Posts

Smart Objects in Photoshop: The Essential Guide for Photographers

Welcome to the wonderful world of smart objects for Photoshop! In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to turn smart objects inside out and break them down into simple terms. You’ll discover exactly how smart objects protect your image from permanent damage and allow you to maintain a completely non-destructive workflow, and more importantly why this …

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My Favorite “Hidden” Features of Lightroom

***IMPORTANT*** This Lightroom series is for email subscribers only. If you did not receive an email about this and you’d like to watch the other two lessons, send me a note to chris@creativeraw.com and I’ll make sure you get them. Download this video lesson (.mp4) Here we are….your third Lightroom video lesson, and this one …

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Enhanced Processing with the Range Mask in Lightroom

***IMPORTANT*** This Lightroom series is for email subscribers only. If you did not get an email about this and would like to watch the other two lessons, send me a note to chris@creativeraw.com and I’ll make sure you get them. Download this video lesson (.mp4) Tutorial: Layer Masks Tutorial: Luminosity Masks Thanks for joining me …

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Exposure Blending in Lightroom

***IMPORTANT*** This Lightroom series is for email subscribers only. If you did not get an email about this and would like to watch lessons two and three, send me a note to chris@creativeraw.com and I’ll make sure you get them. Download this video lesson (.mp4) Download the HDR Field Guide (.pdf) Article: Why you (still) …

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Dodging and burning with luminosity masks in Photoshop.

Dodging and Burning with Luminosity Masks

Dodging and burning in Photoshop is a powerful way to control the light and shadow of your landscape…but it can also present some unique problems, particularly flat tones and muddy detail. Here’s the good news: luminosity masks can instantly enhance the clarity of your dodging and burning by preserving contrast and protecting detail..literally acting as a …

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Using luminosity masks to enhance light and mood of a landscape photograph.

How Luminosity Masks Enhance Light and Atmosphere

Luminosity masks are a powerful Photoshop technique used to make advanced selections based on the tonal value of an image. This makes it the perfect tool for enhancing the light and atmosphere of a landscape photograph…transforming a lackluster image into an extraordinary work of art that explodes with color, depth, and detail. In this comprehensive …

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Luminosity Masks for Landscape Photography - The Ultimate Guide

Luminosity Masks for Landscape Photography: The Ultimate Guide

Luminosity masks are undoubtedly one of the most powerful (and popular) processing techniques in Photoshop, especially for landscape photographers. Being able to create completely customized selections based on the tones of your image will revolutionize your workflow. It’s easy to see why many professional landscape photographers use these masks. They can enhance almost every technique in Photoshop: …

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Layers Tutorial - How to use the brush tool in Photoshop

Refining a Layer Mask with the Brush Tool

Using the brush tool with layer masks will create an incredibly versatile environment in Photoshop. It allows you to draw over the exact areas you want to apply an adjustment to…and since this is a non-destructive workflow, you can always alter your adjustment at any time by simply applying new brushwork to the mask. For …

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How Layer Masks Work in Photoshop

Layers are your control station for image processing in Photoshop. However, in order to unlock the full power of layers and reap the ultimate rewards…you need to also use layer masks so you can tailor adjustments to the content of your image. In this comprehensive tutorial, I’ll explain layer masks in very simple terms so …

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Layers in Photoshop

Working with Layers in Photoshop: A Beginner’s Guide

Layers are a powerhouse tool in Photoshop, and one of the core strengths that this program has over Lightroom. However, the concept of layers can be difficult to grasp…so I’ve put together this extensive (yet easy-to-follow) guide that explains what layers are and how they work to enhance your photographs. For landscape photography, there are …

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Editing vs. processing in Lightroom and Photoshop

The Difference Between “Editing” and “Processing” in Photoshop

When I first began exploring the wondrous world of Photoshop, my “workflow” was a convoluted mess. Although I was learning different tools and techniques, steadily expanding my creative processing tool belt through my own trial and errors…each processing session became longer and more frustrating. Here’s a typical scenario during my early days in Photoshop that …

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How to Create Crisp Sunstars and Sun Rays

Us landscape photographers have little control over the environment we photograph…so we often rely on our camera skills to create the image we want by manipulating how the scene is rendered. One powerful way to enhance interest and create a compelling focal point is to transform light sources (usually the sun) into a “sunstar”. Sunstars …

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Three Steps to Strengthening your Creative Workflow

Lightroom and Photoshop are supposed to be fun programs to use…and the first step to a simpler, more enjoyable darkroom workflow is to put in the work and learn exactly how they function. That’s the plain and simple truth. However, it can be quite daunting to simply begin processing with a purpose…to instantly become “creative” …

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Why it's better to auto bracket a landscape when exposure blending

Why you Should Always Auto Bracket a Landscape for Exposure Blending

Have you ever photographed a beautiful landscape only to find that your images rarely represent the stunning scene you witnessed? Most likely, the amount of light you photographed was too much for your camera to reign in with just one shutter speed. Don’t worry though…there’s a very easy fix for this (and it doesn’t require any …

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The new creativeRAW website is now live!

