also want to have a monopod handy so you don’t have had to carry a heavy camera rig around with you.

 

Starting a Photography Business Checklist/Plan/Road Map

business planMaking a business plan or “road map” for your new business might sound a bit clerical and not really that fun, but it is one of the most important steps to starting your new venture. Your business plan should not only have goals of what you want to achieve for your business overall, but it should be filled with short-term goals. What do you want your business to look like in three months after officially starting it? What about six months? What do you want to have accomplished in your first year? Do you have goals as far as income from your business? If you are shooting weddings, how many you would you like to shoot in that first year? If you are a landscape photographer, how many prints would you like to sell? These are the questions you want to ask yourself. The reason this step is so important is best summed up by a quote by Antonie De Saint-Exupery which says “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”. If you really want your new business to actually be a business, then you need to have a goal of what you want it to look like and how to get there.

When it comes to starting a photography business, here are a few things you might need:

  • Create your business plan. Your business plan is your detailed document that will clearly convey all of your goals, financial costs, and tracking information. You can download a simple, free business plan template below.
  • Startup Costs. Whether you have all the photography gear you need to start taking photos or you are just starting out, finding money to cover some start-up costs is very important. Having a photography business isn’t just about gear either. You will also need insurance, business licenses, a website, editing software, marketing materials, and a method of tracking your expenses and income from your business.
  • Have your personal financials in order. As every small business owner knows, you will not be super profitable overnight. It could take over 18 months to make enough money to live on and pay your bills with. If this is your only job, you might have to take up part-time work to help live on. If you already have a full-time job and are running your new business part-time, you have a little more flexibility. Just make sure to keep your business income and your full-time income separate. This will help when it comes to paying taxes and fees.
  • Equipment. Obviously, equipment and gear are very important. You are not going to be taken seriously as a photographer if you show up to a photo shoot with a point-and-shoot or an iPhone. You will need real gear to get real results. If you lucky enough to already have good, quality gear, you should be ready to go. But, if you are buying your gear now, then you need to set aside between $2,500 – $5,000 to get new gear (camera, lenses, bags, accessories).
  • Price to get clients, price to make a profit. One thing to remember when starting a business is that if you are not making money then you just have a hobby. That is why you need to know how much to charge so you don’t end up doing these jobs at a low wage. Look at what competitors are charging and see what is doable for you and your business expenses. Ideally, starting out you would need to be making enough income to cover your expenses for the first 6 months to a year. If you happen to make enough to turn a profit, then you can decide whether to bring it home as income or leave it in the business for future expenses.
  • Website. Your website is your storefront. It will most likely be the first thing clients see when they search for you. You want to make it as clean, simple, and attractive as possible. The better your website looks, the more potential clients you will be able to get.
  • Social Media. These days it isn’t as simple as just setting up a website and waiting for customers to roll in. You will need to be a bit more social than that. Setting up accounts for your business (never use your personal accounts) will give your clients more ways to find you and follow you for upcoming jobs.

How do you Create a Business Plan for Yourself?

Making a business plan or roadmap is very simple but very important! If you would like to download an example photography business plan, you can download it below.  After filling out the road map for my business, I hung it up on the bulletin board in my home office. This allowed me to check on my progress as the weeks and months passed to make sure I was on the right track.

Download a detailed example of a photographer Business plan here:     
[sociallocker id=”722162″] photography_businessplan [/sociallocker]

 

Tips For Starting a New Photography Business

 

Securing Funds for Startups

business startup

Finding money to use for your business is very important. It is possible to start a company with very little funds but this will cause your business to grow slowly which a lot of people don’t have the patience for. Finding money for your business can be tough but depending on your situation, you might have access to a few places to help your startup.

  • Banks. Getting a small business loan can be tough but depending on the relationship you have with your bank and the type of bank, you may be able to get assistance. Typically small banks, such as Credit Unions, will work with you to give you the types of funds you need. If you are a member of a larger bank, you can still potentially get funding, but you might have more luck using the smaller ones.
  • Friends and Family. When it comes to asking for money from family and friends, I would not recommend it, except on one condition: it is a gift, not a loan. If you do happen to ask your friends or family for financial assistance, ask for it as a gift in which you don’t have to pay back. What is the difference? If you happen to get a loan, then you and your “lender” will always have it in the back of their mind that you owe them. On the other side, if you ask for investment instead, you are asking for their faith that you will make the most of their money.
  • Full-Time Job. If you happen to have a full-time job already and are starting your photography business as a part-time gig, then it is possible to slowly save up money and bookmark it for your photography business. This might mean that you grow your business a bit slower but you will have a bit of relief knowing that you won’t have to pay anything back. This will obviously only be short-term until your business starts bringing in money.
  • Crowdfunding. One of the lesser used types of funding methods is using crowdfunding. Crowdfunding basically means what it says: a crowd full of people will give you money to achieve a goal. Using a service like Go Fund Me does this and allows anyone to donate money to your cause. The beauty of this method is that you don’t have to pay them back.

Buying the Right Photography Gear

 

So, now we know exactly what we want to photograph and where we want our business to be. Now we need gear. Most likely you have everything you might need to start but having a few new pieces don’t hurt. One word of caution, do not borrow a ton of money to buy new gear. This is something that I have found can really make or break a photography business. If you are starting out, a simple entry-level DSLR would most likely do the job. If your camera came with a standard kit lens, that should be able to accommodate most jobs. Sure, if you want to market yourself as a sports or wildlife photographer then you might need to buy a longer, telephoto lens but purchasing used will really save you a lot of money.

If you feel that your current equipment won’t be able to handle the type of photography you want to shoot, here is a list of some inexpensive gear you can purchase that would be great starting out.

Portrait Photographers

The Budget Pick

Camera: Nikon D3300 Lens: Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lenss Lighting: Emart 600W Lighting Kit

The “budget kit” doesn’t exactly mean you are getting extremely cheap gear. It means you are getting a beginning set of tools that will allow you to grow your business faster which will enable you to grow into the new gear as you maximize your earning potential. With this budget kit, you are getting a Nikon D330 with an 18-55 kit lens, another prime lens (a lens that only has 1 focal length) that is a 50mm f1.8, a beginner studio lighting kit with 2 light stands, two bulbs, 2 umbrellas, and a carrying case. This setup will allow you to start taking the best portraits possible without blowing tons of money.

Top of the Line

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Lens: Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 Lighting: StudioPRO 3000W Lighting Kit

For those who have a bit of extra money to throw around, this collection is currently as good as you can get. You will get a Canon 5D Mark III which is one of Canons Prosumer models, a Tameron 24-70mm f2.8, and a 3-panel continuous lighting setup with a backdrop setup. This will give you the ability to take really high-quality portraits and the Tameron lens is great for both indoor studio and outdoor portraits.

Best Value

Camera: Canon EOS 80D Lens: Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Lighting: LimoStudio 700W Photography Softbox Light Lighting Kit Photo

The Best Budget option is kind of the best of both worlds when it comes to being less expensive and also high-quality. This option comes with the Canon 80D, a fantastic crop sensor DSLR, the Canon 85mm f1.8 lens for more bokeh backgrounds, and a simple two-piece continuous lighting kit.

Landscape Photographers

The Budget Pick

Camera: Nikon D5500 Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 Tripod: Dolica AX620B100 Tripod

When it comes to landscape photography, some really important things to consider are megapixels and a wide-angle view. In the Budget Pick kit, you get a Nikon D5500 which has 24-megapixel and also a Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle lens which will capture almost any view. You will also get a cheap but very steady tripod with a ball head. This kit will certainly get you up and off the couch and taking scenic landscape photos very quickly.

Top of the Line

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4L Tripod: Vanguard Alta Tripod

If you have the money to spend and want the best gear possible, the Canon 5D Mark III is a fantastic camera to use for any type of photography but especially for landscape photography. Also, combining that with the Canon 17-40mm lens will give you a wide-angle, sharp photo. The Vanguard tripod is also a high-quality built tripod that will surely handle even the toughest trips.

Best Value

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T6i Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 Tripod: Zomei Q555 Tripod

With the “Best Value” option you are getting a Canon T6i which has enough mega-pixels to get a super clear and high-quality image, a Sigma 10-20mm lens that will be able to capture any scene, and a sturdy, but light-weight, tripod for easy travel. This option is great for getting sharp images while still not breaking the bank.

Real Estate Photographers

The Budget Pick

Camera: Nikon D5500 Lens: Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 Tripod: Dolica AX620B100 Tripod

It is funny how landscape photographers and real estate photographers can use the same gear to get a killer shot. Both styles need a lot of megapixels for high detailed shots, both need wide-angle lenses to capture a whole scene and they both need tripods to possible capture high-dynamic-range images. This kit will give you everything you need to start getting your first real estate shots at a low-cost entry point.

Top of the Line

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Lens: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L Tripod: Vanguard AltaPro 263AB Tripod

If you have the money to spend and want the best gear possible, the Canon 5D Mark III is a fantastic camera to use for any type of photography but especially for real estate photography. Also, combining that with the Canon 17-40mm lens will give you a wide-angle, sharp photo. The Vanguard tripod is also a high-quality built tripod.

Best Value

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T6i Lens: Sigma 10-20mm Tripod: Zomei Q555 Tripod

With the “Best Value” option you are getting a Canon T6i which has enough megapixels to get a super clear and high-quality image, a Sigma 10-20mm lens that will be able to capture any scene, and a sturdy, but lightweight, tripod for easy travel. This option is great for getting sharp, detailed images while still not breaking the bank…I would know, this was my exact kit when I started!

Wedding Photographers

The Budget Pick

Camera: Canon EOS 80D Lens: Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Speedlite/Flash: Yongnuo YN 560 III

Being a wedding photographer, much like a portrait photograph is mainly about the lenses you use. Long, telephoto lenses or lenses with a wide aperture will really give your images that professional portrait look. With this kit, you will get a Canon 80D that comes with an 18-135mm kit lens, the 85mm 1.8 lens that gives you a wide-open aperture and also a Yongnuo YN-560 flash unit for mobile lighting.

Top of the Line

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8Ls Flash/Speedlight: Canon 600EX II-RT

For those who have a bit of extra money to throw around, this collection is currently as good as you can get. You will get a Canon 5D Mark III which is one of Canons Prosumer models, a Canon 24-70mm f2.8, and a Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT which has wireless flash shooting support built-in for those times you might need off-camera flash.

Best Value

Canon: Canon EOS Rebel T6 Lens: Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8 Speedlight/Flash: Yongnuo III

I know a ton of photographers who started out shooting weddings with this exact kit. Even though the Canon T6i is considered an entry-level camera, it still uses the same sensor as cameras like the Canon 60D and has very good quality images. The high ISO performance is not as good as other images but that is why you can use the Yongnuo flash to fill in some light. The Tameron 24-70 is almost like the Canon version but its build quality isn’t as good as the other high-end lenses. One thing to note when it comes to wedding photography is that a lot of these types of photographers will have multiple cameras with different lenses (one camera has a wide angle lens and the other has a telephoto lens) to capture different types of scenes. These kits only give one camera as a starting point but the more business you get, you should think about investing in multiple cameras.

Sports Photographers

The Budget Pick

Camera: Nikon-D5500 Lens: Nikon NIKKOR 70-300mm Monopod: Dolica WT-1003 Monopod

For sports photographers, the name of the game is getting as close as you can to the action. With this beginners sports gear, you will get a Nikon D5500 with 24 megapixels along with a Nikon 70-300mmm f4-5.6 zoom lens and a standard monopod. Even though the telephoto lens isn’t as fast as most of the sports lenses out there (fast meaning the aperture isn’t less than 4 or 5.6 when zoomed in), for a beginner and budget-minded photographer, this is a great starting point.

Top of the Line

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L Monopod: A-222 Tripod

The Canon 5D Mark IV is Canon’s pro-summer flagship camera right now and that is because it can basically handle any type of photography. The Canon 70-300mm will get you really close to the action but is still half the price of the f/2.8 option and the A-222 +M-1 Tripod is a simple monopod but includes feet at the bottle for a bit more stability.

Best Value

Camera: Canon EOS 80D Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm Monopod: Dolica WT-1003 Monopod

This is truly the best budget buy for the wannabe sports photographer. You will get a Canon 80D, a 70-300mm f/4-5.6, and a basic monopod to help hold the weight. The Canon 80D is a high megapixel, crop sensor camera which when combined with the 70-300mm, will get you really close to the action.

When thinking about gear, let’s not just concentrate on cameras and lenses. Other accessories like lights, props, stands, even clothing can really improve your photography. For example, if you want to take family portraits, you can start off by photographing couples in natural light. This means going to a park or field and just using the sun as your main light source. This is how most portrait photographers start out. If you want to start learning new techniques using external lighting, you can start incorporating flash units. These are fairly cheap and when done right, can really set your photography apart from other competitors in your area. Another example would be if you are a photography who wants to photograph newborns. Not only will you need to think about gear, but you will need to start looking at props to place in your photos. Blankets, small toys, wraps, and even a heater to keep the baby warm during the shoot is something to consider. As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to “gear” but that doesn’t mean you need to buy everything right away. One of the keys to a successful photography business is to keep it simple but consistent.

Something else that might help with knowing what you might need to get in regards to gear, marketing, website, and everything else is a Business Checklist. Click Here to download a FREE form to get you started.

Start Gathering Up Images for Your Portfolio

For some, finding images to put on your portfolio website is relatively easy, especially for those who have been shooting their style of photography for a while. If you want to be wildlife photography and you have spent the last few months going out of the weekends and photographing deer, birds, horses, etc., you should have plenty of images to have a good start. Some photographers, however, have a difficult time finding images to start there beginner online portfolio, but the good news is new images are always available, you just need to know where to look.

If you want to start out as a portrait photographer, gather up a group of your closest friends to pose for you. You can even get a few of them to act like they are couples or have a family photo shoot. If you want to photograph weddings or bridal portraits, you can find a married friend who still has her wedding dress and ask to take a few photos of her. Are you interested in being a sports photographer? Try to get access to a few high schools or college sporting events in your area. This is an easy way to add a few images for your portfolio.

The beauty about finding images for your portfolio is that the potential client will look at them and have no clue that they are just friends of yours or that you asked to take photos for the sporting event for free. Subconsciously, they see the images and assume that you were a paid photographer for all of the events. This makes it look like you are not a “newbie”, therefore, giving you credibility. 

Another option for getting images for your portfolio is to be an intern for another photographer. It might be tough finding a photographer to intern for depending on your location but this type of method is often used in wedding photography and that is because it works. Try to find a photographer that isn’t in your target area and see if you could intern for them. If they are a wedding photographer, ask to be a second shooter. If they are a commercial photographer, ask if you can help out around the studio. This might give you the opportunity to grab a few shots of your own while still learning a ton from practicing photographers. Sure you won’t get paid but the information and skills you receive are priceless!

One thing to think about when gathering up your images is to be critical. Don’t just find all of the images that pertain to your style of photography and think they are good enough for the website. Your first thought might be to add as many images as possible to make it look like you get tons of photography jobs but in reality, having a website with 10 really fantastic images is better than having 30 “okay” images. The images on your website are your online business card, your first impression. If you think the images you add to your portfolio are just ‘okay”, your client will too and move on to another photographer.

Posting to Social Media

Along with adding all of your best images to your website, you will also need to think about adding images to the most popular social media networks. Below is a list of the most popular social media networks for photographers.

 

Facebook

Obviously, Facebook is the king of social media right now. It is a great place for photographers to easily stay in touch with their clients and promote their business using promoted posts. Even though I wouldn’t recommend this, some photographers use Facebook as their online portfolio and have done very well. Click Here to see an example of how to set up your business Facebook page with fantastic work.

500px

One of the most popular social media sites used by photographers is 500px. Think of it as a network built by photographers, for photographers. It is not just a normal site where any novice is able to upload their blurry photos of cats. It is a place where the level of work is kept at a high standard. If you want a place to share your best work with other photographers and companies looking for great photos, 500px is the place. Click Here to check out the amazing 500px portfolio of Julia Krasovskaya.

Flikr

Flikr, much like 500px, is a place to keep an online portfolio of your best images separate from your website. The main difference is the quality of work that is added to Flikr. If you are just wanted to add your photos an album on Flikr, that will work out perfectly well, but if you are wanting to have a social media connection with other photographers, then Flikr might not be the best option. The upside to Flikr, however, is that you get unlimited storage for free! Click Here to see some impressive work from photographer Waldemar Weiss on Flikr

Instagram

Instagram is built only for photo sharing and that makes it great for photographers. When you add photos to Instagram you can place appropriate hashtags to the photos that will allow you to get a greater range of exposure. Instagram is one of my favorite social media networks for promoting photos to potential clients. For a few examples of some photographers on Instagram that are doing great, check out Dani Diamond, Mike Kelley, and Kristen Alana.

As you can see by Dani Diamonds Instagram account, he has a specific style with his images. Most, if not all, of his images, are edited and only showcase his work. One of the keys to getting a huge following on Instagram is to mainly showcase your work. A lot of photographers make the mistake of posting their professional images along with other personal images. If you really want an audience that loves your work, just posting your professional edited images only is a great step towards that goal. If you want to upload personal images to Instagram as well, you could always make a separate Instagram account.

Mike Kelley’s Instagram account is a great example of using Instagram’s hashtag searching to get more followers. If you look at a few of his images, you will see that he always adds hashtags that are really popular and relevant to his style of photography. Another thing that Mike posts to his account with his professionally edited images are behind the scenes photos and videos. This is a great way to gain more followers as a lot of photographers like to see exactly how he gets his images.

One of my favorite things about Kirsten Alana’s Instagram feed is that not only does she post amazing images but she includes herself in the images. Also, her general theme for her images is varied. This gives her the freedom to post almost anything and still have amazing work to showcase. Like Kirsten, I would recommend that Kirsten does is to comment on most of her images and respond to followers that comment and “heart” her images.

Is Social Media Important for a Photographer?

Well, the short answer to this question is simply, Yes! These days social media is one of the first places potential clients might find you. But which social media platforms are better than others for photographers? It would be a waste of time to keep up with all of the different social media platforms when only a few are actually worth using. In my experience, the 2 most important platforms are Facebook and Instagram.

Promoting on Facebook

Now one of the most popular social media networks, Facebook is almost required for any business but more importantly for photographers. Why? It is a way for your business to easily stay in contact with new or past customers. Let’s say you are a real estate photographer and you just finished editing the photos. Now it is time to share them on your Facebook account for customers to see. You don’t have to upload all of the photos but just a sample of about 5-8 photos. This one post will show up in your follower’s news feed and “remind” them that you are there to help. I say “remind” as it looks like you are just uploading photos to show off your work but it is an easy way to stay in front of them.

Now that you have that post live on your Facebook account, you can take it one step further and promote the post using a combination of location and interest-based targeting. Here is an example: let’s use the post we talked about earlier. You can click the “Boost Post” button on the bottom-right of the post. This will bring up a box that will allow you to advertise that post to almost anyone. Now you can promote this post to real estate agents in your surrounding cities. This means your post will show up in the news feed and it is your first real form of advertising. It does cost money, but you are able to select the amount of money you would like to spend along with the duration of the ad to customize to meet your needs. I have found that you should be able to get some really great results (people liking and commenting on your post) with spending around $15-$20 USD. Depending on your targeting, you should be able to advertise to 1,500 – 4,000 Facebook users.

Promoting Instagram

Instagram is one of my favorite platforms to promote photography. I mean, it is the platform that only uses photos so it is perfect for any photographer. Much like Facebook, you can constantly stay connected with your Followers and show your work on a regular basis. So you might be thinking, why not just use Facebook then if they are so similar? I have two great reasons; staying personable and hashtags.

I look at Instagram as a way to stay connected but also stay informal. One of the most popular reasons photographers use Instagram is for behind-the-scenes content. To use the real estate example from earlier, let’s say you were going to a house for the photo shoot. But if you were using Instagram, you could take photos of your camera or camera bag saying you’re are getting ready for a shoot. You could even take photos or video of you at the home which shooting the house. These few posts along with a few of the edited photos make for a great photo story to show your process as a photographer. Not only will potential clients see these posts but other photographers will as well giving you even more exposure.

Hashtags are one of the most important parts of Instagram. It is essentially one of the only ways to search for photos so if you want more exposure, you must use hashtags. Again, going with the real estate photography shoot from earlier; when you are posting the photos, it is important to include relevant hashtags to go along with your post. Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags along with your description which gives you plenty of opportunities to get exposure. If you are having trouble coming up with relevant hashtags, you can use a free, online hashtag generator. One of my favorites is called Display Purposes. Using that service, you can type in a hashtag (in this case #realestatephotography) and it will display as many of the most popular, relevant hashtags available for you to copy and paste into your Instagram post.

 

How to Promote Your Photos on Instagram Using Hashtags

Obviously, when it comes to social media, you have plenty of platforms to choose from (like Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, SnapChat, etc.) but it is important to concentrate on what can jumpstart your business in the short term in order to get jobs quickly. Later on, when your photography business starts to grow, you can afford to experiment with other social media platforms to try and grow your business even more.

 

Photo Editing and Workflows

When it comes to getting great images, it isn’t just a matter of buying a nice camera and clicking a button. Editing is also extremely important. Editing your photos is where you start to develop a style of how your images will look and your style is what potential clients fall in love with. When it comes to editing these days, two main software platforms really stand out from the rest and are used by the vast majority of photographers today; Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.

Lightroom vs Photoshop for Beginner Photographers

Lightroom vs. Photoshop

Adobe Lightroom is fantastic editing software. It was specifically built and designed to make the editing and organization process as easy and fast as possible. One of the main benefits of using Lightroom over Photoshop is that you are able to organize your photos within the program as well as rate them, put them in collections, and even send them to printers directly from the software. On the other hand, Photoshop is way more powerful than Lightroom. With Photoshop, you can perform advanced editing techniques such as background removal, swap features, combine two photos together, etc. Below are a few pros and cons for using either Photoshop or Lightroom:

Adobe Lightroom Pros

  • RAW Processing all in one program – Unlike Photoshop, you are able to edit your RAW files in Lightroom. In Photoshop, you have to edit your RAW files in Camera RAW then they will open in Photoshop.
  • Organization – Unlike Photoshop, you are able to import your photos into Lightroom and keep them organized.
  • Beginner Friendly – Editing in Lightroom is extremely easy and very user-friendly.

Adobe Lightroom Cons

  • Limited Retouching – Lightroom does allow you to do some very simple retouching but there may be times with you need to remove something from a photo that Lightroom can’t handle.
  • Importing – Importing your photos into Lightroom can be a bit slow and take a while depending on your RAW file size.
  • Slowness – Depending on the computer you are running Lightroom on, it could run a bit sluggish. This can be very frustrating when you are trying to edit multiple photos.

Adobe Photoshop Pros

  • Advanced Retouching – With Photoshop, you can do even the most advanced retouching from swapping faces to removing items from photos entirely.
  • Layers and Blending Modes – Being able to work with layers and blending modes can give you many different advanced editing techniques that you can’t get in Lightroom.
  • Clone Stamp and Healing Brush – Sure Lightroom has some cloning and healing features but you get way more control in Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop Cons

  • More Difficult to Learn – Understand the many different features and tools in Photoshop can certainly take some time and might require a bit more patience than using Lightroom.
  • No Organization – Unlike Lightroom, you can basically only edit one photo at a time, and once you are done, it is up to you to create a regular file structure to store your files.
  • Camera RAW then Photoshop – When editing RAW photos in Photoshop, you will have to not only learn Photoshop itself, but you will have to learn another program called Camera RAW.

When it comes to editing and running a photography business, one thing to keep in mind is the time it takes to edit your photos. You don’t want to spend tons of time editing your photos as this will mean you are working too hard for your money. One way to edit your photos faster is to use Lightroom Presets or Photoshop Actions. Lightroom presets and Photoshop Actions let you apply different effects to your photos with just one-click and once you find a style that you like, you can apply that same effect to all of your photos which will save you time. Using these editing methods are not mandatory but if you have a specific style you like to edit with and want to make sure you get the photos back to the client as quickly as possible, these are a really great addition to your workflow.

If you are new to Adobe Lightroom, one thing you might want to check out is our Beginners Guide to Lightroom eBook. This ebook goes over everything you need to know for starting out in Adobe Lightroom and even includes video tutorials and real-world editing examples to show you how powerful Lightroom can be.

Ways of Getting Clients as a New Photographer

Now that you have got all your “starter” images, let’s build your online presence. It used to be that all you needed was a website and you were ready to get jobs but now you need so much more. Potential clients want to be able to find you in as many places as possible. This gives them a sense of security as it implies you are a legitimate business.

Your first step is to start with your home base, a.k.a your website.

Websites: All You Need to Know About Them

There are many different website hosting services available to photographers. Some of the most popular are Smugmug, Squarespace, Zenfolio, WordPress, and Wix. All of these offer different features and some work better for different photographers. For example, if you want a service that will print photos for you once they are purchased from your website, SmugMug or Zenfolio is probably your best option. Let’s take a closer look at these photography website hosts and you will get a better idea of which one will work best for you.

Using WordPress to build your own Website

When it comes to building your website, there are a few steps you need to following order to get started.

  1. Buy a domain name – You first step is getting a domain name, or commonly referred to as a URL or web address. This will be the address clients and viewers of your website use to actually get to your website. To do this, you can visit a site like Bluehost and purchase your domain name that way.
  2. Setup your hosting – If you are using a website platform like WordPress, we recommend using Bluehost as a hosting service. (Siteground is also recommended as we tested them and it’s cheaper!). They have great pricing, very easy to use and have a 1-click WordPress install to get your website up and ready for you to design.
  3. Install WordPress – With Bluehost or Siteground, all you need to do is click one button and they will automatically install WordPress for you and walk you through setting up login credentials.
  4. Install a WordPress theme – A WordPress theme is basically the look of your website. There are thousands of themes to choose from so spend some time looking at all of the themes and choose the best one for your content.
  5. Add your pages – The typical pages you can add to your website are the photo gallery, about, contact and blog page. Once you have those pages set up, you can think about adding other pages that can target specific clients.

 

How to Buy A Domain, Setup Hosting, and Install WordPress

 

 

How to Build Your Own Photography Website in WordPress

 

Examples of Good and Bad Photography Portfolios

WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems on the internet. It is an open source platform used to create any type of website or blog. One of the best things about WordPress is that the software used to run the website is completely free. All you need is a URL and hosting service. There are many bad and good hosting companies out there. We have personally built over 50 sites with on Bluehost or Siteground. It has a one-click WordPress installs which they will install everything for you once you sign up. Obviously, if you are “website-savvy” and have your own hosting you can skip this step.

One of the major advantages of using WordPress is that you have the ability to install what are called “Plug-ins”. These Plug-ins allow you to completely customize your site. If you want a different style photo gallery to showcase your photos, all you have to do is search for the free plug-in you like, and install it. This also works for the look of your website. To change the look, you will need to change the “Theme” of your site. This can also be done free. Just search for the look you like, customize it and activate it to be live on your site. All of your content should transfer over. Some of the most popular themes for photographers are called “Oshine” and “Uncode”. These are paid versions but come with tons of bonus materials as well as support. If you want some free options, check out the “Aperture” or “Divinia” theme.

One disadvantage to using WordPress is that it does have a learning curve. It could be a bit overwhelming when trying to update it and make a few custom changes. If you are not as familiar with CMS (Content Management Systems) and web plug-ins, it is still possible you could play around with it and learn along the way but if you are looking for something very simple and easy, you would probably benefit from using one of the other services.

SmugMug

One of the most popular, and well-known photography portfolio host is SmugMug. It has many plans from just a simple place to put your photos, to really advanced plans that give you complete control over every inch of your website. The themes are gorgeous and plentiful and with the second tier plan, you can start customizing it to make it look exactly how you want to. Even though you can completely customize your website, the backend, the user interface isn’t as intuitive as its competitors.  

Smugmug also gives you the opportunity to set up a store with their built-in Shop feature. You are able to sell your prints as well as sell instant downloads if you like. Smugmug will take care of all the payment processing but they take a 15% cut per order.

The pricing is decent compared to other online hosts but it does lack a free account option. You can, however, try it free for 14 days without entering any credit card information.

Squarespace

If I had to rate all of these hosts, I would put SquareSpace towards the top of the list. This is the hosting service I personally use because it fits my needs perfectly. Much like other online website platforms, it offers themes that allow you to customize as much of the website as possible. One of the taglines they promote all of the time is that if you can move files around or send an email, you can use Squarespace and that is certainly true. It is easy to use and ability to quickly update your site with new images and text is fantastic.

When looking at the themes that Squarespace has to offer they are some of the most beautiful and functional of all of the website hosting services I have used or seen. When it comes to setting up your photography website, having a clean and minimalist design has always been key. You really want your images to stand out as much as possible and having a really cluttered or horribly designed website can really take away from letting your images shine. If you look at the themes under the “Photography” section that are great for getting started. They are clean, simple, and show off images beautifully. But, if you look at other categories, you will find that you can get a website look that can really make you stand out above the rest in your field.

One other aspect I really like about Squarespace is all of their themes are mobile-responsive. This means that all the changes you make on your website will instantly be reflected on any mobile device and they look great. No need to have to worry about how your new website or images will look on a mobile phone or tablet.

Currently, you are able to try Squarespace for 14 days Free with no credit card required. This should be plenty of time for you to upload all of your images, add your about page, and add custom fields for pricing and services. Once you get familiar with the service and you feel it is the right one for you, then you can sign up for a month-to-month plan or even sign up for an entire year and get a free domain. This will save you from having to go through a different company for your URL which can be a real hassle.

Zenfolio

When I first starting my photography business, Zenfolio was the first hosting service I used.  I was only interested in selling prints, landscapes, fine art prints, etc., and I liked it because it was fairly easy to use. There was a learning curve on the backend of the hosting site but it wasn’t too bad and the themes were decent. Since that time I have moved to Squarespace and am happy there but after testing Zenfolio again, I am very impressed with how they have changed. It seems to me that have really made it a priority to show that a Zenfolio website is for photographers and not just for everyone. Sure, you have the ability to customize it to fit any business need but it is really meant for photographers.

First, let’s start with the look and feel of the websites. They have really concentrated on the look of the websites and it really shows in the themes they offer. Much like Squarespace, they offer great looking, clean themes that really concentrate on how your photos are displayed. They offer a variety of themes that have huge photos that take up the entire screen or you can choose awesome thumbnail views that give the viewer a chance to see a lot of photos all at once.

One feature that I really like about Zenfolio is the ability to sell prints and accept payment directly from your site. This means no matter what type of photographer you are, if you want to sell your prints this is one of the best website hosting services to use. Let’s say you are a portrait photographer and you just got done photographing a couple and want them to have the ability to pick and choose which photos they would like to have. With Zenfolio, you have the ability to set up a custom site just for that couple (you can even password protect it) which can showcase only their images and they can choose which ones to download. Even if they would like a physical print, they are able to select the photos, choose the size and order directly from there without you having to lift a finger. Zenfolio has a larger list of photo printers incorporated into the site and will print the image and ship it for you. All have to do is sit back and let them do all the work.

Right now you can give Zenfolio a try to see if it is the right service for you without even entering a credit card. They have plans starting at 5$ USD a month and you can always upgrade your account to unlock new features.

Wix

Not many people have heard of Wix but it is a great service that allows you to build a website from scratch using a WYSIWYG interface (what you see is what you get). This means that you can just drag and drop different elements onto your website and it can go anywhere you place it. For example, let’s say you want to put a small gallery of your photos in the top-right corner of one web page. You can easily do that by dragging the Gallery widget there and then put in your photos. It is that simple!

Wix is template based just like most online website builders but you are also able to freely move the elements around. For Wix, it seems like the templates are only a starting point. It gives you an idea of how a website will look but you will still need to remove all of the default content and start adding your own.

One of the most popular reasons to choose Wix is that you are able to build your entire website for free without any time restraints. You can take your time building your website without spending a dime to make sure it looks perfect and ready to attract customers. The only drawback is you will have a small banner at the top and bottom of your page that advertises the website was built using Wix. Obviously, if you pay for the service (which is fairly inexpensive) the Wix branding will be removed.

Website Design

The look of your website is very important and can really show clients the type of photographer you are without them even looking at a photo. What do I mean by this? Well, if you want to come off as a photographer who gets paid “big bucks” for the type of work you produce, then having a website with a purple background, red frames around your images, and piano music that plays in the background won’t have the best first impression.

There are tons of different photography websites out there and they all look very different. Even if you use one of the hosting services listed above and select one of the most popular templates available, your site will look different because of the types of images you select. One of the things I have found to help when designing your website is to just keep it simple. This means choosing colors that are neutral and less saturated. One way to achieve this simplified look is to simply make your background white. Even if you want a small textured background, make sure the background is a light, white tone. This serves two purposes; first, it helps to automatically declutter your website while keeping it clean and secondly it helps your photos pop off on the site more than a colored background.

Another aspect of having a successful website design is to select your best photos and display them in the right way. Let’s say you want to sell you’re fine art landscapes on your site but you currently have all of your photos in one huge gallery. You have waterfall images mixed in with beach photos along with cityscapes. If a buyer was scrolling through your website and was looking for a particular image, they might be frustrated because they are looking through a ton of other images that don’t interest them. In this scenario, it would probably be best if you separate your images into different galleries. This means separating your images by subject matter so your clients can easily find what they might be looking for. This can also be applied to other types of photographers. If you are a portrait photographer who shoots all different types of family and people portraits then separating your images into groups such as families, high school seniors, weddings, babies, and headshots will be best.

This is great once you have tons of images but when you are starting out, you might not have enough images to fill a gallery. That is perfectly fine. Just try to have about 10-15 really solid images to include into one gallery. Once your business starts to grow and you start getting more and more clients, you can then separate your images into the different subject matter.

