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Equipment, Software & Technique

Equipment, Software & Technique

Photoshop Shortcut Keys I Love To Use

February 12, 2017

Using Photoshop shortcut keys is one way to simplify and speed up editing an image. Since I am always looking for any method to speed up my process, I find these helpful.  Many shortcut keys are pre-assigned by Photoshop and can be found under the Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts Menu.

Photoshop Shortcut Keys Menu

However, it is also easy to assign your own  Photoshop shortcut keys for processes you do often.

Here are some simple instructions that pertain to Photoshop CS6:

1) Navigate to the Application Menu Command you wish to change.

2) Click on that command  and a white box will be displayed.

3) Press the keys you would like the command to respond to.

4) Press OK.

As you can see in the example below, I have assigned the shortcut keys  for the command for Image > Mode > 8 Bit to Command+B.  If the keyboard command you are attempting to assign is already in use, you will be alerted and you can decide if you want to continue.

Here are a list of some of my favorite shortcut keys:

Save:    Command/Windows + S

Close:   Command/Windows Key + W

New:     Command/Windows + N

Free Transform:   Command/Windows + T

Convert Profile:     Command/Windows + R

Convert to 8 bit:    Command/Windows + B

Invert:    Command/Windows+ I

Merge Down:    Command/Windows + E

Merge Up:    Option/Alt + Command/Windows+ E

Flatten:  Command/Windows + F

Select All:    Command/Windows + A

Deselect All:    Command/Windows + D

Editing  and using Photoshop shortcut keys is very easy to do and will truly help you save time when editing your photos.

Thanks for reading and view my work at susanmcanany.com.

 

 

Equipment, Software & Technique

Reimagine an Image With Photoshop

January 5, 2017

Often when I have an image I like but want to make it stronger I will reimagine the image. This requires thinking outside the box and tapping all of my creative thoughts and ideas. Also, a quiet room, a powerful computer and a few Photoshop plug ins help immensely.

On the example below I first combined two images I had previously taken of a train wheel. I always liked the shape and modern industrial nature of the images, however the darkness of the subject matter had always bothered me.

Reimagine abstract art image of train wheel.

Here is what I did:

  1. I combined the two images in Photoshop by copying one image into the other, creating an image file with two layers.
  2. This allowed me change the Overlay Method on one of the Layers.
  3. Next I did some masking on one of the layers so a more abstract image began to evolve.
  4. I merged up my two layers when I was satisfied with the overall composition.
  5. I used two different plug ins for this image: Topaz Glow and Topaz Impressions  It did take a bit of time and experimentation with both of these plug ins to achieve a result I was happy with.
  6. Finally I used Photoshop Curves Adjustment to darken and lighted areas of the print I felt needed it.

Here are the two images I started with. I personally like the new reimagined image and plan to offer it for sale on my website, but that is of course my taste. People close to me still like the original ones better, so I guess I will leave those also. That is the beauty of digital imaging.

Original Images

Close up of train wheel.

Contemporary image of train component.

 

As always, thanks for reading and if you get chance visit my website or Etsy store. Keep shooting and experimenting!

Equipment, Software & Technique

Tips for Getting Sharp Images

November 14, 2016

Recently I had to mentally review tips for getting sharp images for a project I am working on. Now many of these techniques I have been using for years, but this project involves a macro lens and a moving subject so I needed to dig deep for all tips and techniques for getting sharp images I have come across throughout my photo career. Here is what I came up with and I wanted to share them with you.

Tips for Getting Sharp Images

  • A fast shutter speed is required to freeze movement, so make certain the Aperture and ISO on your camera are set appropriately to achieve a Shutter Speed of at least 200. Faster if you can get it there because the faster the better for freezing movement.
  • Depending on lighting conditions, there is a good chance you will need to increase your ISO to reach a fast enough shutter speed.
  • If using an external flash, experiment with High Speed Synch to see if that would be useful.
  • Use a support system. This could be a tripod, monopod, a pile of books or wall to brace yourself or your camera.
  • Invest in a camera shutter release or use the self timer on your camera.
  • If you are not using “live view” on your camera, use the mirror lock up function if available.

If you follow a few of the recommendations above for tips for getting sharp images, I am sure your images will be sharper and move beautiful.  Most of all have fun when you are shooting.

Here is one of the images I have been working on.

Tips for Sharp Images

 

Thanks for reading and check out more of my work at www.susanmcanany.com. Also if looking for great stock images, visit my Etsy store. I offer a wide range of digital downloads.