I have some exciting news for creativeRAW members…. After an entire month of hard work, I’m happy to announce that the creativeRAW website is ready to go! Watch the video below to get a tour of this brand-new platform and check out some of the fantastic features I’ve added.
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My Future with Lightroom Classic and Thoughts on CC

There’s big news from Adobe this week and it has left a lot of Lightroom users either totally confused or disappointed (mostly both). I’ve had a few days to mull things over, and I’m here to offer up my recommendations that may help you better understand this monumental shift in the Adobe ecosystem. Wait – …

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Complete Guide to Backing up Your Landscape Photos Securely: Part Three

Welcome back, my friends! Here we are….the final part to my comprehensive series on how to properly (and securely) backup your photographs. In the final chapter here, I’ll be going over how I: Properly backup and sync my Lightroom catalog file between my laptop and desktop. Handle the backup workflow for my Photoshop (PSD)files. Also …

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Complete Guide to Backing up Your Landscape Photos Securely: Part Two

Welcome back to my three-part series on how to properly (and securely) backup your precious raw files! In Part 2 here, I'll be showing you the exact backup workflow I use for my own landscape photographs. This is a method that has evolved with me over the years, and I hope that it will help you strengthen your own photo backups and protect yourself from a catastrophic loss.
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Complete Guide to Backing up Your Landscape Photos Securely: Part One

If you're anything like me, then you know how important it is to recover your images from any kind of destructive force...whether it be a computer meltdown, damaged/stolen external drives, or the most likely cause: corrupt files. I must get at least half a dozen emails every week asking about my photo backup workflow, so I figured it's time I outline (in great detail, as usual) the exact steps I take to make sure that my raw files are protected to the max. It’s not a matter of "if" something will happen to your photos, it’s when. I'm not saying this to scare you, but to put the importance of a proper backup system into perspective.
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How I Photograph a Golden Hour Landscape

There's a profound challenge that many landscape photographers face when photographing a sunrise or sunset: they often find that their golden hour images rarely represent the scene they observed. In this article, I go over some of my best tips to compose and create extraordinary landscapes so you can start photographing the golden hours with confidence and accuracy.
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Strengthening Camera Stability for Rock-Solid Brackets

The smallest amount of prevention can save you much frustration during the exposure blending process….and it all starts with camera stability. Blurry photos with soft focus and/or an inconsistent depth of field can completely derail your blending workflow, causing you to lose out on a potentially extraordinary landscape photograph. Since you’re blending multiple exposures together …

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How to Avoid the “HDR Look” when Exposure Blending

Exposure blending in Photoshop is a revolutionary processing technique that can transform boring, lackluster landscapes into extraordinary works of art. More importantly, this workflow can overcome the limitations of your camera’s sensor so you can recreate the exact scene you witnessed in the field. However, exposure blending makes it very easy to overprocess your image …

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Easy Steps to Prevent (and Reverse) Camera Condensation

Condensation forms on your lens when you have dramatic temperature and/or humidity changes and your camera is not protected from the elements. When your gear hits that dramatic change of air, condensation forms while the temperature regulates….which can definitely be worrisome on your expensive gear. Don’t panic! A few rounds of condensation won’t ruin your camera, nor will your lens fogging up cause any permanent damage. However, you should definitely take some easy steps to prevent this from becoming a habit. Too many cycles can begin to wear on your gear, especially on the internal mechanisms.
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Speed Up Your Lightroom Import

Automation is the KEY to a streamlined workflow in Lightroom. The entire program was designed to automate those redundant tasks you perform over and over, and Lightroom has some fantastic tools for performing those repetitive steps you do at each import. I'd like to share some tips that I find to speed up my imports so I can get to my images as quickly as possible, while also shaving some time off spent in the Library and Develop module.
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Five Steps to Dramatic Black & White Landscapes in Lightroom

Here's an in-depth tutorial that I've been wanting to create for quite some time...my complete, step-by-step Lightroom workflow for processing black and white landscapes. I love to help other photographers achieve their creative goals, which is why I've spent some extra time to make sure this guide is super helpful and easy to follow.
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My Guide to Using Lightroom and Photoshop Together

Most professional landscape photographers use Lightroom and Photoshop together as a cohesive workflow. Learn the benefits of each program in this article! Many landscape photographers end up choosing Lightroom initially, and it's easy to see why: a friendlier user interface, less complicated tools, and it's a program that was specifically designed for photographers...all within the protective boundaries of a non-destructive workflow. It's a total win-win all around when you're working through your first awkward stages in the digital darkroom.
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My Best Tips for Creative Autumn Photography

Since autumn photography is a personal pursuit of mine, I wanted to create a list of fall foliage tips to help you navigate through this otherworldly season and harness your creative expression. Autumn is, by far, my favorite season to photograph. The first piece of foliage signals the beginning of an ethereal journey through nature as I watch it transform into vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold. Scenes that I have become familiar with morph into a mosaic of colors and tones, and the cooler air and unsettled weather contribute to the creation of a dreamscape playground.
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Four Ways to Better Balance a Landscape Photograph

Below I discuss four versatile methods you can use to create a stronger composition, and all of them stem from one very important concept – balance. The path to a strong composition is not always clear in landscape photography, and at times can be the most challenging aspect of the craft. Since you can not physically alter the landscape to create your own vision, you as a photographer rely on your skills and creative techniques to control how the landscape appears through the lens.
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Eight Ways to be Creative with a Shallow Depth of Field

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now. When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of blist.
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My Best Tips for Photographing Snow

A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now. When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of blist.
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