One of the last elements on your website to concentrate on, and something that is normally overlooked by a lot of photographers, is their About page. Your About page is a page that 80% – 90% of potential clients look at before considering your for a job. This is the page where you sell who you are, what you can do for the potential client, and separate you from the other photographers in your area. When writing your about page, there are some key items that are imperative to include:

  • “Who are you” – This is something that a lot of photographers like to include near the top of the page. This section doesn’t have to be long, it is just a small introduction of who you are.
  • “How are you unique?” – In this section, it is important to tell your clients how you are different from all of the other photographers in your city. Tell them why you do what you do and the type of passion you have for your photography.
  • “Gear and Skill” –  A lot of photographers don’t like to talk about what type of gear they shoot with on their websites. It is almost like a secret they don’t want to reveal but the truth is this type of information only lets clients know you have all of the necessary gear to get the job done. Believe it or not, this is a popular question a lot of photographers get and it is great to have a small section of your website devoted to your gear.

Optimizing Your Website

optimize-website

If you are new to building your photography website even if you already have one that is up and running, it won’t do you any good if the search engines don’t know you exist! This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in. Search Engine Optimization is extremely important when getting the most visitors to your website as possible. There are tons of search engines out there but for the sake of this article, we are going to talk about the most important and the most widely used, Google.

Domain Name/URL

So one of the easiest ways to start optimizing your website is with your domain name. Your domain name is the address you type into an internet browser (i.e. www.photographynorthcarolina.com). It is important to pick a domain name this speaks to the type of photography that you want to take. A lot of photographers choose to use their name plus “photography” as their domain name (www.johnsmithphotography.com) which is okay but it could be better when it comes to the search engines. In the first example shown I selected my photography business URL name to be www.photographynorthcarolina.com. This is because I want to show up close to the top of the search results if someone were to type in North Carolina Photography. This method won’t work all the time but with all of the other techniques we will discuss, this will certainly help.

Add Keywords to Your Images

After editing your photos and exporting them, do you even go back and change the filename to something other than the default name? You might be wondering why that even matters. One main reason why this matters is that when you upload the photo to your website (or any other public site) the search engines can see the filename of your image. This is where keywords come in. Instead of naming your image MountainPhoto1.jpeg, try stringing in a bunch of keywords relevant to your photo. For example, if you took this mountain photo at a specific location, you can name it rocky – mountain -landscape – photography.jpg. So now, when someone does a Google Image search for rocky mountain photography, your image will have a better chance of showing up under the results. If you were to name the photo by the original name, it wouldn’t have shown up and you could have missed an opportunity to get your image seen. If you are struggling with the types of keywords to use, below are a few examples to get you started.

Wedding Photographers – bride, groom, wedding, husband, wife, ring, photographer, love, marriage, [name of the city and surrounding cities]

Real Estate Photographers – real, estate, architecture, photographer, photography, homes, luxury, interiors, [name of the city and surrounding cities]

Pet Photographers – dog, cat, portrait, puppy, kitten, cute, animal, photographer, [name of the city and surrounding cities]

As you can see this is only a starting point but one thing to note is I would always include the city you want to advertise to in the keyword string. This helps with locational searches and will give you better search results for your area.

Google Webmaster / Submitting your URL to Google

For some, this might be a little bit over there head but it is really not too difficult. I will do my best to try to simplify this process for you. Once you have created your site it is best to let popular search engines like Google know what your site is there so it can “crawl” your site. What does “crawl” mean? Crawling a website is something that search engines do to help index all of the information on the internet. They will send out internet bots, known as crawlers or spiders, to browse through your site and index all of the content, including photos and keywords, and make them easier to search by the end user. By letting Google or any of the other search engines know you are there, you are telling them your site is up and running rather than waiting for the bots to get to your site.

There are a couple of ways to do this so we will start off with the easiest one first. To simply tell Google your URL is there, go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url. From there you will see a brief description of what will happen when you type in your URL:

“Google adds new sites to our index, and updates existing ones, every time we crawl the web. If you have a new URL, tell us about it here. We don’t add all submitted URLs to our index, and we can’t make predictions or guarantees about when or if submitted URLs will appear in our index.”

Basically, this means when you type in your URL, you are asking Google to index your site but they can’t guarantee when or if this will happen. Another method to help Google know your site is up and ready to be indexed is to sign up for Google Webmaster (Gmail account required). Setting up a Google Webmaster account is really simple and it gives you tons of different options for maximizing your website’s search capability. A lot of these features are intended for more advanced users but the “crawl” feature is the one that I use most of the time. Once you add your property (your website) and go through the verification process, you can click on the property URL and have tons of options to choose from. To force Google to crawl your website, click on Crawl and select the option to Fetch as Google. From there, you will see an option to Fetch and Render, select that option and this will force Google to crawl your site and render web page images. You don’t have to do this often but I would recommend asking Google to fetch your website again if you happen to make any major structural changes to your website; renaming pages, adding a new gallery of images, adding hyperlinks, etc.

Documents, Contracts, and Payments

documents-contracts

One very important aspect of starting a photography business that a lot of photographers overlook is documentation and payments. It is best to have these items ready to go before you start getting tons of jobs and had to scramble to find a form that will work for your shoot.

The type of form you will need all depends on the type of photography you are taking. Below are a few generic forms/contracts that you are free to download and use for your new business.

Note: Sleeklens is not responsible for any damages, lawsuits, or disputes that may arise from the use of the downloadable forms. Please consult a lawyer or legal professional for more information about the legality of this form

Model Release Form

A model release form is usually needed when you are photography a person that is recognizable (silhouette photos or detail photos usually do not qualify for these forms unless your subject is identifiable). Having a model release form is used to protect against liability lawsuits and does not only protect you, the photographer but also your model.

[sociallocker id=”722112″] Click Here to Download the Model Release Form [/sociallocker]

Copyright Release Form

Another popular form that is used is a Copyright Release Form. The main purpose of this form is to allow your clients to use these photos to print or put on social media. Technically signing this form doesn’t mean you do not own your photos anymore, but allows your clients to use them without recourse.

[sociallocker id=”722129″] Click Here to Download the Copyright Release Form [/sociallocker]

Photography Session Form

This form is a general agreement between you, the photographer, and your clients. This form is fairly simple and is a small contract stating you have been hired for a job and have been requested to photography at a certain date and time.

[sociallocker id=”722136″] Click Here to Download the Photography Session Form [/sociallocker]

Contract for Sale Agreement

If you are a landscape or fine art photography who wants to sell your prints in a gallery setting, this form is important to use as it is a simple contract between you, the photographer, and the gallery or shop in question.

[sociallocker id=”722151″] Click Here to Download the Contract for Sale Agreement [/sociallocker]

Copyright

What is Copyright? Copyright is actually very simple. It basically means the photographer who took the image, owns the copyright to the photo. This means that once you press the shutter button, the photographer who took the image will own the copyright for those particular images for a period of that photographers lifetime plus an additional 25 years automatically without having to file anything with your local government or copyright office. The copyright for your work is automatically applied to your images once you post them to the internet or have them printed. This is due to your photos then living on a “tangible medium” meaning “when its embodiment in a copy or phonorecord, by or under the authority of the author, is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration.” This is just a fancy way of saying it is out in the open and you own it. Do I have to register my photos? Copyright registration is totally voluntary and is completely up to the photographer on whether they ever want to register their photos. Many photographers these days don’t worry about the hassle and cost of legally registering their photos. So then why do it? Well, the main difference is if someone happens to steal or uses your work without your permission and they refuse to stop or remove a photo from a website, as an example, if you have your photos registered legally, you will be entitled to “statutory damages”. This means you would be able to sue for a higher value of damages that are at your discretion.  If you haven’t filed your images with your local government’s copyright office, you could only ask for “fair market value’ for your work which would be significantly less. What to do if someone uses your photo?

So, let’s say someone uses your photo without your permission. What can you do? What are the steps you need to take? Below are some things you can do to try to correct the situation:

  • Photo Credit – If you see someone using one of your photos and you are Ok with it, you can simply request that the credit you for the photo. Most of the time, sites are more than willing to give you credit for a photo if you contact them directly.
  • Send a Cease and Desist Letter/Email – If you want your photo removed and you have contacted the party that is using your photo without your permission without hearing back, you will need to send a formal Cease and Desist letter. This basically states that you want them to remove the photo immediately or you will be forced to take legal action.
  • File an Infringement Lawsuit – This step is the most forceful of all the steps as this means you are actively wanting to sue the party that is using your photo and request damages. As discussed above, depending on if your photo has been filed with the copyright office, you will only be able to request a certain amount of compensation.

For U.S. readers, you can register a copyright for your images be visiting the U.S. Copyright Office website. If you are outside of the U.S. make sure you check with your local government on their copyright laws.

How To Accept Payment For Your photography Work

Having all of your images on your new website, your social media accounts setup up, and your advertisements on Facebook going are great but now that you got your first couple jobs, it is time to actually collect your money. Collecting payment these days is extremely easy for small businesses and, in this section, we are going to talk about all the different types of ways to accept payment online.

Paypal

Paypal has been a trusted source for accepting payment online for over a decade. It is extremely easy to use and for small businesses, you can use the free invoicing service they provide. This allows you to send a simple, but professional looking invoice directly to your clients via email (or you can print it off and mail it to them if you wish) and they will be able to pay you directly from the invoice. Your money will be deposited directly into your Paypal account where you can keep it there and let it grow, or you can withdraw it to bring the money home.

One drawback of using a service like this, most other online payment services operate this way as well, is that for every transaction Paypal will take a small percentage of the money for a processing fee. Currently, Paypal will subtract 2.9% + $0.30 USD from your transaction. So this means that for every $100, they will be taking out roughly $3 plus $0.30. This might not sound like much but the more money you invoice, the more money will be taken out. There is good and bad to this for photographers who are starting out. The good is that you do not have to pay a monthly fee to use the service. If you happen to not have any clients for a month, you are not charged anything. You will only be charged when your client pays you. The bad is that over time, as your photography business gets bigger and bigger, you will start seeing these fees grow and you could be losing out on some major profits.

Square

Square (not to be confused with SquareSpace) is another great company for accepting payments either in person or online. Much like Paypal, it offers free invoicing services plus the cost of processing online payments is exactly the same (2.9% + $0.30). The main difference between these two popular methods for accepting payments is that Square is known for its smartphone apps and accepting payments on the go. As a photographer, you might have rare occasions that you would accept payment in person, usually, if this is the case you will be written a check, but it is always good to be prepared. Square also offers a free Magstripe card reader that they will send to you to help start accepting mobile payments. Did I mention it is free?

When it comes to accepting payments whether online or in person, you have tons of options. Even if you don’t choose Paypal or Square as one of your methods, just make sure you try to find one with zero monthly fees and a low-cost processing fee when starting out. Once your business grows and your clients become more regular, you can afford to get a more comprehensive invoice and payment service.

Spread the Word

Probably one of the most important aspects of starting a photography business, or any business for that matter, is advertising! I mean, what is the point of having this awesome business where you can provide an amazing service to so many people if those people don’t even know you exist! The great thing about advertising is that it is extremely easy but you have to make sure you stick with it. Just because you printed a flyer and hung it up on a bulletin board in a coffee shop doesn’t mean you will have tons and tons of customers coming to you for photography jobs. Below are a few new and old ways of advertising that can help jumpstart the growth of your business.

We have made it easy for you to start out with your marketing items. Even if you don’t have any design experience, you will be about to download these FREE Photoshop Templates that will allow you to replace all of the information to suit your business. With this starter pack, you will receive a free Facebook cover photo design, postcard design, business card design, and pricing guide. Also, if you want to try a starter pack of Lightroom presets, you can click here to download those as well. With all of these free giveaways, you will be ahead of all the other photographers who are starting at the bottom.

 

Customizing Your FREE Photography Business Starter Pack

Photography Business Cards (included in the pack above)

Business cards are one of the oldest forms of advertising there is. Handing out business cards is something that almost every business does and it is mainly to have a physical reminder of the meeting you. Think about it, if you are needing tax help and you find a business card laying around of the time you met a guy you knew that does taxes, you are more likely to call him. The same is true for a photographer. If a family finds your business cards laying around, they are more likely to call you because the search for finding a photographer is half over. Also, the good news about business cards is they are cheap. I personally get 500 printed and keep a handful in my wallet so I always have some to hand out to anyone I meet. Even if you give your card to someone who isn’t looking for photography services, they might know someone who is.

Postcards/Leave Behinds (included in the pack above)

One of the other methods of advertising a business is to have a postcard design for your business. It doesn’t have to be anything super creative, although that does help, it just needs to be something simple that shows the type of work you do, your contact information and maybe a special that you are running. I have found that it is good to always have a small special that you are advertising and then during certain events like holidays, you can offer different specials. The reason I call these leave-behinds is, much like business cards, they are cheap and something you can leave places that allow certain businesses to advertise. Depending on the type of photography business you want to start, you have tons of places you can leave these leave-behinds. If you a portrait photographer you can leave these types of cards in subdivisions that have tons of family housing, apartment complexes, salons, etc. If you are a real estate photographer, you can leave these at open houses, realtor offices, and drop them off to For-Sale-By-Owner homes. If you are a wedding photographer, you can leave these wedding shows, bridal shops and beauty schools. Of course, no matter what type of photographer you are, you can always drop these off at coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, and any business bulletin board. As you can see you have plenty of opportunities to advertise your business and even if you don’t hear back from potential clients the first time you leave them behind, keep trying!

Word of Mouth / Referrals

Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising and certainly the most effective. It may sound simple but having others be your advertisers is one of the best ways to spread the word about your new business. But before you can have all of the folks running around telling others about your business, you need to tell them first. Tell everyone you know about your new venture and how you would really like their help finding clients. Tell your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, friends, coworkers; tell anyone and everyone you know. Don’t be shy about starting your business and asking for help looking for clients. You can even say “I know of anyone who wants photos taken, send them my way and let them know I will give them a discount”. You do not have to tell them what the discount is but you can give them a small price reduction if they choose you as their photographer.

Google Business Listing

When you are starting a photography business, Google is your friend. Even if you are more of a Yahoo or Bing kind of person, Google is extremely important to getting clients. Normally when potential clients are searching for photographers in their area, they are using Google and having a Google Business listing is how they can find you. When you set up a business listing you are letting Google know that you are a real business and you service a certain area. You can add in all of your normal business information, as well as set up a Google Business page. On this page you can have your contact information, website, hours, and photos showcasing your work. Since setting up a business page, I have seen an amazing increase in traffic to my website.

Facebook and Instagram Promotions

As I mentioned before in this article, promoting your business on Facebook and Instagram is both easy and cost-effective. When setting up a promoted post, you are able to select a specific area to promote add interest categories and even gender. Let’s say you are a wedding photographer and you want to promote to newly engaged brides in your surrounding cities. From either Facebook or Instagram, you are able to create a post with one of your best wedding photos advertising your services. From there you can select engaged women and the closest cities around you. Next, just specify your budget for the post and how long you would like it to run then you are set! Doing this won’t guarantee clients, no form of advertising can do that, but it will get your name out there. It is also possible you might have to run a couple of ads back to back with different photos and announcements to test the market but this is all normal when trying to advertise a business.

Mailing List

Another tried and true way to keep your advertising effects going with minimal cost is to create a mailing list. We all joined mailing lists before and why? Because they are the perfect way to stay in touch with the businesses we care about. You don’t need anything fancy, just a simple name and email capture form and you know have valuable customer information. One simple way to entice clients to sign up for your mailing list is to offer a special just for those clients. For example, if you what to encourage people to sign up for your mailing list, maybe offer them a 20% off discount on their next photo shoot. If you are not sure how to set up a mailing list, make sure you check your website building. Most online website platforms have a built-in mailings list feature that will handle the capturing of names and emails for you. All you need to do is add it to your site. If you want a different way of doing this outside of your website, check out the service MailChimp. MailChimp is a great tool for capturing and sending free newsletters, up to a certain amount of subscribers.

YouTube

Now I know the thought of being in front of the camera when you are usually the one who is behind it can be a little scary but producing video content about your photography can be an extremely powerful method of advertising. These days, more and more photographers are producing videos to advertise their services and the reason I would put those videos on YouTube is that Google owns YouTube; that’s right, it all goes back to Google.  The videos you make don’t have to be super long or some high-quality Hollywood production, it could just be a short video of you telling your story about a recent photo shoot. However, if the thought of being in front of the camera really scares you then even creating a nice collage of photos, a slideshow, can work. Just having another piece of content can really help drive traffic to your website and hopefully give you more clients.

The Right Pricing Is Important

One of the main things to consider when starting a photography business is pricing. Pricing is important as that is the way you keep your business alive. If you price under your target market, you will probably get a ton of jobs but you are going to be working way too hard for that money. If you price slightly over your target market, you will get fewer jobs but make more money for each. It is best to find a happy medium and to do this, here are some things to consider. What Exactly Is Your Target Market? In a nutshell, your target market is the collective group you wish to generate business from. For example, if you are wanting to sell you fine art photography prints, you are not going to go looking for newly engaged couples to buy your prints; you are going to look at local art galleries in your area instead. This is true will almost every type of photography. When it comes to pricing your target market you need to consider the type of business you want to offer. If you are a wedding photographer and only want to shoot the really high-end weddings, your cost will probably reflect that, may being around the $3,000 – $5,000 range. This means that you are not going to market to every newly engaged couple you meet. You are going to advertise towards the very high-end clients who want services that the vast majority of wedding photographers won’t provide.To help figure out your target market, just look at your location. If you are in a larger city, like Los Angeles, California, USA then you will probably charge more than someone who is in a small town like Cabot, Arkansas. This isn’t the only thing that can dictate your pricing but it does play a huge role. Calculate Your Time On An Average ShootOne easy way to figure out a base of what you should charge is to take an average photo shoot scenario and calculate the hours it takes to finish this job. Below is an example of how to do this for a real estate photographer but it can be tailored to all types of photography.

  • The time it Takes to Photograph an Average Home: 1 Hour Maximum
  • Average Travel Time: Between 25-30 minutes
  • Average Time of Editing: 1 Hour
  • Average Time for Misc Task (Invoicing, Sending the Photos, etc.) – 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 3 Hours

So now that we know it takes an average of 3 hours to complete this type of photo shoot, we now need to test a couple of pricing options. If we are thinking of charging $50 for this type of shoot, we can use this to see what our hourly rate would be. To do this, you basically divide your possible charge amount ($50) by the number of hours to complete the job. $50 / 3 Hours is $16.67 per hour…this is way too low. If you want to charge this amount, you will be working way too hard for very little pay. Now, if you want to charge $100, we can do the same equation; $100 / 3 Hours is $33.33 per hour. This hourly rate is much more doable. Usually in most marketings, if you can keep your potential hourly rate between $25 – $35 per hour, you have a solid base cost for your market.CompetitionAnother way to figure out what you might want to charge is to simply look at your competition. Spend a few hours doing a few Google searches for your type of photographer in your area and see what they charge for your quality of work. If for some reason they don’t have their pricing listed, you can email them and ask to know what a typical shoot would cost. It might also help to look on social media accounts and see the type of following they have. This won’t give you a number to go by but it will show you the photographer in your area with the most followers and then you can see your top competitors and ask them what that might charge.

If you happen to have a number in mind of what you would like to charge, say $200 per shoot and, based on your competition, you see other photographers charging $100 then you need to figure out if you can justify you double cost or lower your price and still keep the same quality of work. There’s really no easy, sure-fire way of figuring out the amount you should charge but these steps should certainly get yours in the ballpark.

Referrals: Creative Ways to Market

These days, photography is mainly a word-of-mouth business. Sure, you can get jobs from people visiting your site, looking at your portfolio and contacting you for a job but most of the time your past clients are doing the marketing for you. If you did a great job for them, they are more likely to throw your name out in any conversation that involves photography but if they had a poor experience, they are also going to give you negative word-of-mouth advertising and it is up to you to minimize that. When it comes to word-of-mouth to more past customers you have spreading their happiness with you the more jobs you are likely to get; it is a simple as that. So how do we get our past customers to talk about us to their friends? One of the best ways is to start a referral program. A referral program is a fantastic way to thank your clients for helping you spread the word about your business but it also gives you a huge amount of potential business and the beauty of starting a referral program is it is as easy as sending an email. First, you need to figure out the type of referral reward you would like to offer. Depending on your type of photography, this could be in many different forms. If you are a portrait photographer, you could ask your past clients to tell their friends and family about you and in return, they will get half off their next photo shoot with you. If you are a real estate photographer, you can tell your clients that if they refer someone to you and you get the job, they will get their next shoot for free. If you are a wedding photographer, you could offer a free photo book of their recent images. The level of customization is completely up to yo u.There are many types of referrals out there that do not involve you starting your own program. Other types of offers are sometimes called “Something for Something” programs. These types of programs usually consist of you providing your photography services in exchange for being able to advertise. Let’s look at the many different ways you can use the “Something for Something” method.

Restaurants

If you have ever been in a small, local restaurant or cafe you have most likely seen artwork that is done by artists in the area. Typically they are also for sale. Why would the restaurant own what to hang this type of artwork up? Well, it achieves two different goals: passive income for the owner and nicely decorated walls.  You see, having our artwork hung in this type of setting gives the restaurant or cafe owner a way of decorating their shop for free but it also gives them income if the print happens to sell. This mains good things for you, the photographer as well. You are able to get exposure to hundreds of people every day and if print sales, you get some money! Typically in these cases, the owner will take 20%-30% of the sale and you keep the rest. All you need to do is provide the print!

Corporate Offices / Hotels

Believe it or not, a lot of corporate offices struggle with finding quality artwork for their business. When furnishing their new company, they usually will have some cheap artwork installed it is both generic and ugly. We as photographers want to help them with this. Much like the advertising the restaurants and cafes, you could approach the new business owner and ask them if they would like photos of the area to display in their office. You wouldn’t be offering these photos for free, you would just give them a discount as they would hopefully be ordering your prints in bulk. If they happen to say no, that is when you would still thank them for their time and leave a few business cards so if they change their mind, they will know how to reach you!

Boutiques and Bridal Shops

Wedding/portrait photographers make up a HUGE amount of the overall photography industry. Almost all of the new brides have “find a wedding photographer” on their pre-wedding checklist. A lot of business comes from word-of-mouth but a lot of business comes from the brides visited local boutiques and bridal shops. These days, when you walk into a bridal shop you will see tons of framed photos of beautiful brides on their wedding day and these are basically advertisements for wedding photographers in your area. Why are they having up in the shop? This is because the owner of the shop and the photographer have made a deal that if they are allowed to hang up their photos, the shop will get a small fee when the bride selects them as their photographer.You will also see tons of business cards and postcard sized advertisements that will be laying around for local photographers in your area. These can typically be left at the shop for free but if you plan to go that route, you just need to make sure your marketing materials are very well designed and stand out.

Free

Free…the word that every photographer doesn’t want to hear. If you are new to getting clients and want to start out slow to make sure you have everything setup, you could go to businesses in your area and ask them if they have a need for a photographer. This could be anything from asking a restaurant if they need professional photos of their food, asking a real estate agent at an open house if they need shots of the home while you are there, and even asking random couples at the park if you could take their photos for free and email them a professionally editing portrait. Now, why would you want to do this? Simple, you offer a service for free now so they will remember you in the future. Maybe that real estate agent is in a pinch and they need photos quick. They could contact you to see if you are available to shoot a home for them. Even if you never hear from them again it is always possible that they could pass your information off to a coworker or friend and then go right back to being a positive word-of-mouth communication. Now you can see how word-of-mouth advertising is so important!

Shooting to Charity and Non-Profits

One really great way to get exposure and help out those less fortunate or shoot for a good cause is to photography for charities. Obviously, you will not get paid for the shoot but in most cases, you are providing a service to your community or an organization for free in return for being able to advertise your business. If you do happen to photograph for a charity, make sure you have cards made promoting yourself and ready to hand out at any moment. Not only are you doing a good thing by helping out local charities, but you are getting really good exposure.

 

Maintaining a Job While Starting Another

full time photographer

 

Most photographers who have started a successful photography business started out really small. With that being said, a lot have also started their photography business while still having a full-time job. Some even still have a full-time job when they run their current photography business. That is the beauty about this type of work; you have the flexibility of doing it part-time or full-time. With all of that being said, there are still some things to consider when you have a full-time job and a part-time photography business and that is time and money.

Time

You will quickly find that time is going to be a huge factor. Your days of coming home from work and relaxing the rest of the night will be few and far between. Once you get home that is your time to start your second job. This is when you can answer customer emails, update your website, work on getting new marketing materials, looking on social media trying to get new leads and promote your business, and tracking expenses. One of the best ways to get a good grasp on the amount of time you have to dedicate towards your business is to make a schedule. Let’s say you work a normal 8am – 5pm job with a one hour lunch. You could consider your lunch as your work hours, a working lunch. Find a quiet spot in the office you work at or even go to a local park and have a quiet lunch while you work on your part-time gig. Then, once you get home, you can spend some time with your family and after the kids go to bed and you have spent some time with you wife/husband, it is time to get back to work. In my personal experience, I usually start my part-time work around 9pm and go until midnight or 1 in the morning. It isn’t exactly easy to stay up that late and still get up at 6am but when you are trying to start a successful business and your goal is for it to become full-time, this is something that you might have to do. It really is all about putting in the work now, so, later on, you can slow down a bit once your business takes off.

Money

When it comes to business, money is king. Sure you need to make your clients happy and create a positive culture but without the money, your hobby turned business can quickly go back to being a hobby again. This is one of the benefits of having a full-time job while working on your part-time job at night is that you will always have the “cushion” knowing you don’t need to rush starting this part-time photography business. But, there will come a time when, hopefully, you put in all of the hard work and it is getting too difficult to keep up with your full-time job and still have a successful and thriving part-time job. This is the when you need to decide do I want to take the photography business full-time to devote more time to it and potentially make more money or stay at my full-time job for the security and steady income? If you stay at your full-time job, your part-time business can only grow so much. But if you quit your full-time job and concentrate only on your part-time work, you will have to work even harder to keep it going. It is really up to you and how passionate you feel about your photography business. One thing to consider is it isn’t really work if you enjoy doing it…just something to think about.

 

Keep It Legal

As with any business, you want to make sure you are doing everything you can by the letter of the law to make sure your business is totally legal. Depending on your location and government, you will have to do certain things to run your business right. As I am currently in the United States, I will discuss the things to do here but remember to check your local guidelines for running a business.

Register your Type of Business

If you are running any kind of business you need to make sure you structure your business appropriately. This means classifying your business as a sole proprietorship or LLC. Let’s look at a few of these a bit more.

Sole Proprietor

A sole proprietorship is one of the easiest types of business classifications and most widely used for young businesses. The reason for this is you don’t have any forms to file with the state or government and any taxes you need to pay back are just files on your yearly tax return. Sounds like the perfect way to run a business right? Well, one of the main dangers of this is you are completely liable for anything that happens regarding the business. This means if you are on a photography job and someone trips on your camera bag and breaks their arm, they can sue you and even take your personal belongings in the process.

LLC (Limited Liability Company)

Running your business as an LLC is commonly considered as the first legal step a business might take. If you run your business as an LLC, you are given legal separation between your personal assets and your business. Much like the above example, if the person that broke their arm wanted to sue you and your business is an LLC, they could only sue the business and all of your personal assets are safe. You will have to file LLC forms with the IRS (internal revenue service) and it might help to get a lawyer to help with the paperwork to make sure it is filled out and filed correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to track business expenses?

One of the best ways I have found is the u ofse a simple Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheets doc. I know it might seem easy but when you are starting out you don’t want to spend tons of money on accounting software. You also have the option of using smartphone apps to track expenses. One of my favorites is called Expensify. It allows you are tracking both mileage and regular business expenses and, when you need to, you can get a PDF of the report.

How do I know what to charge?

Unfortunately, there is noa t real solid answer for this as it depends on a lot of factors. One way to get an idea of what you should charge is to look up as many photographers in your area as possible and see what they charge. This should give you a good range to base your costs off of. Then from there, you can decide if you want to be on the upper end of the range or the low or in the middle. Typically if you are charging towards the higher end, you will probably get fewer clients but you will make more per shoot. If you charge towards the lower end, you will get more clients but make less per shoot. This is all based on whether the quality of your work can support the price you choose.

Is it possible to work from home or do I have to rent a space?

Most photographers work from there home. Even if you shoot studio work, as long as you have a spare bedroom, you can have a good photography studio. One major benefit of working from your home is obviously low overhead, meaning no additional cost. If you happen to have the start up capital to afford a studio space then you will just need to figure out if your monthly income can support the space as well has your monthly expenses.

Is buying used gear a good option when starting a business?

Buying used gear can be either really great or really bad. You can find tons of good deals on sites like eBay and even used gear on Amazon. A coup ofle things that might give red flags are little to no description about the product or the listing having very few photos. For example, if you are wanting to buy a used lens and the listing shows only a couple photos but a picture of the front element (the glass) is missing, they might be trying to hide that it is possible cracked or scratched. You would need to either contact the seller and request a photo or move on and find another listing.

What is the best way to deliver the final files to the client?

One of the best and cheapest ways to deliver the final files is either flash drive or using an online source like Dropbox or Google Drive. Many portrait photographers and wedding photographers will give out flash drives with the photos on them but the flash drives will be branded with the photographer’s logo. This just adds a personal touch to the whole experience. On the other hand, if you are a real estate photographer, for example, using a service like Dropbox or Google Drive works perfectly. You can send a link to the client and they can download all the files within minutes.

Do I need to purchase insurance for my business?

In most cases, insurance is recommended for any photographer. This includes liability, errors and omissions, and certainly equipment insurance. So why is insurance so important? Let’s say you are photographing a wedding and you leave your camera bag sitting in a corner away from everyone. While the reception is going on, you go to change lenses or the batteries in your flash and you find that your bag is gone. If you didn’t have insurance, you would be without a bag full of gear but with insurance, theft is covered in most cases. Another example is maybe you are flying a drone over some houses to photograph some real estate photography. Something goes wrong, and your drone just falls out of the sky and lands on a car causing a huge dent. Not only is your drone probably damaged but you also have to pay for the damage to the vehicle. In most cases, insurance will cover this as well. Like most insurance, it can be a pain to pay for because you don’t feel like you are using it all of the time but you will be glad you have it when accidents happen.

This also includes buying other types of insurance such as medical, dental, or vision insurance. If your full-time job offers medical insurance and you end up quitting your full-time job to become a photographer, you will need to make sure you are making enough to cover this cost as well.

How do I come up with a name for my business and where can I get a logo?

Most photography businesses are named after the photographer, i.e. John Turner Photography, but some photographers like to get a bit creative. If you are a regular portrait photographer, I would recommend just using your name. Not only does this help with making everything easy but when you are buying your domain, your URL, you will probably have more success getting a domain name that isn’t already taken. As far as the logo, if you are not too graphic savvy, you can come up with a simple logo in Microsoft Word. However, if you want to get a more professional or creative logo, you can go through a service like Fiverr, 99 Designs or Free Logo Maker. Fiverr allows you to hire a designer $5 USD and they will send you are logo after your feedback. 99 Designs are more expensive but the quality of your designs you will find are a bit more professional. Free Logo Maker is a service that allows you to make your own logo free through an online design program. SquareSpace also has a free logo maker that is included in your membership if you decide to go that route when building your website. You can still use this service even if you are not a SquareSpace user but you will have to pay for it separately.

Is it a good career move to sell stock photography?

Stock photography can be tough but if you put in a lot of work and you are patient, you can certainly make a good income. One of the most popular genres of stock photography is the people and lifestyle sections. If you have access to models and have to time to work out the different posing scenarios, you can continually upload new photos and start developing a large catalog of stock photos. One thing to note about this type of stock photography is that if you are photographing people, you will need a model release for everyone in the photo. You will have to upload this signed model release to the stock photography site as you are uploading the photos. Sites like iStock Photo will not accept your people or lifestyle photos unless you include the model release. The key to having success in stock photography is to have as many photos as possible while still having the best quality possible.

If I am going to start accepting business phone calls, do I need to buy a business telephone?

Accepting business phone calls on your personal phone can save you money but most business owners don’t want to have their personal phone number out for the public to find. Thankfully Google has a service that is FREE called Google Voice. If you haven’t already heard of it, Google Voice allows you to set up an account with an entirely different phone number to use for your business. It even offers voicemail and texting features. Once of my favorite features is the ability to forward to a different phone. You can set it up to when a potential client calls your Google Voice number, it will automatically ring to your forwarding number, normally your personal phone, and you can answer the calls that way. This allows you to make or take business calls on your personal cell phone without anyone ever seeing your personal number. You may even set up Do Not Disturb business hours which will automatically not accept calls based on the hours you set. This is especially helpful if you have set contact hours for your business such as not accepting phone calls in the evening or weekend hours.

How much money do I need to start my photography business?

This is a typical question that is asked by anyone who is wanting to start a business. It can be tough starting a business with little to no money but with photography, you might already have what you need! If you have a basic DSLR and a kit lens, you should be able to handle most of the situation starting out. Sure you will have to eventually buy a new lens or a new camera in the future but starting out and growing a successful business is all about slow and steady progress. One thing you might want to do is advertise your new business. As I mentioned earlier in the article, you can promote posts on Facebook as an example of cheap advertising and this could cost around $25-$50 US for a good, solid post but if you are looking at spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on buying a ton of gear I would strongly advise against that. As your business grows, you can start upgrading your gear.

Should I do work for free starting out to get business?

This is a touchy subject when it comes to any creative field. Unfortunately, a lot of people think that because you are in a creative business like being a photographer that you will do work for free or at a lower cost just to get work. A few lines that a lot of photographers might hear are “Can I get a discount on this photo session and then I will pay full price for the next shoot?” or “Can you do this for free? It will build your portfolio!”. These lines, in my opinion, are the clients trying to take advantage of you being a creative person and thinking that you are struggling to get business. When I first started out, I made sure to charge what I am worth and that doesn’t mean I will do it for free or at a steep discount. Always charge what you are worth and don’t let the client try to tell you otherwise. If they ask for a discount on the first session, your response could be “Unfortunately I can’t do that, but if we continue working together I can give you a discount on future shoots.” When it comes to “building your portfolio” you can respond with “I have enough jobs to build my portfolio so I don’t really need assistance with that but I would love to include you in my portfolio!”. However you respond, just make sure you always charge what you are worth. You don’t want to be known as the photographer that will always do cheap or free work.