 

Equipment, Software & Technique

Capturing Lightning Strikes With iPhone

October 14, 2016

The other night I had a great opportunity to capture lightning strikes with an iPhone.  Anyone who lives in Florida knows one thing for sure, we have some dramatic weather, from beautiful skies and sunsets to tremendous lightning storms. It can be quite a show. Now, I am not by any means a storm chaser since I like to seek shelter quickly if the situation demands it.  So for capturing lightning I try to keep it simple and using an iPhone is the utmost in simplicity.

For the two images below I hand held my iPhone, however,  they probably would of been slightly better on a tripod. Everything is better on a tripod and since I am a bit of a perfectionist, I am now looking into a tripod mount for my iPhone. One thing I did use was a great App, iLightningCam, that triggered the camera when a lightning strike was detected.  Every time a strike was detected it would rapidly fire off 5-7 images.  I probably shot 100 images or more to get the two below. I also have an iPad and it was helpful to let them copy to the iPad for viewing editing and deleting.

Tips for capturing lightning with iPhone:

Purchase the App iLightningCam or something similar.

Be sure your iPhone has enough available storage space. The App fires off many images and it takes a lot of tries to good ones.

Make certain you have a fair amount of battery juice available. It takes power to write all those images to your storage.

Use a tripod if you have one or focus on holding the camera steady.

Try to keep the horizon level.

Experiment with the different menu items of the App to find which one works the best for you and your lightning show.

Above all else, stay safe!

Lightning strike on Sarasota Bay

 

lightning storm sarsota, fl

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out more of my work at www.susanmcanany.com

Equipment, Software & Technique

Creating a Digital Signature

June 22, 2016

For quite some time, I have been contemplating creating a digital signature for signing and numbering my prints. Typically, I print on paper allowing an additional half inch on all sides of the print and after I receive the print from printer, I sign on the lower right hand corner of the print. Lately, I have been experimenting with having my work printed on aluminum and plexiglass, thus I wanted to create a digital signature to place on the image prior to printing. After doing some research, I found two different methods. The first involves scanning the signature as a jpg file and manipulating in Photoshop. The second technique is to create a brush of your signature. This is the one I decided on and will go into further detail on the technique.

Creating A Digital Signature

  1. In Photoshop, create a new blank page file.  I found using 3 inches Wide x 2 inches Height; Resolution 300 dpi to work great for prints that are 20 x 30 inches in size. If you are printing smaller or larger you will probably have to experiment with the size of your signature. In addition, you can also use the Transform command to resize the layer once it is on the print.  Also, assign the parameters of Color Profile and Bit Size what ever you most commonly use on the file.

Creating a Digital Signature

2. Select your brush tool. I used the 15 pixel right slant Calligraphy brush, usually with black paint. Depending on your image you may need a different color for the text to be obvious.  If you do not have the Calligraphy brushes imported into Photoshop, you can Append the file and add them from your brush folder.

creating a digital signature

3.  Now comes the fun part. Using your Wacom pen and tablet, write your name on the translucent 3×2 file you created. Be prepared to experiment with this because you probably will not like your first try. Just go back in your History Palette to erase and start over. Once you get your signature the way you want it, save it as a Brush Preset and you will have it ready and available at any time.  Actually, I had a lot of fun with this part.

sign2b_16_ppcpBest

4. To place on an image, just open both files in Photoshop. Drag and drop the layer from your signature file onto your image. From there you can use the Transform tool to resize if necessary and place where you want it.

Whether you are creating a digital signature for fine art prints or using this technique to watermark your images, remember to have fun when you are creating your digital signature.  Thanks for reading and check out my work  at susanmcanany.com.

Equipment, Software & Technique

Night Photography Tips

February 10, 2016

Night photography is always fun and can produce exciting images especially when there are some stunning lights or fireworks to capture. I was fortunate the other evening to notice some awesome lights being reflected on Sarasota Bay very close to where I live. So close actually, I was out there shooting the skyline in my bathrobe.  Now that alone would of been a great photograph! I have seen the water very still before and some nice reflections, but never such vibrant lights being reflected. Overall, the air and water temperatures were on the cooler to cold side so maybe that contributed to the colorful reflections. It truly was magical, so I grabbed my camera and tripod and got to work doing night photography.

Night Photography Tips

  1. Pump up your ISO. I used 400 for the photo below. Unfortunately, with anything much higher than ISO 400 combined with the low light conditions of night photography you may see a lot of noise.
  2. A tripod is a must or something very sturdy to support your camera.
  3. Use Manual Mode on your camera. This will allow you to adjust independently your Aperture and Shutter Speed.
  4. Keep your Aperture as wide as you can. If the distance between your camera and subject matter is great as in the image below, f4.5 to f5.6 will work just fine, producing sharp in focus images.
  5. You will also have to open up your Shutter to allow more light. On the camera’s meter my image was a good 1-2 stops underexposed.
  6. A remote shutter release is recommended or you can also use the timer on your camera.
  7. Take lots of snaps at various Aperture and Shutter speeds and be sure to bracket, bracket, bracket.  Experimenting and practice is the best teacher for night photography along with photography in general.
  8. Remember to bring a flashlight.  This believe me is a critical tool for doing night photography.

