The Digital World – NEW Summit Online Course

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Course Overview

In this course, Allen Murabayashi, takes you on a journey into the digital world that now drives the creative industry in many ways. As a Co-Founder of the unique website, Photoshelter, Allen shares his insight and knowledge in how technology can advance your career and take you to the next level. Once you signup for this course, the plans are broken down in the following sections:

  • Lesson One: Overview of Media & Industry
  • Lesson Two: The Business of Photography
  • Lesson Three: Photoshelter tool : Photo Management
  • Lesson Four: Search Engine Optimization, Analytics, Bounce Rates and More

An In-Depth Look

Throughout this course, Allen gives you online tools that can better your business and personal processes relating to photography and other creative realms. This includes topics like SEO, budgets, organization, metadata, business, and more!

View the Course Here

The Most Under-Valued Editing Tool for Architectural Photos

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Nothing catches the eye of a potential home buyer or design client quite like a beautiful set of photos. Whether it’s for real estate agents, designers, or homeowners, expectations are high, and restrictions are often many. It’s not uncommon to have to deal with extremely short notice, very short windows of time in which to work, or to be asked for almost immediate turnaround. We, as photographers, become torn between meeting all the needs while still producing work we are proud of… and all while still making a profit! In real estate, especially, this often leads to photos that are “good enough”. But does it have to be this way?

While most are aware of the basics of editing images for interior spaces, there is one tool that is often undervalued – the Gradient Filter. This can be a tremendous tool for helping to balance out fading light on the edges of a frame when you are limited on gear and are not able to balance out the light on location. Adding a few Gradient Filters onto an image can make your mundane interior photos go from acceptable to impressive, with minimal time invested. The Gradient tool is also excellent in helping to sharpen up towards the edges of the frame, helping to compensate slightly for lens distortion.

The Gradient Gilter can be found just below the histogram in Lightroom. Once applied, you can move it around by grabbing the central node, you can change the angle of it by placing cursor over center line and clicking to spin it, and you can also spread or tighten the gradient by grabbing the outermost line and moving it inward or outward. The flexibility of positioning alone is a great benefit when trying to keep editing time to a minimum.

Gradient filter tool can be found under the histogram in Lightroom

Another great quality about the gradient filter is that, unlike the lens vignetting correction (under the Lens Correction module) or the post-crop vignetting effect, the Gradient Filter can adjust many factors of the image. You can adjust exposure, temperature, tint, sharpness, clarity, and several others. This makes it a very handy tool for making subtle adjustments that would otherwise be tougher to blend in with a brush filter. In this before-and-after example, the gradient filter has been used to adjust for the blue tint in the shadows on the floor due to the bed cover. It’s a subtle adjustment that helps to elevate the quality of work.




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New Graduated and Radial Filter Features in Lightroom 6

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Lightroom 6 graduated radial filter adjustments

Every time a new version of Lightroom comes out the first thing I look for are features that make the Develop module better, or easier to use. The ones I like best in Lightroom 6/CC are the improvements to the Graduated and Radial Filters. Let’s take a look at them.

Addition of mask overlay

In earlier versions of Lightroom you couldn’t tell with any precision which parts of the image were affected by the Graduated and Radial filters.

In Lightroom 6 you can toggle the mask overlay with the O keyboard shortcut, or by ticking the Show Selected Mask Overlay box in the Toolbar. Previously this was only available in the Adjustment Brush, it has now been added to both the Graduated and Radial Filters.

This screenshot below shows how it works. I wanted to make the background darker without affecting the dandelion head. The best tool to use for this is the Radial filter, but you need to be able to place it precisely. The mask overlay makes this easy.

As you can see, the effect of feathering meant that I needed to create a much bigger Radial filter than you might at first think.

Note: The Radial Filter was introduced in Lightroom 5 and is not available in earlier versions.

Lightroom 6 graduated radial filter adjustments

Lightroom 6 graduated radial filter adjustments




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How to Build an Impressive Photography Portfolio

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Creating a photography portfolio can be a daunting experience. As a rule, photographers have basic or no knowledge of design at all. Moreover, creating a site with the pictures in focus can be a tricky task.

Being a photographer makes you a wearer of many hats. It’s critically important to have an online portfolio, so you can easily show your potential clients what you’re capable of. If you have no idea how to start, where to take pictures, how many of them you need for a site, and how to make your portfolio work for you, these tips may help you get started:

What is a portfolio? How Many Shots Do You Need?

