Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Out of bounds effect made simple - Photoshop

It’s high time I made another Photoshop video tutorial. After a few minutes scratching my head thinking what I should do, I took a quick look back through your Quick Shot Questions. One Photoshop question kept coming up which was this… “How did you make that pop up image at the end of the abstract background tutorial?”

The technique is known as out of bounds and as the name suggests the idea is to make part of the image poke out from the frame.

Despite appearances the technique is fairly straight forward when it’s broken down into a few simple steps as you’ll see in this video.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

5 photo motivations tips

If one of your new years resolutions was to take more and better photos, you’re not alone. I say exactly the same thing every year and happily I can report that it’s one resolution I stick to. So what’s my secret?

As with any new years resolution the key in hitting your goal is planning and enjoyment, so here are five of my top tips for making 2011 your best ever photo year.

Make some folders
The more photos you take the more you’ll learn about your camera equipment and as your confidence grows your pictures will improve. That’s all well and good, but how do you keep the motivation going?

My trick is to make twelve new folders and name them Jan-2011, Feb-2011, Mar-2011... And so on.

Now stick them somewhere you’ll see them regularly to remind you that they need filling up!

Camera at the ready
When the moment strikes, how quickly could you be ready to take photos? Is you camera to hand and if so is it loaded with a blank memory card and charged battery?

Of course carrying a heavy SLR and a bunch of lenses around just in case a great photo opportunity comes your way isn’t really an option for most people, that’s why I have a small compact camera I leave in the car. I’ll even reach for my phone to take a snap if needs be, just as I did for the photo above.

Take a course
There’s not a photographer on this planet who doesn’t want to improve their skills, so it makes sense to take a training course every now and then.

But there’s more to training then just training. Group training can be a social occasion, a chance for you to meet up with other photographers, swap tips, try gear and make friends with people who share your passion for photography.

Out of your comfort zone
What do you shoot primarily? Is it landscapes, portraits, wildlife or sports? Whatever your speciality it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut and when that happens (and eventually it will) the fastest way to break out is by doing something different.

A great example was when I got the chance to shoot a motocross event last year. I'm not a sports photographer, nor do I plan to be one but I had a great day and learned a lot in the process.

So if you’ve never shot a portrait before, make 2011 the year you give it a whirl. Conversely if you spent the whole of 2010 locked in the studio, then get outside and do a wildlife shoot.

If you’re a social media type why not ask around to find someone who doesn’t do your type of photography and would be willing to take you out to share their knowledge for a few hours. In return you could invite them into your world and share your skills with them.

Borrow, hire, buy.
I love getting my hands on new lenses, but it’s an expensive business especially for exotic things like fish eye’s or super telephotos. A great alternative to buying is hiring. Not only does it give you the chance to experiment with something new and different, but you can really test the lens and decide if it’s a lenses you really need or not.

Having something on loan for a short period should also encourage you to use your camera and in reality it’s taking more photos that will improve your photography.

So there you have it, that’s just a few ideas to get you going. If you have any more suggestions feel free to add them to the comments below.