“Night Lights”

Night photography of Sarasota Skyline

Sarasota skyline at night.

Well, I hope these night photography tips have been helpful. Now go have some fun shooting your local skyline or any other interesting lights in your neighborhood or city.

If interested in night photography, you may enjoy this post on shooting lightning strikes.

Thanks for reading and more of my work can be viewed at www.susanmcanany.com.

Equipment, Software & Technique

Abstract Photography Techniques

October 13, 2015

Here lately I have been experimenting quite a bite with abstract photography techniques to create a new series of prints. I am fortunate to live in a beautiful place surrounded by water and I wanted to create a series of images that capture the beauty and tranquility of the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay. There is also a certain amount of uniformity and monotony in the landscape of a state that is at sea level, however, I have notice the water color changes throughout the day as the sun progress through the sky and the color of light changes. It is very interesting to observe and has provided me with a new appreciation for where I live. Using the motion or swipe abstract photography technique, I have been experimenting with capturing the varying colors and consistent vertical and horizontal colors.

This abstract photography technique requires a very slow shutter speed and smooth movement of the camera along a vertical or horizontal plane. Since I am capturing so many horizon lines, I typically shoot on a mono-pod or tripod. If you are not using either, keep your arms tucked in close to your body to provide stability for your camera. Your shutter speed must be slow, typically around 1/10 to 1/20 of a second. I generally use a small aperture to help achieve a slow shutter speed. On some images I have also used a polarizing filter to reduce exposure. Start moving your camera at a slow, but even pace and click the shutter. The important part is to click the shutter after you have started moving.  This abstract photography technique will require a certain amount of experimentation on your part to find the right aperture and shutter speed that works with your subject, but that is all part of the fun.

Here are a couple of examples:

Title: “Seaside”

Abstract Photography Example

abstract photography

Title: “Gulf Waters”

Abstract Photography

The full collection of my water images can be viewed here.

We all love to go somewhere new to become inspired and create new work. Fortunately, I have found being creative with abstract photography techniques has provided the perfect tool to become excited once again with the place I live.

Thanks for reading and more of my work can be viewed on susanmcanany.com or at my Etsy Store.

Checking In, Equipment, Software & Technique

Pros & Cons of the Canon 5DS R

September 10, 2015

I just completed a 4 day rental of the new Canon 5DS R that I have been lusting after since it was first announced some six months ago.  My initial impression was it seem lighter than my 5D Mark III which thrilled me. But after checking Canon’s website the difference is so small, I can hardly believe I could notice the difference. The Mark III, body only, weighs in at 30.5 oz.; 5DS R weighs in at 29.80 oz. Initially, I also was not impressed with the sound of the shutter release on the Canon 5DS R. To me it sounded rather plastic-y, however, my partner liked the sound better on the 5DS R than the Mark III so obviously this is just a personal preference.  It certainly wouldn’t deter me from a purchase. Below is a list of the major pros and cons from my experience with the Canon 5DS R.

5DS R Pros

A whooping 50.6 Megapixel file for gi-normous prints and wonderful cropping opportunities.

More sophisticated focusing technology that needs to be fully understood.

Great new Mirror Lock Up options permitting the camera to perform the second click after a designated time, reducing camera shake.

Knobs, dials and menu system quite similar to my Mark III, so operations were easy and transition to the new camera would be a snap.

As with other Canon cameras, image quality was great.

5DS R Cons

Don’t be in a hurry with the Canon 5DR S because those big files take awhile to write to the card in the camera.

Photographer’s technique needs to be close to perfect when shooting.  Any errors are magnified due to the size of the file capture.

Although, I have plenty of storage space on my computer, the processing speed got somewhat bogged down in Photoshop especially when working with 16 bit, Smart Layer files.  I may need to factor in a new computer. Yikes!!

When I look at the images now, I can’t see that great of image quality improvement from my 5D Mark III.   Image size Yes, the files are BIG.  But then any new camera requires a period of adjustment to learn how to get the most from it. I am sure the time I had with this camera was not long enough to get everything out of it that it offers.  The more you use the tool, the better results you will get.  I have owned the Canon 5D, Mark II and Mark III and to this day I think the Canon 5D Mark II produced the best result for me. I know is only because I did a tremendous amount of shooting with that camera in the studio, on location and everywhere else. I knew it like an extension of my body.