A portfolio is an opportunity for you to present your work, but it’s important to consider why you need this portfolio. Are you going to use it to apply for a job? Do you want to use it to start your own photography business? Or do you just want to exhibit your work?


Portfolio by Marcus Smith

Also, you have to think about how many images you need to upload to your site. The layout usually looks good with a small amount of images uploaded on the home page. There should be a balance between the number of images you’re going to show and the negative spaces you leave between, or around them. If you have many images, consider separating them into categories.

When it comes to the home page, there should be something to pull the user in, then let them decide what to look at next. Value visitors’ time – they don’t need to see all the photos you took since 2008. Rather, display only your top-notch work and then show the potential client more photos if they request it. Don’t overwhelm them with pictures. Put the best pictures on the first page to stand out, and leave your other good work on the second page.

Think of Your Audience

Once you have decided why you need an online portfolio, you need to consider the audience you’re going to reach. Think of the reaction you want to evoke – do you want your clients to be touched, surprised or even shocked by your pictures?


Portfolio by Brian Ingram

If you’re aiming to specialize in wedding or portrait photography, it’s logical to include these shots first in your portfolio. There is no need to demonstrate your awesome landscape shots if you are aiming to attract clients for portrait photography. Keep your target audience in mind and do your best to create a site that solves their problems and provides answers to their queries, rather than simply bragging about your versatility as a photographer.



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New Summit Online Course

By | Education, News | No Comments Presents: NatGeo Research with Jim Richardson.

Course Overview

In this lesson, well-known National Geographic photographer, Jim Richardson, takes you where very few have ever been before — behind the yellow border. He brings us inside many of this Geographic stories and what ties them all together: his research. Once you signup for this course, the plans are broken down in the following sections:

  • Lesson One: Finding a Topic, Pitching a Story
  • Lesson Two: Starting a Mock Research Topic
  • Lesson Three: Getting into the Details & Outline
  • Lesson Four: The Actual Shoot

An In-Depth Look

Throughout this lesson, Jim gives you the secret tips he has learned over the years shooting for National Geographic on multiple occasions. He has traveled the world for his assignments and has built a routine of in-depth research to prepare him for many facets of a story.


Visit SummitOnline to learn more about the NEW NatGeo Research course!


2015 Workshops Kick Off with Summit Lighting

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Dave Black on location with a soccer player to show students how to use high-speed sync.

In only it’s second year, the Summit Lighting Photography Workshop has become a mainstay among the Summit Series of Workshops. Both new facilities and additional faculty made the 2015 Lighting Workshop one to remember.

Held in a bigger and better-suited location at Massif Studios, in Denver, Colorado from May 22-24, the Lighting Workshop delivered both a great classroom and studio setting as well as nearby parks and fields for location shoots.


The instructor roundtable. From left to right: Rich Clarkson, Dave Black, Joey Terrill, Matt Hernandez, and Michael Gray from Profoto.

Dave Black and Joey Terrill, Lighting Workshop faculty members and two of our most popular and esteemed faculty were joined by a third member at this year’s workshop; Matt Hernandez. Matt is a former student of the Summit Workshops and owns Matt Hernandez Creative, where he specializes in Senior portraits and athletic portraiture.


Matt and his group photograph Crossfit athletes at Omnia Crossfit Gym.

The three instructors broke the students into smaller groups and took them to shoot different things each day of the workshop. Joey and his group explored culinary and wedding photography in the studio, Matt took his group to Omnia Crossfit Gym to photograph athletes, and Dave took his group on-location to photograph soccer and baseball players.


On Day One, Dave and his students explored studio lighting with a ballet dancer.

Using their own cameras in conjunction with equipment provided by Profoto and Nikon, students were able to truly explore the depths of lighting and it’s impact on photographs. Students worked with studio lighting and high-speed sync to cover a wide array of lighting uses like commercial and sports photography.


Working with Profoto lights, students got a chance to light their photographs with the best lights in the business.


Using the Adjustment Brush in Adobe Camera Raw

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What is the Adjustment Brush?

The Adjustment Brush is an editing tool in Adobe Camera Raw (known simply as ACR). This tool is possibly the equivalent of the Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop. So what is dodging and burning? To dodge is to lighten and to burn is to darken a specific area.

What does it do?

