{'Shop Talk' - Shadows with Hats}

Yes!  It's 'Shop Talk' Friday! I love these days when I can post anything photography related!  Today...it's hats and the shadows they create.   I love using hats to accessories my clients, unfortunately sometimes those cute hats can create flat eyes and loss detail.  But there's an easy fix to brighten things up that brings life to the eyes in the process.  This is before any edits are made.  I like the image but the visor makes her eyes darker than they are and there's loss of detail as well.

To isolate the area under the visor, I used the lasso tool (feathered at 30-40%) and selected the areas under the visor.  I then selected the 'Curves tool' and only adjusted the shadows and mid-tones up a small amount.  Depending on the image you may need to adjust the highlights as well.  A little goes a long way with this tool.

Once the curves adjustment has been made you'll see that the eyes have popped and her skin from chin to forehead is pretty even with the shadows.  I didn't want to eliminate ALL the shadowing under her visor since I wanted it to look natural and their naturally will be a small amount of shadowing when your subject wears a hat.

After some  saturation and contrast - here's the final image.  :)  Easy peazy!  Let me know if you have any questions.   I love getting your e-mails with comments and requests.  :) Keep'em coming!  kara@karamayphotography.com

{'Shop Talk' - Correcting Blue Hues in the Whites of Eyes}

As I was looking through my photos thinking about the things that catch my eye when I look at a photo and begin to edit.  One of the things I always notice are the whites of the eyes.  I NEVER EVER lighten them since that will make eyes look unrealistic, ghostly, zombie-ish, not good.  But I do however look at the hue of the whites.  Sometimes the resulting photographs appear with a very prominent blue hue.  When my photo is warm but the whites are blue - that bugs me {personal opinion}.  So here's what I do to fix this.

Here's the before photo (all editing complete except for the whites of the eyes being too cool for this image) :

Final Image:  Small very subtle change but a more color cohesive photo.

{Shop Talk - Lens Distortion & Fun Accessories for your camera}

Let's talk Lens Distortion.  Lens distortion can be an artistic blessing or an annoying curse, right?  Lens distortion happens a lot with cameras that have zoom capabilities. It's most apparent when there's a straight edge in the image near the edge of the frame. This distorts the image.  But there is an easy fix in Photoshop!!  If you go to 'Filter' - 'Distort' - 'Lens Correction' you can alter the annoying warping that takes place in some of your images.  It's most apparent in architectural images and in the lines of buildings and doorways.   More detailed steps are shown below.  Easy, right?

Now let's chat about camera accessories - specifically, camera straps!  Who doesn't love a fashionable and fun camera strap that's comfortable too?  There are so many cute ones out there.  I have one I love that's no longer sold :(  Here's some of my favorites currently available on Etsy:

I love this and want this to be my next camera strap.  I think it would be a great conversation piece too! It's made by Rosebud Lips.  I LOVE IT!!

These are unique, fun ones that I really like too. Love the crime scene strap - how creative!  And below that is a wrist strap with a masculine style that works for men and woman.  The sculls are so cute too!  These 3 are made by PhatStraps

Chevron patterns are so in right now.  Aren't these cute?  They're made by  A Diva and 3 Dudes Design:

I love fun photography accessories so I'm going to be incorporating these into my Shop Talk Series.   Thanks for all your e-mails. I'm sifting through them and getting the most common asked questions addressed first.  Keep the e-mails coming:  Kara@karamayphotography.com  Thanks!!

{'Shop Talk' - Chromatic Aberration}

It's that time again!  Shop Talk!  I love doing this series and covering topics that I focus on in my images.  Today is all about 'Chromatic Aberration' and how to avoid/correct this annoying occurrence in Photoshop.  So what is Chromatic Aberration?   Chromatic Aberration is a distortion in color also called 'color fringing'.   It's a common problem that occurs when the lens can't bring together all the  color wavelengths into the same focal plane.  It's very common in high-contrast situations.   Most of us have seen this and it's a pain since it doesn't represent the true look of the photo.  But there's a way to correct it!   I'll explain it using the images below.  So the first image it's hard to see so I've blown up a portion of Brielle's 'high contrast' shirt so you can see where I have to correct the color dispersion.

In the blown up area, you can see more of the color aberration that I need to correct.
To correct this in photoshop go to 'Filter'- 'Distort' - 'Lens Correction'.   You'll find the sliders used to correct the distortion to the right.
Depending on the image you are correcting the sliders will need to be altered accordingly.  Make sure you blow your image up (200%+) to see the aberration problems so you can move the sliders according to the colors that need to be corrected on your image.
below:  correction made
Final Image with 'Chromatic Aberration' corrected.  It's a small change but makes the image look a little cleaner, minimizing color disruption.
I hope this was helpful.  I've been getting some topic suggestions from blog viewers.  Feel free to e-mail me at kara@karamayphotography.com with any suggestions you might want me to cover.  I'll try to get to them as I can. Thanks for viewing my Shop Talk post!