In the end though,  I was sorry to pack up the Canon 5DS R camera and send it back to lensrental. Like any good camera junkie, I will probably purchase one sometime in the not too distance future. Who knows, maybe Santa will surprise me.

Thanks for reading and check out my work at www.susanmcanany.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Equipment, Software & Technique

Print Size Feature In Photoshop

August 24, 2015

Ever wonder if the Print Size display feature of Photoshop is accurate in showing you the detail of your image? This Photoshop feature for CS6 is located under View on the top toolbar of Photoshop.

If you have a lot of prints professionally printed like I do or if you print yourself, you want to get as accurate visual of your print as possible prior to sending it off to a printer or printing it yourself. In order to do this you must make sure the resolution of your monitor reflects as accurately as possible the pixels per inch you plan to print. The default is Photoshop is your screen dpi.  We all know printing cost money regardless of how you do it.  Thus when using the Print Size feature in Photoshop you are a little bit closer to viewing the actual output .

After doing some research, here is a quick and easy way to determine and adjust your monitor resolution.

  1. Open Photoshop and create a blank square white page at 300 dpi utilizing the top tool bar File > New. For this example I made mine 7 x 7.  New Page Screen CS6
  2.  In Photoshop go to View > Print Size.
  3. Using a ruler or measuring tape carefully measure the width of the blank square white page. Be carefully not to scratch your display. I used a soft measuring tape and it worked great. My page measured 6 inches. Yours will undoubtedly be different. It depends on the monitor you are using.
  4. Next, divide the width of your white blank page by the measured inches. I divided 7 by 6 for a quotient of 1.16
  5. Multiple 1.16 by 72, which is the current screen resolution on your monitor. My answer was 83.52 that I rounded up to 84.
  6. The final step is go to Photoshop>Preferences>Units & Rulers and update the screen resolution to the number from step 5.  Units & Rulers Screen CS6

And that is a quick and easy way to synch your screen resolution to reflect your print size and hopefully gauge print output using the Print Size feature of Photoshop.  In order to utilize this function when viewing an image be sure to look at it in actual print size by going to the top tool bar in PS and selecting View>Print Size.  Also, this technique is geared for Photoshop CS6.

Thanks for reading and my work can be viewed at www.susanmcanany.com.

 

Equipment, Software & Technique

iPad Screen Revitalized

February 22, 2015

I had been having some problems here lately with my iPad. It is a couple of years old and  just didn’t seem as shiny and bright as when I got it.  Also, at times I had problems accessing links sent to me via the messaging system, though I did seem to get around that problem using various different creative techniques.

Initially, I got the iPad to show my portfolio to galleries and projects to clients and it is helpful for those purposes.  Also, I had visions of creating a stunning iPhone portfolio and although that has not transpired, I do enjoy working on my iPhone images with various apps on the iPad, especially when traveling. It is a wonderful creativity booster.

But what I really love is  iBook.

But then I had a problem with iBook!! Since getting my iPad, I have become addicted to the darn thing for reading. I thought I would never give up the thrill of turning a paper page of a physical book; then there was the iBook.  In addition, I had access to the iBook store, more commonly known as iTunes. I love that I can lay in bed, or on the couch or be in the airport and shop for books. And for some reason, which, I refuse to question, I read at a much greater speed.

Recently, I had been reading this fabulous book by Victor E. Frankl, “Man’s Search for Meaning” and using the highlighting function. Although, the book nearly brought me to tears at times, I am enthralled with the message. I am using the highlighting feature of the iBook program constantly. I am 160 pages into an 183 page book, highlighting a specific passage and guess what, it highlights the entire book!!  Oh …. s_ _ t!!

I spend some time trying to figure out how to undo, and when I do it deletes ALL of my highlighted passages. I am very discouraged with technology and Apple; I ignore my iPad for about 18 hours.

Lazy Sunday morning arrives, I forgive my iPad and iBook and take up reading the book again. ( I generally don’t hold grudges.)  I am lying on the couch, my iPad screen is being side lit by the sun and I notice the smudges and grim on my iPad screen. I think “this looks disgusting”. I examine a little further and begin to research how should I be cleaning this darn thing, my beloved iPad.  It wasn’t it’s fault after all.

Cleaning your iPad

1) Depending on the degree of filth, you might want to take it out of the case.

2) Optional, blow some of the external dirt or fibers off the device.

3) Some sites recommended using some kind of cleaner, but I took Apple recommendations and just used a soft, lint free cloth. It was a cloth I had previously purchased to use on my Apple monitor.

I was amazed how quickly it removed all the smudges and guess what, I am back in love with my beautiful, bright and wonderful retina screen iPad!! I love this device so much, maybe I should just break down and give it a name!

Thanks for reading and check out my work on my website.