Conclusion

As you can see, starting a photography business isn’t as easy as just grabbing your camera and photographing anything you want. Just doing that can still be considered a hobby. If you want to get serious with your business and hopefully take it full time, following these steps will certainly get you in the right direction. One of the main things to remember when it comes to starting a successful photography business is no matter how good your website looks, how much time you put into your SEO tactics, how much gear you buy, or even how much marketing you do, if your photography isn’t creative and different from your competition, then you are just another guy or girl with a camera. Really concentrate on learning all of the ins and outs of your photography and developing your own personal style so your business is the photography business that everyone wants to use.

Disclaimer – Some of the outgoing links contains affiliate tags meaning we get paid a small commission for the referral. We have chosen to only mention businesses and products we have tested and trust ourselves.

 

 

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How to Remove Blue Cast From Your Photos in Lightroom

This video has been put together to show you how you can remove blue cast from your photos with ease. But before we start, we encourage you to check out the Sleeklens members club on facebook which you can join by going to www.facebook.com/groups/sleeklensmembersclub/ or just typing Sleeklens members club on the search tab. This video was a special request by one of our members and you too can place a tutorial request to help you and other members learn something new.

This video was requested by a member who tried to apply the Strike a Pose all-in-one Portrait Golden Preset and notice that this turned the top left corner of the photo blue. This also happened to couple other images. To resolve this issue, we will apply the same presets to our photo and see how things turn out.

To do this, we will go to Lightroom and with our photo ready we will apply the same presets by going to “Stroke a Pose > all-in-one – Golden Preset”. Once we apply this same preset, we get the same effects and the top corner turns blue. The reason it does that is because once you apply the preset, it also applies the Graduated Filter. Gradient filters are cool to use in Lightroom and so this is the kind of effects it gives you. It gives more cool tones on top and warmer tones at the bottom.

The easiest way to remove that if you wish to do it is to go to the ‘Gradient tool and click on it. This will open a little node inside the photo and this node is the blue portion that’s being cast in the photo. Under the gradient filters, you will see the ‘Temp’ and this is what is introducing the blue, making the temp cooler. You can either increase the temp towards warmer to match the rest of the photo or go ahead and delete it or have the all-in-one applied to the main portion of the photo.

You will another node in the photo and you can change a few its settings to make it warmer a little bit or just choose to retain the settings just the way they are if you do not have a problem with the appearance. You can also go ahead and delete it if you don’t want to retain it.

That is how you simply correct this kind of effects. If you apply any other presets and see this kind of effect, most likely the cause is the gradient filter. You might want to check this out to see whether this is something you want to keep, change or just delete altogether.

How to Manually Remove Distortion Using Adobe Photoshop

Learn how to remove distortion manually from your photos without using any filters or plug-in or anything like that from Photoshop. This is going to be a very simple and quick technique and will work in almost 90% of the photos you take and have a lot of distortion. In one of our previous videos, I showed you how to remove distortion using the adaptive wide-angle filter which you can find right here by going to Filter > Adaptive Wide Angle and you are able to draw a whole bunch of lines and tell Photoshop where you want to be corrected. But in this , ideo you’ll be able to learn how to do it manually and it is very quick and simple.

The first thing you can do is draw some guides that you can reference when removing distortion in your photos. These are just temporal guides and if you don’t see the rulers in the window you can click on Command/Ctrl +R and they will pop up. You can then click and drag the ruler, getting a line that you can drag across the photo. These are really helpful to kind of reference to areas where there is a completely straight line. You can click, drag and release and this gives you a blue line. You can repeat this to draw a number of lines in different parts of the image for referencing purposes. Basically, these lines are drawn in sections of the image which are expected to be diagonally straight including walls and fireplace lines.

The only thing we want to do is transform our photo by using the regular transform tool. This we do by clicking the Command/Ctrl + T on the keyboard. We will use the perspective by right-clicking on the image and then choosing ‘perspective.’ From here we can take our two bottom handles and hold option and as we do this, we will be stretching the image out to make it more level. This will make sure that the lines are straight and we will keep dragging until everything is properly aligned.

With the lines aligned straight to some extent, we will click inside the image and choose the distort option from the small panel box that pops up. This will allow us to do each node individually. As shown in the video, you can click on the top right-hand corner of the image and move it a little bit to give me the desired angle. One more thing we will do to the image since it looks a little bit scratched is to scale it. We will click on scale and drag it a little bit.

The image will be upright although we will have lost a section of the picture. This happens when there is need to remove a lot of distortion. This also depends with how much you want to lose and whether you want to use the clone stamp tool and patch things together. Some parts of the image may also need to be fixed and we have a number of options. We can use the clone stamp tool and fill in the unmatched part with matching details manually or crop it in which is the most likely option in many cases.

If you are not familiar with Adaptive Wide Angle Filter or you are uncomfortable putting your photos to that filter, this is the best way to manually remove distortion from your photos.

You can check more photography tutorials, Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets at Sleeklens.com.

How to Make Light Rays in Adobe Photoshop

Check out this video to learn how you can make amazing light rays in Adobe Photoshop. In our tutorial photo, you’ll realize that the sun is kind of bursting through the tree but we will seek to make the rays more pronounced thus making our photo pop out even more.

To do this, we will start by making a new blank layer and then take a regular brush which we need to make into a special brush to do the technique in one of the best ways. To make a special brush, you should go to Windows > Brush and you’ll get a brush panel which allows you to make any kind of brush that you want. We will walk through the brush panel if you have not used it in the past.

The first thing we need to go to will be the ‘Shape Dynamics’. When you go in here, you will be able to see a preview of how the brush will flow and what we want will either be small dots or large dots but we want them in a random order. You will see the ‘Size Jitter’ at the top of the panel and this should be pushed all the way to 100%. You will see that in the current brush, we have small and large dots arranged in the way we would want them to be.

We will then go to smoothing tab and set the ‘Scattering’ and this should be at 1000% since dropping it to 0% will give us the same brush we had under dynamic shapes. With this set, we will then go to ahead and set the brush tip shape from where we can determine the hardness of the brush we need to use. You can set the brush at 0 to make it feathered since setting it to 100% will make it really hard. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will set the brush hardness to 0%. With these settings complete, we will close the brush window and proceed with our edit work.

From here, you can enlarge your brush and paint using black color just to see how your brush will perform. You will see black spots popping out in a random order and this is what we wanted to create. You can get rid of this layer and create a new layer from which you’ll do your edits from. We will keep the brush fairly small, at around 80 and sample the colors but make sure I pick one that matches the scene. This done, I will draw large circles around the image and these will end up giving is the Rays when we are done. While drawing, the circles will look like scattered snow around the image. The more you create the more rays you’ll have.

Once we are done with the brush layer, we will create a filter. If you are not familiar with the filter, there are numerous options available. We will go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. This will give us two blur method options. One is the spin method which does some kind of fast swirl and the zoom method which allows the blur to come at you a little bit. We will make sure that our ‘Amount’ is at 100 and the little cross inside the radial blur will be the center where the blur will take place. The center should be where the sun will be.

Always set the quality as ‘good’ or ‘best’ and if possible avoid draft as this tends to mess up a little bit. Once this is set, we will click ok and this stretches the dots all the way around and you can see it makes som09e very cool rays. Since the filter is on its own layer, I can feel free to move it around to make sure it matches up. If the effects don’t take place, you will find some rough edges but these can be managed by zooming out the filter a little bit to make sure that all parts of the image are at least covered by the rays. Once this is done, you can click enter.

To make sure that our edits do not look fake, we can warm up the Light Ray effect using the Photo filter. To do this, just go down to the adjustment panel and do photo filter and then clip it to the brush layer by holding the ALT option and have the filter somewhere between and then click. We can then lighten up the rays to make them warmer by balancing the density unto we are satisfied with the results.

From here, we can play with the blending mode by doing different types of blending modes until we are sure they are good. We can do screen mode, soft light, color dodge or any other mode available. This basically depends on the image you are using but you should avoid making the edit images look fake. With our edits done, we will then group the different layers together and then check the before and after images to see the results. You can go back and re-draw the dots as many times as your want. Making the dots large makes the rays a little bit fatter. This is a general process for making beautiful light rays in Adobe Photoshop and you can try them out today.

You may check more of our available tutorials, blog posts, Photoshop Actions, and Lightroom Presets as well.

How to Make a Panorama Photo in Adobe Lightroom

Use this video to learn how to make a panorama photo in Adobe Lightroom. This feature has been there for quite a while much like the HDR feature and they were kind of added at the same time. The feature is super easy and does a very good job of stitching together all the images no matter how many you have.

As we begin, you can see that we have eight images at the bottom which I took. These are almost 180 panorama and this was handheld since I did not have a tripod with me. As such, it’ll take a little bit more work for the program to go ahead and stitch them together. This is also a very tricky scene since as I was taking the image, the waves were constantly moving so it’ll also stitch those as well.
To get the panorama, I will highlight on all the images, right click on them, and then choose “Photo Merge” and then Panorama. This gives us a final rendering for the preview and it is clear that this is a little bit low quality and this is just to give Lightroom a little bit easier time to mess with it since it has many pixels to play with especially with eight photos.

We have several projection options to work with including spherical, cylindrical and perspective. The spherical was great for a wide panorama especially that transitions into objects that are kind of in the frame and so it’ll be the best one for the image we have because of the sphere that we have on the bridge. Cylindrical is kind of has the same effects as spherical but does a better job in making vertical line stay straight. However, we are interested more in the horizontal lines than in the horizon of the image, as this makes spherical much better. On the other hand, perspective is mainly suitable for real estate and architectural stuff as it seeks to do a lot of distortion.

We will, therefore, stick with the spherical projection. We have a couple of features such as auto crop which takes away the white space and kind of automatically crops it in so you don’t have to do it later. We also have boundary warp which is a new feature in Lightroom and kinds of take all the white features and stretches the image to try and fill out spaces in the image. We will use the boundary warp and increase the cover size to 100 and this fills in space very easily thus giving us an image that is perfectly fitting in the available space. We can opt to reduce the numbers and then do some cropping but this will mean going back into Photoshop to try and fill in the spaces.

With all the white spaces filled, we will click “Merge” and wait for the program to put all the images together. Once done, we will have an extra image on top of our initial eight. This is the panorama image which looks great and everything is stitched together perfectly.
The next step will be to fix some of the distortions which arise when we shoot panorama images especially if you have them handheld. To fix some of these distortions we will go to Lens Collection and enable for Profile Collection and then go to Transform and try auto to see whether it’ll collect things for us. However, this only does some minimal collections and therefore we will need to play around with the distortion. We will, therefore, go back to Lens Collection and try playing around with the distortion so as to get some straight line. We will need to change things such as scale, aspect, and the rest until we get the best results possible.

This done, we can go ahead and do the fun bit of changing the effects including the shadows, highlights, vibrancy, clarity and temperature to make it look like a sunrise. Once this is done, we will have our panorama image which includes all the eight images combined into a single image. If we want a large image, we will have a lot of data to play with. We can even crop this image to make it narrow one or crop parts of it to make different size photo print if we want to. All these will come out looking perfect since we have all the data to play with which is a combination of the eight images we had. This is the beauty of making panorama images since you have different cropping aspects and know that your image will come out very clear because of the data you have.

You can check more of our tutorials as well as Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions to help you do your post-processing edits in an easy and remarkable way.

How To Make A Panorama Image in Adobe Camera RAW

In this video, I will show you how to make a great panorama photo directly from the Adobe Camera Raw. This is a great feature if you want a lot of features to play with as possible but you still want to make a cool panoramic image without going to the Lightroom.
The first thing we need is to upload a couple of panorama images (we already have them for the purpose of this tutorial). It is important to have enough images that allow you to have enough room to play with. We will drag the photos down in Photoshop and this will open them in camera raw automatically. Once this is done, the process of making panoramic images in Adobe Camera Raw is very easy and just the same feature you would use to make an HDR image in camera raw.

We will select all the photos and click the little hidden menu on the top left side of the screen (next to the search button). Clicking the menu will give us a number of options and from the list, we will click on “Merge to Panorama”. This will open a small preview window which gives straightforward instructions which we can use. We will get rid of the surrounding area that is blank and this we can do by choosing the auto crop which automatically takes away the unwanted parts of the image and straighten it up for you. We can also use the boundary warp which is my favorite since it doesn’t get rid of any parts of the image as the cropping option does. We will pump up the boundary warp all the way to 100 to see what happens. The results we get are good and you can play with the projection options but usually spherical works for almost all circumstances. There are situations where cylindrical and perspective options might work for real estate but I usually keep it in spherical since this is the best option.

Once we choose our projection, we will go ahead and this will bring up another dialogue box giving us an option as to where we would like to save the DNG file. We will choose “Photography” file and then click save. Once this is done, we will give it time to generate the final image. With the process complete, we will end up with the final image in addition to other initial images. You can delete the file if for any reason you are not satisfied with the DNG file and start all over again.
From here we can play with all the normal options we would do in Camera Raw. We can pump up the shadows, knock down the highlights, take exposure up a little bit and play with the vibrancy among other things. You can do all your desired edits until you achieve your desired results.

This is an easy process of creating a really cool panoramic image in Adobe Camera Raw without going to the Adobe Photoshop. You can also save your file to a JPEG and take everything directly from here. This works well if you are not familiar with Photoshop and just don’t want to use it in your edits.

Feel free to check more tutorial videos from Sleeklens as well as the great Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions.

How to Make an HDR Image in Adobe Camera Raw

In this video, I will show you an easy way to make an HDR image using only the Adobe Camera Raw without going to full blown Photoshop at all. This is a feature that is kind of hidden in a way and I haven’t seen it before.

For this tutorial, we have three images of an interior bedroom for real estate photography. I will select all the images by holding one, shift and click at the bottom to highlight all. You will find a small button which is like a menu button on the top bar. When we click that, it gives us a number of options and we will select “Merge to HDR”. This gives us a preview of how the image will look plus the normal options you’d get if you were doing this in Lightroom including Align Images and Auto tone which will automatically generate some toning with increased shadows and decreased highlight. We will turn this option off and instead choose Deghosting.

We will then click merge and this will tell us where to save the DNG file that it creates. I will choose desktop and this changes the file name into HDR. I will click save and this gives us a new image in addition to the three original ones. From here we will do a number of edits and this is very beneficial if you want to get as much data added to the image possible.

We will reduce the highlights, increase the shadows, get more tones going on in the bedroom so we will get much information as possible. We have more data to play with and blend everything as much as we want. This is an easy way to do an HDR image using Camera Raw. You don’t even have to go to the full blown Adobe Photoshop if you don’t want to.

You can check out more videos and tutorials from Sleeklens by visiting the blog section or checking out our YouTube channel.

How to do the Tilt-Shift Effect in Adobe Lightroom

In this video, I will show you how to do the tilt shift effect in Adobe Lightroom. Tilt shift effect is an effect that you can do post processing to kind of mimic the effects of a tilt-shift lens. what it basically does it that it gives you a large depth of field so you can get kind of a blurred top and bottom look while the center of the photo remains intact sharp. That is basically what we are going to do here.

A lot of people think when you have an image like the one we have in our video and you want to get the people to the shown point that the best thing is to go for the adjustment brush and you start painting the effects. While this is a good thing to do, one of the most effective tools to work with is always the Graduated Filter. I will click the gradient filter and drag the filter all the way down to the bottom of the image.

You should drag the filter all the way to the part of the image you want to choose and blur out. I will also bump two sliders down and then do the clarity as well. Sometimes the clarity doesn’t work but still, I will go ahead keep it and see what we will do. You can see that it is only blurring a small section and therefore will take the filter and drag it down as much as I can

I will do another effect by going to ‘New’ and drag another effect from the bottom and then repeat the process of reducing clarity and sharpness and then click done. You can already see the effects and it already looks like a miniature model effect, making the picture look like a tiny village or model that was made. One way to decrease the model is to click on the nodes and play with the clarity as shown in the video but the sharpness really gives the effects.

We can click on the before and after button and see the half of the original photo and the after photo, and you can see the cool effects the process adds to the image. This is the kind of effect you would want to put on Instagram.

If you enjoyed this quick tutorial on how to do the tilt shift effect in Adobe Lightroom, you might also be interested in our other video on how to create the tilt-shift effect in Adobe Photoshop. You might also check out our other tutorials as well as great post processing Lightroom workflows and Photoshop actions.

How to Use the Perspective Crop Tool in Adobe Photoshop

The perspective crop tool is one of the most effective tools in Adobe Photoshop but it is also little known and little used by many people. This video will show you how you can use this tool effectively and get great results as you do your photo editing in Photoshop. We all know what crop tool is and we have used it at different points in time. But if we take it for example in this video and crop the sign in the image, we will end up with a slanted image and doesn’t look as though you took a photo of it.

We will undo that and then click on the “Crop tool tab” and this will give us a few options to pick from. The available options include Crop tool, Perspective Crop Tool, Slice tool and Slide Select Tool. We will choose the perspective crop tool and this allows us to draw the same box as we did previously and when we let go, it gives us a number of options. We can take the little nodes in each of the corners and drag them thus transforming what we are trying to crop out and then hit enter.

What this does is that it straightens the image you are cropping thus making it look as though it was taken head on instead of a slanted angle. This is a great tool to use if you are cropping images of a sign on the wall but can’t shoot them straight on or have some signposts which are high and you can’t get close enough. You can take a photo on any angle and use the perspective crop tool to straighten them up and they’ll appear as though you the photos were shot straight on. The Photoshop tool, therefore, helps you straighten the images fast and in a few steps.

You can check other tutorials we have available for you or find out more about our amazing Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets.

How to Use the Select and Mask Tool in Adobe Photoshop CC

In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to cut out a person from a photo and pop them up in a different background. This is very helpful especially if you want to do “studio photography” but you do not have a professional background. You can cut a person from a picture taken against a blank wall and transfer them to a background that is more colorful and appealing.

To get started, we will have our picture ready and this is where we shall be cutting a person and placing them on a different background. The intention is to make them look as though they took their portrait outdoors. The lighting will be exactly as it is. The first thing we will do it take the Quick Selection Tool and this we can access by going to the toolbar and if it’s not visible, you can click and hold the Magic Wand tool and you’ll find it there. From there, we will increase the brush size to approximately 45 and then take the hardness down a little bit.

We can then paint on the subject that we have. We will do it loosely without worrying about exactness since this we can do later. With the selection, the normal method would be to cut the person out but this makes it look bad with all the whites showing. The best thing will be to click on the “Select and Mask” this used to be called refine edge but has been changed to Select and Mask. When we click on that, we go to another menu and here we have a couple of options including transparency which allows you to blur or put on a transparent background on the bottom remaining layer. We also have edge detection, the smart radius and this detects all of the boundary points of your pixels and tries to help you how to help you hide a little bit. It doesn’t do a good work always but you still can use it.

Smooth radius helps smooth your selection while feather only fades it out a little bit but we won’t make use of it much in this photo. Contrast, on the other hand, increases the blacks and whites (the darkness) of the selection while shift edge simply shifts the edges in. we will shift it in a little bit and this leaves us with some white spots to take care of. We will use the refine edge brush tool and once we click on it, we will get a little brush which we can use to paint the edges of what we want to take away contaminating colors. With a few strokes, we will get rid of the whites. This is not too bad for a quick little selection and background removal.

One step that many people do is that they do for the output method is that they keep it as a selection. However, doing this will make us loose our original photo. Instead, we will use other selections available such as Layer Mask which gives you a layer mask so you can go back to and take away or add some stuff later, a New Layer which is almost the same thing, New Layer with a Layer Mask, New Document which opens a new document and New Document with Layer Mask which opens a new document and a new Layer Mask.

I normally use the New Layer with Layer Mask or just Layer Mask but in this tutorial, we will use Layer Mask and click Okay. This will give us a Layer mask and if we disable it, you will see our original photo. We will be free to move the person around and we can enlarge or play around with it and since we have our layer mask locked to the original photo, all our edits stay.
We can pop in another background if we want to or do a whole lot of things. One thing we can do to match the colors is to apply a Photo filter. This gives a little bit of color between the background and on top of the subject. We can change this to cool or warm colors whichever blends in perfectly.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to use the Selection Mask. It’s a really great tool and if you do not have the Photoshop CC but have the older versions you can click the Refine Edge Tool and you’ll find it there. They all work the same except for the Transparency Slider which is not available in older models.

You can look out for more tutorials as well as Lightroom Presets or Photoshop Actions from Sleeklens to help you with your professional photo editing work.

How to use Winter Illuminations Collection for Photoshop

In this tutorial I will show you a complete workflow using the New Photoshop action and brush collection from Sleeklens, known as Winter Illuminations Collection.

So, we have this snowboarding photo that has some snow but we would like to add more snow to give it a little bit more visual interest, action and also do some bit of color collection to it. With this new collection from Sleeklens, we have what we call Photoshop actions. Photoshop actions are basically recipes that you click a play button and it does all the work. You will be able to see the steps it takes and you can break down and dissect the collection and see if you want to remove anything but most of the time it does a good job.

When you get the actions, you will install them just the same way you install the regular actions. As such, we will go to our Action Panel and then to the little menu button and click “load actions”. Once we click this, we will have the different actions including the Winter Illuminations Actions (the one that we want to use for this tutorial). We will click on that and this will be loaded and once we expand it, you’ll see all the different categories including the Basic Corrections, Retouching Brushes and Enhancements, Vignette, Artistic Tones and All-in-one among others. We will use a number of these to edit our photo as we continue.
The first thing we will do is to give our image some color and contrast boost. We will click on this action and make sure that the background box is highlighted and then click the play button. You will see that the action makes the image a little bit brighter, gives it more contrast and gives it a bluish tone. We can see the different by toggling it on and off to see the before and after images.

With the background selected again, we will brighten the photo a little bit just to make it whiter. When you have snow photos, you would like them to be a little more vibrant in the whites than normal. As we move the layer on the top and it blends perfectly, you can see how it brightens up a little bit. We will then use an All-In-One preset by going to the Artistic Tones and All-in-One and choose the Chimney Smoke. We will click on that one and make sure the background is highlighted and then click play. This gives the image a cool look.

We will then do something that is too much for us but we want to the image to look a little bit bluer but we will lower the opacity. The best thing with the actions is that they allow you to see the effects they give you and you can lessen that effect while still keeping it by lowering the opacity.

Once we are done with our actions, we will go to the brushes by minimizing the actions panel and then going to the brush. This will give us a normal, large brush. We will create a blank layer on top and then go to brush picker and load a Sleeklens’ brush known as Winter Illumination Brushes. We will click on the little load gear and click on “Load Brushes” and then pick the “Snow Brushes” and then open. The brushes are already installed and therefore there is no need to it again. Clicking Ok will install them at the bottom of our brush picker.

Once we scroll down to the bottom of the brush picker, we will find squared brushes that simulate snow. When we choose one of these brushes (we will use Snow 18), it’ll have multiple dots that simulate snow. We will move the brush over the image and click enter and this will add a little bit of snow to the image. You can click on different parts of the image a number of times to add layers of snow to make the image just the way you want it.

As you can see in the new snowed image, there are some particles that are already looking disruptive. We can get rid of these by creating a layer mask and then getting a regular soft brush, decrease the size and then make sure that the foreground color is black. We then click on top of the snow spots we need to remove and paint them away. The beauty with these effects is that you can tailor them to your photo.

With this done, we will have our final edits of using both the actions and brushes. The results will be a realistic photo that adds more details. We can add more effects if we want.

You can check more of these collections by clicking on either Lightroom or Photoshop tabs and find out something that matches your photography style. You can also check for more of our tutorials to help you with more information on photo editing.

Selective Color Effect in Adobe Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will be showing you how to do the selective color effect in Adobe Photoshop. If you are a Lightroom user, you might want to have a look at our previous tutorial where I showed you how to do Selective Color Effect in Adobe Lightroom.

What is Selective Color Effect?

Basically, the selective color effect is where you take a photo and only display one object in specific color or colors in that tone throughout the entire image while the rest remains in Black and White. A lot of people like this since it is a fun effect and Photoshop makes it easy and enjoyable all the way. I will show you one of the easiest ways to do it and I invite you to follow along with me.

The first thing you will need to do is to upload the image that you intend to use. For the purposes of our tutorial, I have a car photo and all I want is to highlight the blue car but turn everything else into black and white. I will start by making a selection using my Quick Selection tool. I will then go around the car and make a rough selection of it. This doesn’t have to be perfect but I want to get as much of the car as possible.

If you end up selecting other objects or sections outside your main object, you can make changes by holding the Alt option key and then remove that part of the selection.

I will then continue to paint over the car. This will give us a rough selection and what I will do next is click on the Select and Mask Button (it could be different for you since I’m using Adobe Photoshop CC version). This gives me an idea of what I selected and I would like to do a little bit of cleanup. I will, therefore, increase the radius and let Photoshop do its own magic.

While at it, I will set my ‘Output to’ option to ‘Selection and then click Ok. This makes my selection refined and good. This is where the real trick is in this. You should make sure that you have inverted your selection once what you want to have the color in has been selected. I will go to Select > Inverse and this takes everything you selected and does the opposite of it. This means that everything is selected except the car. This is where you turn everything outside the car into Black and White. I will go to the adjustment button and select ‘Black and White’ and this automatically takes everything outside the car into black and white.

You can also use the hue saturation adjustment but the black and white tool is better as it allows you to control the colors you select. You can use the hue saturation adjustment to change the blues in the black and white portion by taking down the Cyan. This happens without touching the car. You can do a few edits using the hue saturation adjustment until you are satisfied with the results. That’s one way of working with your selection tool/method to turn portions of the image into black and white and still leave some color.

One thing you need to pay attention to is to make sure that since we made a rough selection, go around the car or your object pretty close and make sure all the colors are selected. If you have missed anything out, you should click on your adjustment layer, get a standard brush and make the hardness to around 50 while making sure that the brush is black. With this, you can paint over the areas that you missed.

This is one benefit of using this method in that it gives you a layer mask and you can go ahead and refine things as you are going around the object making sure that all the colors are selected. That’s quickly how you do the selective color effect in Photoshop. It is that simple and you can use the same method with any kind of color or object.

You can check our blog section for more photography tips, Photoshop, and Lightroom tips as well as Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions for your editing work.

How To Work With Maple and Pinecones Autumn Lightroom Workflow

In this tutorial, I will show you the new Sleeklens’ Maple and Pinecones Autumn Lightroom Workflow. This is one of the best presets released for Lightroom and I will show you how to use it to edit your photos. You can learn more about the presets and brushes by visiting Sleeklens.com and even order them to try them for yourself.

I will edit a photo using the presets and brushes that comes with the collection. The image is already a great autumn-feeling photo but I would want to intensify it a little bit. I would like to intensify it a little bit such that it’ll scream autumn at anyone who sees it.
The first thing you should do is make sure that your presets and brushes are loaded in Lightroom and once this is done, you can expand your “Maple and Pinecones Autumn Lightroom Workflow” so can access the different presets you can use to edit your photos. As you scroll down, you will be able to see from the preview which effects will be applied to your images when you pick any of the presets.

To edit this image, I will first use the M&P| 2-Tone Basic Autumn Colors. This is may not be what you use in your edits but I have picked it for the purposes of this tutorial and photo. This preset applies some cool yellows, oranges, and reds and this is what makes this photo perfect for autumn.

In fact, I could stop here but I would like to put a couple of things here to make it pop out even more. I would like to intensify the light and there is a light preset which I can use to achieve that. I will scroll down and choose the M&P| 6 – l Light – Middle Sunlight (there is also Middle Sunlight and the different positional options allow you to highlight one the different parts of the image. For example, if you choose M&P |6 – Light – Left Sunlight, you’ll see the bright spot appears on the left side of the image and that’s what this is all about).

Since our sun is closer to the middle of the image, I will choose M&P| 6 – l Light – Middle Sunlight. You can see that this puts the bright area a little bit far from the sun but we can change this using the Radial Filter Tool. Clicking on the tool gives us a node which we can move around and it changes as I move it around. If I want to intensify it a little bit more than it already is, I can take the exposure up or decrease it depending on what you want to do.

I will bump it up and then click done. This gives us a fantastic photo and everything is bursting out of it, the reflections are superb and the shadows are also great. But I would like to intensify the shadows a little bit more and this I will do by using a brush. I will go to the brushes and click new. This will give me a number of options and I will pick the M&A| Enhance Detail and then take it down a little bit more and then paint the bottom part. This darkens the shadows a little bit but I will take the shadows down just to touch more. The lines that give the shadows from the sun and the trees are clearly visible.

Looking at the “Before and after” clearly shows you the difference our edits have made. You can easily work on your photos quickly and in a few simple steps and you’ll have superb photos which you can give to your customers.
You can also look at different tutorials we have made or check our Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions by clicking on the different tabs at the home page.

How to work with the Aura Laborar Night Workflow for Adobe Lightroom

In this tutorial, I will introduce you to the brand new collection from Sleeklens called Aura Laborar Night Workflow. Basically, these workflows are meant for night photography and will help enhance your photography or Milky Way shots. But even though it does a good job on those, it also does a good job on photos that have really intense skies even if it is a sunset photo such as the one we have used in our tutorial video.

I will go through the workflows and show you how to edit some of these using the new workflow only. I have a cool boat photo but would like to make it look really beachy and make the sky pop out a little bit more and add some contrast to it. I have all the new workflows expended under the all-in-one presets, basic presets, black and whites, color process presets, vintage and lights and I can choose any of them to suit my edits.

I will first play around with the all-in-one| 1- Moonlight Clarity which gives more blue effects while still keeping the orange tone which is actually cool. One of my favorite sections of the presets is the color process presets. I will go down and choose the AL| 3 –Warm & Cold. This gives the image some cool effects and punches up the warm colors leaving it looking superb.

The workflow also includes brushes and I will go to the brush panel, click on it and check out the 10 brushes which I can use. I will get the Warm Temp Brush and then make the brush a little large and paint to make the sun warmer and enhance it a bit. The best thing with these workflows is that although they give you default values which are great, you can customize them a little bit more to do what you want to do. So far I have pumped up the warmth and the exposure and this adds a little more kick to the center of the image.

The last thing I will do is not a preset at all but a customer adjustment. This is what I like about the stackable presets in that you can make all cool adjustments using these presets but then fine-tune them to the way you like your photo. The only thing I will do is take my contrasts up to give me a moody beach with warm colors, the blue waters and looking at the “before and after” photos clearly shows the difference our edits have made.

The before photo was a bit flat but with this new Aura Laborar workflow we have punched it up a little bit, made it warmer and this is just one way to edit these photos using the workflow. You can choose the different presets and play around with each one of them to get the exact details you are looking for in the images.

You can check this product and many others under the Lightroom or Photoshop tabs. You can also find out more from our photography tutorials to help make your editing easier, faster and efficient.

Photography Basics: What is Shutter Speed

In this tutorial, I will talk about shutter speed. This is one of the features that affect your photography quality and understanding the basics of the same will be important especially if you are a beginner. For those who don’t know, shutter speed is a small door in your camera that opens and closes at the amount of time that you have set. This door will open and will expose your camera to light and then will close and shut off the light to your camera thus allowing your sensors to capture the scene. So, basically, shutter speed is a small opening or shutter that will open and close at the time you’ve set.

On your camera, you will see different values that you can set. You will see values ranging from one four thousandths of a second to 30 seconds long. So, let’s say you have a value of a thousandth of a second, what that means is that if you take a picture of something, it’s going to freeze wherever that object is. It’s also going to let in less light to the sensor and that means you will have to take that photo in a bright situation or have your eyes clinked up so high to allow more light to hit the sensor.

If you have a shutter speed that is longer, potentially one fourth of a second or much longer, it’s going to slow motion and you’ll see more blurry subject if it is moving fast and it’s going to let in more light to the camera and therefore this will be helpful in low light situation.

Benefits of using different types of shutter speed

With this understanding, let’s look at the benefits of using different types of shutter speed. In our tutorial video, we have a photo capturing a waterfall and this is taken at a faster shutter speed. What this does is that it is freezing the water coming out of the waterfall. But we have seen amazing waterfall photos with silky smooth waters and those are taken at a longer shutter speed. What this does is that when the camera opens the shutter, it’s seeing the motion of the water and then closing, allowing it to show the motion of the water thus giving a silky smooth appearance of the water.

We also have another example of light coming into the camera. If we have the photo and want to take a photo of it, we are going to have a very short shutter speed with everything set neutral, we will have a dark image. We need to make sure it is exposed to the right situation. We will, therefore, allow more light to come into the camera, using a longer shutter speed. It’s going to vary from scene to scene and this is what we call ‘exposure triangle’ where you try to have everything calculated including the shutter speed. So, when you have a longer shutter speed, you are allowing the collect manner of light to hit the sensors thus giving you the proper exposure.

Basically, that is what shutter speed is. Using shutter speed along with what the aperture and the ISO are set to (This is called the Exposure Triangle) will allow you to take better photos and menu mode and kind of gives you the understanding of it.

You can check out for more of our tutorials to help you advance your understanding of photography and post processing editing.

Quickly Turn Your Photos into Autumn Photos

Autumn photos are always lovely and attention grabbing. And in this tutorial, I will show you how you can change your fall photos into better fall photos. I have our image already loaded and before we commence with the edits, I would like to tell you something about this image.

First, this photo was taken in the early moments of autumn. As such, it has some green leaves but on the background behind the trees, the leaves were turning colors. It is, therefore, more yellow back there and what I want to do is to add more yellows in a unique way that will make the photo look natural. All it takes is one slider to make the photo go from looking completely bright summer photos to fall photos.

While using Photoshop to do this, I will go to adjustment panel and choose Selective Color. From here, I will pick the colors that I need to play with. Most of the time, it’ll be tempting to pick green because leaves are green. But if you paint it to yellows more, you can change the Cyan Slider and this happens to work for up to 99% of my photos. You can change the cyan slider from one end to the other and it’ll automatically change your colors from summer colors to autumn colors.

In our tutorial video, you can see that as I change the cyan slider to the negative, the leaves turn into yellowish color but if we go to the positive, the leaves look greener and as though they were shot in summer. It is that easy to go from fall to summer using the color slider. The other colors you may need to play with are the whites and reds because they help brighten up the ground area and allow to blend in perfectly well.

