June 14, 2017

Quickee Matt Style photos

Here’s a simple lesson that you might find useful to see if your image might look good with a matted style border before you go thru all the work printing and cutting matt board etc.

1.  Open the image you want to add the border to in Photoshop. This tip works quicker if you have a single layered image. If you have multiple layers, it’s just one more step, no biggie. Click on the top layer and press and hold the Shift-Ctrl+Alt keys and then tap the letter E.
This will put a flattened copy of all your layers on top of the layer stack that we can work on.

2. Maybe you like your image as it is and it doesn’t need to be cropped, then jump down to Step 3. If you’d like to crop your image a little, just hit the C key for the crop tool and press and hold the Alt key and drag a corner handle inwards until it looks good to you and then click the checkmark of the title bar to accept the crop.  By holding the Alt key, you keep it in the same orientation as your original.

Now we’ll add a stroke to our image to help separate our photo a little better.

3.  Click on the Add a layer style button on the bottom of the Layers Panel (fx). On my image I chose a 5 pixel stroke in black because I was going to use a white background around my image and I like the way it looks. You can set the color and width of the stroke to your own liking.

Tip: When your adding your stroke, make you sure you set the Position to Inside (underneath size) because that will give you nice sharp corners around your image.

4. Now we’ve got our stroke around our image we’ll add our border, but first we need a blank layer beneath our image to make this work properly. Make sure your background layer is unlocked, then press the Ctrl key and click the Create a new layer button on the bottom of the Layers panel (next to the trash can icon) If your image is locked you won’t be able to add a layer beneath it. By holding the Ctrl button, it will put a new layer beneath your image layer. Now click the image layer to make it active and choose the Crop tool again. You’ll see the crop border around our image.  Press and hold the Alt key and drag a corner handle outwards until you have enough border. When it looks good, click the checkmark on the title bar to accept the crop. 

You’ll notice you now have a grey and white checkerboard around your image indicating blank canvas. To fix this, make the blank layer active by clicking on it and then fill it with your choice of color. You can do this easily by pressing the Shift key and tapping the F5 key to bring up the Fill dialog box. 

Select your choice from the dropdown menu and your all set. You can flatten your document and print it this way or just use it as a guide, you decide. There are also ways to add different widths to a single side or multiple sides, but that’s a lesson for another post.

I use this quick method just to see if I might like to make a print of an image before going through the whole process cutting a matt and framing the print. I wrote a pretty lengthy post on another method back in Feb. 2011, check it out here if you’d like to see it.   Gallery Style Templates   I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and find it useful.

Remember, as always, keep shooting and have some fun!

May 17, 2017

Getting Richer Colors with Polarizing Filters

Here’s a tip that most photographers already know about to help them get better landscape shots. Ask any pro and they’ll tell you that the circular Polarizing Filter is probably the best gadget in their bag when it comes to getting richer colors and bluer skies. Not only that, but they also comes in handy for cutting down of reflections on water, wet rocks, glass or on anything reflective in your shots. Plus they’ll also help you to get bluer skies and more saturated colors overall. 

These filters are a must-have tool for me and are always in my bag. The beauty is that they just screw on the end of you lens in a couple seconds.

There are two tips you need to know when using these filters. The first one is that Polarizer's work best when you’re shooting at a 90ยบ angle from the sun. That means the suns should be over your left or right shoulder when shooting. If the sun is directly in front of you or right behind you, they really don’t do much at all.  The second tip is that you control the amount of polarization by rotating the ring on the filter. Try it and you’ll see what I mean. 

There is one drawback when using these for landscape shots though. You really don’t want to use them with a super wide angle lens, like a 10.5 or 12mm lens because the field of view is so wide that you’ll end up with uneven shades of blue in you skies.

When it comes to Polarizer's you can pick one up for under $10, but seriously, but it pays to invest in a good Polarizing Filter like a Hoya, Lee or a really nice B & W, because they’ll help you get better color balanced shots and as long as you don’t break them yourself, they’ll last a lifetime.

I hope this helps you and remember as always, keep shooting and have some fun!
© D. Gould Photography