Archive: » 2016 » February

Little Drops of Snow

  • February 29, 2016
Little Drops of Snow

It’s nice to get an unusual job in – a lovely gentleman asked us to come and photograph the snowdrops in his beautiful, private garden and has kindly allowed us to publish some of the images!

Enough words, more photos!

Layers in Photoshop/Lightroom

  • February 19, 2016

Following the success of our Digital Darkroom for beginners in Kells in The BookMarket, attendees have requested that we host a workshop on Adjustment Layers. Who are we to say no? It has been scheduled in, price & details below. All of the students who came to the post processing in Camera RAW/Lightroom in Kells are already booked on to the Adjustment Layers workshop but we’ve made room for two more, so if you’d like to take one of those two spaces, send us an email on info@mianphotography.com or call us on 0429690315.

What will we cover?
Adjustment Layers!

  • Levels
  • Curves
  • Hues/Saturation
  • Vibrance
  • Black & White
  • And very importantly – using your layer masks to selectively apply your adjustments!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us just click HERE.

Adjustment Layers in Photoshop & Lightroom Workshop Course Kells Meath

Photos of Your Pet!

  • February 17, 2016
Photos of Your Pet!

After numerous requests, we have just scheduled in a Pet Portrait Photography Mini Session for you.

March 19th, Saturday – A total of 10 slots are available, so please book early in order to avoid missing out!

Cost: €50, includes 1 free 8″x12″ print.

We will photograph any of your pets – so you can feel free to bring your dog, cat, hamster, piglet, lamb or snake 🙂 We have experience with a wide variety of animals and the only things that scare us (Milca) are cockroaches and tarantulas, so they’re Andy’s responsibility.

€5 from your session will be donated to your choice of these 2 charities – Kitten Cottage or Lily’s Dog Rescue.

Pet Portrait Photography Session Cavan Monaghan Meath Louth

What are we Blogging about Today?

  • February 13, 2016
What are we Blogging about Today?

Camera Club Talk Speaker Workshop Demonstration Cavan Monaghan Louth Meath Dublin Wicklow Donegal IrelandCamera clubs? Yes, that seems like a good idea.

We love meeting new people and revisiting older, familiar faces. Club talks are always fun, so we’re now booked in to visit not one, not two but three camera clubs in Wales for April! Three consecutive nights. What started out as a holiday has turned into a working holiday with some spare time. We’re looking forward to it. Andy will be revisiting his old stomping ground and meeting up with members from the clubs where he has previously held talks & workshops and I’ll be meeting some new people. I’ll also finally get to traverse Snowdonia and the Brecons and get some big girl mountain shots! Here’s hoping the weather cooperates.

We’ve also been booked in this March to visit the Kells Camera Club – some of whose members are currently on our Introduction to Digital Darkroom processing course in The BookMarket in Kells. That’s another talk we’re definitely looking forward to.

If you’re interested in having us visit your club for a talk, demonstration or hands on workshop – give our details to the relevant club members and meet us in person, we’d love to meet you!

Camera Club Talk Speaker Workshop Demonstration Cavan Monaghan Louth Meath Dublin Wicklow Donegal Ireland

 

Ignoring the Histogram

  • February 11, 2016
Ignoring the Histogram

What?! Are you mad?! Ignoring the histogram?

Yes, you read that correctly. A question was raised and our answers were questioned at our Camera RAW for beginners course last night regarding your camera’s histogram – rightly so. Most places on the net and a lot of photographers will tell you that your histogram is the be all and end all of ‘correct’ exposure… Read on, for our opinion.

Don’t get us wrong, the histogram is a useful tool, a guide, but by no means should it be a certain shape. That little hillock on the back of your camera sure is pretty, but not necessarily what you should aim for. If you’ve got a high contrast image, a high key image or a dark, grungy image in mind, then your histogram isn’t going to be what you’re looking at.

The histogram can tell you if you’ve ‘clipped’ your highlights or your darks to the point where you’ve lost detail, we’ll grant you that, but really, there is no such thing as a perfect histogram. It took me (Milca) a while to grasp the histogram, but I got there eventually. By all means, learn what it shows, how to read it and then learn how to break the rules.

Incorrect Histogram - Or is it?

Tommy looks shocked that our histogram is so far to the right!

Rather than rehashing what you see on the net, here’s a link to learn about the histogram: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/how-read-your-cameras-histogram

Back to our opinion on the matter – Some of you may have heard of Scott Kelby. He’s a photographer, he knows stuff and knows other people as well. He has some books out and in one of them it says this:

I know that headline above just made someone’s head explode, but remember, these are things I’d tell a personal friend (and things I wish somebody had told me) and one of those things would be to ignore the histogram on the back of your camera. I know that people desperately want a tangible, technical measure of the age old question, “is this a good photo?” but, I can promise you the answer isn’t found there. I remember being one of the guest speakers at a photography workshop and during my presentation, the subject of histograms came up. Standing in the back of the room were some of the instructors (literally, some of the best in the business – Joe McNally, Vincent Versace, Laurie Excell and Moose Peterson). I mentioned I didn’t use histograms and then I asked those famous photography instructors if they ever use the histogram on the back of the camera. They yelled back: “Nope”, “Never”, “Not me” and “Not a chance!”. What is it that these pros know that so many people arguing endlessly on the web don’t know? They know that great photos don’t come from looking at a graph. They know that great photos aren’t about the technical stuff (even though so many photographers desperately wish that it was, because people can learn technical stuff – it’s much harder to develop an “eye” and a heart for photography). Getting a good exposure with today’s digital cameras just isn’t that hard. In fact, it’s simple, because today’s cameras are so advanced that you almost have to work hard to get a bad exposure. So, stop worrying about the graph and start worrying about what you aim your camera at and how you aim it. That’s where great photos come from.