When you make your initial global adjustments of a RAW file in ACR, more than likely, you will need to make local adjustments too. This is where the Adjustment Brush is useful for making adjustments to specific areas of your photo.

Recently, I have found I am using this tool more and more. If I am out and about just shooting for my own library, I tend to take photos slightly underexposed. This way, I can recover a lot of detail in the post editing stage. This is useful if you don’t have time for metering the shot perfectly, especially in the case where skies are involved.

How does it work?

The Adjustment Brush isolates a specific area by masking it, similar to using layer masks in Photoshop. When you click on the Adjustment Brush icon, the right panel changes to the Adjustment Brush tab. The bottom sliders modify the size of the brush and you can also determine how much feather and density (flow) you wish to apply.

When you use the Adjustment Brush on a particular part of your image, a pin icon appears to determine where your adjustment has just been made.




I do find using the Adjustment Brush a bit cumbersome. But this tool definitely has its merits. Like most of the editing tools in ACR, Photoshop, Lightroom, etc., there is simply no one-click button that magically does it all.

You may find with a bit of practice using the Adjustment Brush that it could speed up your editing workflow. Take for example this image that I shot of some blue containers on a pier. I made the basic adjustments in ACR. I then used the Adjustment Brush in several areas: to lighten the sky; to keep the highlights on the small white boat on the left from being blown out completely. I also used the Adjustment Brush on the wood section to give it more warmth.


…For more…visit Digital Photography School’s article by Sarah Hipwell

A fresh look at Depth of Field

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depth of field foreground

We talk a lot around here at Digital Photography School about Depth of Field. I’m writing this based on the assumption that we all understand that in layman terms, “depth of field” is the portion of an image that is in sharp focus. To illustrate: in landscape photography, generally you’re working to achieve a very large depth of field. You want EVERYTHING in the scene to be in sharp focus. With portraits, photographers are often shooting for (lame pun intended) a more shallow depth of field, focusing in on their subjects and working towards fall off or blur in the background. Why do you think this is the case? Clearly to draw focus to the story being told. Well what if you want to tell a different story OR what if you want to tell the same story in a different way? Today let’s talk about depth of field and some ways you can use foreground in a different way to draw a different kind of attention to the story you’re trying to tell. Here are 3 ways to create “story telling images” using foreground to achieve creative depth of field.

1. Framing with foreground:

I wanted to find the most straight forward illustration I could to get the point across clearly. This shot (left) is from a recent senior portrait session. I wanted to draw attention to the senior, particularly I wanted him to seem strong and capable: READY to take on the world.

The frame of the foliage around him draws attention right to him… it focuses the story of the image. I recognize that foreground used in this way can also be distracting, this image is borderline distracting, I recognize that. You need to be aware of that and be sure to make foreground work for you, not against you.

How to get a shot like this: well I was shooting with a 50mm lens. I got right up close to the foliage that separated Melvin and I. First I tried with auto focus, but because of my proximity to the leaves, I had to switch over and focus manually.

foreground-depth of field.jpg

2. Don’t be afraid to throw your subject out of focus:

When you’re doing portraiture, you’re generally trying to establish some kind of mood through imagery: happy, solemn, lovesick, sexy. . . Generally the mood is created through posing etc. For the next shots I let the foreground tell a few different kinds of love stories for me.

Back in March, I was shooting on Balboa Island in California. We were out on this dock shooting the typical, fun, happy, “we can’t wait to get married” stuff and I was getting bored. I had them take their shoes off and put their feet in the water. Better, but still pretty typical. So I waded out into the water, hitched my skirt up around my waist, nearly dropped my camera into the ocean, and created these. First I focused on the couple and threw the water out of focus. It’s a nice shot. It looks like they’re sitting on the dock watching the sun set. Nice. Then I focused on the water throwing my subject out of focus. A little sexier huh? Like, we’re sneaking up on some steamy make-out sesh. . . ha ha! But really, both images are good, while neither image is going up for any awards any time soon, they’re both good images. The second just speaks to you a little differently, tells their sexy love story a little more clearly.


Here’s another image where I decided NOT to focus on my subject, again to tell his story better. Back to Melvin’s senior session. Here he is walking into his future. I wanted to show where he was going, but also to illustrate that he’s on his way there because of where he’s been. . . I think this image is a powerful one that illustrates hope for the future and grounding in the past.


…For more…visit Digital Photography School’s article by Natalie Norton