{'Shop Talk' - Newborn Safety & Cyberbullying in the Photography Industry}

It's a 'Shop Talk' day! Yay!

Shocker image above right?  Yes, this is an example of 'non-composite, non-posed' newborn photo (we'll be discussing composite photos below).  It's just a sweet newborn who was not enjoying my camera being in his face.  He was happy with his pacifier and wanted me to leave him alone.  I respectfully did, after this shot and maybe a couple more. :)  Anyway, this image sets the mood for my topic today.

I'm sure you've seen adorable newborn photos of  babies hanging from a whimsical looking tree branch or babies with their heads perfectly propped on their hands. They look so sweet...but how do photographers do this?  Are these babies naturally posing this cute?  A lot of people aren't aware that these are actually composite images.  What's a composite image?  It's taking two (sometimes more) images and meshing them in photoshop to edit out unwanted hands (or other items) assisting in the set up.  Pretty cool trickery ;-)  My friend Amanda is an amazing photographer and her newborn photos are breath-taking.  I wish I had her skills with newborns.  She's the owner of Amanda Andrews Photography located in Boise, Idaho and she let me use these composite photos so you could see what a composite is and how it works.

   The results are breathtaking when done properly, as Amanda shows above.  She's aware of safety and makes sure that is top priority.  I'm still in awe over her images and her abilities.  Sigh....

But many new photographers are unaware of this process and want to replicate these images.  Unfortunately safety is compromised without proper information.  As most of  you are aware, this has became a very heated topic in the photography industry as a result.  We are seeing more and more non-traditional newborn set-ups that appear to very dangerous and compromise these fragile babies.  More photographers are sharing their images through social media.  This cyber sharing is bringing to the forefront these dangerous practices.  But we're also seeing blatant attacks on new photographers who don't know about the important safety precautions needed to create these images.  More seasoned photographers are posting these 'unsafe' images on their Facebook pages.  They're including the newborn photographers website as well as watermarked photos along with insults and hurtful words.   This is the catalyst for a string of unconstructive, hurtful comments and image 'shares' (cyber-explosion) on Facebook. The definition of Cyberbullying is: harassing, humiliating, threatening or embarrassing another person through electronic methods, such as instant messaging, email, social networking sites or text messaging. I've watched how quickly this spreads and in a matter of hours I witnessed 1) the post 2)the post being shared 22 times  3) 100+ comments that weren't constructive and   4) the new photographers wall fill page after page with hateful and threatening comments.  Are these pictures okay?  Not really, they're clearly are unsafe.  But is bullying helpful or constructive?  Not at all.  Education and awareness of safe practices are what's helpful and constructive.   Cyberbullying is becoming rampant in our industry I'm embarrassed to admit.  Rather than reaching out to the photographer and providing constructive advice and communicating concern, many are posting hurtful and damaging things about these photographers.  Safety is number one, but there's a way to communicate these concerns.  I reached out to one woman who was cyberbullied by other photographers back in November to see how she was doing and how these comments have affected her.  She told me that she realizes now that she didn't use the safety precautions necessary and she feels awful about that.  She said it wasn't the bullying that helped her realize this, it was one e-mail from a photographer that included safety tips and sites where she could see composites (a practice she wasn't aware of).   But she also said  that all the comments and threatening e-mails have made her leave the industry.   She told me 'she was crushed and completely devastated' by the mean comments and emails she received from photographers and even non-photographers.  She thought she was being safe but later realized that she needed to learn more.  Someone sent her an e-mail threatening to 'hunt her down' and hurt her children, because that's what she could've done to these babies.  Crying became a regular part of her day for weeks.  She still enjoys photography but no longer has a business and still feels grief over the whole incident.  She said that she felt like she 'was an awful human being' for this and it continues to haunt her.  This is the sad result of cyberbullying.  And it needs to stop.  We know better.

So next time you see an image where a newborn looks compromised, please reach out to the photographer who posted the 'unsafe' image and help that person through education.  Our industry is a wonderful one - but we need to be build people up (through education), not knock them down (through cyberbullying).

I'm leaving you with one more of this little guy who clearly wasn't a fan of my camera.  I've convinced him otherwise since this session.  Yay!  Thanks for reading my post.  xoxo




{'Shop Talk' - RAW vs. Jpg + 10 Photoshop shortcuts I can't edit without}

It's week 2 of 'Shop Talk' and I have so much to talk about but I'll save my words so I don't overload this post.  :)   Have you ever wondered if you should be shooting in RAW or Jpeg?  It's a question I get a lot from other photographers.  Many aren't sure if they should be shooting in RAW, Jpeg or both.  As we know, RAW files are HUGE and require post processing.  And now that computer processing power is much more affordable  it's not as big of a deal as it was just a couple of  years ago.