That is how easy it is to dramatically change colors in your photo using this one slider. If you have some photos you’ve taken and there are shot in fall and the colors aren’t exactly right and you want them to pop out more, you can change the Selective Color Slider in Photoshop and this will dramatically give you exceptional results with colors that pop out of the screen.

You can check out for more tutorials on how to do some post-processing edits to your images or even check out our Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions to help you get down to work with ease.

Runway Fashion Workflow: Recipe Guide Preview

In this tutorial, I will show you how to edit your photos using the Runway Fashion Presets from Sleeklens. This edit comes from the recipe guides which you get when you purchase the presets. You will get a bunch of before and after and we will be using one of the ‘before and after’ images. This gives you the exact presets and brushes you need to apply to edit your images and it’ll make your photo to stand out really well with a couple of quick touches.

With my photo uploaded, I will reset everything and make sure that all the defaults are there. As mentioned earlier, I will be using the Runway Fashion Presets and once it’s loaded and open, I will expand it and choose the “Runway Fashion Workflow – 10 –Fashion – Dorian. I will click on that and it’ll automatically have some effects on the image. I will then select the “Runaway Fashion Workflow – 1- Basic Collection – Auto Lens Collection. The next one will be the Runway Fashion Workflow – 7 – Vignette Effects – Black Vignette – Light. This gives us a very nice vignette, subtle and brings out the light in.

I will finally apply the last preset and this time it’ll be the Runway Fashion Workflow – 5- Hue/Color –Medium Red. This takes a little bit of the reds up but bumps the color of the skin a little bit making them look more natural.

With this done, I will now turn to the brushes and apply a few. To access the brushes, I will click ‘New’ and then under the effects, I will choose the Runway Fashion Workflow – Soften Skin. This is one of my favorite brushes especially for portraits it does a really fantastic job of making the skin look really soft and doll-like without making it look fake. I will paint the face, decrease the brush size a little bit to help me get everything perfectly well. Once I’m through with the painting, I will click done and you can see the before and after images.

One of the things that make this brush my favorite is that as you click and zoom at the two images, you can see the detail and basically all the pores in the before photo but as you look at the after image, the pores are smoothed out making the image look more model-like or natural looking. As we zoom out, one thing you will also notice that the sleeve on the details in the model tattoo wasn’t messed up by the brush but made the skin smoothen out around there and this is really great.

The brush takes away the boring colors and details and makes them pop out to make your images really great. To learn more about this, you can check our other tutorials or play around with the different recipes available with every workflow you purchase.

Selective Color Effect in Adobe Lightroom

In this tutorial, I would like to show you how to do Selective Color Effect using Adobe Lightroom. so, the selective color effect is basically displaying one color in the entire image, leaving the rest of the image in black and white thus allowing your eyes to focus on the parts of the image that are in color. This is a really fun effect to do to your photos to make the view focus on one thing. It is a cool thing to do in Lightroom.

With our image uploaded, we shall not do any adjustments in the basic panel but will jump right to the HSL panel. Once there, we will click on the Saturation tab and make sure that all the colors are dropped to -100. This will turn the entire image into black and white. We only need to have the two taxis colored and these normally have yellow and orange colors. As such, I will pump up the yellows to see what I get and once this done, you realize that not only does it affect the two taxis but also the buildings in the background. This is not a problem though. I will then increase the oranges and this gives me the full taxi colors back and I’m ready to go.

With every change that I make, you realize that there are also some buildings which are affected and I will need to get rid of the colors on them and leave them in black and white. This is where my adjustment brush comes in and I will click on it and then make sure that my color is set to white and that the saturation is all the way down. Another thing I can do to achieve these same results is to make sure that the “Show selected Mask Overlay” is checked and then paint over the areas that have color remaining. I will then paint over those areas loosely. This could also be done from the beginning and not worry about doing it in the HSL panel but I find it to me a whole lot easier and more forgiving to do the HSL first and then the paint over.

In my tutorial as can be seen in the video, I have messed up a little by painting over the taxis and the way to rectify this is to hold the ALT option key to turn my brush into Minus and then paint that out. Once done, I will take out my overlay and the only thing that is left colored is the two taxis. I can click on the adjustment brush and go back to my basic panel and do some adjustments such as taking up the clarity, vibrancy, exposure and other basic edits that I normally do. This will leave the taxis more colored and while everything will be in Black and White.

That is how you can do the Selective Color Effect in Adobe Lightroom. You can check out more of our Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials from our blog section and have a look at our amazing presets and actions for fantastic post processing editing work.

How to Use the Adaptive Wide Angle Filter in Adobe Photoshop

When shooting subjects using a wide-angle lens, perspective problems are common and these normally occur in form of lines which should be straight but normally look curved and distorted. This occurs in wide-angle lenses and is commonly known as barrel distortion. It’s caused by the decrease in image magnification due to the distance of the subject from lens’ optical axis. The distortion will appear more visible on the edges of the frame thus appearing curved.

This video will show you how to remove the distortion from your images using the adaptive wide angle filter. The adaptive wide angle filter is basically a filter that will allow you to take draw lines to tell the photo where the image is supposed to be straight and Photoshop will automatically make them straight for you. This is fun and very easy to use.

To get the filter, you will need to go to the top angle filter and then choose the adaptive wide angle filter. This is a feature that is available in the latest versions of Photoshop such as the PS 6 and later. When you click on the feature, it’ll open in a small box which appears a little bit strange but you’ll have different options including Fisheye, perspective, auto and full spherical. You can play around with the different options but leaving “Auto” checked helps Photoshop to straighten up the photo. We will keep it in auto for the purposes of this tutorial.

Once you check the auto option, you will notice that there are some buttons on the left-hand side of the Photoshop window which you can choose from. We will concentrate on the Constraint Tool (C). We will draw some lines and tell Photoshop where these lines need to be straight. We will start from the top of the door frame since this is one of the troubled areas. Once we click and drag down, you’ll see we have a blue line which follows the curve of the wall and but it’s not perfectly straight. If you click, drag and release at the bottom of the wall, it constrains it up but the line is still crooked. What you need to do is to draw the same line and hold the “Shift” key on your keyboard. This will give you a pink line and once you do that and release, Photoshop tells the photo that this portion needs to be perfectly straight up and down. When we do this, it shifts the photo a lot more that when we do it with the regular constraint.

So, we will repeat this on other areas which are supposed to be straight but make sure we hold the shift key. The more lines you draw, the more information you give to Photoshop and the better your photo will turn out. It is possible to wonder where to use the regular constraints with the blue line? This would be used in areas such as the horizontal corners of the wall. As you draw a line that contours with the wall, it’ll straighten things up.

When everything on the wall of our tutorial photo is perfectly straightened up, you’ll realize that the boards on the floor are a little bit warped. We will draw a blue line by following the groove on the floor to the end and then release. You can draw this line in a number of areas on the floor and this will straighten things up perfectly well. However, you’ll have issues with areas that have no data such as the top corners of the image where the photo was warped. But you can use a clone stamp tool to fill data in manually or scale the photo up to get rid of those areas. You can also click ok to accept the changes so far and then crop the image to get rid of those transparent areas.

This done, you will have your image perfectly edited with all the distortions eliminated. You can look at the before and after images and you’ll notice a whole lot of differences.

You can check for more of our tutorials on how to do your image editing or look out for our Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions for use in your editing work. Just click under either Lightroom or Photoshop Tab for the different options available.

How to Use Droplets in Adobe Photoshop

In this video, I will go over droplets in Adobe Photoshop. Basically, droplets in Photoshop are little tiny applications that you make and that will allow you to easily batch process a whole bunch of photos using your Photoshop Actions. In this video, I will show you how to create droplet and how to run a droplet or run your photos through a droplet so you can easily batch process as many photos as you would like.

The first thing you need to do is open up your Photoshop and go to File > Automate > Create Droplet and this will open a dialogue box for you. It is separated very easily and the first thing you need to do is choose where you want to save your droplets. I have chosen to save mine on the desktop and called it droplet.app since Photoshop adds the “App” part of it.

Next, you will need to choose what Photoshop action you want to use and there is a set/list of your folder of actions in your Photoshop. You can choose the actions from Sleeklens.com but I have just a sample one that I made and this turns your photos into Black and White and this is the only one in the folder. The two boxes that I keep checked to ensure they open easily without any warnings are the ‘suppress open dialogue box’ and the ‘suppress color profile warning’ that ensures that if you ever open a photo in Photoshop and it’s supposed to be seen in CMYK and its actually in RGB and all that kind of stuff, this actually suppresses it since you don’t need all that kind of stuff.

The next option which I keep on stop for errors just to make it easy is where the errors will be. If you say, ‘Stop for Errors’ then Photoshop will go ahead and stop exactly what it’s doing at that point and wait for you to tell it what you want it to do. If you are running a whole bunch of files at once, you can say to ‘Log errors into file’ and that is where you can save the error file and it’ll keep blowing all the photos and not stop at all. I just usually keep it to “Stop for errors” so I can see if it is not running.

Next is the destination where you can save the folders or files that have been changed with the actions. In our case we have none and therefore will go ahead and open it and apply it and you can also choose ‘Save and Close’ which is normally what I do. You can also say ‘Folder’ and prompt it to export to a certain folder with the naming convention. You have a bunch of naming convention options and you can do a document type, digit numbers, date and the like. If you do choose this method, make sure you have an extension as the last option depending with what you input in there.

I will go back and click on ‘Save and Close. The other check box that I make sure is checked is the ‘Override Save as Command. This makes sure that it closes easily and you don’t have to worry about it hanging up when you open a JPEG or something like that and then it also has a saving option. This makes sure that it will ignore those options and go ahead and close thus making an automated process.
Actual Droplet

I will click OK and minimize my Photoshop. With this, you can see a little icon with an arrow which is the actual Photoshop Droplet Icon. This is exactly what you need and created to batch process your photos. And the easiest way to do this (works for both PC and Mac) is when you have a little application, just take the whole folder that has a whole bunch of images and drops it into the droplet. With this, Photoshop will open and it’ll apply the effects of Photoshop Actions to the folder. With this done, I will close it and open the droplet folder backup again and when you look at these folders and files, they are all black and white and that’s because they applied the black and white action all the way to every file.

That is the easiest it gets and you can do this with as many images as you wish but it might take a little longer. However, this is how to quickly batch process multiple photos at once. This is a great way if you are a professional photographer and want to apply sharpening effects, resizing effects or any other effects. This is a great way to do it without touching each individual image.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, you can look out for more on how to use both Lightroom and Photoshop for easy post processing.

Photography Basics: Understanding your DSLR Camera Mode Dial

In this tutorial, I will go over the camera mode dial and look at all the most popular options that are on the most DSLRs out there. I will also give you an example of what you would use them for and exactly what they mean.

First, your mode dial may differ from another camera depending on which camera model you have. For example, the menu mode or the shutter speed mode in our tutorial camera is labeled “S” while in Canon it might be labeled “TV”. It is good to read the manual to ensure that you are looking at the right one here. However, there are the typical modes that we will discuss here.

The first one is usually very popular and common with many beginners and this is the ‘Automatic Mode’. Just as the name suggests, the automatic mode kind of sets everything for you automatically and this works well for every beginner who’ve not had the opportunity to explore his DSLR camera fully. The mode mirrors everything for you and you don’t have to do anything. All you need is press the shutter button and that’s it. This mode is very common for many people and this is because it’s easy but if you want to learn photography and master certain lighting techniques, you have to break away from the Auto mode at some point.

The manual mode is our next option and many people are afraid of using it. Manual mode means that you have to change everything right from the shutter speed to ISO and aperture depending with the scene you are shooting. The way to do this is to point your camera at the scene and look at the light mirror that is in your viewfinder and see whether it’s going to be too dark or bright and adjust that accordingly.

The next mode is the shutter speed mode or Time value mode as it’s called sometimes. This mode simply means that you have to select the shutter speed and what the camera does once you select the speed is to stay in that specific speed. So, it is going to change the aperture in the ISO to make sure that you have that shutter speed. This is good for shooting sporting events where you know that the light is going to be changing regularly and you know that you need at least one thousandth of a second or eight-hundredths of a second, it’s a really popular one to let the camera do the work for you so you can do the shooting.

Aperture mode is the next one and I will stay on it because I’m used to it. What you do is that you set the aperture much like the shutter speed. You set the desired aperture, so if you are taking portraits and you want an aperture of 3.5, you will set your aperture at 3.5 and the camera will change the ISO if you set it in Auto or change the shutter speed to make sure that you get the right exposure for that setting.

P is the program mode and this is what many people call the advanced Point and shoot mode. Program mode takes your aperture and shutter speed and changes it to make sure you have a very even scene. A lot of people don’t use this much but it’s because they use auto mode and this is what they are familiar with.

So, those are the more advanced modes but I will run through the ones that many people are familiar with. People should know what they are but not get to these modes if they are trying to learn photography and get better at taking photos.
The little flower in most cameras means macro and this tries to focus in and give the right exposure for really closer focused items. The mountain kind of head towards a landscape scene and this gives you a larger aperture maybe a high like f8, f11 or something of that sort and the camera will increase the blues and the greens so that your colors look more saturated when rendered JPEG.

Next one is the Night Portrait Mode which gives you a low aperture and high ISO and will also pop the flush so you can get a really good portrait. Again, these auto modes do not require you to set anything at all since they are beginner modes.
Then we have the regular portrait mode and this will give you a very low aperture which will give you a more blurry background. The last one is the Running Man mode or sports mode which gives you a higher ISO and Shutter speed so you can capture motion easy and freeze motion.

Those are the main points of a camera DSLR mode dial. Some other cameras have what maybe called a custom mode like C1 or C2 and what this allows you to do is set the settings yourself and program those custom modes if you know you will need a higher ISO or higher shutter speed. Once these are set, your camera will automatically change to the programmed settings when in a custom mode.
You can check more tutorials to help you advance in your photography or check our site more Lightroom presets and Photoshop Actions.

How to Create Collages in Adobe Lightroom and Add Text Images

In this video, I will show you how to make a very simple collage using only Adobe Lightroom. It’s not technically meant for this but there is a way to make very easy collages that you can post on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter among others. The video topic was an idea from one of our members in the Sleeklens exclusive Facebook group.

To start the process, you need to open your Lightroom library and get the collection of photos you would want to add. In our tutorial, I have a couple of beach photos and I will load them to the system. Once loaded, I can grab any photo that I want. The model we will use is called the print model. In the left side, you will see a whole lot of different layouts which are meant for contact sheets if you are printing directly from Lightroom into your professional or home printer. But there is a way to do this for online purposes.

Before we get started, we will need to pick a layout. The ones that I’ll stick with are the custom layouts because they allow you to freely change the stuff up. So I will click on the custom centered and you can see we have three or two overlapping photos. I will add a couple of my beach photos here to try and splash things up a little bit. All we have to do is drag the photos to the spot where we want them to go. This done, we will have a very simple collage and you can move things around freely if you want to.

From here, we will work on adding text and logos if you want to do that. The best way to do it is also not technically meant to do this but we will use the Identity Plate which is a section in Lightroom which you can easily customize. The Identity Plate is located on top of the Lightroom Window and on the left-hand side. When you click on the plate, it opens a small window on the right bottom side of the Lightroom panel. Once you click on this panel, it’ll copy what you have in the identity plate. You can highlight the text that is copied in your collage, you can move it around and even change the size among other things.

With this in place, we will then go to our identity plate box on the right bottom section of Lightroom Window to change the text. The right way to do this is to click inside the box and another box will pop out. Select edit and the ‘Identity Plate Editor’ will open. Click on “Use a Styled Text; Identity plate” and then highlight the existing text, erase it and name it ‘The Beach’. You can highlight the new text and change the text to any color that perfectly blends with your photos. You’ll see that this changes the identity plate text only in the photo.

If you want to add a logo or any other kind of image, you can go back to the identity plate box, click and choose edit. Once the Identity Plate Editor opens, choose ‘Use a Graphical Identity Plate > Locate file’ and you’ll have a number of options to choose from. You can pick whatever you want to add and place it in there. However, I don’t want to do that but stick with the words. You can play with opacity to make the text blend with the rest of the collage.

I finally would want to have the option of posting the collage to the social media platforms. To do this, you need to export the collage to a file and if you see “Print and Printer” at the bottom, you will need to set up your Lightroom to go to a file and not an actual printer. The way to do this is chosen ‘print to’ and you see “Printer”. Click on this option and you’ll get ‘JPEG file’ and that will change some of the things a little bit. You can change things such as the JPEG quality and how large you want your pixels to be or how many pixels you want. When you click ‘Print to file’, you get a dialogue box to choose where you want to save it and I will choose ‘Desktop’ and I’ll save it under the name, ‘The Beach’ and click save.

It might take a little bit for the file to export to the desktop and you might have to wait especially if the images are larger. That is the easiest way to create collages in Adobe Lightroom and it’s not the best method. I normally do it in Photoshop but this shows that it’s also possible here. You can visit our blog section for more tutorials or check out for other great products under Lightroom and Photoshop tabs.

How to Use Sleeklens Lightroom Workflows For Editing

Post processing photo editing is one of the most amazing things you can ever do. Sleeklens offers a number of quality Lightroom workflows which you can use for all your editing work. This video is designed to walk you through the brand new improved Sleeklens workflows for Adobe Lightroom. Before that, I will show you what you get when you download the presets from Sleeklens.com. What you see is a bunch of pdf files which are recipe guides, brush workflows and presets workflows which you can install to your Adobe Lightroom. There are also previous collections which are non-stackable Lightroom presets which you can still use but we recommend using the new Complete Preset Workflows which are stackable.

Just looking at one of the recipe guides, you can see a few before and after photos and also see what they did to get these effects on the after photos. There is one recipe guide for each collection and you can scroll down you’ll find the exact preset workflow you would use to mimic the style.

Having gone through that, we will now go straight and look at the new workflows from Sleeklens.com. In our list, you’ll find all the workflows installed and they are all grouped under their names to keep them in an orderly manner.
We have a photo for our tutorial and we will make a perfect print out of it but I want to apply some really neat effects. We will head to the Newborn Delight Preset and once you click on this option, a new list will open starting with ‘ND’. If we take one of the examples, you will see ‘ND-0-All-in-One Babies. ND stands for Newborn Delight and ‘0’ stands for the category under which the all-in-one presets are and ‘Babies’ stands for the name of the actual preset). All in ones are a one-stop action or all-in-one click option to give you really nice effects. Looking at the preview will show you what kind of effects you get when we click on one of the presets.

Below this you’ll also find new workflow and they are all renamed in a shorter name to make it easier to save. So, number one is where you would start and these are stackable presets which means when you click on any of them, it only changes what it says it’ll change and therefore you can stack each preset on top of the other. For example, if I want to do a ‘Black and White tone’ I will click on “ND|1-Base – Auto-tone (B&W) and it’ll give me a beautiful black and white tone but if I want to brighten it a little bit, I can click on “ND-2-Exposure – Brighten”. Once this is done, we can do polishing by going to “ND-5-Polish – Let’s Clarify” and increase the clarity or do an “ND-6 –Vignette – Subtle black” and my work will be complete. The results will be a very nice but I will only use 6 stackable workflows and my work will be complete.

If we are working on a wedding picture, we will go to the “Strike a Pose Preset” and you’ll see that the same naming style is used here as well. We have SaP for Strike a Pose, ‘0’ for where all-in-one presets are created and the names of the presets. I will click on the “SaP|0-All in One – Muted Butterflies” and a single click creates a really beautiful photo but we can change it a little bit. We will go down the bases and do an auto-tune on the color by choosing the “SaP|1-Base–All-in-One – Auto-tone (Color) preset. We can also brighten the shadows by choosing “Sap|2-Exposure-Brighten Shadows which gives us a nice vintage fading effect. We can also to color correction and choose “SaP|3-Color Correct –Fix Red Skin and this corrects the red color of the skin giving you a color that matches well with the vintage effect. We don’t have to do any tone tints but we can do polish by choosing “SaP|5-Polish High Contrast” to increase blacks and whites. We will then do a black dreamy by choosing ‘SaP|6-Vignette-Black Dreamy. All those quick clicks give us a really nice photo which we can give to our clients and this is simply done by stacking different presets on top of each other.
Sleeklens Lightroom Brushes

Brushes are very useful in Lightroom as they allow you to have greater control over selective highlights and points in your photo that you wish to address. To start with the brushes, we will click on the “Brush” Icon and then ‘effect” and then look at all the brushes available. I will start with A Winter’s Tale | Color Desaturate for this photo. What we want to do is desaturate the background a little bit without making it look crazy. I will, therefore, paint on the background and you can see the changes but I can also bring it back a little bit by increasing “saturation” if I don’t get the exact effects I want. The best thing with brushes is that you can choose a specific one and then alter it still. From here we will get another brush by clicking “New” and then scroll through the list to pick what we want to do. In this case, we will choose “Strike a Pose| Face – SoftenSkin” make the brush a little bit smaller and paint on the guy’s skin. This will add a little bit of a glow effect and this is good for this type of wedding photos.

We will then need one more brush by clicking “New > Effect” and then choose “Al Carta |Light- Darken.” Just as we desaturated the background, we will paint to darken it by increasing the brush size and paint around without interfering with the couple. All this will allows us to create a vignetting effect without letting the software do it for us. If the background is a little bit dark for you, you can increase the exposure.

This is how you can quickly and easily apply these presets to your photos and you can see how the stacking works. This makes for quick editing giving you great results as seen in our video. You can learn more by visiting Sleeklens and clicking on the Lightroom tab and you’ll be able to see multiple presets available there. You can also check the different Photoshop Actions and other tutorials to help you with your photo editing processes.

How to Create the Tilt-Shift Effect in Adobe Photoshop

In this video, I will show you how to do a tilt-shift effect in Photoshop. Tilt shift effect is basically simulating a very large depth of field in post processing. This process is traditionally done using lens movements on medium and small-format cameras but many people do it during post processing because it is a way easy effect to do. I will show you how to do this here and just to start this off, it’s good to note that these effects work better on photos are shot at elevation such as the one we have in the video.

The first thing we will do to do this effect is to duplicate our layer by dragging it down to the bottom. With the duplicate layer ready, we will apply a blur to the top layer. A lot of people use the Gaussian blurs or you can use the lens blur, which I will use because I like its effects better. By clicking the Lens Blur, a dialogue box will open and this is a little bit more complicated than that of the Gaussian Blur but the slider we are really interested in is the “Radius”. The more you increase the radius, the more you get in your images. We do not want to be too blurred out but should be able to make out some of the images in the subjects in photos.

I will put the radius to around 19/20 and click ok and wait for it to render. With our blur ready, we will take away a linear portion of the photo that we want back in focus. The way to do that is to make a layer mask by clicking on the layer mask and then get a large black brush that is feathered to zero (0) thus making it very soft. I will then paint a straight line across the image and the way to get a perfectly straight line is by holding the ‘Shift’ button as you paint. This basically gives you what we’ll call a miniature model effect. This looks like a very small miniature model that you took a photo of.

This makes the cars to appear completely sharp while everything is blurred out. This is basically detailed shift effect. If I wanted to blur this a little bit more, I will click on the image, go to blur > lens blur and increase the blur to try and get it to exactly the way I want it to be and then click ok to apply the blur. This is a really cool effect to do especially if you shot your images at an elevation and you want to get an effect of a large depth of field.

Thank you for going through this tutorial and I hope you enjoyed it. You can look out for more tutorials on both Photoshop and Lightroom or check out different Lightroom workflows and Photoshop Actions from the site.

How to Remove Sensor Dust in Adobe Lightroom

It’s hard sometimes to keep dust off your camera sensor and even when you clean it, the most probable thing is that many digital SLR sensors have a magnetic way of capturing the specks. If your images already have dust spots, this video will teach you how to remove them easily and quickly in Adobe Lightroom. Dust spots are basically pieces of dust found in the front of your lens or could be actually on your sensor in the DSLR. You can know how much dust you have in your sensors by taking a picture of a clear sky and put it in your computer. This is a simple task but it’s kind of annoying to have in your photos.

Lightroom has a spot removal tool which we will use for this task. Click on the tab and under that you’ll see different options including ‘Clone’ and ‘Heal’ which you can choose from. We will use the heal option as this blends in a little bit better. As seen in the tutorial image, we have a few dust spots. We will click on ‘Heal’ and then click on the dust spot and move over the sample on top of the different dust spots. Once this is done we click “done” and that will be it.

There is, however another tool that we could use and many people do use it as well. This tool is called Visualized spot tool found on the bottom of the Lightroom window when you click on the spot removal tool you’ll see a small check box and when you click on it, it turns the images into black and white. This shows you a kind of threshold view of where spots are on your photo. While in this mode, you will also see many other spots. These are not dust spots but textures of your photo. You can decrease the “visualized spot tool’ slider to help remove the texture spots from view thus leaving you with the dust spots only. You can now click on the spots that you see and then uncheck the “visualized spot tool’ and then click done. The image will revert back to its original color and the spots will be gone.

With this done, you can look at the before and after photos. You’ll realize that the dust spots have been removed and everything in the ‘after’ image is clean and clear. This is an easy and fast process to get rid of ugly spots on your photos in Adobe Lightroom. The visualized spot tool is an efficient and reliable tool whenever you have such a problem and need to deal with it thus leaving you with nice-looking images.

You can also check more of our Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials or visit Sleeklens.com for superb Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions.

How to Remove Chromatic Aberration From Your Photos in Lightroom

As a photographer, it’s not all the times that your images come out perfectly after your photo shoot. Chromatic aberration is one of the main problems many people encounter and knowing how to remove this optical problem is very important. This video has been put together to guide you on how to remove chromatic aberration from your photos using Adobe Lightroom.

In our video, we already have our photo ready and some basic edits have already been done. However, the image still has a purple tone/hue to it and this is mainly around the leaves and the branches. This happens when your camera can’t decipher the colors of the image and the pixels in that particular range. The result is that the image gets a purple or green tone. Lightroom actually makes it very easy to get rid of this. One thing you can try and this is where the camera profile for your lens in your camera combination will come into play here. But if you go to ‘Lens collection > Profile, you can say remove Chromatic aberration. This might do it but sometimes it doesn’t help. You can also enable the profile collection and see whether that will do anything.

In our particular photo here, there is a lot of chromatic aberration. We will go to the manual tab and here you’ll see the defringe option under which you find purple and green hue slider. We will click on the amount and drag it down up to a point where the purple tone becomes less noticeable. You can also work on the green as well. If you increase the amount of purple or green back, you discover that it becomes clearly visible in the images. So, by using the defringing option and reducing the purple and green hues, you will be able to deal with the chromatic aberration problem with ease.

Looking at the before and after photos, you discover a whole lot of difference. The purple and green in the before photo has already disappeared and aren’t visible in the after photo.

That is how quickly and easy it is to remove the chromatic aberration or defringing from your images using Adobe Lightroom. If you do this and you find that the chromatic aberration does not go away, you can play with the hue of the tones. Sometimes you find that you have blue or a green tone instead of the purple tone. Still, you can play with the slider more to get rid of the problem.

You can check more of our tutorials to help you deal with different photography problems using Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.

How to Remove Tattoos in Adobe Photoshop

Many people wear tattoos

only to develop a hatred for them after some time. In most cases, one may want to get rid of their tattoos and make them invisible from their photos and this is a common thing today. If you have a photo that you would like to remove a tattoo, this tutorial will help you understand how best you can do it in Adobe Photoshop.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we have this photo bearing a tattoo which seems hard to get rid of based on light variation. We will start by creating a new layer and you’ll discover that the skin around the tattoo is divided into three different versions; darker version, mid-range version and highlight version. With this, using the clone tool will cost a lot of time sampling and even the results we get might not match perfectly. There will be more work and cloning required and you might also see repeated patterns, and this is not what you want.

There is a different way you can remove the tattoo in Adobe Photoshop using a regular brush. We will take a brush and also create a new layer so we do not mess up our original photo. But before sampling different areas of the skin, it’ll be good to play with the opacity and the flow of the brush, otherwise, the sampling will leave the image looking messy. Lowering the opacity automatically removes the darkness of the brush thus allowing it to be more ‘see-through’ or more opaque. On the other hand, the flow will allow you to paint a little bit at a time gradually adding on top of the brush stroke you just made.

We will lower the opacity and the flow and sample from the lighter areas. You realize that while sampling, the brush will make a stroke but this is barely visible. The flow will allow me to paint one stroke at a time and as we go down to the middle range version, the brush doesn’t create hard lines. The main key while removing the tattoos is to keep sampling to make it blend a little more.

While sampling on the darker version, it’ll be good to sample from the darker area. If you see something like a spur where you can see a line separating the colors, then you need to start smoothing. The more we keep sampling, the more the tattoo disappear. Once we are done with the painting, we will need to get rid of those areas which are over-painted and this we will do by creating a layer mask and then increase our opacity and the flow of the brush to 100. This done, we will get a black brush and keep it feathered a little bit.

We will then paint away with as much precision as possible. You’ll discover that some of the tattoos is painted back but what we will do is make our color white again and paint it away. This easily wipes the tattoo off and it allows you to be more creative with your lighting as well because maybe you wanted to change the lighter parts of the skin and make them a little darker but the highlight was hiding that part of the body. With this kind of painting, we not only take away the tattoo but also enhance the lighting.

If you have a little more complex thing you’d want to remove, combining the clone stamp tool and the healing brush with that removal option will allow you to remove basically anything you want from your photo.

You can check more photography tutorials, Photoshop actions, and Lightroom Presets by visiting Sleeklens.

How to Replace the Reflections in Sunglasses Using Adobe Photoshop

When it comes to a sunny day, wearing sunglasses is important as it protects the eyes from harmful, direct rays of the sun. However, equally important is taking those beautiful shoots that will remind you of your own or client’s experience outdoors. Sunglasses normally reflect the surrounding objects and in some cases, you might want to replace these and have them reflect something else that wasn’t part of the surrounding environment but will make the photo look better. As such, this tutorial has been put together to help you learn how you can put a different reflection in sunglasses easily using Adobe Photoshop.

To start the process, we need to have the image that we want to use as the replacement on top of the sunglasses. We will drag it to our original photo and put it on top and then hit Command/Ctrl +T to transform it. We will shrink the object to fit in the sunglasses and turn it a little bit to make the replacement look original. While at it, if you want to put different scenes on top of sunglasses or do a replacement but realize that the image is not the best to use, you can use a smart object in Photoshop is very powerful to change this up without having to follow all these steps again.

What you do is to right-click on the object and then choose “Convert to Smart Object.” This might not appear as though you’ve done anything but when you have a smart object, you’ll have a small icon on the layer and this allows you to change the photo willingly and be able to put different types of photos on top of what you are doing.

From here, we need to get a selection. We will, therefore, hide the current layer and get a selection of the sunglass frames that we need to be replaced on. We can use a number of tools including the pencil, the right selection tool, the magic wand or any other method you want. For our tutorial, I already have one selected and therefore we will go to “Load Select tool > Sunglasses” and then show the image layer again. We will then create a layer mask and once we click on the layer mask button, everything outside the sunglass frames disappears except what is in the selection.

Of course, you will realize that what is left looks okay but fake. To blend in perfectly and add realism, you can reduce the opacity or go on and play with blending mode. We will choose the ‘screen blending mode’ which allows you to see the reflection of the clouds and also see through the lens like it was originally was and you can see the contours of the guys’ face.

You can toggle to see the ‘before and after’ photo and you can see the difference. We can look at how another photo would look like and this is where the smart object comes in. Remember the smart object layer that we had and you can go to this and double click on it. This shall open a separate document and this is the original sky layer that we had and that we turned and this is what we can replace with. We can hide this layer and drag another image of the sky into the smart object layer and it’ll automatically open. We then transform it a little bit so it looks a little better in the frame.

When this is done, we close the layer and once you click on the close button, it’ll ask don’t save, cancel or save and you can choose to save and it’ll be saved internally. We can then go to our original layer and you’ll realize that the sky has changed in the sunglasses. If we go back again and hide the original one and click ‘save’ again, we will get the clouds again.

This tool is powerful and you can use it to place many different objects and scenes in there and it’ll automatically update without you going through the process again. That’s how it is to quickly replace the reflection on sunglasses using the Adobe Photoshop. There are different types of blending modes you can use and they’ll all give you different reactions but you can look for the one that works best for you.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, you can visit Sleeklens.com for more as well as multiple Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions.

How to Use the Content Aware Scale Tool in Adobe Photoshop

Use this video to learn how you can use the content aware scale tool in Photoshop. This feature allows you to select something in your images and Photoshop automatically analyzes the scene around it and do what it is. Most people consider content aware scale as deleting something. You can circle something in the photo and then let it do a content aware scale on it and it’ll magically make it disappear without any effort. It analyses the pixels around and finds the best pixels to place there to cover up whatever it is that you want to delete.

Photoshop has a tool that is used called content aware scale that is very helpful when it comes to taking your photos and manipulating them to scale them larger, smaller, expand them and stuff like that. In our tutorial, we have a photo which we will use and although it’s a great photo, but in the rule of perspective, it is very symmetrical. Maybe we want to do a rule of thirds composition technique to have the model in a different position. We will expand one side of the image to give the model a different composition. To do this, we will get our crop tool and this will give us some little handles at the end of the image. We will extend the image as far as we want and this will give us a large white area which we should get rid of.

To do this, we will need our content aware scale tool. We will select the rectangular marquee tool and select an area towards the edge of the photo and this is where we do the content aware magic. We will go to “Edit > Content Aware Scale” and what this will do is that it allows us to drag the edge of the image, stretch it to cover the white space that we created and then press enter. All it did was to analyze the pixels, stretch it out just enough so it doesn’t look warped and the photo blends perfectly. We can use the photo for different purposes such as Facebook banner by simply cropping it out to fit the desired size.

The process is that easy and all we did was to use one simple tool to expand it out. The content aware tool is very useful if you are trying to take your photos and turn them into something that can be used for media or for printing among other things.

You can check other tutorials which we have created to help you perfect your photo editing skills or find out more about our Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions by clicking on the different tabs available on the site.

