Photoshop Project: How to Use Layers Creatively

Difficulty Level: Moderate Photoshop Skills Photoshop isn't just for zapping zits and adding freaky colors to sunset pictures! You can use it for fun, altered-reality pictures, too. If you have a tripod and some friends, you can combine many exposures as separate layers and using layer masks, make one super cool image from many slightly cool images.

News: My new favorite!

I've been trying to get a picture of my favorite pond for years. Jerking the camera vertically over a slightly long exposure did it. It's not a perfect pond but I love it anyway. The blur got rid of the stuff I didn't like. I can't wait to try this in other places.

News: Embrace the Blur

This is a continuation of a previous post about getting "unfocused" with your DSLR. We all work hard to get pictures that are sharp and have perfect focus. Maybe we’re missing the forest for the trees. Think about mood, color, ideas—in other words, not your gear.

News: Easy DSLR Project—Get Unfocused!

(Difficulty Level: from Newby to Expert) Digital cameras can produce freaky sharp images—it’s one thing that sets them apart from film cameras. A DSLR doesn’t have grain, it has noise—and that sounds a lot less charming for a reason. If you shoot at a low ISO, high f-stop and fast shutter speed, you can wind up with a super sharp image that might look great even on a billboard. But sometimes, sharp isn’t everything.

News: So You Just Bought Your First DSLR. Now What?

Moving up from a point and shoot to a digital single lens reflex camera is a big step. And actually, a DSLR can be a better buy than a new point and shoot, many of which rival the prices of entry level or used DSLRs. Keep in mind when you buy a new body, the lenses are the most important elements. Once you start investing in them, it makes it much harder to switch brands. So if it isn’t too late, do some research.

News: New to HDR?

Want to try HDR? Trey Ratcliff's site Stuck in Customs is THE go-to place for beginners as well as experts. Free tutorials and advanced video tutorials, books, iPhone apps and Creative Commons images for your personal use. Yowza--a jackpot website for photography fans.

News: So You Just Bought Photoshop. Now What?

Photoshop. It’s like a mountain to climb. You can chug up to the top, working hard, never letting up, or you can just go part way up and scoot around the side of the mountain and still get to the other side. Not everyone needs to be a Photoshop guru, or ninja pixel punisher. There are a few things to know and be comfortable with in order to do lots of cool things. Here are some tips that will take you a little way up the mountain, somewhat in order of altitude.

Family Fun: Three Kids in The Yard

This picture is the basis of my first how-to blog post. I made it a couple summers ago with a neighborhood family. I really wanted to show how much fun the kids. I could have tried to capture each of them individually in one perfect shot but this picture is the real story! Such a fun family!

News: NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Users)

Join NAPP if you love photography. The membership cost will come back to you in discounts and the magazine in short order. Hardware, software, lighting gear, classes, workshops and so many other discounts and benefits make this a no-brainer. The website alone is filled with resources. And don't forget to check out Photoshop User TV and other free podcasts from NAPP, for all levels.

News: LensRentals.com

Rent that lens before you buy it! Try it out! Need a fisheye for one particular project? Don't buy--rent from LensRentals.com. They have awesome customer service and reasonable prices. If you're a NAPP member, you qualify for a discount. Check out NAPP's member discounts for details.

News: KEH

KEH has a great website and awesome resources for photographers who don't need the newest thing, but know lots of other photographers do, which means KEH is there to scoop up all the gently-used and barely-used gear for the more budget minded or just plain more sensible. Also, KEH is the go-to place for vintage equipment. Who needs to get in a bidding war on eBay and pay more than the true value of a vintage camera? Keep your eye on KEH instead.

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