Steps for Smoother Brushwork in Lightroom and Photoshop

The Brush Tool …

If you’ve done any kind of processing in Lightroom or Photoshop, you’ve most likely worked with the brush tool. It’s the foundation of dodging and burning, any kind of blending, and many other creative processing techniques.

With the brush tool, you can literally paint over the areas you want to change…without the guesswork and unwanted side effects of the brute-force global adjustments. The ability to tailor your processing to the content of your image will not only give you higher-quality results…but will save you a lot of time in the darkroom.

However, this incredible feature can be a little tricky to master since there are quite a few settings that control how your brush performs…

So for this “mini-lecture”, I’ve got something extra-special lined up…two video lessons that will teach you everything to know about (1) how the brush tool works, (2) how to get smooth and seamless brushstrokes, and (3) advanced-level tips for taking full advantage of all this incredible tool has to offer.

Complete Guide to Curves in Lightroom and Photoshop

Curves …

Probably the most requested topic for me to cover, and it’s easy to see why…

It’s one of the most powerful and dynamic tools for adjusting colors and tones, but many are completely baffled by the controls..so it’s often passed over for more straightforward tools like the tonal sliders or HSL panel.

In a (very) simplified explanation…curves provide a visual and interactive way to adjust your colors and tones. The more precise you are with your adjustments, the higher the quality…and we all want our detail to look top-notch.

I see many photographers leave a LOT on the table by not incorporating curves into their workflow, so I wanted to put together an easy-to-follow (yet comprehensive) exploration of this fantastic creative tool.

I think you’ll be especially impressed with what curves can do for your colors.

Choosing the Right Profile in Lightroom and ACR

When you want to adjust your colors in Lightroom or ACR, most will typically go straight for the HSL panel….which will get you satisfactory results “most” of the time. 

Eventually, you’ll come across an outlier image that just doesn’t seem to play nice with the HSL panel. 

In comes profiles….which let you go “beneath the surface” and determine how the colors in your raw file area interpreted and displayed on your computer.

The Histogram

Easily one of the most useful tools in both the digital darkroom and in the field. This graph provides protective “bumpers” to help guide you to the perfect exposure, as well as prevent any damage from overprocessing.

Most of us know what a histogram is already, but knowing exactly how to interpret it can be a bit misleading.

In another “deep dive” tutorial, we’ll unpack the histogram and all of its wonderful features, so you can better use it to protect your tones and retain as much detail as possible in your images.

Contrast, Luminosity, and Color

Contrast, Luminosity, and Color…

These three qualities are often thought of independently, but share a very special relationship as they directly influence one another to comprise the structure of your photograph.

I’ve found that many photographers haven’t fully wrapped their heads around the differences between luminance and luminosity, lightness and brightness, global and local contrast…and will often use the terms interchangeably.

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 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.