Using Color and Contrast Edits in Your Sunset Photos

In this tutorial, I would like to show you some tips and tricks on how to edit sunset photography. I have the image uploaded for the purpose of the tutorial and it was taken on the ocean with a very beautiful sunset in background. What I want to show you are the two things that make sunset photos to stand out and the first is the contrast and secondly the color. If you are able to get these two things in your photos, then you can be assured of very good sunset images that will be captivating the yes.

In my uploaded image, I want to decrease a little bit of contrast and some of the spots. The water in the photo looks great but I would like to decrease some of the contrast in the sky. One of the ways I can do this is to take my adjustment brush, reduce the contrast a bit and then paint on the sky. This might not work exactly for your image but my sky here was very contrasty and I want to tone that a little bit. The reason I am using the adjustment brush is that I do not want to touch the water since this already looks great the way it is.

This done, we can go off our adjustment brush. We already have a great sky that allows us to have a little bit better color editing. This is where the color pack comes in. We have colors we can choose in the HSL and we can individually choose the colors to make it pop out. But I like first of all going to the vibrancy and saturation before touching the colors whatsoever.

Saturation mainly affects all the warm colors such as the reds, yellows, oranges and such. As I increase the saturation, the oranges in the image pop out more and it becomes a little bit too bright. In such a case, you do not want to increase the saturation much as this could affect you photo negatively. However, the level of saturation increase will depend on how your image looks and whether it needs such kind of an adjustment.

On the other hand, vibrancy controls the cooler colors such as the greens, purples, and blues, magenta and if I increase the vibrancy, most of the oranges but also the blues and purples are affected. You shouldn’t increase the vibrancy too much since this will make your colors look awful. You should keep in mind that touching the saturation affects the warmer colors while vibrancy affects the cooler colors and that is something you must have in mind when editing the sky. Do you want the oranges highlighted a little bit or to do you want the blues highlighted a little more?

In this tutorial, I want the saturation to remain where it was while concentrating on the blues and purples. As such, I will increase the vibrancy and this will definitely change the way the image looks.
Another thing you can do to help with the colors minus doing the HSL panel is to use the Temp & Tint. As such, I will take up my temperature and the magenta a little bit and this will tone down some of the oranges and yellows.

With these quick edits, you can look at the ‘before and after’ photos and you’ll realize that the edited image has cooler, moody feel to it and looks like a real sunset. The ‘before’ image looks great but I wanted to make the colors richer and make it stand out a little bit more. But if I wouldn’t have taken the contrast of the sky down, the image would have been a bit overdone.
Contrasts and colors are just some of the things to think about when editing your sunset photography as they help the colors to stand out more.

You can look for more photography tutorials from Sleeklens as well as Lightroom Presets and Photoshop actions.

Through the Woods Workflow Recipe Guide Preview

I will use this tutorial to show you how you can edit your photos using Through the Woods Recipe from Sleeklens.com. This recipe comes from the recipe guide that you receive every time you order one of the presets from Sleeklens.com. You get a before and after and some cool effects you can apply to your photos and it shows you the exact presets and brushes you need to use in order to get similar effects as those you see in the images.

To get started, we will use the already uploaded image and although it is not similar to the photos that you see in the examples, we will create a different looking photo and bring out the highlights, bring some colors to the foreground and give more definitions to the sky.
To do this, the first preset we need to apply is the Through the Woods – All-in-One –Warm Shadows. This will change the color a little bit, brings about some more definition, and more clarity to the foreground and the sky.

The next step is to apply a preset that adds more contrast to the image. The best for this will be Through the Woods – Polish- Add Contrast. When I click this, it adds more contrast, darkening of the shadows and lightening of the highlights. We will then apply ‘Through the Woods – Polish – Add Clarity and this will add clarity to the image. These are the main presets that we need to apply.

The next step will be to use our brushes and to do this; we will go to ‘Effects > Through the Woods – Haze – Golden’ make the brush a little larger and then paint over the grass to make it a little brighter. The next brush I will use is the “Through the Woods – Cloudy Sky Definition. I will click ‘New > Through the Woods – Effects-Cloudy Sky Definition. It is always important to choose ‘New’ when taking this step and then choose your desired brush. I will then paint the sky and if it is a bit too dark and maybe the sky has some too dark spots, it is good to increase the exposure to help it blend in well.

The nest brush I will use is the Through the Woods – Subtle Sunset Haze. So, I will click New > Through the Woods – Subtle Sunset Haze’ and then paint midway through the grass just to add some color to it. This will keep the green color but add some golden effect on the grass, leaving it looking like maturing wheat.

With that having been done, you can have a look at the before and after to see the changes you applied to the image. It is obvious that the before and after will have clear differences. The ‘before’ image looks a little flat but the ‘after’ photo is brightened up a little bit and looks more catchy with a bit of character added to it.

That is a good example of using Through the Woods presets from Sleeklens.com and if you want to see how much more you can achieve with this collection, you can find it by clicking the Lightroom Tab on the website. You can also find other great collections for both Lightroom and Photoshop to help you with your photo edits.

The Complete Sleeklens Workflow Editing in Photoshop and Lightroom

In this tutorial, I will show you the complete workflow using Lightroom Presets then going to Photoshop and using Photoshop Actions and overlays and then coming back to Lightroom and finishing the photo edit. This is a complete workflow using all the Sleeklens products and it makes it really makes it easy to edit and improve your editing styles.

To start the process, I need to decide what I want my photo to look like. I want my photo to look high dynamic range kind of photo but I still want it to look wintery. Right now it looks too warm.

I will start by picking the presets that I will use. Obviously, I want the photo to look wintery and therefore I will start with A Winter’s Tale Presets. There is a bunch of presets I can use but I will start with the All-in-One presets which are designed to change a whole lot of effects all at once. I will pick the ‘–Winters tale – All-in-One– Bright and Shine. Applying this preset gives the picture a cool temperature and makes it look more wintery that it previously was.

From here I would like to add a little saturation to the image. One of the saturation sets that has a lot of saturation controls is the Forgotten Postcard Presets and since these are stackable collections, I can go through each of them thus getting thousands of combinations of what you can do. But I will go to Forgotten Postcard -4 and click Tone &Tint more saturation. I don’t want it to be very saturated but it gives it a little bit of a kick, while at the same time giving it a bit of blue tint and I don’t want to add more blue than I should.

The best way to deal with this is to go to Forgotten Postcard – 3 –Color Correct and say, ‘Reduce Blue’. This takes down the blue and makes it more mutual while still keeping that wintery feel and that is what I am looking for.

From here I need to go to Photoshop and look at some actions we have there and even apply an overlay. All I will do is right click on the photo and say ‘Edit In > Adobe Photoshop’. This will open the Photo in Adobe Photoshop and from here I will open the actions panel. I will go to Window > Actions and here you can see how all the Sleeklens action packs are arranged. I will expand on “Sleeklens” and this will give me a variety of options which I can use to correct any particular part of this photo. I want to go to ‘Enhance Sky Enhancer’. I don’t have a major sky in this photo but I will show you what this effect can do on the photo besides the sky. I will click on the Enhance Sky Enhancer and then click play.

Sleeklens Actions come with a really good dialogue box that helps you maneuver and apply the effects to the photo. The dialogue box says “Warning! The action is not affecting the image yet. Paint the layer mask white in the areas you want to apply the effect on” I will click ‘continue’ and minimize the actions. There are some adjustments with the layer mask which can be found on the right-hand side of the window.

I will highlight the layer mask and then get my brush set on white. I will then paint over the areas I want to change. Although I don’t have a sky, I will paint on the building and this brings out more details from it and this is very cool. I will click on all the buildings in the image. I will then apply the effect and this will undoubtedly have a major impact on my photo.

I will then apply an overlay to the photo and in particular, I will be using the snow overlays. These will make the photo look as if it was taken in the snow. I will open the overlays and this gives me three options; Light, Rain and Snow. I will click on Snow> Overlays and here I can preview the different options available before settling on any particular one. I will go for Snow 3 JPG, click it and drag it onto the photo. From here I can size it to the particular dimensions I want it to cover and the click ‘enter’.

The overlay will be applied and from here I need to change the blending mode to ‘Screen’. This will give me a faint snowflake effects and if I want to intensify it, all I can do is duplicate the layer. However, I don’t want to do this to the same overlay and therefore I will choose a different overlay. I can even apply multiple overlays. I will go for Snow 7-2 JPG which has bigger snowflakes. I will do the same thing, click on it and drag over the image and scale it to where I want it to be and then change the blending mode to screen. The effects will look too harsh but I can adjust the opacity to give it the desired effects.

I will then go back to Lightroom to do the final edits and the photo will be fully taken care of. I will go to File > Save and this will take me back to Lightroom with my photo from Photoshop. I can do a couple of basic edits to it. Although I like the way it looks, I will do a bit of editing just as applying more saturation, clarity and take down the highlights. With this, I will be done with my edits and I can look at the ‘before’ and after’ photos and enjoy the beauty of the enhanced results.

You can look out for more tutorials from us on how to use different collections from Sleeklens or find the best Photoshop actions or Lightroom Presets to help edit your photos.

The Importance of Snapshots in Adobe Lightroom

In this tutorial, I will show you one of my absolute favorite features in Lightroom and it has been around forever. I will show you how powerful and useful it is when editing one photo a number of times and you are not sure which one you exactly like. This feature is known as snapshots and can be found on the left side while in the develop module when you scroll past the presets. What that does is that it allows you to save your settings that you like so you don’t have to create and save duplicate images.

I will use a photo that was uploaded right out of the camera and there are no edits done to it whatsoever. I saved a quick black and white snapshot. When I click on this snapshot, it just changes automatically to all the settings that I previously had. But I want to see what other types of editing styles I can do to this photo. I can right click on the snapshot or create a virtual copy if I want to and do another photo but what that does is clean up your library.

The way to get around that is to use snapshots. I will look for presets that I like. I will go to Brick and Mortar and I can use the preview on the top left to see the one that best works for me. I will settle for ‘Memories from the DDR’. I like this one because it gives a different kind of feel and it is actually a kind of color image but it is kind of desaturated. I will go to Lens Correction and the highlight ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ and also do the ‘Auto’ to keep the image straight.

I would like to keep this option available and not use a different image. I will scroll down to my snapshots and click the Plus (+) button, call it ‘Desat Color’ and click ‘Create’ and this will be added to my snapshots. This will mean that I can easily go to my black and white if I want to or to the color if I want to. I can do this as many times as I want just using one image.

The reason why I stress this too much is that you want to keep your Lightroom organized and this is a perfect way to do it if you want to have multiple edits using the same photo. This is a simple and really quick tutorial but using your snapshots is a really fantastic way of editing one file multiple times and keeping those edits together.

You can check more Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials under the blog section or check out for our incredible Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions under the different tabs on the site.

Strike a Pose Recipe Guide Preview

In this tutorial, I will show you how to edit your portrait photos using the Strike a Pose Workflow Lightroom presets from Sleeklens.com. This edit comes from the recipe guide you get when you purchase the collection. You actually get a couple of ‘before and after’ photos and you also get a workflow on how can achieve this type of results.

For this tutorial, we will use one of the photos which is really superb. But before we start with the edit, it is good to note that I won’t be applying the brushes since they don’t get along very well with the before and after photos that I have chosen to edit. But I also would like to show you what you get by just using the presets. You can use the brushes if you want to but just by doing the presets you can achieve a fantastic photo.

The first preset we need to apply is from the Strike a Pose presets. We will scroll down and apply the Strike a Pose Workflow – 1 –Base – High Key. Once we apply this, you can see how perfectly it blends with the photo making it pop. We will then add the Strike a Pose Workflow -3-Color Correct –Fix Green Skin. You can tell that by there being some grass in the image, then there will be a need to have color separation with the temperature and this can be corrected really quickly using the color correct preset.
From here, we will apply the Strike a Pose Workflow – 4-Tone-Tint- Summer Ten. This gives the image a different effect and blend up a couple of highlight spots. We will then apply the Strike a Pose Workflow – 6-Vignette – Heavy Black and this pulls your eyes to the scene and this is exactly what you want. It also has a heavy vignette and still makes up for the details.

That is how simply we can edit our photos using presets without brushes. However, you can apply brushes if you want to do so. There are quite a number of brushes which you can use and choose the effects to blend perfectly with. A look at the before and after images, however, shows that with just the presets, you can turn your photos into captivating images quickly and with ease.
You can learn more about these presets by visiting our tutorial section today. You can also check more of Sleeklens’ products by clicking on the Lightroom Tab and you will find something that matches your photography style.

Sleeklens Autumn Pumpkin Glaze PS Overlays and Actions Collection – Leaves Edit

I would like to use this tutorial to show you how you can use the new Autumn Pumpkin Glaze Photoshop Overlays and Actions from sleeklens to edit your photos and get amazing results. I will show you how to edit my already uploaded photo y basically enhancing all the fall colors and make them more autumn-like. I will also add some overlays to add leaves to the photos.

To get started, I already have the Sleeklens collection loaded and you can see all the actions which I can play with. I will start by selecting the “Cool Autumn Preset” and then click play and this will apply the effect. If I don’t like the intensity of the effect it gives, I will adjust the opacity of the layer and then click ok. Just a single click applies some cool autumn-like effects to the image which still had a little bit of green and didn’t look really fall or autumn-like. The effects turned the greens giving it some yellow kick and oranges are pumped up making it look awesome.

We will do one more edit before we add the leaves and the edit I want to put is the ‘Cool cinematic action’. I will select that and click the play button to apply the effects. It’ll give the notification on whether I want to reduce the effect it gives and I will reduce the layer and then click continue. This gives a little bit more contrast, gives it a little more color tone and you can check and see the “Before and After” to see what the edits have achieved.

I will now add leaves by first removing my actions and drag over the overlays. We have a bunch of cool overlays which come with the collection. We can choose birds, color filters; leaves, light, rain and skies. I will choose leaves and this gives me a whole lot of options to work with. You also get Photoshop files and not just JPEG. I will use the “Leaves Overlay – 5” and I will click on the leaves, drag it on top of my file and drop them. This will give me leaves which I can move about anywhere I want to. I will click Command/Ctrl + T to change their size and then move them around. You can overlay different kinds of leaves and use as many as possible.

I will duplicate the layer and move the other duplicated layer to the image. Although it’s covering the face, I can take that away in a few seconds. The leaves will appear as though they’re falling in front of her and all I will do is group them by clicking Command/Ctrl + G and then apply a layer mask by clicking on the layer mask option at the bottom. This gives me the option to paint away leaves and this is what I want to do. I want to get rid of the leaves that are blocking her face.

With my layer mask selected, I will click on the brush and change the brush color to black. Once I choose black, I will zoom in the image and paint away the leaves I want to remove and leave the rest in a way that gives an impression of depth is happening to the image. With this done, I will toggle to see the “Before and after” photo to see the effects the edits made.

Although the ‘before’ photo looks good, the effects applied to the image makes the ‘after’ photo have an autumn-like effect. The edited photo tells a story in autumn tone, makes it pop out more and leaves it looking superb.
You can check our blog section to find out more tutorials on how to edit your photos or check out our Lightroom and Photoshop collections to help transform your photos and tell your story in a superb way.

Sleeklens Autumn Pumpkin Glaze PS Overlays and Actions Collection – Park Bench Edit

In this tutorial, I would like to show you some really cool effects you can get using the brand new Photoshop collection called Autumn Pumpkin Glaze Overlays and Actions from Sleeklens. When you download the collection, you will see the folder called Sleeklens Autumn Pumpkin Glaze Collection and once you double click on it, you see the Autumn Pumpkin Glaze ATN which means action. This is the main thing that you need to install and to do that, if you haven’t done that already is to go to Windows > Actions and you’ll see a little menu at the right hand corner of the small panel that opens. Choose ‘Load Actions’ option and this will open another folder and once you get there, you will see that the folder is the only one highlighted and from there you can click ‘Open’.

When you click open, you’ll see all the items inside there and when you expand them you’ll see all the available options which you can do to your photo. I will walk you through one of the editing techniques you can use for your photos and you can freely follow along. I want to edit my photo which is already uploaded and turn it into a really nice, warm, crisp, contrast autumn photo.

One of the first things I will do is to play with the lighting. I want to emphasize that there was sun at the center of the image and make it look punchy with the light. With the collection you also get overlays which are really great. When you click on the overlays folder, you will find birds overlay, light, snow, color filter, leaves, skies, and rain. Since I want to enhance light in the image, I will pick on Light Overlay and choose Light Overlay No 4. As you preview your selection, you will be able to see how it mimics the sun before you can apply it. I will drag the overlay to my Photo and position it where I want it to be and then click enter.

As I hit enter, you realize that my sun image is added to the photo by there is a large black portion surrounding it. To get rid of all the black from the photo, I will change my blending mode to ‘Screen’. This takes away the black and keeps the white, which is what I wanted. I will now move it around and position it exactly where I want it to be.

I will then go ahead and do some advanced editing to the photo. I will do two lighting adjustment to turn this photo into an awesome photo. I will go to ‘Tone – Cinematic Autumn’ I will click that and then click the play button. It tells me “If you want to reduce the effects of the action, please lower the opacity of the adjustment layer group” and I will click ‘Continue’. This will make the necessary adjustments and you can see these grouped in a folder. So, if I want to decrease the effect, all I will do is take the opacity down.

In my last edit, I will use a preset. As you scroll down, you will find the presets and we will choose ‘Old Mil preset’ and click ‘Play’. This will give the photo some great effects. This particular preset adds more details to the trees, the sun blends in very well because we did the edit first and the leaves get a great color, it gives a really nice vignette.

We can look at our ‘Before’ and ‘After’ and you’ll see how just a few clicks transformed the image. We will group all our effects into a single folder and you’ll see how amazing our photo looks. The beauty of this collection is that it turns your images into amazing photos with just a few clicks and you can easily print or use these images on your social media pages.

You can get more Photoshop tutorials by visiting our blog section or pick any of our Ligthroom Presets or Photoshop Actions to help you do your editing easily and fast.

Sleeklens Autumn Pumpkin Glaze PS Overlays and Actions Collection – Building Edit

In this tutorial, I would like to show you how to use the brand new Photoshop collection from sleeklens.com known as Autumn Pumpkin Glaze Overlays and Actions collection. This new collection includes a bunch of cool stuff such as overlays, brushes, and actions you can apply to your photos.

To get started, I will start by opening my actions window by going to Windows > Actions and here I have all of the Sleeklens’ Autumn Pumpkin Glaze Photoshop Actions installed. First, I would like to bring out more details and shadows and bring down highlights to my image and to do this I will apply the “High Dynamic Range PS Actions”. I will highlight that and then click play. This gives me my final photo with the actions applied and it gives me the message to reduce the effects and all I will do is reduce the opacity of the layer. I will, therefore, click “Continue” and then back the opacity down since what I have is too much for what I am looking for. I will reduce my opacity to around 59/60 but this will depend on the image you are working with.

With just one click, we have more details on the shadows and highlights such that we can see more details on the clouds. The next thing I will do is play around with the colors. I would like to enhance the yellows and oranges a little bit by just pumping them up a little bit. I will click on “Tone >Autumn Transformation No 1- Intense Red” and then click the play button. This will give the message to decrease the effects and will do this by decreasing the opacity of the layer. I will click continue and since it is too much, I will back it down to around 60 just the way I did to the HDR Layer. Again, you should back the opacity down depending on your image and editing needs. After this, you can toggle the before and after images to see the transformation this did.
The next thing I would like to do is to apply a vignette to the photo. I will scroll down to the ‘Brown Vignette” and then click. This adds a small vignette, nothing crazy since I don’t want to make it too harsh. It adds a little vignette to draw your eyes to the center which is what you want to do.

The next two things I want to apply to this photo are overlays. When you down the presets, you get an overlay photo which will include a couple of overlays which are cool to use including birds, color filters, leaves, rain, and sky. I want to apply some birds right above the building. I will click the bird folder and you can see that the first one has a JPEG which I will apply to the photo. It looks like the birds will get scattered around the whole center area. I will drag it to the photo and since the birds are a bit large, I will scale them down to make them look realistic. I will position them where I want them to be and then click enter.

I will then change the blending mode to remove all the whites. The best blending mode to use is the “Multiply Blending Mode” which removes all the whites and leaves the black portions of the photo which are the birds. I can move the birds freely and place them anywhere I want. If I don’t want to retain some of the birds, I can apply a layer mask, take a brush and change the color of the brush to black to erase them away. The birds that remain in the photo will blend perfectly well and be scattered in a natural way.
The last thing I want to do is to do is to add some kind of light effect. I want to mimic as if the sun was somewhere on the edge of the building just to add some little interest. So I will open my Overlays >Light Overlays> Light Overlay 9”. This has a warm color to it and I’ll drag it to the color as well. I don’t want to have it in a perfect circle since if I want to mimic the sun, it is not always in a perfect, exact circle. I will squash it down a little bit and decrease the size and click enter.

To get rid of the blacks in the photo, we don’t use the Multiply Blending Mode but the Screen Blending Mode. Using it will get rid of all the black in the photo. I also have a light burst which I can apply anywhere in the photo. I will take Transform, enlarge it a little more and position it in the image. The results look perfect but if you want to back it down a little bit, you can take the opacity just as with all other adjustments and back it down. If we look it in a while and don’t like it, we can move it over and position it anywhere in the photo since we have removed all the blacks in the photo.

With this, I will have my ‘after’ photo and if we remove all the effects I have done, you can see the ‘Before’ photo which was ok but needed some editing done to it. You can also see the transformations we did to the photo which makes it look awesome. The feel in the after photo is exactly what I was looking for.

You can check more tutorials in our blog section or click the Lightroom or Photoshop tabs for more presets and actions to help you with your photo editing work.

Simple Dispersion Pixel Effect in Adobe Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will teach you how to make a dispersion effect or shuttered pixel effect in Photoshop. This idea was given by one of the Exclusive Sleeklens Club members on Facebook and if you don’t mind you can go ahead and join the group.

Making the dispersion effect in Photoshop is actually simple but the more time you spend with it, the better it usually gets. To start the process, you will need to have your photo ready and uploaded in Adobe Photoshop. I have extended my image to the direction that I want my effects to go. The effects will make the image look a bit shuttered and the model’s skin and clothes will look as though they are coming off her.

To start the process, I will make a duplicate of the image. This I will do by dragging down and make a copy. I will then use the original image to remove the model from the background. The best way to do this will be to use the quick selection tool, paint over her in a neat way for more effectiveness and once she is selected, I will copy and paste by clicking the Command/Ctrl + C and then Command/Ctrl + V and pop her on a new layer. This means that if I deactivate the other layers, my model will have been copied to a different layer.

From here, I will pick the middle layer and use it to make a blank canvas. This is going to be easy because the background is white but if I were to use a regular image with a false background or something like that, it is best to clone out or clone in the missing pieces. But these effects are normally done with a solid background. To remove her, I will use the “Eraser Tool” and draw around her and then go ahead to “Edit > Fill > Content Aware” and then click OK and this will remove her from the image.

The white background is now ready for the actual effects and that was basically the preparation for the effect to make it turn out as best is it can. From this point, I will create two images of the top layer of the actual person. I will take the first one and hide it and then take the second and apply a layer mask. I will then get my brush (Splatter Brush is the best) which promises us good results. I will make sure that the foreground color is black and then break up the sharp edge of the figure using a fairly small splattered brush until I’m satisfied.
With the effect to play, we can now toggle on the bottom layer and must turn it back on. It will look as if nothing happened. From there, I will warp the image to make it really big. You can press Ctrl +t and the right click and click “Warp”. There are tutorials where people go to ‘Liquify’ and change everything that way. However, many people are not familiar with Liquify tool and the method we are using is the easiest. What I will be doing is to warp my model and although it makes her look deformed, it puts all the colors.

I will warp the model to make her more deformed and this aligns everything and puts the colors out there in a perfect way. I will then hit enter and apply another layer mask by holding Alt key on the keyboard and then click the layer mask button and turn it into a black mask. This will allow me to choose a white brush and paint everything back in. This brings the color back and we can finish everything from here to give it a sporadic look. We will keep clicking until we get the desired effect.

There are some parts of the model that will be matching a little bit with the colors in the dispersion effect especially the hair and I will change my paint brush to black again. This will allow me to remove some matching colors on the effect without messing up with the speckled pattern. If you would like to change some of these colors a little bit, you can unlock the warped layer, click on the actual image (not the layer mask) and then click Command/Ctrl + T and you can move the effect freely while keeping the speckled pattern. If you don’t like what this does, you can hit exit and it will revert to the previous pattern.

That is how you can make the dispersion effects in Photoshop with ease. A lot of variations of this effect happen and some people use different kinds of brushes but it all depends on the kind of effects you would like to put together. You can try your hands on different images and see what happens. With time, you will be able to perfect the art ad do it like a pro.
You can visit Sleeklens.com for more videos, blogs, plus Lightroom and Photoshop presets to help advance your photography skills.

How to Edit a Portrait Using the Winter Illuminations Collection

This video is designed to show you how to edit a portrait photo using the brand new Winter Illuminations Collection from Sleeklens. We earlier did another video to teach you how to edit landscape photos using the same collection and I hope you have already made some strides in your post-processing edits using the techniques outlined in the video.

To begin the process, you will need to have your photo ready and uploaded into the system. I have my really good portrait and the model is stretching her hands out as if she is catching snow, she’s got snow in her hair but you can hardly see any snow falling. So, I will amplify that and add some basic adjustments on her such as smoothing the skin, vignette to draw your eye into the photo.

The first thing we need to do is have the Winter Illuminations Collection installed. This is already installed in my system and therefore I will go to Windows > Actions > Winter Illuminations Collection and expand that. From here you can see all of the awesome adjustments you can and the type of combinations you can do.

I will start with the smooth skin brush and then hit the play button. This will bring a message that says “Adjust the brush and Layer opacity as needed to smooth the skin”. I will click OK and then continue. This gives you a layer mask which allows me to paint there with a white brush to apply the effect. I will zoom into the face (the effect is not applied until I start painting), and with the basic brush which is set to white and I will start painting.

Once I have painted, I will toggle off you can see the natural skin but when I toggle on, you can see the smooth skin. This is one cool brush you can apply. When you zoom out and consider that it’s too much, you can lower the opacity and blend it a little bit more to see what works best for you. I will keep mine at around 80 and this gives me my skin smoothing effect.

I will highlight the background layer again and apply a Fake HDR preset and then click the play button. This tones down the image down a little bit and gives me a more detailed back, more details shadows, and the hair is brightened up a little bit. If we toggle it off, you realize that the previous version is really bright but when we toned it down with the HDR so we could get more details back there.

The next effect I will do is the Dark Vignette. I will highlight the background layer again, select the Dark Vignette and then click the play button. This darkens the edges around the image really quickly but draws your eyes more towards the model which is the subject and that is what we really want.

Now that we have the basic edits applied, we will apply the snow brush. I will create a blank layer and with the snow brushes installed, I will click on the snow brush and scroll down, pick the one I want to use based on the intensity of the snow that I want to have in the image. Based on my choice of the brush, you can see the small and large dots and I just want to size it down roughly to the size of the frame. Since my foreground color is white, all I will do is a single click and you can see that there will be falling snow in the image. We can add more snow by doing one more click or I can make it look like it is falling down a little bit fast. I will click on the snow layer by going to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and make the snow fall straight down a bit. We will also lower the distance a little so it’s not as blurred.

We still want to see a little bit of snow and therefore will click OK and then toggle off and you can see the snow. We will toggle on and if it is distracting a bit to have the snow in front of the model’s face, you can actually make a layer mask, get a regular black brush and size it down a little bit. With this, I will paint the areas where I don’t want the snow to appear. In this case, I will do it around the eyes or I can still lower the opacity and the flow down and still paint it away to make it less opaque.

I will now ground all the edits together by hitting the Command/Ctrl +G and then toggle off. The before photo is not bad looking but the after photo stands out from the normal snapshots thanks to all of the cool effects we applied.
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial using the Winter Illuminations Collection and you can head to Sleeklens.com for more tutorials, Lightroom workflows and Photoshop Actions.

How to Edit Videos Using Adobe Photoshop

In this video, I will show you how to edit your videos using Adobe Photoshop. A lot of people know Photoshop as a powerful photo editor tool, but it is also a way to edit short snippets of videos. Technically you can create a whole video project using Adobe Photoshop but do little small clips using your iPhone or GoPro; you can make really professional looking edited videos. I will show you how to do that really quick.

The only thing I will do is open a video which I took using my iPhone. You will need to upload your video in Photoshop, and once it’s loaded, you need to open it by going to File > Open. Once it opens, the video will look a little different from normal video of Photoshop. You will have a timeline down the panel, and this detects when a video is imported. You will also have other necessary functions including play, rewind, clipping, transitions and audio tracks among other things every editor would have. The aim of this editing is to make the video better than it is.

Before doing any adjustment to the video, you need to make a smart object out of the video layer. I will right-click on the video and ay convert to smart object. You will notice it turns purple at the bottom. If you did any adjustments before doing the smart object, it would make adjustments to one particular frame in the video and nothing else. However, with this done, we will make edits to the whole video.

You can go down to Photo filter and do all other things that you normally do to a photo during the editing including adding a Photo filter and warm it up a little. One of my favorite things to do, since I am familiar with the process, is to open Camera Raw by going to Filter > Camera Raw Filter. From here I can play with the normal edits such as increasing the highlights and contrasts, but the only bad thing when editing a video is that you cannot scroll through your video as you are editing it. You only see one frame.

I will warm up the photo a little bit, increase the vibrancy and I can even change the colors of my leaves as much as I can. I will take my colors and play around with them, take exposure up a little bit, increase or decrease the clarity a bit and these are just the basic edits that I do when I am editing my photos. Once I am satisfied with the results I see from my editing, I will click ok. If the results we get are satisfying and we would like to use them, then we will export it by going to File > Export > Render Video. By so doing, a dialogue box will open which gives you more options that you would if you exported it in JPEG but here we have the document size as 1920 by 1080, and I make sure that it says “All Frames.” I will then choose a spot to export it to, and I will choose my Desktop and then click “Render”. With this done, what Photoshop will be doing is rendering all the edits, and you can clearly see the before and after video side by side.

This is a very easy way to edit your videos if you are not familiar with editing, but you are familiar with Photoshop. It’s a really good way to color grid and play with colors as you edit videos as you edit photos.
You can check more videos in our tutorial/blog section and learn how to make the most out of your Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions.

How to Create a Sun Flare Effect in Photoshop using Sleeklens Overlays

In this video, I will show you how to take the overlays that are supplied by Sleeklens and enhance the sun in your photos. You can get these overlays by clicking on the Photoshop Tabs > Photoshop Overlays and then choosing any of the available options which you can use to do light overlays, rain overlays and all kind of good stuff.

I will show you how to use one or two of those overlays and enhance the sun that we have in our video. I like the image overall, but I want to enhance it a little bit and give more punch. The first I will do is to do the major edits to my image, but I already have done my edits before this tutorial just to make everything the way I wanted. All I will do is click on the overlay collections that I have from Sleeklens, and I will click on lighting> flares and from there I will see a couple of options including Grayscale flares and coloured flares as well. I will start with Grayscale ones, and I will first choose flare No 7, click on it and drag it into Photoshop. As you can see, it gives me the image which I can move around, and I will move it roughly to where the sun is and make it larger as well before click enter. I will then change the blending mode to screen as this takes away all the blacks and leaves the whites in the image. I can now better position the image over the sun.

This done, I will apply the photo filter by clicking the adjustment filter and then click the ‘Photo Filter’. I will then clip the photo filter to the overlay image by holding the ALT option on the keyboard, and the cursor will change into an area with a box next to it. The next thing we will do is click between the two areas, and it’s clipped to the flare image. What this does is that it allows me to put an adjustment on the flare and this only affects the flare. I will bump the flare density all the way to 100 and then choose another flare by going to Lighting > Flares > Color > Flare 7 futuristic and drag it into the image. I will then position the new overly roughly where the sun is and then change the blending mode screen. The reason why I choose the color one is that I did want a tiny hint of color and when I change it into the screen, the blue in the image kind of mimics and blends in with the surrounding and makes a sort of magenta tone. This worked very well.

It creates a flare that goes right over the horizon, and the one we made earlier gives a little bit of orange tint, making it look like it’s bursting through the waves. We will group the changes together to see our before and after by highlight them and then click Command/Ctrl +G in the keyboard. You can now see the image before and how the flares have enhanced the image and given it more punch. Now that I have them grouped, I can do “Ctrl + T’ to transform them and even make them bigger or smaller if I want to. I can do anything that I want to do with the overlays. The good thing with overlays from Sleeklens is that they allow you all kinds of controls to go ahead and get more punch to your images.

If you want to pick these overlays up, just click on the Photoshop tab and click on the Photoshop Overlays and you can pick the ‘Complete Photoshop Overlay’ which is a great deal or just choose the one that best works for you. You can also look out for more of our tutorials and other products for both Lightroom and Photoshop.

How to Convert a Black & White Photo to a Color Photo in Photoshop

In this video, I will show how to take a black and white photo and turn it into a color photo in Adobe Photoshop. There is no magic in this tutorial, but it’s going to be coloring pictures, just like coloring for adults. What you will need to do is take a black and white photo and create a bunch of layers to paint the different parts including the skin, color, the lips, the clothes and everything else and give it color but make it blend in very well. Going into this, it’s not going to look like a picture perfect color accurate photo but will look like a vintage photo which actually fits the black and white tones, hairstyle and everything else.

To get started, we will need to make a blank layer and what I want to start doing is to color parts of the person in the picture. I will color different sections at a time beginning with the skin, then hair and then the rest parts of the body. I will make a blank layer and find a skin tone color that is good. For Caucasian skin tone color, you can select the right combination of colors in the ‘Color picker – Foreground color’ and color code by typing in C- 0, M-10, Y-15, K-0. Looking at the skin tone, it looks pretty fine but to blend it in there, we will have to color over the model’s skin, and you can see it’s not blending in whatsoever but looks really bad. I will keep coloring a little bit and blend it in a little bit. The way to blend it is to click on the blending mode by going to the blend mode section and clicking ‘Color’. As you can see, the details, the shadows, harsh edges are still visible, but it blends in that color very well to the skin.