So why shoot in jpeg since digital space isn't as big of an issue as it was in the past?  There are some advantages to shooting in jpeg for certain users.  Some photographers prefer the camera to apply the processing algorithms so there is less post-processing after the picture is taken.  The camera applies exposure, white-balance, color, contrast and sharpening processes to the image so you don't have to adjust these in photoshop if your settings were applied accurately to the image.   When you look at a SOOC jpeg image it looks decent and sharable, while a RAW image looks flat, very low contrast and somewhat muted.  Also shooting in jpeg won't drag your camera's speed since the files are compressed.  Okay, so then why would someone opt to shoot in RAW if it adds to your workflow and the images don't look pretty coming out of the camera?

There are so many advantages to shooting in RAW (of course there are drawbacks too, some mentioned above).  You can control exposure, color, white-balance, contrast and sharpening rather than having the camera apply these irreversible settings.   RAW files make batch processing easier when adjusting the saturation, contrast and temperature of all a group of similar images.  Jpeg files can be inconsistent and if adjusted there's a possibility of damaging some of the pixels trying to reverse contrast or another element that was pre-processed into the file.  Also RAW images record a higher dynamic range with the ability to properly bring out more highlights and shadows in post-processing.  Jpegs can be manipulated but not without loss of data.  Even rotating a jpeg image will cause data loss.  When shooting jpeg your cameras firmware compresses the image quickly (so speed is faster since it's making the data output smaller) but in the process there is some range of color that is lost as well as resolution loss.  Jpegs are also grainier because of this compression.

So why not shoot both since you have that option on your camera?  Shooting both RAW and jpeg takes up more room on your memory card.  Additionally, having 2 files of the same image (duplicates) can cause organizational headaches to your filing and editing workflow.  It can be done but I personally don't think it's necessary to shoot in both RAW &  jpeg.

Is there a right or wrong method of shooting?  No.  It's all in what you want, how much control you would like to have and  how much post-processing you want to dedicate to your images.  I personally prefer to shoot in RAW.  For me , I love that I can save a large image with all of the proper information recorded from the cameras sensor to the raw file so there is no data loss and I can have the freedom to manipulate the image how I choose.  And since computers are more powerful and buying storage is getting less expensive , it's not causing as much strain on speed or space than it did in the past.

I hope that clarifies some of the questions and or misconceptions that are out there about file format settings.

10 Photoshop Short-cuts I can't edit without.

I have my mouse set to zoom in and out by scrolling up and down (huge time saver)

Press B - to change to the brush tool

[ - Decrease Brush Size ] – Increase Brush Size Shift+ [ - Decrease Brush Softness by 25% Shift+ ] – Increase Brush Hardness by 25% 1 → 0 – Tool Opacity 10% → 100% Shift+1 → 0 – Flow / Airbrush Opacity 10% → 100%

move the selected layer to be the first or the last one Ctrl + Shift + [ Ctrl + Shift + ]

Alt+Ctrl+G Creates/Releases Clipping Masks

Opt + Shift + "-" or "+" key allow navigation through the blending mode drop-down.

'maintain aspect ration button' (not really a short-cut but a valuable tool - it's the little icon that looks like a chain link) - use when you're cropping, copying and using the free transform tool.

Check back in two weeks for my next 'Shop Talk'.  If you missed last weeks post, click here :)


{'Shop Talk' - new bi-weekly series}

I'm so excited to start this new series on my blog. This year I'm dedicating more attention to my blog - so in doing that I have some fun things lined up.  I've wanted to do posts for a while now, answering questions I often get in e-mails from other photographers.  But my 'Shop Talk' series is going to encompass so much more.  It's going to be ANYTHING related to photography.  So one week it might focus on photoshop, another on fun photo products available, sessions and another on industry talk.  It will span a huge range and hopefully answer some of the questions I get a lot.  Also, some of the topics will be targeted to those very new to the industry, while others will delve into more advanced topic. Some weeks, you may be thinking 'really?  um, everyone knows that.'  But when we started out, Photoshop was a foreign language so some people won't know how to manipulate a photo's midtones, RGB color channels, or know about certain keyboard short-cuts, copyright information, lens speed, camera care, plug-ins, camera functions, back-focus button, what camera accessories are available, ideas for prints (gifts, display, albums, ect.), opinions on products, how to handle a difficult session and the list goes on.   If you have questions you want answered or topics you want I would love to hear from you.  Just leave me a comment with the topic you want discussed or a question you need answers to.  I'll try to get to all of them as time allows.  Thanks so much for checking this out!

Most of you know that direct 'dodging and burning' to your image is destructive to the pixels.  So to protect the integrity of your photo use a new layer to dodge and burn.

First, add a new layer - fill to 50% Gray and change the blending mode to 'Soft Light'.

Using a soft brush, paint the areas you want to be darkened or lightened toggling between black and white.

Merge the two layers when your happy with the results and no pixels are harmed.

Final results!