Scott Kelby

Update:

We were in contact with Scott Kelby to check with him that he was okay with us using the quote and along with being happy for us to do so, sent us this regarding what he tells people in his current seminar tour:

I say “If you’re looking at the Histogram, you’re looking at the wrong thing!” I also mention that the reason I think some photographers want to use the Histogram is that they’re looking for some mathematical proof that their exposure is correct because they’re not confident enough using their eyes. They’re not really sure of what they’re doing exposure wise, so if a Histogram can back them up that their exposure is “correct,” then it bolsters their confidence that they photo is indeed technically correct. By the way — you will never get a call from a potential client that will ask, “Can you make a photo for me that is not too dark, and not too light?” People don’t care about “technically correct photos.” They care about photos that excite, inspire, cause you to think, challenge the viewer, engage the viewer, delight the viewer. Look at the images that win any photo contest and you’ll see that the only people that care about exposure are other photographers – not the public. Not the people that will actually pay you for your work, not clients or or people who want to exhibit your work. Want to take better photos? Look at the photo — not a mathematical representation of it (by the way — I know a ton of amateurs that rely on the Histogram, but I can’t name a single top pro I know that does). NOTE: I’m not recommending turning off the Highlight warning — that is actually necessary to help you retain detail in the highlights, but turning that on should mean there’s never a reason to look at the Histogram again.

Scott Kelby

Many thanks to Scott for his encouragement on our stance – “ I applaud you for taking a stance that will be hard for some folks to swallow, but could actually make a real difference in their overall photography.

So there you have it, we’re not mad… Or are we? What do you think? Head back to our Facebook post and tell us your opinion!

(Click here to go back to our Facebook post and weigh in on the conversation).

Click here to visit Scott Kelby’s Website.

Click here to visit Scott’s Amazon page for more books.

Double Exposures in Photoshop

  • February 5, 2016

Double exposure was a mistake. It was, back in the early stages of photography, where a plate, film, frame etc. was accidentally exposed twice. This became an artistic technique and can be done in-camera in many DSLRs these days too. Of course, double exposures can also be ‘created’ in Photoshop. This is a basic tutorial for beginners on creating a double exposure effect in Photoshop. You can use any two images, but some will work much better than others. Strong lines in your overlay and good contrast will help in most cases.

Click any of the images to enlarge.

This tutorial was composed in Photoshop CC, so earlier versions may have slight differences.

  1. Open your RAW file in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) or other RAW processing software. Process as normal. Proceed to Photoshop with the image.

Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

  1. Copy the layer and using your chosen masking method (we use Topaz Remask), cut your subject out.

Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

  1. Click on your Background Layer in your layers panel on the right to select it, we’re going to insert a new layer and we want it above (hiding) the background and below your cutout.

Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Click Layers, New, Layer. Alternatively, Ctrl + Shift + N – A new layer will appear between the ‘Background’ and ‘Background Copy’ layers. It is called ‘Layer 1’ by default. Double Click it and name it, White Background, then press ‘Enter’ on your keyboard to secure the tag.

Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

  1. Change your nominal colour on your toolbar to white – the easiest way to do this is by pressing ‘D’ on your keyboard, then ‘X’.
  1. To fill your new layer with white, ensure it’s selected, then hold ‘ALT’ pressed on your keyboard and tap the ‘Backspace’ key. Alternatively, use your paint bucket to fill the new blank layer with white.Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial
  1. Click File, then Place (for PS CC, Place Embedded), then choose the file you wish to use as your overlay. Ideally, the image should have plenty of whites mixed with detail in order to ensure that the effect works properly.

    Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

  1. Change the blend mode of your placed image to screen, then use the resizing handles to move, rotate and ultimately place your overlayed image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Click the ‘Add Vector Mask’ button at the bottom of the layers panel and use a soft black brush to paint out your overlay where you don’t wish to see the effect, like on the front of the face here in our example.Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial
  1. Now you can process the final image as you wish. You can play with colours, tones, contrast etc. to get the ‘look’ you want over all. You can change it to black and white, which can be quite effective for this type of image. You can go back to your mask and remove parts of it from the hair (try using different brushes to get a natural, staggered fade). We’ve played a little with the image and here is the result!

Double Exposure Photoshop Basic Tutorial

Did You Know…?

  • February 3, 2016

…That we are landscape photographers as well? Most of you here follow our pictures of people, but when we’re not busy working and when the weather allows, we’re often found clambering along rivers, struggling (well, one of us struggles) up mountain and hillsides, perched at the lakeside or wave-dodging by the sea.

(Scroll Down for the Gallery if you’d rather not read the waffle)

As well as the exercise, we enjoy taking photos and often bring people out with us for one-to-one or two-to-one tuition. If that’s something you’re interested in, contact us! Of course, our landscape images are also for sale – we believe in art being available and affordable for everyone, so an 8″x12″ photo only costs you €25 (inc. postage to UK & Ireland). Many of our photos are hanging on walls in people’s homes and offices and for us, that’s really special. It also helps pay to put the diesel in the van to feed the hobby-side of our work.

Yesterday, we had a day off, so we thought it would be a good idea to head to the Mournes. It was, for the most part. It seemed like a good idea until we discovered the incline at the start of the granite trail. I’m not that fit… Poor Andy walks 50 meters, waits for me to catch up, then rinses and repeats. I managed to make it up to the stile on 2 puffs of an inhaler and a good glug of water – it’s definitely time to start hill walking more often! Enough yap – here are some of our photos from the day!

Click the images to enlarge.