All I will do now is the color the entire skin using a regular brush, and the hardness is set to zero, but I will size it periodically to get through the little tight corners in the picture. With this done, I have a fair skin tone but this can be changed a little bit in a second, but I will go ahead and paint the hair to make it blonde without caring whether it matches perfectly. I will make a new layer, change the blending mode to color and just start painting over the hair. You can see it’s rich and a little too saturated but that will change in a short moment. I will paint the hair and the comeback and change the colors to kind of blend a little bit more.

Now that the hair is done, to blend it more and allow me to change the colors going forward if I wanted to is to create a new adjustment layer and it’ll be the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. I will put the new layer and clip it to the hair layer and the new adjustment layer that I just made by holding the Alt option. This means that all the changes I make will only affect the hair. You can take the lightness down, desaturate or even change the hair color and give it any tone you want to. However, we will change it to blonde for the purpose of this tutorial.

To keep it organized a little bit, I will select the two ‘hair’ layers and hit Command/Ctrl + G, and this will put them in a group for me. I’ll label the new group as ‘Hair’. From here you can see the hair ‘before’ and the hair ‘after’. Same thing I can do with the skin tone but I will leave it as it is. From here we’ll go to the lips. I want to make the lips bright red. I will create a new layer and choose a bright red color but this can be any color that you choose. I will change the blending mode to color and paint in by first making the brush small, and it’ll be a little more vibrant and saturated, but that is what the hue saturation adjustment layer is for; we can change it after we paint everything in. So, I will roughly paint the lips and once we are done, get the hue/saturation adjustment layer again, clip it and then take the lightness down a bit to make it blend well. I can also change the colors if I want to just as we did with the hair.

The picture has come out pretty well so far, and we will now go ahead and try and fix the eyes. You can see that the eyes are sort of dark and the pupils in the eye and the photo you are dealing with will be far much better with a bit of adjustment. I will click blue eyes and paint around the eyes and then do the adjustment layer once again. We’ll create the hue saturation adjustment layer, clip it and then take down the brightness and saturation a bit. There will still be a little bit of color, but it isn’t popping out much.

The teeth are fairly white, and we won’t touch them. But will proceed and change the background although this is not compulsory it’s good to do it so as to have something that stands out. I will do a blue color and increase the size of the brush and quickly paint over the background without necessarily being exact with it. I will then get my hue saturation adjustment layer again, clip it and then play with the colors, tone it down or brighten it up if you want to, but I will give it a little bit of color. This done, I will organize the background up by clicking on the layers and then press Command/Ctrl +G and label it ‘Background. Will then go to what we painted in the eyes and repeat the same grouping process, Command/Ctrl + G. we will have all our adjustments grouped neatly and you can compare the “before and after’ photos to see the changes.

This is how easy it is to change your black and white photos into color photos using Adobe Photoshop. You can get more post-processing tutorials from Sleeklens as well as Lightroom Workflows and Photoshop Actions to help sharpen your skills and enhance your work.

How to Change Eye Color in Adobe Photoshop

In this video, I will show you how to change eye color in Photoshop. This process is extremely easy and although you might think that you will need to do a whole lot of layers and color blending but its actually very simple.

The first thing I will do is to show you how to select the eyes and then go ahead and change the colors. The method I will show you will help you to continually change the colors to any color you want. I will zoom out the eyes of this little girl to make sure I get a clear view. I will then create a blank layer, get a regular brush and paint over both eyes to make a selection of the part of eyes I want changed. This is kind of a nifty trick that I usually use if I want to freehand this. I will then hold the ‘Command Key on Mac or the Windows key on the Windows Pc and then click on the layer. This makes a selection on what I do drew. Now I can actually delete the earlier layer and still have my selections.

I will then get my hue/saturation layer to go ahead and change the colors. I will click and at the bottom, go to hue/saturation and what this does is that it automatically applies the layer mask to effect only the portions of the eyes selected. This happens automatically without you having to do it by yourself. I will then click the color eye button and you can see the color of the eye automatically changes. From here you can feel free to move the hue, saturation and lightness sliders up and down and this will change the color of the eyes more dramatically, more harshly but the white kind of blends the scene a little bit and you can use a couple of blending modes including overlays or soft light among others.

I will use soft light which will allow me to play around with the sliders to get the eye colors that I want. I will go toward the blue portion, increase the vibrancy a little bit and this will give me a look that I like. I will then zoom and you can see that we have very bright blue eyes which are very saturated but you can see the difference. I will toggle off the hue saturation layer to see where we started right from her natural eye color and then compare with what we gave her. You can take the lightness up and take the saturation down a little bit. You can feel free to change the eye colors to anything that you like. Your subject can have more brown eyes, more hazy, greenish eyes or whatever kind of color. That’s how easy it is to change eye color in Adobe Photoshop.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, you can visit Sleeklens.com for more tutorials, Lightroom presets and Adobe Photoshop action.

How to Create a Photo Collage in Adobe Photoshop

In this video, I will show you how to create a very simple but elegant photo collage in Adobe Photoshop. It’s going to be very easy to do and this video was submitted by a group member of Sleeklens’ Facebook members’ club. If you would like to join the community, you can subscribe to the group by going to https://www.facebook.com/groups/SleeklensMembersClub/ or visit Facebook and in the search bar you can type Sleeklens Members Club and it’ll be the first to appear.

The member wanted to know how to make a collage in Adobe Photoshop. You can do collages in bunch different places but if you want to do a custom one, Photoshop is the way to go. So, in our tutorial, I have 3 photos that I would want to put in this collage and all I will do to get the photos into the canvas is to click, hold and drag over. But because my came canvas than the actual photo, I will click on Command/Ctrl +T on the photo and resize it. I will shrink it a bit to have all the photos inside.

To create a blank canvas is very easy in Photoshop. Just go to File > new and then choose the dimensions that work best for your photo. I have chosen square aspect ratio, 1000 by 1000 which is pretty large and 300dpi resolutions. For color mode, I chose RGB because that is better for screens and that is most likely what will be looked at in tablets and iPhone and the like. I will click ok and this will give me a blank box.

I will go back to the photos and quickly drag over and because it’s a bit large, I will click Command/Ctrl + T to transform and shrink it down. I will align this particular one with the other photo by clicking on the corner to bring it to the same width and then click enter to accept the changes. Always remember to click enter to accept any changes made to your images. From here I will get the other photo and this is where the Rectangular Marquee Tool will come into play because I want to only get the couple and not the areas surrounding. So, I will click and drag the photo to our canvas and then repeat the transformation process by clicking on Command/Ctrl + T and then try to match the width.

This is one type of collage that you can do but I am giving you the tools you can use. Considering that I just want to get the couple in the photo, I will align the photo in its place and as you can see, this particular photo is hiding the other photos. I will need to know where exactly to cut the photo and the best way for me to see the top and the bottom to know where to cut off the picture and remain with the couple is to lower the opacity. Lowering the opacity slightly will make it easier for us to see the photos beneath the bigger one and know where to cut off the unwanted part. This done, we will take the Rectangular Marquee Tool and click on somewhere near the couple and draw a box around them.

This done, we will take the opacity back to 100 and then make a layer mask to remove everything but the couple. This done, you’ll have an easy way to make custom sizes for your photos. What we will do now is drag the photo to the side and as you can see, since we chose the same height as other photos, it works perfectly. However, the photo is a little bit outside the canvas and all we will do highlight all the photos and drag over so they can fit nicely in the box.

We have a few options now and one of these options is to keep this as a 3-photo collage or add more photos but we want to fancy it a little bit by taking the photos, move them up a little bit to have the centered and even put a fancy background. We can also add some text to define the occasion when the photos were taken. By this, we will have a custom collage which you can export to your social media pages such as Facebook or Instagram. The process is very easy and the only tool we needed to use was the Rectangular Marquee Tool.
I hope you enjoyed this quick and easy tutorial on how to create custom photo collages in Adobe Photoshop.

How to Change Eye Color in Adobe Lightroom

In this video, I will show you to change eye color in Adobe Lightroom. Changing eye color in Adobe Lightroom is very simple, and you need one tool, and that is the adjustment brush. Before we get started, I will zoom in on the eyes in our image so as to have a better idea, a better way to select the eyes.

I will click on the “K” key on my keyboard to select the adjustment brush. With my adjustment brush available, I can draw anything I want to, but I will lower the size of the brush a little bit. You can use the left or right bracket (/) keys on the keyboard to increase or lower the size of the brush. I will make one quick basic selection by lowering the exposure first to help see what I am doing. I will then paint on the eyes to make them dark, and this is okay since I can later change that. If you mess up anything during this process, you can hold the Alt option key on the keyboard, and you’ll get an eraser effect to get rid of any mess on your image.

I now have my selection I will up the exposure back to where it normally is. This is where I can play with the colors and this I can do by clicking on the color box which gives plenty of options to choose from. Here I can move my eye dropper and see all the colors I can change. I will do a haze kind of eye, and it looks okay and better than it was. Now I can take the exposure down and play with how intense I want it to be. If I want to play around with more colors without touching the color box, I can use the Temp and Tint. In our image, you can see that by increasing the temp a bit, I am warming the image a little bit, but I can also take the tint down a bit to add a little more green. You can play around with the options, but we will click ‘Done’, and you can see the before and after and realize the difference especially when you zoom out, the color change is really warm and blends in perfectly well.

But let’s say I want to change the eye color again if I don’t like it. I will go back to the adjustment brush, click on a little node, click on the colors again and start messing around with the colors. I can go all the way down and do a nice rich blue which gives a little more intensity to the models color. That is how simple it is to change eye colors in Adobe Lightroom.
I hope you enjoyed that short, quick tutorial and you can visit Sleeklens.com for more tutorials, Lightroom Presets and Photoshop Actions among other products.

How to Add Birds to Your Photos in Adobe Photoshop

In this video, I will show you how to add birds to your photos in Adobe Photoshop. Adding birds to your photos are kind of a fun, interesting thing to do as it adds a little bit more subject to your photos. Sleeklens makes it easy to do that because they have birds’ overlays available and what they do is that take the pictures of birds and cut out the individual birds which allow you to have a little more flexibility and customization when adding them in. So, let’s get started and show you how to do this.

I took one of the bird overlays from one of the Autumn Pumpkin Graze Collection; you can see there are three birds which they have selected. If you toggle them on you’ll see that there are some actual birds from the photo, but they cut them out and you have the 3 e are going to use here.

To begin with, I will open the Photoshop file (there are Photoshop and JPEG to choose from). I will then highlight the three individual birds, click, drag and hold them over into my photo. After placing them on my photo, you can see they are little large and so with them highlighted, I will hit the Command/Ctrl-T which will allow me to do free transform and all I will do is size them down and put them on the area as seen in the tutorial.

I don’t want to make the very large since they’ll look a little bit out of place or unrealistic. Once I size them down, I will place them over people on the beach and since they are seagulls, they kind of blend well with a photo looking more realistic. I will size them down and position them strategically, and you can see we have birds easily added without looking fake or unnatural, but it adds a little more interest in the picture along with the folks.

Now I want to add a little bit more birds and make them a little bit larger, but I will leave the ones we’ve already added right where they are. I will go back to our original bird overlays, click and drag over the 3 birds again and follow the resizing process (Command/Ctrl-T) once again and keep moving the birds around there. Although the birds look good, the pattern is the same, and this could make your work look fake. So, I will position the birds in a better pattern, and this is easy because the birds are cut out individually. I will click on the individual bird and deactivate it, or I can click on it and move it around wherever I want to. I will keep playing with the birds a little bit to position them in a way that looks like they are flying in a certain order. I just added six birds in the photo, and this adds more interest and looks nice.

The only thing that I will do, which is a personal preference is to add a photo filter, and this helps the birds in the photo blend very well. I will click on the Adjustment > Photo Filter, and you can have a bit to choose from. I will choose a warming one and back it down a little bit to around 15 percent or so. We can then group them together and look at the before which looked ok but a bit plain but we added some birds and color pop we have a little bit more interest to the after photo.

Hope you enjoyed that quick tutorial on how to add birds to your photos in Adobe Photoshop. You can visit Sleeklens.com for more tutorials and great photo editing products.

How to Add a Grunge Effect to Your Photos in Adobe Photoshop

In this video, we are going to learn how to quickly and very easily add a Grunge texture to your photos in Adobe Photoshop. With our photo readily edited in black and white, we will go ahead and add the grunge texture feel to the image. This is very easy to do, and you can do it with any texture you find online but I have this texture here, and it’s concrete feel and needs to get it onto my image.

All I need to do is get my ‘Move tool’ and click on, hold and drag onto my image and then release it. As you can see in our tutorial, the orientation is different and I will “Command +Ctrl T”, and now I can rotate it and kind of mimic the orientation of the photo. I will stretch it out and make it fill up the whole photo. One good thing about doing this technique is that the texture you are using doesn’t need to be a very high-resolution texture. Obviously, it helps if it is but if it isn’t, it works very well.

Now that I have this texture, I would want to see the underlying photo because this is on top. The easiest way to add the effects and make that happen is to play with your blending modes. Blending modes are very powerful and do a lot of things in Photoshop, but I will just click on the overlay texture. As you can see, it takes away most of the contrasts in the original image while still allowing the underlying image to show through. I will zoom in on some of the pieces here, and you can see in the sky we still have that texture, on the subject we also have the texture, and it works well on the concrete in the foreground. That looks very good, and you can play with the under-blending modes such as the soft light or multiply, and it gives a darker feel.

So, if I want to use the multiply, if I want to lessen the effect, all I will do is lower the opacity. And as you can see, it is going to brighten up a little bit and also take away a little bit of texture. It all depends on whether what you want to do. I will go back to overlay and show you one more trick using the Layer Mask. I would want to have the subject to be a little bit less textured and thus will click on my brush and make sure it is black. All I will do is paint over the effects on the subject/person. In the end, my subject will be without texture filling them, but the rest of the image does. So, this gives you a stylized artistic effect to it without making your subject look a little blurred or distorted. But if you don’t like it, obviously you can right click on it, delete the layer mask and there it is again.

Hope you enjoyed that quick tutorial on how to add a quick grunge effect to your photo and make it look well especially if you want to add a little bit more special effects to your photos, this is a cool technique. You can visit Sleeklens.com for more tutorials and photo editing products.

How to Add a Tattoo in Adobe Photoshop

In this video, I will show you how to add a tattoo to someone in your photos. This process will be very simple and easy to do. The first thing we need to do is find the image of the tattoo that we want to use. I have this tattoo image right here which I want to look hardcore just to see how it’ll look like on this guy, just to see how it’ll affect the skin using colors.

To begin the process, I will take the image and drag it on the model. The image is obviously very large but will click on the “Ctrl + T” button and scale it down. I will need to place on the upper arm strategically to have it look natural. With this done, we need to work on blending the tattoo and the model’s skin. We will need to do some things, but first, we’ll have to convert the tattoo into a smart object (Will have a video for this later) by right-clicking on the layer and then choosing the “convert to smart object” option. What this does is that it doesn’t virtually do anything to your photo, but it’ll eventually allow you to change the image going forward without having to do a whole set of steps.

With the tattoo converted into a smart image, the next thing is to work on blending in, and we will need to have two different layer adjustments, and that is the curves layer and the hue saturation layer. I will first click on the Curves layer and play with it to blend a little bit. As you can see, we are messing with the entire image, and this is not what I want. I only want to mess with the tattoo image. So, I will clip this curves layer to the tattoo layer by holding the Alt option key between the two layers you want to clip and you’ll see the area with a box there, and when you click there, all the adjustments you make will only affect the tattoo image.

I will try to blend in a little bit, and since it’s not working too well, I will use a blending mode on the tattoo layer. Some of the modes you can use include the overlaying, and you can use the soft light or hard light. I will opt for soft light, and you can see it blends in well and brings out more of the texture of the skin and blends in a little better. Now I will go down to the curve layer and play around with it looking for where it starts to fade into the skin a little bit by taking some color away since most of the tattoos are not normally extremely bright. I will use the rough curve, and something similar to your photo could also work fine.

We will then use the hue saturation adjustment because we want to take out some of the colors. So I will click and clip the curves layer, so it only affects the tattoo and then take the saturation down a little bit, play with the lightness, see if I can blend it a little bit more. What we get looks pretty well, and I’m happy with that because it doesn’t stand out and it’s bright as an image on the arm would be. One more thing to give this image a little bit more realism is to blur the image. A lot of people miss this step, and the reason why I want to do it is that this image is pixilated you can see the individual pixels making up the image. The reason for blurring is because most of the images you applying this to are not tack sharp, and so it’ll look a little out of place.

So, I will click on the tattoo layer, go to filter – blur > Gaussian blur and blur it a tiny bit, not even one pixel. I will play with 0.3 to 0.5 pixels. This doesn’t make a huge change but toggling it on and off shows that it blends in very well. So, that works very well, and you can play around the blending mode you can do the hard light (it’s too bright) overlay works well, but the soft light is the best to use.
That is quick and easy how you can add a tattoo to your subjects in Adobe Photoshop, and I hope you enjoyed. You can look out for our next video where I’ll talk about the importance of using smart objects in projects like this. It’s going to be an in-depth look at what smart objects are.

Editing Landscape Photos with the Maple & Pinecones Autumn Workflow

In this video, I will be showing you how to edit your photos using the brand new presets from Sleeklens.com known as the Maple & Pinecones Autumn presets. These presets are great and probably one of my favorites. The presets can be found under the Lightroom tab where you can order them and try them out for yourself.

What makes really great autumn-looking photos are the colors, and that’s why you need those yellows, the greens and the reds. You need those on your photos, and these will put your mind and photos into autumn feel. The first thing I will do is to apply the Maple Autumn Pinecones presets. I am going to do an all-in-one preset starting out. All-in-one presets are great because they are just a one-click and it does everything for you and makes photos look amazing with just one click. You can obviously change things going forward, but it gives you an awesome starting point from where you can go ahead, apply the presets, see what you want to change it and start changing it.

This one I am going to apply the cinematic autumn preset. What signifies a great autumn looking photo is the colors which take over the photo, and that is kind of you want especially when you want to get that feel. So the first thing I will do is to apply the all-in-one presets. All-in-one presets are great since it gives you an awesome starting point to go ahead to see what it gives you and then change what you don’t like or what you do like. I will scroll down to the cinematic autumn preset in the available options and click on it. As you can see how it automatically puts the warm yellow feel to the photo and we have little more details which we didn’t have much before. It looks great and makes the light flowing from the clouds and the fog to strike a little bit thus giving some great results. I can stop here and print this photo, and I’ll be happy.

But let’s go ahead and apply a couple of more things to see what we can do. I don’t normally do this, but I’m going to apply a brush preset. Personally, I don’t apply brush presets in the middle of the editing but always wait until the end, but that is a personal preference. I will go to my brushes and choose maple autumn and hands details. With this picked, I will go ahead and lightly paint over the fog area. This will bring out the details and the trees that are picking into the fog. I don’t want to paint over the fog since I want to keep some of these areas soft. As I do the light painting using the brush presets, I can get the contrast in the light area as I wanted.

This done, I go back to my presets and apply the presets that I will take off the photos and show you how cool it is. I was playing around with this and was impressed. So, I will go down to the Maple & Pinecone Presets and proceed to number 3, portrait; Autumn set and you can see how cool it looks. I like the colors in the sky as it changes the colors to match the sky. The best thing with these presets is that they offer you so many ideas that you can apply to your photos. You have hundreds of the same photo edited in different ways, and they’ll all look great. As I said, I will undo the presets and add a little bit of that feel that I just saw in the last presets by going back to my gradient filter. I could do a brush, but I don’t want rather want to do a gradient filter. Many people do not know that you can use brushes and gradient filter. So I will pick the Maple & Pinecone Autumn Presets and choose the Maple Autumn Light > Shadow golden hours haze.

As you can see in the video, I will do a little bit of drawing, and this will give me a bit of red that I like. The only thing I will do differently is that I will decrease the contrast a little bit since I already have enough contrast in the trees and I just want to make it a little bit softer. I will then click ‘Done”, and I am really happy with my photo. Let’s look at the ‘before and after” and you’ll realize that although the first photo was great, the after picture looks so great with all the details everywhere, colors and everything.

If you like this tutorial, you can learn more by visiting Sleeklens from where you will find a lot more information there which you can download and try them for yourself.

Sharpening Your Photos in Adobe Lightroom

I will use this tutorial to talk all about sharpening. I will demonstrate this in Lightroom but it works almost in the same way as Photoshop. I will show you what sharpening means to your photos. When doing sharpening, it’s obvious that you will need to have your photo ready and we already have one uploaded in my Lightroom software for the purposes of our tutorial.

I will start by going to the detail panel and here there are four options; Amount, Radius, Detail and Masking. Before we get started talking about the actual mounting, sliders and everything, there are two little things that not all people pay attention to. Looking at the Lightroom software window, you’ll see a little arrow next to ‘Sharpening’ and when you click on it, you get up close one by one ratio of your photo that you can move around to kind of get a loop view so you can see exactly what you are looking at.

If you don’t want to use that option, you’ll see another little button that is marked with an exclamation mark (!). If you click on this exclamation mark, the photo automatically zooms in your photo and you can move it around as well. A lot of people like seeing their values on the image rather than on the little screen and that’s why I thought you should know about those two options.

From here, let’s talk about the sliders. The first slider is the amount slider which is basically the intensity of your sharpening. The radius slider is all about the edges of your photo and it’ll look for the edges and as you increase it, it’ll sharpen the pixels expanding from the edges. This is important when you are printing your photos.

The detail slider brings out more details out of the photo while the masking allows you to select the way the way is sharpens certain areas of the photo. As you click on the Amount and increase it, you’ll notice that your image has a lot of noise and although this is not a big deal, it will be something worth looking out for. I usually like keeping my amount at around 75 and 80 especially when dealing with photos that I’ll be posting on the web.

When you increase the radius, you’ll discover that the image gets a little bit crunchy around the edges and the best thing to do is to keep it at around 1.0 or 1.5. I personally do not play with details a lot since I get what I am looking for from radius and amount. If you increase the details, you’ll realize that it comes with more noise and shadows on broad parts of the photo.
Masking is not something many people use. It used to be called threshold and it allows you to select the edges of your photos and sharpen only that. If you move the masking, you’ll notice the effects it’s having on your photo.

What you should do to be able to see what the masking option is doing when you move it would be to hold the Alt/Option Key and then slide the masking slider. You’ll realize that as you move the slider to zero, the layer is turning white which means that the entire photo is going to be sharpened. As you move the slider more to the positive, you will start seeing blacks coming back and these are the areas which are not yet sharpened. Wherever you see white it represents areas that are going to be sharpened. This is an amazing option when dealing with portraits because you want to sharpen the edges of the photo and not necessarily the skin.
As you can see in our tutorial video, the edges on the image are in white, which means they’ll be sharpened but the skin is black which shows that it won’t be sharpened. When you click ‘off’, you’ll realize that the edges of the image are completely sharpened but the skin is intact and this is very flattering when taking portrait photos.

That is just a quick into to sharpening but I’d like to look at something in regard to printing. Usually I like keeping my values balanced and this is something that you’ll find working in the professional labs or if you are sending your photos to the regular printing centers. I keep my amounts to 100, radius to 1.5, details to around 19 and masking I can play around with it but keep very low depending with the edges of the subject. With these values, you are guaranteed of very sharp photos which you can print with a lot of clarity.

You can check more tutorials from us to help you enhance your photo editing skills. You can also check our Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions which will help you get greater results in all your post processing editing.

How to Add Rain to Your Photos in Adobe Photoshop

In this video, I will show you how easy it is to add rain to your photos. Sleeklens offers a variety of different Photoshop Overlays, and one of my favorite to use is the ‘Rain Overlays’. From the Complete Overlays Collection, you will find lighting overlays, rain overlays, and snow overlays. Just click on ‘Overlays and then choose ‘Rain’ and you’ll be presented with an extensive list of rain textures to choose from. You can preview all of them to see which texture will be added to your photos as they range from slight drizzles to torrential downpours.

I will show you three different pictures and show you how easy it is just to add rain to your photos. I will move the rain overlays list to the side of my screen and choose a couple of the rain textures and drag the selection on top of the document. It’ll be in free transform mode, and all you can do is resize it to fit the whole screen. With the mode covering the whole screen, I will press enter, and we will have our rain and the photo underneath. From there, we will get rid of the black areas of the photo leaving the white rains to come through. The easiest way to do that and the only way that maintains the quality of the image is to change the blending mode to screen. Screen means you will remove the black areas in your photo and allows you to see the rains right there in the image.

One way to increase the intensity of the rain is to choose another rain texture or duplicate the overlays. You can duplicate the overlay in the channels panel by dragging it down. This leaves the image with more intense rain texture than in the previous overlay image. I will duplicate it a second time, and as you can see in the video, the rain has more intensity and shows pretty good without looking fake. From here, I will add one more rain texture, and instead of keeping the little spring parts, I will add some heavier points to the image. Again, do the same thing and stretch out to the screen and enter, change the blending mode to screen and if you toggle off, you’ll realize that it adds a little bit of depth, which doesn’t leave it looking fake. You don’t want to be layering on top of rain added as this looks very fake.

We will then move on to another photo, and this has a nice scene and the even though the people are walking in the rain, the wet-looking ground makes it look as if it’s been raining or is still raining at the moment. We will do two different ones, and just as we did with the other ones, we will stretch each free transform mode to fit the screen. We will then change the blending mode to screen, and this gives more clarity to the individual rain drops. But since the scene is warm and the rain is mainly cool (white color), we can group them together by hitting ‘Command/Ctrl + G’, go down to photo filter and make sure that the photo filter is clipped to the group by holding Alt Option and clicking between the two layers. This will change the warmth/ color of the rain to match with the warmth of the photo.

We will do one last photo, and the one we have has a nice road, misty scene, and again the photo leads itself to rains since it’s foggy and will help sell these effects. I will get two different textures and stretch them out and change the blending mode just as we did with other images. This makes the image look as though the rain is pounding heavily right in front of the camera. We can choose different rain overlay levels depending on the intensity of the rains we want to achieve.

That’s how easy it is to make rain in your photo. Using overlays is super simple and beats having to make a custom brush and applying it yourself. The overlays help pop rains on your photo and give the impression of actual rains within a short time.
If you liked this tutorial, you could visit Sleeklens.com for more overlays and Photoshop Actions to help do your post processing photo edits.

Grayscale Essentials Workflow Recipe Preview Guide for Adobe Lightroom

This video will show you how to edit your photos using Grayscale Essentials recipe preset from Sleeklens.com. This edit comes from the Greyscale recipe guide which you get every time you order the Sleeklens.com presets. This time we will concentrate on this recipe which shows you the exact presets and brushes to use in order to give you a very similar photo to the one shown in the ‘before and after’ in our tutorial.

With our photo ready, we will go down the list of the preset to apply. Our first preset that we will apply is in the Greyscale Essentials Presets and so we will expand that. The first will be the Grayscale Essentials – 4-Tone –Tint- Soft Rose. After getting the preset, you can click on the results and you can see how it changes the photo. We will then apply a little bit of film grain by going down to Greyscale Essentials – 8-Effects – Film Grain 2 and then go for Greyscale Essentials – 6-Vignette – Black. This will ask you to adjust the contrast to +20. Already we have a great looking photo and this is clear as you look at the before and after photos.

With this, we will now apply the brushes that we need. I will go ahead and click the adjustment brush and the only one we need is be the Greyscale Essentials – Light – Brighten brush. This is where you can paint in some details and I will go ahead and paint over the outfit to bring out more details. The recipe guide calls for you to do it twice and therefore I will go ahead and click ‘New’ and select the Grayscale Essentials-Light- Brighten brush and paint over again to bring out the two subjects. I will click ‘Done’ and you can see how cool the before and after photos look.

The presets and brushes make the photos pop out and it’s a great way to get really cool photos by clicking a couple of presets. These presets are stackable, meaning they will stack on top of the edits and won’t cancel any of the previous edits. This is what makes these presets great.
To find more information about these presets, head over to Sleeklens.com and check out under the Lightroom Tab and you’ll be able to find more information there as well as the presets we have available.

Editing Photos with Sleeklens Brushes in Adobe Lightroom

In this video, I will show you how to edit your photos only using brushes. I’m not going to do any sort of global edits whatsoever but will only paint in the edits that I want using the Sleeklens.com brushes. So, let’s get started and it’s going to be so fantastic.
I have this great photo but I want to make it pop out a little more and add a little more stylization to it and the first thing I will do is highlight the water. I want to change the water a little bit and will go to my brushes and choose the first brush known as Brick and Mortar to enhance sunset. Brick and Mortar enhances sunset and will change the color of water and as you can see, as I paint over, it changes it to a little bit of a warmer color. To get balanced results, I will paint all the areas and go ahead and paint the grass area to add a warmer color too.

The next brush we will do will be the water definition brush but we won’t do it on the water but on the mountain part. I click new then go to Out of the Shadows and do water definition. I will make my brush a little small using the ‘Left bracket key’ on the keyboard and as you can see, it gets smaller here and using the Right Bracket key makes it larger. And all I will do is paint over the mountain and as you can see, the kind of details and contrast it gives thus making it pop out. Since the sky is kind of blue and blends with the mountain a little bit, I can click the show selected mask overlay button and that will turn my painting into red and I can see where I am painting. That is a really good trick to do if you are using brushes a lot so you know that you are hitting all the spots you want to color.

As you can see, I messed up a little and all I will do is hold the ALT option key and that will change it into a minus and that will allow me to erase that right away. Next, I will use the gradient filter and this is cool as you can actually use the same brush effect but as a gradient filter. So, I will click the gradient filter button and drag the gradient filter as shown in the video.
I will then change the effects to a Winters Tale Light Golden Sun and this gives the temperature a little bit and gives the photo a really reddish color. The next brush I will do is the Forever Thine Face Whiten Teeth Brush. This may sound weird since this is used for portraits but since these brushes are so diverse, you can actually apply them to many different photos and the effects will mock up very well. So I will go to face whiten teeth and I will make my brush a little larger again. I will paint over the vegetation just to desaturate a little bit and make sure you get the reflection in the water. With this, I will click ‘Done’ and as you can see, the photo looks really good. You can look at the before and after photo and you’ll realize that the before photo looks more like a postcard photo and the after photo has more stylization and looks more like an artistic photo.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to use brushes only to edit your photos and that will give you a good starting point to start using the brushes and also help you on how to use them. You can visit Sleeklens.com for these brushes and many more Lightroom and Photoshop post-production collections.

Color Fantasy Workflow Recipe Guide Preview – Sleeklens Lightroom Presets

This video shows you how to edit your photos using the Color Fantasy Presets from Sleeklens.com. In this tutorial, we will concentrate on one which only has a few presets but makes the photo look great in the end.

With our photo in place, the first preset we will apply is the Color Fantasy Preset and it’s called the ‘Color Fantasy O All-in-One Good Old Days’. By selecting it, you clearly can see the kind of effects it applies to the photo. Next, we will apply the ‘Color Fantasy 8 Vignette – Strong Black presets by scrolling down. up to this far, we have dealt with presets but we also have some two brushes to apply to the photo.

The first brush we will apply will be the ‘Color Fantasy – Light – Add Golden Sun Brush’. In this photo, I will enhance the sun that is already in the photo by clicking on the sun and this clearly has some effects on the photo as can be seen in the video.
Next, we will do the ‘Color Fantasy –Light –Brighten Brush’. I will click new > Effects > Color Fantasy – Light –Brighten. Using this brush you can paint anywhere you want to brighten areas within the photo to achieve your desired results. This is a quick and simple way to get a really looking awesome photo and looking at the “Before and after” results, you will clearly notice the difference that these simple edits give to you.

The first image looks cool, plain and didn’t have too much poop to it but the ‘after’ photo brings out the images and makes it look very unique. All it takes are two presets and two brushes and you have amazing results.
To learn more about the Sleekelens.com presets, visit the site and check out the full Lightroom tab and you will see all presets and the brushes they have. Make sure not to miss all they have.

Correcting Sky Discoloration in Adobe Lightroom

Before we start, I would like to encourage you to check out our Sleeklens members’ club group page which you can find by searching Facebook for ‘Sleeklens Members’ Club’ or by going to https://www.facebook.com/groups/SleeklensMembersClub/. From there you can get help with your photography, discuss editing techniques and stay up to date with Sleeklens products. Here is a video that was posted to the group page to help one of our group members.

“Hey Daniel, I saw your post on Facebook page, and I wanted to go ahead and put this out to you to try and help with your situation about the sky. I downloaded your photo, and so I wanted to go ahead and apply some of the presets that the member had used.
One of them was ‘Sunset presets’, and as soon as we click that, you can see that it has the sky that you are talking about and it looks abnormal. One way to collect this and this is probably the easiest way is to click the ‘Gradient tool’ in Lightroom (right-hand side of your screen), and you can see that node there which is the Gradient mask which is applied for the presets. One easy way to just get rid of how this looks is to open the exposure up a little bit which takes away a lot of the stuff happening right there. You can also go down to the ‘Effects tab’ and take the vignette up a little bit, which will also help.

So you still get your main edits that you wanted. You also said that you brightened up the shadows a little bit and we can do that as well. Doing this takes away the sky, and that’s probably the easiest way to do it. No need to use another preset just go in there and check the gradient mask, and that should get your sky looking a little bit better than the sky you posted to the group.”

A Winter’s Tale Workflow Recipe Guide Preview – Sleeklens Lightroom Presets

This video is intended to teach how to edit your photos using the A Winter’s Tale Presets. This comes from the recipe guide that comes when you order your presets from Sleeklens.com. Each collection comes with a recipe guide that is very great to jumpstart your creativity by giving you some examples you can use and in this particular one we will concentrate on the “before and after” photos provided here. It lists out the exact number of presets that you need and the correct brushes that you need to get a very similar picture to this.

To get started, the first thing you need to have is your photo and then open the Winter’s Tale Presets. The first presets we will apply the “All-in-one Winter Light Preset”. So, we scroll down to the all in one – winter light, click the effect. It gives you the option to take the contrast to +26, and I will pump that down. The next thing that we need to do is the ‘A Winter’s Tale – Let it Snow’ horizontal snowflakes. Just scroll down and just click on it and you’ll see it gives you snowflakes effects.

