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June, 2012

Welcome to my share page. Each month I'll try to bring you an enlightening thought, quote or tip. Questions or feedback is always welcome at: roger@imageinations.com



The following can apply to both Elements and CS

1. Open any image that you feel could use some adjustment to just a selected area, not the entire image. Adjustments could include, but are not limited to, Levels, Hue/Saturation, Brightness/Contrast, and Photo Filters. In the image of the bee and flowers, I feel there could be more contrast on the foreground but not the background.

2. Click on the Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers Pallet. It looks like a circle that is diagonally iconhave black and half white. Choose (in this case) Brightness/Contrast. This adds an adjustment layer above the currently selected layer. The adjustment layer comes with its own Layer Mask. By default, the layer mask is filled with white, indicating that any adjustment at this point will affect the entire image.

NOTE: The adjustment will by default affect all layers below. If you want it to affect only the layer immediately below, turn it into a Clipping Mask by clicking on the icon in the adjustment pallet. This looks like a black circle overlapping a white circle.

3. Go to the Adjustments dialog window and adjust the sliders so that the area you wish to adjust looks like you want it to. At this point the entire images gets adjusted but we'll deal with that in the following steps.

4. Now, to have the adjustment just apply to a selected area. Start by clicking on the Layer Mask itself. You will know it is selected by the double line border around it. Next, fill the layer mask with black. Go to EDIT>FILL and from the Contents drop down menu choose Black. Now that the mask is filled with black you will not see the adjustment on any part of the image.

5. Be sure your Foreground color is White (simply press D) and then press B to bring up the brush tool. Choose a medium size soft edged brush and (again being sure the mask itself is selected) begin to paint over the image where you want the adjustment to be visible. As you paint, you will see that area in the mask as white. If you go too far, simply press X to change the foreground color to black and paint over your mistake. You can, of course, zoom in and change the size and softness of your brush for more detailed work.

6. If you choose SAVE AS and save your image as a PSD file, you will save the adjustment layer and can always come back to it and refine your adjustments. You can add as many different adjustment layers as you like.

original image
Original image
adjustment layer
Adjustment layer added
whole image adjusted
Entire image adjusted
black fill
Black fill (no adjustment)
selective adjustment
Selectively adjusted



HARRY CALLAHAN [1912-1999]

Harry CallahanThe photographs that excite me are photographs that say something in a new manner; not for the sake of being different, but ones that are different because the individual is different and the individual expresses himself. I realize that we all do express ourselves, but those who express that which is always being done are those whose thinking is almost in every way in accord with everyone else. Expression on this basis has become dull to those who wish to think for themselves. - Harry Callahan, Views on nudes by Bill Jay , ISBN: 0240507312 , Page: 104

Photography is an adventure just as life is an adventure. If a man wishes to express himself photographically, he must understand, surely to a certain extent, his relationship to life. I am interested in relating the problems that affect me to some set of values that I am trying to discover and establish as being my life. I want to discover and establish them through photography. - Harry Callahan - 1946 [cited in: Creative Camera April 1970, p. 104]

To see more Harry Callahan images, click here


LIGHTING. There are endless questions about lighting: Where do I put the light? If I have more than one light source, where does it (they) go? What about all the light source modifiers (diffusion filters, soft boxes, honeycomb filters, etc.)? And where do reflectors come in to play?

Let's make it easy: One main ("key") light source lights up your subject, whether it is a person, a landscape, or a still life. Any single light source creates shadows. It is now up to us to decide how to deal with these shadows. Rid ourselves of them completely? Make them less black (fill)? To deal with the shadows we have two choices: Fill them in with another light source, or fill them in using light reflected from our key light source. That is it for basic lighting.

In addition, we can separate our subject from the background by lighting up the far edge (rim) or the subject from one or both sides and/or the top. For instance: we could use the sun behind a person to create a rim light. It now creates a shadow on the other side (the side facing the camera). We can use another light source, like or camera's flash, to fill in the shadow to any degree by adjusting the strength of the flash, or use a reflector to fill in the shadow.

Furthermore our light source can be hard (small), creating sharp edged, distinct shadows on every rise or indentation; or it can be soft (large), softening the edges of the shadows it creates. Look around your home. Do you see many bare bulbs (small, hard light sources)? Almost everything in home lighting is made to enlarge the light source and therefore make it softer.

For more information, consider my book on lighting, signing up for the seminar, or checking on-line tutorials.