With that done, we go down to Winter Tale tones – Creamy highlight. Then head to Post Process add soft blur (Temp -5). You can see that by doing some simple presets, the photo becomes fantastic. We will then apply some brushes by going to Brush Icon, go to effect and choose Winter’s Tale light to brighten brush and take the exposure down to around +0.19 and this gives a brush that I can use to brighten some of the areas that need some more light.

I don’t have to apply the brushes, but it works great. On the recipe guide, it says to use another brush on eyes in the photo to give it a little bit more effects. Given that in this photo the eyes are closed, I will not apply the brush, but you can see that just by doing those little edits, it makes the photos stand out, really gives cozy colors and becomes a great picture.

That is how you do one of the effects in the recipe guide for the Winter’s Tales Presets. If you enjoyed this short tutorial, you could visit Sleeklens.com for more tutorials, Lightroom Workflows and Photoshop Actions to help with your post processing editing work.

5 Useful Tips and Tricks You Must Know in Adobe Lightroom

In this video, I will talk about my five favourite tips and tricks when it comes to Lightroom. We will first speak of performance. To get started, we just choose Lightroom and then preferences. From here, we will choose performance tab. Most people keep this used graphic processor enabled and if you have an older machine or a slightly older machine that does not have an excellent graphic processor, Lightroom might run a little bit slower and so if you disable this, you won’t be using this graphic processor at all but instead will mainly use your CPU in the computer to do all the processing and stuff like that. It’s a good thing to have a good graphic processor, and if you don’t, you might want to have a look at that and uncheck it. That way your computer will run a little faster.

Another thing you can do is go to the “File Handling” option and change your maximum cache size to 25.0. However, you should make sure that you have enough space on your computer. This helps ensure you do not have problems with caches. You can also purge it if you want to go so as get rid of all the old cache files in there, and you’ll be ready to go.

The next one I want to talk about is “Light Out”, a fun little feature that you have in Lightroom. Let’s say you have this photo, and I’m editing it around and just want to highlight this photo just to show the picture only. If you click the “L” key on your keyboard, you will dim the lights of your screen as you can see here. Everything is dimmed out, and I can still play with it on the editing part of it, but everything else is dimmed out. If I click it one more time, it kind of blacks out the screen, turn the lights off, and you can just concentrate on the image itself. If I click it again, then it turns everything back on, and we are ready to go.

Number three is what I call removing widgets. As you can see, we have library develop, map, book, slideshow, print and web. Some of these I don’t even go up to them, and therefore there is no need to keep them there. One way of getting rid of them is to “Right Click” near them, and then you get the little menu, and you can take off the ones you do not need. In this case, we will make the web, go back there and then right click, choose print, slideshow and book. Now, these are the ones that are mainly used, and I don’t have to worry about having other items up here.

The next item I want to talk about is “exporting presets”. Exporting presets are great if you do a lot of exporting of the same types of files. I will go up to “file export’, and this is the file export box that we are all familiar with. I will go into the file export and change the resolution to 400 and width to 1920 by 1080 but make sure that my watermark is checked “On”, and then I can click “add” and I will get another small box, and I can put my presets name. I will choose the name “Test” and then put it in my user preset folder and click “Create”. As you can see, I have a test one, and if I want to export a whole bunch of files and use these, same exact settings, all I will do is open up the box, click “test” and click ‘export” and they will all export exactly where I want them to with the same settings.

The last and final tips and tricks I have for you is how to edit using your histogram. A lot of people the do not know that you can do that., You have your histogram up there as shown in the video and as you move across, you see you have columns up there. You have blacks, shadows, exposures, highlights and whites. What you can do is, if you know you want to change your exposure a little bit, you can just click and slide it up or down, and it will change your exposures, and you will see that reflected down there. Likewise, if you want to change your shadows, you can click where the shadows move them up or down, and you’ll see the Histogram moving, and you can also see it moving at the bottom. This is just a visual way to do this as well. So you can take your highlights, pump them up a bit, take the blacks and reduce them a little bit to give the image more contrast. As seen, I have edited this photo only using the histogram and not using any of the sliders, and it’s a real cool effect to do that with.

These are the five effects that I normally use day to day although there are many others which you can use. You can visit Sleeklens for anything photography including amazing Lightroom workflows, Photoshop Actions and overlays.

4-Step Dreamy Portrait Effect In Adobe Lightroom

This video is a guide on how to do a dreamy portrait effect in Adobe Lightroom. I’m sure you’ve seen this effect, it’s a very dreamy feel like a very soft focus feel, but the portrait or person in the photo is in a very sharp focus. It’s a very cool and neat effect especially if you have something like a wedding that you would want to try to apply effects just to add a little more interest to the photos. I just want to do this effect in 4 simple steps, and they’re very easy to follow along.

The first step is to mess with the tone curve. To do this, I will mess with the tone curve by clicking on tone curve, and this is going to vary between photos, but usually all the photos will react the same way. Having clicked on the tone curve, I will then click on the little node on the lower side and drag it upwards. This will mess with the photos by adding more fade into the pictures. You can drag the node to a point where you think it looks nice and this could be around 10 or 11 percent. This can be seen on top of the graph.

The next step is to take the clarity down. As you bump it down, you will realise that the portrait is given a washed out or blurry effect. You can back it up again until you are satisfied with the look. With this done, you can go to the third step where you sharpen the image. This is something many people don’t think about, but especially if you apply a negative clarity effect by reducing the mid-tones, you want to apply some sharpening, and we will apply to a point where it looks right. This will go to around 85, and you will see that it still have the sharp edges and this is kind of what we are going.

Finally, I will apply one of the presets in Forever Thine Wedding Workflow from Sleeklens. I will scroll down all the way to number 6, and that is the vignette section. There are several vignettes you can use here, but I will choose the “Black Heavy”. Choosing this will darken the edges while at the same time adding more colour back after we took some away a little bit of colour with the fade.

That is a very simple 4-way dreamy effect in Adobe Lightroom and works pretty well. Looking at our before and after photos, you’ll discover that the skin is smoother and gives it a little more artistic interest without being very artificial and obnoxious.

If you have enjoyed this quick tutorial, you can visit Sleeklens.com for more Photoshops Actions, Lightroom Presets and other exciting post-production photo editing products.

How to Repair Images in Adobe Photoshop

In this video, we will learn how to repair photos that are damaged or prints you may have but with some scuffs on them. This method is fairly simple and fun as well while using a couple of tools. This video was created after a request from one of the group members of Sleeklens exclusive Facebook page.

The first thing we do is get our image. We will then create a brand new layer and instead of doing the adjustments in the original image, the layer will allow us to make all the adjustments without affecting the original image. With this, we can always revert back to the old image in case something happens.

Before doing anything, we will choose the ‘Spot Healing Brush’ which is designed for blemish removal. In the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop, you will find the brush under “Content-Aware” feature. That is the best feature to use in situations like this because as you zoom in, you will see a multiple tiny dots. You can take the Clone Stamp Tool and clone all the dots out but it is much easier and faster to use the “Spot Healing Brush’ with the Content-Aware feature added.

The other thing you need to make sure is sampled is the “sample all layers” to make sure the Check Mark Box is checked so that it knows to sample everything. If we leave it unchecked when we paint over it, then it will do nothing because it is sampling from a blank layer.

With this done, we will start painting. Start by zooming in and start taking some of the dots away by simply clicking and drawing a small circle around each one of them and they will disappear. You just need to get rid of the tiny dots is just go around paint and since you have the “Content-Aware Tool” it works very well even with different colored areas. Just keep painting and the dots will be removed with ease. Again, this could have been done with the Clone Stamp Tool but it is much easier to use the Spot Healing Brush when you have the Content-Aware tool.

With the painting extensively done, much of the stuff is removed leaving the image a little better than the original. When you toggle the original off, you will be able to see the adjustments made in a much clearer way.

From here, you can go for your Clone Stamp Tool and work on all your adjustments on this very layer. You will notice that there are a couple of repeating patterns on the hair, darker areas and there are different areas that need to be worked on so they can blend in well. The clone stamp tool does a fairly good work when it comes to blending the different parts. What you need to do is hold the “Alt” button on your keyboard and you will see it changes to a close hair. As you continue painting, you will see the effects where the hair was.

The goal is to try and replicate the hair and this can go along the same pattern and path without seeing the repeating patterns. This can is mostly the tough part but as you continue painting and sampling, it will remove the repeating patterns. You can try to break any repeat patterns. Edits done to repair a damaged picture can take a long time but with time, you will eventually get the desired results.

You may need to go through small edits at a time. In places where you have scratching and black parts is to do a little bit of enhancement by going to “Adjustment Layers” and choose “Levels”. This might not be specific to the image you are working on but we are choosing this because the image has a lot of black. You can choose the appropriate level of enhancement for your image depending with the extent of scratching and blackness.

With this done, you can do some cloning to try and correct all the stuff you see in the image. Once you are through with the cloning and things look better than they were, just take a regular paint brush and raise feather to 100%, drop the harness to 0% and get a black brush opacity and flow all the way up to paint black as seen in the video. This is however specific to this image and you will need to choose your features based on the extent of the damage and issues you are dealing with.

However, these are the main tools that will help you achieve great results when repairing your images in Adobe Photoshop. Once you are done, you can compare the before and after photo and you will realize that the ‘after’ photo is much better and has been restored by a great deal.

If you loved this video, you can visit Sleeklens.com for more Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials, blogs and other essential products to enhance your photography skills and results.

Vignetting in Adobe Photoshop Using Actions

This tutorial is all about vignetting in Photoshop. Vignetting is typically known for the darkening of the edges around your photos. It is something cool to have in your photos as it draws the viewers to where you want them to look at. However, it is sometimes unwanted, so if you have a different kind of lens that tends to have a heavy vignetting on it and you want to have a clear, crisp modern image, then removing the vignetting will be the most advisable thing to do. But some of the cool vignettes available are ones that are not too harsh as seen in our first photo.

With our old rustic vintage photo loaded in Photoshop, we will go to “Filter > Lens correction”. This is where we apply the camera profile for this image so it can automatically do distortion and vignetting removal. But w will go ahead and take the ‘Vignetting’ down a bit. In most cases, vignetting is normally worse than this but our image could also be considered to have a bad vignette. So, we will reduce the vignette to get the right vignette. However, if you want to remove it, you can increase the brightness and lighten up a bit.

However, one of the favorite things to do will be to use Sleeklens.com PS Actions for Vignetting. To get these actions, just go to “Windows > Actions” and you will find a couple of actions there. You can choose any of the actions but we will choose “Vignette-Tone-Vignette”. We will pick that and get a number of options. We have brownish vignette, Blue vignette, white vignette and a typical dark vignette. You can choose a couple of these options and adjust the settings to give you the cool effects you are looking for. You can combine different effects and play around with them to get what pleases your eyes.

There are numerous vignetting options available from Sleeklens.com and you can head there to check which one best works for you. From Sleeklens.com, just click on ‘Photoshop’ and you will have access to a number of options available there.

Photography Basics: What Is Aperture?

In this tutorial I will talk about aperture, what it is and how setting different values of aperture will do to you images. First of all, aperture is what people will represent as an “f’ number. When people say they are setting their cameras to f/2.8, f/5.6, or f/22 among the many others, the aperture is represented by the “f” symbol. As such, “f” means the regular aperture.

When you say you’re setting your camera at a given “f” value, what you mean is that you want the braids in the lens to either open or close down a lot.

The f-number means that the braids in the lens should open or close down to a certain extent that is represented by the value e.g. 4, 5, 6 etc. So, when people say that their photos were shot at a certain aperture such as f-1.8 or f-4, it means that the hole and the lens are going to be very wide open. This lets in more light in the image while at the same time decreasing the depth of field which means the subject and the distance behind and before it will be more out of focus than if you set it at f-18 or something bigger.

On the other hand, when people say they are setting their cameras at let’s say f-22, it means that the hole is going to be very small and thus will let in very minimal light. It will also give more depth of field with the image being more focused.
In our video here, we have a photo of a guy standing in the office and the first photo will be taken at f-4/3.5 thus making it more blurry but then if you were to take the same image at f-22 or f-16, the image will have more sharpness in the background. This therefore represents how light will come in and affect the quality of your image.

Just to represent how much light will comes in, we have another image where there is a bright sunny scene with the light directed towards the camera. Just as your eyes will react, this is what the camera will do as well. When you step into a bright sunny scene, your camera and eyes will close up. With the eye closing in, your pupil becomes very small and this allows you to decrease the light coming into the eyes which in turn blinds you when you are looking at a bright scene.

If your eyes were to stay the same as this will be at around f-16 or thereabout and you step into a dark scene, with your lens at this value, things will look very dark and you can only see a little bit of hotspots here and there. So, what you can do is to let your camera open up to more light so you have a wider aperture. This is what is represented as f.4 or f-4.6 which gives you an image that is a little bit clearer.

So, these are the basics of aperture and what they do to your image. There is whole lot more very technical and in-depth ways to look at aperture but this is basically what they do to your image. You can check out on other photography videos from Sleeklens.com YouTube channel or visit the site for more resources of photography.

Guided Upright Tool In Adobe Lightroom For Beginners

In this video, we will be looking at a very useful tool in Lightroom, known as Guided Upright Tool. This tool can help especially in real estate and landscape photography to make sure that your lines and horizons are straight and that everything is upright and perfectly aligned. Photoshop had a similar tool that works almost like this. It is called ‘The Adaptive Wide Angle’ and although it can do exactly the same thing as the Guided upright tool, it is a little more tricky and cumbersome. Lightroom however makes this feature very simple and easy to use.

In our video, we will open an image in Lightroom and this will be right out of the camera with no edits done to it. We will then go to the ‘Transform’ panel where you get all your distortions removal, auto leveling and stuff like that. We will then click ‘Auto’ and this will take some of the distortion away but if it still looks a little off to you, then you can use the “guided upright” and use the small button to change it back to the way it was.

You can then use the little marker, click on it and go to a section of your picture that should have a straight line. Click on it and drag from corner to corner and release to draw a line from top to bottom. You can draw a number of guides using the edges or parts of the image that ought to be straight but you can only draw a maximum of 4.

In our demo picture, you realize than after drawing the first guide, nothing happens because it is trying to compare it to something else. When we draw the second line, the picture shifts a little bit which makes it look a whole lot better. Even when we draw more lines, you realize that nothing changes simply because the first two lines just did it. You have to draw at least two lines for you to start color burning and when you do so, the photo will transform interactively.

You can do some more experiments with your image. We will do this by deleting the lines by clicking on one of the notes and pressing delete. This messes with the algorithm that Lightroom was using. You can draw it back and your image will look perfectly straight and level which is better compared to the original which was a little bit off. From here, you can work on your original edits and get the final image to your client. With this little feature, you can work on your images including landscape and real estate photos to just make sure that the horizons are straight and looking perfect.

Correcting Sky Discoloration in Adobe Lightroom

Before we explore this technique, I would like to invite you to search our Facebook Sleeklens Members Club or by going to facebook.com/groups/sleeklens-membersclub from where you can help on your photography, dicuss editing techniques and stay up to date with Sleeklens products. This video was posted to help one of the group members in response to his post.

The question was in regards to the discoloration of the sky and how to correct this problem effectively. We begin by downloading the photograph for use in our tutorial and apply the presets that our friend had used. One of these presets was the sunset preset and once we click on it, you will see that it has the sky that looks abnormal. One way to correct this and this is the easiest way is to click on the gradient tool in Lightroom and you’ll see the gradient mask that was applied for the preset. One easy way to get rid of that look is to open the exposure up a little bit which takes away a lot of stuff that is happening up there. You can also go down to the effects tab and take the vignetting up a little bit which will also help. So, you still get your main edits which you wanted.

You also wanted to brighten the shadows a little bit. But so far, the sunset preset took away that sky. This is the simplest method and there is no need to use another preset. Just check the gradient masks and that will get your sky looking better than the one you posted.

Thank you for following this post and you can find many more helpful tutorials, videos and posts from this facebook group. You can also visit Sleeklens.com for more products that will help improve your photography skills.

Crop Sensor Vs Full Frame: A Quick Guide

In this video, we will be looking at the differences, pros, and cons of a full frame camera and a crop sensor camera. This is important to understand and geared towards those who are new to photography. It is also good to know the history of where these came from.

So, what is a full-frame camera? We need to know what this camera is if we are to understand what crop sensor camera is. A full frame camera has its origin in the olden days when they used to shoot films. The 35mm film was typically used and so Canon was the first manufacturer to come up with a digital sensor that was the size of 35mm film. That was kind of considered to be a full frame camera those days. So, when you think of a full frame camera, you just kind of think of a 35mm equivalent of film.

On the other hand, a crop sensor camera is basically a different variation of crop size inside a camera. What this does is that it makes the sensor smaller so it can fit in a smaller body so you can have a smaller, more compact version of a full frame. There are advantages and disadvantages of this but we will look into that as we progress.

Normally, if you are Canon user, the crop factor ranges between 1.3 and 1.6 depending on the make and the model. If you are a Nikon user, it is easy to figure out because it is usually around 1.5. Looking at our visual demo, you will see a photo that was taken with a full frame sensor. This is what we see using a 17mm of distance through the lens. When this is shot with a crop sensor as shown in the second visual demo in our video, a lot of information will be lost shooting at the same focal length. This gives you a basic demo of how small the sensor is if you think on the inside of the camera. The full frame sensor or camera has the size of the big box while the crop sensor has the size of the smaller box, so to say.

What are the disadvantages and advantages of the two?

When figuring out which one you should buy, it will be necessary to consider both the pros and the cons of the two sensors or cameras. First, we will use a visual demonstration of the wide angle use. If you are doing a lot of landscape stuff and want to have a lot of wide angle shots, you can get a full frame camera and a regular 24mm and you will likely have the same 18mm or a little bit less of what crop sensor would shoot. So, you kind of get wider angle used. It is therefore really useful obviously and real estate photography where you need to get the whole huge room and you don;t have a 10mm lens or something like that, you can shoot with a 16mm or 17mm lens and get the whole room. That is kind of advantages there.

Full frame sensor cameras are far more expensive while crop sensor cameras are less expensive because they are a smaller size. Normally the crop sensors are kind of a beginner and intermediate bodies. The depth of the field is kind of a negative though when it comes to full frame sensors. Usually, depending on the make and model, the full frame cameras are capable of giving you as much depth of field as you want. So, even if you shoot at f/22 on full frame, the whole image may not be as sharp as you like and you may have to do some focus stacking and stuff like that. But on a crop sensor camera, you will be able to get a lot of depth of field since the size of the sensor is so small. Everything from front to back on f/22 and sometimes even at f/32 will be extremely sharp.

A lot of people would want to shoot sports using crop sensor cameras because they offer more crop factor so you get a more zoomed-in look. Let’s take for instance where you want to shoot a football game and am all the way across the field with a full frame camera and I don’t have an 800mm, 6000 dollar lens, it will be a lot harder to get that reach. However, on a crop sensor camera, you get more reach even with half that sensor even with less desirable or less telephoto lens.

In addition, when it comes to pricing, full frame cameras need things like luxury glass and expensive lenses, especially if you want to get that reach and print size. This is especially important when it comes to photo printing because you get more pixels when you use a larger sensor thus giving you more data to print with. With a crop sensor camera, you still could go as large but this won’t give you a clear image as you would get with the full frame cameras.

Lastly, full frame cameras usually have a higher ISO performance than the crop sensor camera. This is due to more light coming in and being able to hit the sensor. This is why function cams from Nikon and Canon are normally known for having great high ISO performance and they do very well on that.

So, that’s kind of the basic differences between the crop and full frame sensors. You can think about these things the next time you want to purchase a camera. What are you going to need more? Is it a wider angle or telephoto, or more high ISO performance? Price will also be a factor to consider. These are things to consider.

You can visit Sleeklens.com for more informative posts and videos, or to have a look at the available photography products that will help make your work more superb and of high quality.

How to Tether Your DSLR Camera in Adobe Lightroom

This quick video will teach you how to tether your DSLR camera in Adobe Lightroom. This is a very simple and very simple process yet very important as it allows you to see pictures on a big screen compared to the small screens at the back of your camera. It also allows you to check your focus, settings, exposure and also quickly import everything in Lightroom for you so you don’t have to worry about doing that stuff later.

The first thing you will need is obviously a DSLR camera. That is very important. You will also need a micro USB cable which comes with the camera when you buy a brand new one. You will need everything that is required for tethering your camera.

 

You will also need to have Lightroom. To begin the tethering process, you will take the camera USB cable and plug it into the computer and then look for the AVL Digital. That is a part of the camera that you need and you can access it by opening a small covering on the side of your camera. Plug in the other end of the USB camera and you are ready to go.

Turn on the camera and then go to ‘File’ in main Lightroom menu and then choose ‘Tether Capture’ and click ‘Start Tether’. This will open another dialogue box where you can type your session name and the file naming sequence (custom name or file name) and choose the location where you want the photos to go, answer keyword and then click Ok.

You will see a box pop-up and this is the ‘Tether Capture Box’. It allows you to change the settings on your camera using the Shutter button or do it directly from the camera. The purposes of this video, we shall do it directly from the camera. With the camera turned on, we can choose ‘Go-Pro’ and take a picture from the camera while it is still attached to the computer. At the top, you will see ‘Transferring files from the camera’.

The camera takes the picture and then puts it into the Lightroom catalogue automatically. Now you can take different pictures and they will all pop-up in Lightroom catalogue automatically. If you are a product or wedding photographer, and you want development of presets to apply to every photo that is imported, you can go to  “None’ at the bottom of the Lightroom window and then choose one of the available options and then take a photo to see what happens. The preset will be applied to your picture quickly. This is fun and fast and although what we have in the video isn’t the best preset, you will realize that there is a clear different in the color tones and other adjustments on the right side of the window.

This is a quick and easy process for you to tether your camera in Adobe Lightroom and have everything popping up automatically. As such, you do not have to worry about the process of importing your pictures as everything is done automatically. Additionally, you are able to see your pictures in a large screen. You will be able to click on the picture to assess whether your camera focus was good.

Hope you enjoyed this quick video and you can visit Sleeklens.com for more videos and posts or anything you can think of that is related to photography.

Photography Basics: What Is ISO?

This video is designed to give some of the photographic basics to beginners to help approach the art with a little more info. We will be looking at ISO and try to understand what this is.

First of all, ISO is camera sensitivity to light. Photography is all about light manipulation and letting it work for you. As such, when your camera needs more light, you will need to increase your ISO and when it doesn’t need more light, then you reduce it. This is represented in our chart below

ISO Chart

100 200 400 800 1600 3200 6400 12800
Less sensitive to Light                                                                                       More sensitive to Light
Will capture less light                                                                                       Will capture more light
More light needed for ‘good” exposure                                                       Less light needed for “good” exposure
Less noise                                                                                                            More noise

 

So, normal camera ISO varies and this means that the lower the number, the less sensitive your camera is to light. The higher the number, the lower sensitive it is to light. As seen in the chart above, cameras with if you have your camera set to ISO 100, it will be less sensitive to light and will capture less light or rather won’t let as much light affect the scene and more light will be needed to have a “good” exposure. It will also have less noise.

If you have to pump your ISO higher, you will get the ability to have more light come in to your sensor, it will capture more light, you will have less light needed for good exposure but you will have more noise. So, when do you need to have an ISO of 100? Normally this is required on a bright situation like when you are taking a landscape photo and it is very sunny outdoors, you will need to keep it 100 and you’ll be fine since the light coming to your sensor is greater. But if you have to increase your ISO, those conditions are normally when you need more light to come in and night time photos is the kind of situation when you need more light to come in to capture good scenes. If you have your ISO set to 100 and it’s dark outside, you will have a very dark scene.

The main drawback of increasing your ISO is noise. Noise grain and image grain will be evident in your images. So, as seen in the video, we have a sporting scene and the image was shot at ISO 100 and there is no noise but it is perfect. As we increase the ISO in the camera, more noise is added to the scene and this can really distract on how a good quality photo can be.  That is the main drawback and the reason why many people try to play with the ISO to avoid increasing it more than necessary.

However, sometimes depending on the scene, if you have a lot of noise, that is what you will have in your pictures. In other cases, you might not be able to have that much light coming into your camera due to sensor sensitivity and you will have noise. So, this is basically what ISO is in photography. This is just one part of exposure triangle and you can learn more in our next video.

Visit Sleeklens.com for more topics on Lightroom, Photoshop and other photography-related topics.

Working with Layer Masks in Adobe Photoshop

This video is intended to help you understand how best you can work with Layer masks in Photoshop as part of your photo editing. Layer masks are very important when it comes to the manipulation of your photos. Layer masks are arguably some of the most versatile and helpful tools that Photoshop has.

We will be working on replacing the sky in the top photo (You will realize there are two photos uploaded here. One is a building photo and the other one is a sky photo). The main objective is to get the sky to the blue section.

One of the quickest and easy ways to do this is to select the building and apply layer mask thus removing everything but leave the building intact. One of the ways to do this is to select the building with any kind of selection you know how to use. For this photo, the selection is already loaded and therefore we will only choose that really quickly. Before we apply the layer masks, you will notice that this photo is not fully selected but some things are left out and a bit messy. There are also some things left out on the picture and this was done purposely so you can see what is happening.

With the selection saved, what we will be doing to keep the building but remove everything else is apply the layer mask. At the bottom, you see a rectangle with a black circle and we will click on the button. This will automatically remove everything else but keep the building. It also puts a small box that is called “Layer Mask Thumbnail” that allows you to continue editing your pictures.

With this done, you can play around with the cloud. Everything will be easy to move or change and we will make the sky a little larger. The colors obviously don’t match and doesn’t blend that well, but this tutorial is basically intended for layer masks. With the sky enlarged, we go to the thumbnail to fix some of the areas using a regular brush. We can use two colors and that is either black or white; black to conceal and white to reveal. To paint everything properly, we will use a feathered brush and set it at around 25% or so. We will start painting white on the layer thumbnail since doing it on the photo will give you a weird effect. Painting with the feathered brush will leave some soft edges on the building. These can be replaced with hard edges achievable by painting with black color so as to keep the sky.

Once done, we will do the same thing with the shy by painting black again. This is the quick and easy way to do this. You will notice that there is a lock between the two layers. Clicking on this lock will somehow hide the relationship between the two layers. Moving the lock around will keep the shape of the building while the one underneath stays the same. Although this is not what we want to do, you will realize that is what happens when we have the lock and move it around. This can be helpful when doing compositing in Photoshop where you need to move buildings, trees, mountains or anything else around. We can also move the lock to help with the composition of this photo by moving the building over a little bit.

That’s basically how you work with layer masks in Adobe Photoshop to either reveal or hide some sections of a layer using a mask. You can learn more regarding Photoshop, Lightroom and general photography from other informative posts and videos available in Sleeklens blog. These are great resources to help advance your photography skills and techniques.

Face Aware Liquify Filter in Adobe Photoshop CC

Face Aware Liquify is a new Photoshop CC feature that gives Liquify filter some face-detection capabilities thus allowing you to distort or reshape a person’s facial features such as the nose, eyes and mouth among others. In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to use this new feature as which basically allows you to alter the facial features automatically without doing much. To begin with, it is worth noting that Photoshop detects all the facial features of the person whose photo you intend to edit. Photoshop allows you to move these features around, change them and change the scales among other things.

To begin with, you will need to choose the photo whose facial features you intend to manipulate. Once you have your photo ready, go to ‘Liquify menu’ which is located on the top part of the screen and on the Menu Bar. From there, you will be able to choose ‘Filter Tool’ > and then ‘Liquify’. If you are familiar with Liquify Menu, you will note that most of your favorite features haven’t changed a lot but most of the previous features are intact. However, you will realize that there is a “Face Aware Liquify” section on the right side. This is where Photoshop CC detects the facial features and allows you to move them around much easily.

You can either go to the face and change the little notes resting on different facial features such as the eyes or the nose and move them around easily or go to the “Slider Menu” and start messing the sliders. You can increase the eye size for example by dragging the sliders to different direction. The sliders will allow you to either increase or decrease the size of the different features depending with your preferred editing needs. However, you will find it fun to play around with the notes. As you play with the notes, you will realize that the pixels around the face are kind of blending together very well making your editing really realistic and easy.

You can exaggerate the editing to help you see what is really happening. You can do that with the different parts until you have achieved your desired results. For example, you will realize that the mouth gives you a number of possibilities and you can either make the person in the image to frown or smile by either dragging the slider up or down. With the Face Aware Liquify Filter, you will be able to make the mouth narrow or wide, chin longer, pull down the forehead or make it look just anything you imagine about. Once you are through with your changes, just click “Ok” to save the changes.

Once you are though with your experimenting, you should be able to notice the difference by looking at the “Before” and “After” photos. This is a great tool you can use in your photo shoots if you want to contour facial features and make them look really good.

Face Aware Liquify Sliders are basically designed to help correct any unwanted distortions in your pictures especially those making one to look different from the way he or she appears in person. Amazingly, you can also use the feature to make someone look absolutely different or like someone else. The process is very easy and you can start your portrait edits now.

How to Work with “Runway Fashion Workflow” – B&W Fashion Effects

Although your fashion photographs might look great in color, there is always something great which you can achieve when you convert them into black and white. This gives them a vintage mood and crisp contrast and you can achieve the best results using B&W Presets. To begin with, the “Runway Fashion Workflow’ allows you to work on both raw images and JPEG photos to recreate the runway lighting effects thus bringing out the perfect skin tones and cinematic settings for successful fashion photo editing. Fusing the B&W presets with the ‘Runaway Fashion Workflow” makes it possible for you to perform vivid adjustments within a few seconds. The process is simple but the results are admirably incredible when done right.

Before going into details on how you can work with ‘Runaway Fashion Workflow” for Lightroom using B&W presets, it is important to understand a few things. First, there are numerous presets under the B&W and these include Amber Sepia, Classic, Black Vintage, Maximum Tones, Deep Blacks, Old Fashion, Morning Coffee, Space Gray and Sepia. You can choose the preset that best works for you based on your needs and the results you wish to obtain. With this in mind, let’s look at the simple process of converting your photography into amazing black and whites.

The first thing is to have the photo or photos you intend to use pulled up. Once this is done, you will need to do a few presets before that. This is because the presets are stackable, which means that you can put one preset first and then put another one on top of it without the second one canceling out the work you had done on the first one.

The first preset to use will be the basic correction auto-lens correct. That basically depends on the lens you used because sometimes the correction will be minimal but other times it will be bigger. You will therefore need to determine the extent of your correction based on the lens you used to shoot the photographs. Once you use the auto-lens correction preset, you will then move on to the Sharpening Preset. With this preset, just choose the “Smart Sharpening” option to deal with the light. Remember that the sharpness of your photos will largely be determined by a number of factors and light is one of them.

For the black and white preset, you can choose to use the “old fashioned” option. As shown in the video above, you can get this by scrolling down to where you find a host of black and white presets. The old fashioned preset will add a lot of clarity and contrast thus giving your image an edgy look. You can just adjust it using the tabs, even though the black and white presets are “one-click”. This will help you change the clarity and contrast the way you want.

Once you are done with this preset, just go to the “Veneer Presets’ and add a light black veneer to that. But even though you will be using the white/black veneer which is the smallest of the light medium dark as seen in the image we are working on, you can go to “Effects” and look for something that is ‘high priority’ and slide up or down to make the image lighter or darker based on how it looks to you.

Using a brush

The next thing you will have to do as part of the process is to use a brush. To do this, just choose your ‘Runway Fashion Workflow” purchase and go down to the ‘fixed over-expose” and use the brush on the models face because she has a lot of light hanging over her face and the highlight is slightly over exposed. By now, you should be able to look at the pictures side-by-side and see the changes that have already taken place. You will notice that the initial picture is evenly exposed but on the right, we have created a picture that has a lot of contrast and just a little bit of flare which makes it a nice photograph in case you need to use it for an advertisement.

Studio photograph

You can also turn a studio photograph into a black and white photo as well. To do this, you will need to start by going to the “Runway Fashion Workflow –Basic Correction- auto lens correction” which is basically able to correct any lens’ distortions from whichever lens was used to shoot the photograph.

Again, you will be using your “Runway Fashion – Smart Contrast – medium” and then go down to your black and white preset now. Choose black and white maximum tone and stuck a “Matte Effect – Matte light” on top to add a little bit of tone to the background and to the shadows.

As you can see, the models eye-color and eyes appear a little bit dark and this normally happens when using B&W presets. You can adjust a little bit by using the brush. Open the ‘brush’ and select the “Runway Fashion – Face – Brighten Eyes” and use it over the model’s eyes to minimize the dark tones. Then choose a new brush, “Runway Fashion – Face – Soften Skin” to soften the skin a little bit.

As is the case, you can choose to the ‘one-click’ at it with the preset, you can still go to the tabs on your right and adjust them. To do this, you will go to the “Basic” and increase both the contrast and highlights a little bit. With that done, put the two photos next to each other and you will realize that even though the ‘after photo’ is not colored, it still has a classic edge and is also a good product if you want to use it for your advertising purposes.

An outdoor photo

With this photo, we will be looking at something that is not exactly black and white but falls under the same category. We will be looking at a “CPA tone – B & W photo”. CPA used to be a kind of chemical that was used to dye photos.

The process is just the same as the others above and you will need to start with the ‘auto-lens correction” before going to ‘Smart Sharpening – Light’. Then choose “B&W – Sepia” preset and this will add a brown tan to your photo. You can also use “Amber Sepia” preset but this will add a little bit more of a brown tan to the photo. Then go to the ‘Runway Fashion – Vignette Effect –Black Vignette’ to darken the edges and add some contrast. Once this is done, go to “Basic” at the right side of the screen and lower the highlights while increasing the exposure and reducing the contrast and shadows a little bit.

This is basically how you use B&W presets with “Runaway Fashion Workflow” and you too can try it on your photos. It is that easy and effective.

How to Change Hair Color in Adobe Photoshop

Of the many great things that Adobe Photoshop has to offer, changing hair color is one of the best that I know so far. This of course does not mean that there are no other beautiful features which you can benefit from but it means that you do not have to spend a lot of time and money working on different hair styles just for the purposes of photography. It is always possible to do change not only hair colors but also the color of your clothes. Today we will look at how you can easily change your hair color in Adobe Photoshop.

How to Change Haircolor in Photoshop – Video Tutorial

To use this technique, you will only need a few tools namely the brush tool and hue saturation layer plus your photo of course. But before going ahead with the hair color changes, it is always important to remember the very first step in color editing and that is to clear any distortions which are obvious on the image. However, you can skip this step if at all you are ok with the image the way it is. But I guess you are looking for a perfect image which you can share freely.

First, you will need to create a blank layer and then change the layer’s “Blending mode” to “soft light.” Once this is done, you will need to select your brush tool and change the foreground color to light orange color (or your preferred color) and then clock ok. With the done, you will need a soft brush (The brush should be very soft and you can adjust the hardness all the way to 0% , opacity raised to 100% and flow to 100% as well. Use this soft brush to paint over the hair just lightly. As you can see in the video, you will notice that the color is changing but this is not the last step and you should therefore not worry too much about the precision.

At this point, we have the hair color changed and this color looks a little bit good. However, we will change also come up with another color but instead of painting over where you just painted, you can do the hue saturation by clicking the adjustment layer and then click on “Hue Saturation” and then clip the hue saturation layer to the painted layer. To do that, just hover over the two layers, hold the Alt option key and click. All the adjustments made on this saturation layer will only affect the painted layer and nothing else underlying.

From this point, we can play with different hair colors from red to saturated red or whichever color you desire. As shown in the video, you can change to a good color such as nice amber and red and then group the two layers by clicking both and pressing Command +G or Ctrl + G and toggle on and off so you are able to see the difference. In our video, we are able to come up with a nice brunette and a nice little red color.

If you want them to blend well with the underlying a little bit more, you can do it to change the hue saturation layer or just take the opacity down and it will start blending in very well. This hair color changing technique in Photoshop works very well with different hair colors and you can get the most amazing results for your photos.

Doing the final touches

As you work to change hair color in Adobe Photoshop, it is worth noting that the face or dress colors will be overlapping with the new hair color in some places. If not handled well, this problem could leave your photos looking distorted or manipulated. This however can be corrected by simply reloading your selection, inverting it and then using a soft brush with opacity reduced to around 30%. With these settings in place, just color back the skin color to at least reduce the additional tinge. As you do so, it is always good to know that the color of the hair will definitely reflect off the model’s skin. As such, you should not take all the new hair color away but instead reduce it a little bit.

Creating a Sun flare Effect in Adobe Lightroom

Hey, I will use this tutorial to teach you how you can create a sun flare effect in Adobe Lightroom quickly and easily. This will transform your photos and images, giving them trendy and spectacular effects. These effects are normally amazing especially when it comes to photos which are during overcast days using cameras with too flat lighting. Sun flare effects adds some warmth to photos and images but this does not need to cost you so much time while doing it. With the Adobe Lightroom, you will be able to increase color and contrast to your images and photos.

To use this technique, you will only need one tool basically and that is Radial Filter Tool in lightroom. The first thing is to open your redial filter tool and this is where you can draw a large circle on your photo layer. It will have a major effect as can be seen in the tutorial video.

Now, before we go any further, it will be important to consider the direction of light in your photos. You must be able to figure out where the shadows are being case otherwise you might end up with a photo that looks obviously manipulated. Knowing the direction of light in your photos will help you understand where you need to create a sun flare effect thus leaving your photo looking natural.

With this in mind, just draw the circle on the side that is directly facing the light. Then feather the brush all the way to 100% and then make the edges really nice and soft. From here, just play with the colors by warming them up a little bit (Use the Temperature option) because the sun is warm and then take the exposure and put it up fairly on the image.

Then take the clarity and reduce it a little bit so it’s a little hazy and take back then dehaze a little bit down as well. You can reduce the warmth a little bit until you are satisfied but that should basically do it. With this done, you can now drag it around and position it where you want it to be. To have the sun flare effect look exactly the way you want, you can try to edit the photo.

To do this, just warm the photo as well and increase the exposure a bit, shadows, clarity and contrast. Once this is done to your satisfaction, just click “Done” and there you have it. You can have a look at the “Before” and “After” photo to see how different the two are.

You will notice that the earlier photo was a bit boring but with the creation of sun flare effect in Adobe Lightroom, everything changes and the photo looks more appealing and warm.

From here, you can save the new photo as a preset by clicking on “check none” and then check “Radial Filter” and put “Sun Flare” and then click on “Create.”

With this done, I will go this other photo and choose my created preset (Sun Flare). As you can see, this puts the sun flare effect exactly where it was in the other photo but I can move around and make it a little larger since this photo calls for a little larger circle. Since the two photos are different, you can edit the photo a little bit by pushing the sliders to add some warmth, increase exposure, contrast, and vibrancy and maybe reduce the highlight a little bit.

The secret is to ensure that you have the desired effects and this is possible as you play around with the sliders to either increase or decrease some of the options available.

As you work on your images, always make sure you have consistency before completing the process otherwise your images might look faked to a keen observer. You can use your newly created Sun Flare Effect preset for future photos and it will help make your photo editing faster and easier even as you use Adobe Lightroom.

I hope you learned something and are ready to work on your photos to create a sun flare effect for that warm look. You should also feel free to look at some of our amazing Presets and see how they can help you work on your images for an added flare. If you work with Photoshop, then you can use our lovely collection of Light Flare Overlays to make this post production process a one-step task.

How to Work With Runway Fashion Workflow

The Runway Fashion Overflow is one of the best tools which you can use to enhance the overall look of your photographs. The overflow comes with 123 presets and 22 brushes which you can use for fashion photography to retouch the skin and add highlights and tones. It is recommended that the presets should be used with raw files since the presets might not appear as great as they appear in raw files if you are using images in JPEG format.

With all our presets open and a raw file pulled up, we will begin the process. The reason for using raw files is that images in JPEG format might not appear as great as you would want to or even come anywhere closer to what you get from raw files.

With our picture here, we will start with “Vintage Fashion Preset” and use one called deep hills. This will change the photograph both in contrast and exposure thus bringing out the colors in the model’s clothes and hue in the grass and surrounding elements. Although this photo is well exposed, it has a little more flare than you might see in magazines and in print.

Next we will use a basic collection preset known as “auto lens collection preset” and this really depends on the lens you used during the shooting and the level of distortion it might create in your photographs. This preset is a one-click preset and your photo might change minimally or more based on distortion collection. Once you are through with that step, it is good to remember that we are using brushes to polish local adjustments and therefore we will add vignette to the photograph by choosing a light black vignette. This brings a little bit of white to the center while darkening the edges thus adding a little bit of contrast to the image.

A look at the before and after photos will reveal that although the first picture was well exposed, it falls flat and doesn’t have the cinematic qualities and flare associated with fashion photography. The best thing is that our Runway Fashion Presets are stackable and so far we have already stack three of them on top of each other thus making some amazing improvements. This is great since if you have hundreds of photos to work with, you do not have to work on each one of them individually but only need a couple of clicks to apply the presets on all of them. However, despite the presets being “one-click edits” you can easily adjust them to work on each individual image the way you would prefer them to. We will now modify the presets we applied from the Basic panel and work on a different photograph.

This image is also evenly exposed but is a bit flat in color but we will use the presets to change it up. To do this, we will start with our Fashion Presets and scroll down to the one called “Dorian”. This will add a little bit of light and contrast to the photograph. And just as we did with the first photograph, we will use the Basic collection with the auto lens collection. You will realize that the auto lens collection in this photograph is a little bit more noticeable than in the previous one.

Next we will add a little more vignette to the photograph by using the same black vignette on the light setting. You realize that the vignette works very well here since his T-shirt is blown up as a highlight and is a little bit lighter in the edges and therefore will add a little bit of contrast and add some light in the center of the image. Next we will go to hue color and change the hue of the photo by choose “Medium Red.” We will open the color settings on the right side of the panel and since we are using red, we will select that option. With the colors open, we hit the “Medium Red” option and this will change the hue of it and what this does is that it gives our model a little bit more of skin tone that is more even and close to real life.

With these four presets applied, we will now go to the Runway Fashion brushes and use one called “Soften Skin.” You can change the size of your brush if you need to. Basically, we will now run the brush all over the face of the model to smooth out all the imperfections. However, you do not want the face skin to look too smooth and thus look fake. To control the amount of the skin soft brush, just go to clarity and slide it up a little bit. Looking at the before and after photo doesn’t show much of a different but we did manage to adjust his skin color, add some contrast, a little bit of light, exposure and softened his skin. We also were able to fix the obvious lens distortion.

We will now move to our third photograph start with the presets again. We will use “Vintage preset and scroll down to “Sauvage” which is a French word for wild. This changes the colors of the leaves and blues in her outfits and grass around there. This gives the photo a really wild contrasted effect. Then we will go to the “Auto Lens Collection’ option. This is always good to do this whether you think the photo has some lens distortion or not as it helps collect any distortions and a single click works that out.

Already we have applied two presets and this photo does not need much editing as was the case with the previous ones. From here, we will go to the brushes to work a little bit on her face and make-up which look a little bit too orange as a as a result o the first preset that we applied. We open brushes and choose “New” and in your Runway Fashion Brushes choose the “Desaturate” brush and run it all over her face to pull out a little bit of orange out of her skin. This will change the skin and make it more or a true life face skin.

As you can see, the Runway Fashion presets and brushes helps change the earlier photo which is a little bit flat and underexposed to bring that fashion effects with the actual photo with just wild colors and crazy contrasts. If you are going to fashion photography, this how you can work with Runway Fashion Workflow to achieve that cinematic look and fashion effects.

How to Add a Watermark in Lightroom and Photoshop

Watermarks are always a good way to keep your images safe. However, it will be good to note that having a watermark on your image does not necessarily mean someone won’t steal them. Nevertheless, there is nothing bad with putting a watermark especially because this process is very easy.

To begin with, it is important to understand that there are many ways of putting watermarks on an image. First, you can decide to use Adobe Lightroom (the main process we will be discussing in this post) or choose to go for Photoshop CC. however, Adobe Lightroom always presents you with an easier process which anyone can do with a little bit of learning.

How to set up Watermark in Adobe Lightroom

Before starting the process, it will be good to know that you cannot put the watermark in the Export menu but have to set it up beforehand. To do this, just open your lightroom and if you are in a Mac, just go to the Lightroom Menu and then click on ‘Edit Watermarks”. If you are in PC, just go to “Edit Menu > Edit Watermarks”.

In this tutorial, we will be using Mac to set up watermark in Adobe Lightroom. You will get a style box where you can set up the watermark the way you want it to look from here on. There are multiple watermarks including your name, company or any other option you find preferable. On the right side of your image, you will find a number of options available to you and from there you can choose your desired font and anchor points among other things. If you have a personal logo you would intend to use, you can click on the graphic box on the top of the menu box and this will take you to your computer from where you can select the containing folder and then choose your desired logo. Before making any changes to your simple watermark to make it look more sophisticated as you would want it to be, make sure to select Text at the top of the menu box under “Watermark Style”

Before going far, it is important to note that the main reason for setting a watermark on your photos is to make them safe from misuse or any unauthorized use. As such, you might want to put the © (Copyright Symbol) on your images to make them more official. To do this, just press on “Option + G” if you are on Mac or press “Alt Key and then type 0169” if you using Windows PC. Once you have set your watermark the way you want it to look, just click save and put it under your desired name.

With your watermark set, just go to the Export Menu and then select the “Watermark section” and choose the watermark checkbox and pick your saved watermark and click “Export”. This action will position your saved watermark where you wanted it to be and just the way you wanted it to be. The process of setting up a watermark in Adobe Lightroom is that simple and you can do it on your photos with ease.

Setting up watermark in Photoshop CC

We would also like to briefly look at how you can set up your watermark in Photoshop CC. as earlier mentioned, setting up a watermark in Adobe Lightroom is just one of the processes but you can also do it in Photoshop CC. So, how do you go about the process?

First, the process of setting up a watermark in Photoshop CC isn’t all that difficult. The first thing you should do it to prepare the image upon which you want to set the watermark and then design your watermark the way you want it to be. You can choose to resize your image or opt not to, based on your preference. To set up the watermark, the easiest way is to use the “Text Tool” which can be found in the “Toolbar’ on your left hand side of the workspace. Then click on the part of the image where you would want to set up the watermark and then type the name you intend to put on your images. If you want to add the © (Copyright Symbol), just use the same procedure as in Adobe Lightroom.

It is easy to modify the color and the size of your text using the tool options bar located below the “main menu” or select “Window > Character” and this will give you the panel for text adjustment. Highlight the text you intend to change and move it around to the section you want to appear. You can use the opacity slider located above the “Layers Panel” and manipulate it until it has the desired appearance. You can also insert your logo when setting up a watermark in Photoshop CC almost the same way as you would do when setting up a watermark in Adobe Lightroom.

But of course, it is always to try and make your watermarks or logos very large as doing so will obstruct the view of your photos. Even if you are out to protect your photos, you do not have to hide or mess up their beauty by adding too big logos or watermarks especially if they are clearly visible.

Now you know how to setting up a watermark on your images in Lightroom and Photoshop CC. There are also other methods of adding a watermark or logo in your images without having to go through the whole process of creating a new one every now and then. Just make sure that your watermark or logo is saved and whenever you want to add it in your future images, all you have to do is to open it, and then select all (Command + A for Mac or Ctrl +A for a PC) and then copy it (Command + C for Mac or Ctrl + C for PC). Then click on your image and press “Command + V” and “Ctrl + V” to paste the logo. Then position the watermark where you want it.

Photographing in a Crowded Area – Removing People in Adobe Photoshop

When it comes to adventurous travelling, photography is definitely one of the things you do in order to keep those precious memories with you. Whether you are photographing in the beach or in the streets of your favorite city, there will always be people who appear in the photos yet you do not want them to feature in the final photos that you preserve. As such, removing such people is always important and this can be done easily using Adobe Photoshop.

Removing people and objects can be essential especially if your photos were taken in a crowded place where you intend to capture some significant events or highlights yet you do not have the chance to control the crowds to stop moving so you can shoot. As such, this tutorial will guide you on how you can instantly removing moving objects or people from your photos thus leaving you with photos which are devoid of any unwanted elements.

How to remove people or moving objects using Adobe Photoshop

First, you will need to have a number of images, 12-14 but you can have more if you want to (we’ve used 18 in our tutorial video). The images used in our video were in JPEG and we will scroll them down to see how the process works. As you can see in our video, the images here were taken in a lighthouse and there are many moving people appearing in the different photographs. These are the ones we will be removing carefully to ensure that the images appear untouched and as original as possible. You do not want to have your photos looking funny and appearing to have been obviously edited.

Start by going to Photoshop and open the file menu and go to scripts and then to statistics. Make sure that your statistic mode is in Medium before choosing “use files” and then browse. This will give you the chance to choose the files you intend to use to remove people or objects using Adobe Photoshop. Once you have your files ready, load them into Photoshop.

In case your photos were taken in handheld, you can have Photoshop to automatically try and align them. In our video, we won’t do that since the photos in our image were taken in tripod. Once you load the photos, Photoshop will open and analyze all the images and find any moving people or objects in them. Adobe Photoshop will then automatically take the moving objects out and replacing those sections with other parts of a different photo where the moving objects do not appear.

Depending with the number of images that you have and how fast the system you are using is, the process could take up to 10 minutes and therefore you will need to wait and be patient. After the process is over, you will have the final photo which might have a few people or images which didn’t move throughout your shooting process. As can be seen in our photo in the video, we were left with three people who were not moving throughout the shooting process. Any unmoving objects that you did not intend to remain in the final photo could be a problem but this doesn’t have to trouble you since you can use the cloning tool provided by Photoshop.

It is good to know that Photoshop can mess things up sometime. You should therefore be having an image somewhere which should be having the images you want to remove cleared. Just drag that image on the top of the final photo and align then properly such that they will be on top of each other. Once you do this, just do a “Layer Mask” and go ahead and try to pain the underlying layer in. in case you have any few images still remaining, you can do a little bit of clean-up until your photo is clear and without people. This is always better that trying to clone a whole bunch of people using Adobe Photoshop. Once you have removed all the people from the image, go to the “Brush Panel” or “Options Bar” and select “Clone Stamp Tool > Brush Preset Picker > Medium feathered Brush”. This will allow you to clear any flaws remaining on the photo thus leaving you with a clear images whose edits are not easily detectable.

(If you are using Mac, press the ALT Key down and then click on a clear section next to the flaw in the photo and then release. Click on the flaw until you are able to obtain the desired results. You should make sure that the clone has blended seamlessly with your background and avoid being carried away when using the cloning tool since this can leave your images looking blurred.

This process is always easier and faster especially if you are in a place where you want to photograph let’s say a monument but there are a lot of people who will end up appearing in your photos. You can also use it to remove a few people from the image and remain with those you want to have in the final print of your photo. This is good especially if you are taking a group or family photo in a zoo or in front of a special feature but with uncontrolled traffic of people. It will help get rid of all moving objects and people leaving you with those who need to be in your final image.

How to Apply Dodging and Burning in Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

is a great tool for you to play around with your images and modify them as you wish. You can either lighten or darken some parts of your images using dodging and burning tools, which employ a darkroom technique, traditionally used for modifying exposure on particular sections of a print.

Basically, these two techniques can be used for increased exposure to darken some parts of the photo (burn) or reduced light to lighten specific sections of the print (dodge). The intensity with which you paint over a print with the burn or dodge tools, determines the extent by which you darken or lighten it.

So, how do you apply dodging and burning in Adobe Photoshop?

Although it is common and easy for people to use the Dodge tool and Burn tool provided in the Property Panel, there are other methods that promise to give you greater control of what you intend to achieve. To do this, you will need to open your Adobe photo editor and upload the photo you want to dodge or burn. Create a blank area and then on your right hand side choose the blending mode to overlay.

For more control, select the opacity and the flow. Drag the opacity to around 30% and flow to around 40%. Paint over and although you don’t see anything happening, keep clicking to brighten/burn more of the image. You can enlarge the brush to give you more control as you brighten parts of the cloud more. This also makes the process a little bit faster.

To darken/dodge areas of the image, change your brush to black by clicking ‘X’ on your keyboard or use the toggle option. Start darkening parts of your image to make it more moody on top and darken the edges for harmonious effects. Once you are through with this, switch back to white brush and make it plenty big and then keep clicking at the centre to create a small sun effect when the sun is really bright.

Once done, just toggle on and off to see the difference the process has made in your photo. The idea however is for you to get the best results on your photos based on what you intend to achieve. As such, you can use this particular method to dodge and burn your images as it might seem best to you. However, this is always the easiest and best way to follow especially if you want to enjoy greater control of the process.

As mentioned earlier, there are other non-destructive techniques which you can use for dodging and burning in Photoshop. This means that even if your change your image’s pixels, it is always easy to change or undo the adjustments before completing your project. Let’s look at other non-destructive dodging and burning techniques you can apply in Photoshop while working on different types of photographs while making your workflow more flexible, faster and more robust.

Using 50 percent Neutral Grade Layer

To do this, you will need to create two brand new layers – one for dodging and one for burning – and set them together. As you create the new layers, you should select your ideal blend mode, either Soft Light or Overlay. Normally, overlay is a little bit more effective and will quickly take you to dodged/burned effect compared to Soft Light which requires more gradual buildup. You can choose either based on your preference but ensure the Fill with 50% (Overly-neutral color) box.

It is always easier to start with burning since it makes helps you brighten the highlights once your shadows are defined. To do this, choose the Burn tool and set the brush at the hardness level of 0%, around 5% Exposure and then fix your working Range to Midtones. Once this is done, you can start brushing the parts which you intend to darken within the image and bring out the definition.

Once you are through, substitute the Burn tool with the Dodge tool and fill in your highlights and other tones depending with your project. Although this method can be limiting, it is one of the commonly used among many photographers especially when working on existing shadows and highlights. You should however avoid this approach if at all you want to change the midtones and turn them into brighter highlights or deeper shadows since it will adjust the saturation and hue of the surface if you use it much.

Dodging and Burning using Curve Adjustments

To use this approach for your burn, start by creating a Curves Adjustment Layer. Choose Curves and reduce the midtones to darken your entire image. Once this is done, adjust the layer’s blend mode to luminosity thus preserving the general tones.
Create a Curves Adjustment Layer to use in your dodging and then increase the midtones to brighten your image. Change the blend mode of the new layer to Luminosity and then invert the two layer masks before grouping them together. Begin with your burn layer and select the right brush hardness, flow and then brush the shadows. Do the same on your dodge layer. This approach is advantageous since the curves adjustment helps limit you on the extent at which you can dodge or burn the images.

Frequency Separation Techniques

This might be a new technique to you but you can try it. It is an amazing technique especially when doing some basic skin retouch and promises to give quality results when done right. The beauty of the techniques is that they can be combined with a dark and light layer to overlay a certain amount of white or black on top of your image instead of darkening or brightening the existing colors. This makes the process non-destructive to the initial tones.

Frequency separation techniques make it easy for photographers to correct color aspects in photographs and images without affecting detail and texture. They allow you to creatively work on your projects especially in giving the skin some touches for better results.

All these techniques can guarantee unique results but you will need to invest your time and be keen to ensure your blending is smooth and nice. You can use the techniques on different projects and but the greatest advantage with them is that they are non-destructive.

Cloning Out People in Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop cloning tools are undoubtedly some of the greatest additions for photo lovers and editors. If you have some photos with people you intend to duplicate in a different photo, it is always easy to clone them out using the Cloning Stamp Tool. You can do this non-distractedly by printing a brand new layer and in a way that you can go back to your original photo if you need to.

Avoid making any adjustments first

You should avoid any adjustments to color, contrast or other changes to the photo before cloning out people in Adobe Photoshop. Any changes made on the layer before using the Clone Stamp tool will be baked in permanently into the new cloned picture and this is something you might not want at this point.

Using Clone Stamp Tool Successfully

To do this, start by creating a blank layer where all your adjustments will go. When you brush over the new layer, you get a little box and this basically tells you that you need to select something to clone. To select the people you need to clone, simply press down the Alt key on your keyboard with your cursor on the target image. Once this is done, release the keys and start painting over the people you intend to replace. If you brush over a person and no selection is made, it means your sample is set to Current Layer and therefore is sampling nothing. To change these settings, just select ‘Current’ and ‘Below’ options under the sample menu.

Once this is done, just press on the ALT key and then select and brush over the target person and as you do this, they will start going away slowly. You can also select and remove a person very fast by pressing the ALT key and then click to sample and brush straight downwards. It is important to understand that Photoshop offers a wide variety of brushes and each of these will help produce different results. Normally, a hard brush will create noticeable edges along the cloning path while soft brush will give you smoother edges. When cloning, it is always important to click on the target person and then let go as you brush downwards so as to reset the sample.

Once you are done with the process of removing the target persons, the next step is to smoothen the image so that your changes aren’t discernible. To do this, you should employ the Spot Healing Brush which allows you to remove any small unwanted spots in your image. However, it is good to note that Spot Healing Brush isn’t designed for large replacement areas. However, you can eliminate moles and scratches on people’s faces or old photographs.

To use the brush, just click on EyeDropper tool or press ‘J’ on your keyboard. Select the brush and then hover it over the spot you intend to replace and then click just once. Photoshop will do all the pixel data examination work around the mark and flawlessly incorporate the data to the final destination.

Clone Stamp tool is advantageous in that it saves more images compared to all other tools during the post-processing. Once you know how to use it, you can easily clone out people out of your photos so that your final product only retains those you want.

How to get the best results when cloning

Once you know how to use Clone Stamp tool (plus other tools of course), the next thing is to master the cloning art so as to get professional results. The process can be messy especially if you do not know how to produce faultless results but as with everything, it will take time for you to perfect your skills. However, the following steps will be of great help as you work on your pictures to clone out people: –

Don’t hurry the process

For you to get quality results in your cloning project, patience is really important. While some people might be able to do it faster than others, there is no doubt that the quality of your project will be directly proportional to the time you spend working on it. It is worth noting that cloning photographic details is always a tedious process especially if you are looking for quality results. Just take your time if you are to avoid obvious blunders.

Replicate the active layer

When cloning sections of your image, always start by duplicating the layer you intend to work on. The other option will be to work on a brand new transparent layer. This will help you in case you make some mistakes further deep into the project some of which you might not be able to undo. Your original image should be on a hidden layer to give you flexibility when you need to restore any section of an image to the original state.

Choose your tools keenly

Different cloning tools come with their own weaknesses and strengths. You should therefore understand each tool before sticking with it throughout the cloning project. Choose the best tool for different parts of the image you intend to work on. When dealing with large projects, you should combine different tools to clone out people in Adobe Photoshop. Utilize two or more cloning tools in synergy for more realistic results.

Check out for obvious duplications

Poor cloning will results in obvious patterns. You can avoid painfully obvious duplicate pixels by being a bit careful. This is especially important if you are working on parts that ought to appear fairly organic. Using the same part of your image repeatedly will result in obvious pattern instead of giving you a natural appearance. You can avoid this mistake by using Clone Source palette heavily. Use numerous sources and change orientation, rotation, and size of the parts you are cloning. This will give an illusion of an original image.

Conclusion

Cloning out people in Adobe Photoshop can be a little bit complicated. However, once you learn the loops it will be easier but also require significant time and keen attention to achieve your desired results. Just make sure you develop an in-depth understanding of the different commands and tools. You should take time to experiment with different options for the different tools and invest time learning the cloning process using Adobe Photoshop. This way, you will perfect you’re your skills and do it like a pro.

How to Correct White Balance in Photoshop, ACR or LR

White balancing is undoubtedly one of the essential edits a photographer can make in Adobe Camera RAW, Lightroom or Photoshop. However, it is always important to do this kind of editing right so as to ensure that your color is spot on while at the same time avoiding any color correction issues as you progress.

Although there are many ways to set white color balance, it is possible for you to do it with ease without having a color picker or ColorChecker card. The scene above shows the interior of a house whose colors are off balance thus in need of proper, quality color balance to deal with the ‘too much yellowish’ effects.

To begin the process, you will need to go to camera RAW and then go to lens correction and enable the profile correction. Then do a basic automatic upright so as to get the lines straight. Take down the highlights to around –ve 80 (or thereabout) and bring up your shadows a little bit and then pump up the contrast and exposure a little bit.

After this, you will need to work on the color by picking on the part of the image that is supposed to be white but is currently as white as it should be. Ideally, you should look for a part that has light gray shades (or any part that has a neutral-looking color if there are no gray areas in the photo) and click on it. Click on the ColorChecker or eye dropper and the click on something that is supposed to be white. This will take out the yellow completely thus leaving the image looking more natural.

With the image looking more natural, it will be possible for you to take down the yellow and the lamps a little bit if there is need for you to do that. Just go to the HSL panel and the saturation and then take the yellow down a little bit.  This makes it a little bit clean to the eyes and attractive. You can adjust the contrast to fit your preferred appearance or play around with other options available until you achieve your most suitable results.

As you can see in the video, the process is very simple. Just select parts of the image which are supposed to be white and by so doing you will be able to correct white balance in Adobe camera RAW, Photoshop or Lightroom without using a ColorChecker or color swatch with you.

Different options available for setting White Balance in ACR

While at it, it is good to note that white balance can be set in different ways in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw). You can opt for the Drop-down menu preset White Balance tool, Temperature & Tint Sliders or the White Balance tool. However, it is good to know which option works best for you. But before we discuss these methods, let’s look at the difference between JPEG and RAW as far as white balancing is concerned.

First, shooting in JPEG bakes your white balance preset choice into the image and therefore you will only have “Auto” as the only preset option available in your drop-down menu. On the other hand, using ACR to open a RAW image will display the initial while balance you chose in the camera. However, it also gives you a preset White Balance drop-down menu which you can use to pick your white balance. It is important to note that although many people believe that white balance cannot be changed for JPEG images, the process is actually possible using White Balance tool and Temperature & Tint Sliders. However, white balance adjustments always look much better when made on RAW images compared to what you see in JPEG images.

Using the different white balancing methods

White Balance Tool

Although we had touched on this method a little bit at the beginning of this post, we look at it more in details just to help you understand more. For beginners, White Balance tool is one of the easiest of all the methods and allows you to try your skills on various white balances quickly.

To use it, just press ‘I’ on your computer keyboard or select White Balance tool on the toolbar and then click on any part that is either gray or is neutral colored (of there is no gray) within the image. Telling the ACR that this area was supposed to appear neutral gray will remove the tints thus leaving the area looking gray. This automatically adjusts all the colors in the image.

The idea is to click on something that has light gray or neutral-looking color but not white. Choosing the right area will give you your preferred white balance but any selection of the wrong place will make your color look awful but this shouldn’t worry you as it can be changed by clicking on a different part. If you don’t get the exact color, it is possible to at least get closer using Temperature & Tint sliders.

The beauty of this method is that you can easily revert to the original settings or just as the image was shot out of camera by double clicking on the White Balance tool. You can experience as much as you can and easily correct white balance in Adobe RAW, Photoshop, or Lightroom using this tool.

Temperature & Tint Sliders

The two sliders make it easy for you to correct the white balance simply by dragging towards your preferred color. Since Adobe has added a color ramp behind the sliders, it is easy to see which direction to drag in order to get your preferred color. This means you can move from cold to warmer colors by simply dragging the temperature slider to the right and vice versa. The further you drag, the more your image changes

You can also opt for White Balance present before moving either of the sliders and this will cause the preset menu to display custom, meaning you started with preset and then modified it. The thumb rule is to choose white balance that best looks good to you but always be keener if you are involved in commercial photography for products that need accuracy for sale purposes.

Using presets

Presets are always good when correcting white balance in Adobe Camera RAW, Lightroom or Photoshop especially because it gives you an ideal starting point for further correction and you can fine-tune your white balance using a one-click concept.

To use this method, just click on ‘As Shot” and choose ‘Auto’ in the drop-down menu to see how it will appear. The image might have the desired white balance when you do this and that will be all. If it doesn’t try choosing the different presets until you get the right results or is at least closer to what you are looking for.

Although preset seems to be the easiest option, White Balance tool gives you greater options to work with white giving you greater control in your projects.

How to Do an Easy Sky Replacement in Adobe Photoshop

Bright blue skies are always great when taking a photo. However, it is not always that you will have such but your photos don’t have to be all gloomy and unappealing. You can easily replace the sky using Adobe Photoshop is a few simple steps. When doing the sky replacement, it is always important to match some of the colors to make it look more realistic. Learn how to do this easily

Start by clicking on the quick selection tool or click and hold the magic wand and then choose the quick selection tool. Once this is done, select the entire sky and then reverse and inverse this selection to select other parts of the image and not the sky. Click select, inverse and then do the refine edge tool.

Click on your image and the sky you intend to use. Move the sky down below so it doesn’t show the original image there. It is easy to do this since there is no definition here. You can use the magic wand tool for this and select the entire sky currently featured in the section before creating a new cover and then fill the selected part with solid color. You have multiple options to use and can choose black or white background just to give you more contrast

The best thing with the Magic Wand tool is that it offers great tolerance on the different colors you can pick up during your sky replacement. Once you select the tool, it will be easy to decrease or increase the shade by altering the figures at the top. Some images might require lower tolerance while others will need higher tolerance in order to work perfectly.

Clipping mask

Once you are done with the second step, select your sky layer and place it over the dense fill layer. Then press CTRL/CMD, Shift + G or select Layer and then go to Create Clipping Mask. This will position the sky layer inside the solid fill layer. You can move it until it’s positioned fittingly.
While at it, you might want to refine the rough edges created by the magic wand. To do this, highlight the solid fill sheet, press CTRL/CMD and click on layer preview. Doing this will select the sketch of the structure. With the selected marquee tool, right click and select Refine Edges. Soften the rough edges slightly using the tools.

Layer mask

After the smoothening, zoom a little bit and then use the layer mask to put a new layer so that you cut out the rest of the image. To do this, just select the sky layer you’ve reproduced and then trace the small square box which acts as the ‘Add Layer Mask’ tool and is situated at the bottom of layer panel. It should contain a circle inside. This button works the same way as the Clipping Mask Layer, allowing you to see the parts of your cloud layer via the mask.

Once you tidy up your image and have put the basic sky replacement, move the sky right behind the original layer to make sure it is in the right position. Once this is done, add some color to the sky to make sure it matches the warmth and ensure that everything blending together. You can use color balancing but the easiest way is the photo filter. Choose a warming filter to play around with until you get the right kind of blend that makes the sky in the image look original and attractive.

Other sky replacement Options

During some sky replacement projects, the Magic Wand tool might not work especially if the photo isn’t easily selected all at once or if it has clouds. However, you should not worry since there are other tools available and which you can use to achieve your desired results. If this is your challenge, you can fill in the spaces as outlined below.

Filling up the gaps

To use this technique, you will start by creating a duplicate layer of the sky and then hide it. The main purpose of this approach is to fill all the gaps that Magic Wand tool could not select. Just identify the gaps across your image and then select your main photo before going to ‘Select’> Color Range. Then select the shades in the gaps using the Eyedropper tool. By moving the fuzziness slider you will be able to cover the most ideal selection for use in your project. At this point, you should go to ‘select preview’ and choose ‘quick mask’ so that you are able to get the right preview for the selected areas. Once this is done, you can now go back to the layer mask stage above.

Once you are done, it is important to look at your image closely and ensure there is no white line that is obviously visible between the landscape and the sky. This kind of a line simply shows that the image is a combination of different scenes and clearly betrays your skills. In case you see it, just use Clone Stamp tool to get rid of it. You can do this by selecting the Clone Stamp tool and then press Ctrl+ to zoom the image in. Work on the different areas of the edge by brushing away the obvious white line.

When doing your sky replacement, it is always important to be on the lookout for things that are likely to betray your efforts. For example, if you are replacing a clear blue sky with some clouds, it is always important to be keen on any reflections in puddles, glass or other shiny objects and surfaces. You do not want to replace the sky with a dull, cloudy layer but leave those reflections looking obvious as this will clearly show that the images were manipulated. Always take away those dull grey reflections before completing your assignment.