Coastal Beauty

Coastal Beauty

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I shot for three consecutive days in this location in search of the best clouds and the most interesting colors, at the end I preferred for this image in focus stacking with this rock in the foreground using two different focuses between foreground and the mountain. I used a nd filter with -6 stops to make this, I love the submerged part of the rock blurred by the long exposure of the water

This area is one of my favorite locations to photograph the sea. I’m talking about Cilento area in the south of Italy. I love the rocky beaches with the mountain in the background typical of this area. The sunsets here are always very special and full of beautiful colors, every year I try to spend a few days here taking these colorful seascapes

WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I captured this with 5 brackedet shots that I merged using TTS Pro with digital blending creating 2 different shots that I blended with focus stacking. With luminosity masks I fixed the highlights in the sky and I lightened the darker parts of the rocks

After increasing the color vibrances, I used dodge and burn to fix some darker areas around the rocks and darkened the general luminosity of the picture using a vignette

I increased the contrast applying luminosity masks to curves adjustment layer, after a general layer fixes a gived a soft orton effect to create a soft glow effect

I hope you will find this usefull! I love to ear that from you!

TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14mm)

Five Expoures (-2; -1; 0; +1; +2)

ISO: 100 at f/16

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


The Photography Bundle

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TTS Pro Panel for Photoshop + Mastering Luminosity Masks Digital Course

The Photography Bundle is a discounted package which allows you to take both TTS Pro Panel and Mastering Luminosity Masks at a discounted price. With the Photography Bundle you can get all my digital products togheder and discover in one time all my worklow, my effects, my secrets having at the same time my powerfull panel on Photoshop

If you need more informations about the single products you can see the sinigle pages dedicated to TTS Pro and to Luminosity Masks Digital Course anyway you can find both products below


Discover more about TTS Pro Panel

TTS Pro Panel is a Photoshop extension that will allows you to create beautiful images using easy digital blending features, many and great enhanments effects and fasten your workflow with many saving options and watermark functions

 




 

TTS PRO IN ACTION


Discover more about Mastering Luminosity Masks


Trasform your images in beautiful photos learning this techniques

Learn the use of Luminosity Masks and Digital Blending, along the tutorial you will learn using this technique and make your own style to start creating beautiful images. Along the video you will also learn to create your own actions using dodge and burn, orton effect, apply details selectively and color filters






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A New Day

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Finally I have again the opportunity to freely go out to photograph and on the first day I decided to go to the most famous spot of my city. It was great to take advantage of the total absence of tourists and people in the area but despite everything to avoid any possible presence of people, I went there for the sunrise

The splendid sunrays of sun that at this time of year are behind the Coliseum were unfortunately covered by clouds but anyway with all the sunrise colours on the sky

Talking about composition I preferred a vertical shot with composition, they are among my favorites, to emphasize the coliseum in the background and a leading compositional line towards the monument


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I made the image with the focus stacking technique by shooting the bracketed image for each series of captured images. If you want to know more about this technique that I always use when taking photos like this, I recommend reading this guide

With the resulting expoures I digital blended the images using TTS Pro. With the help of luminosity masks I fixed highlights, shadows and contrasts. After adding details selectively I increased the color vibrance exalting magentas and blue colours

I added orton effect and with the use of dodge and burn I lightened the blacks around the Coliseum. With the glow tool I lightened some highlights in the sky and created soft light bleeding near the sun position. As final step I added a vignette to darken the foreground and to give more prominence to the central scene

As always I hope you will find this usefull! I like to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 100 at f/9

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


The Autumn Leaves

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This week I take a break from the tutorials to return to publish some new photos and today I propose an old photo taken in Japan in 2018. I had discarded this photo at the time because I did not like that framing of leaves so blurred for which I didn’t have to chance to capture the shot using focus stacking for logistical problems…

In fact, to capture this temple with this view I had to climb through a very high bush for which not even the easel could reach, I took it freehand and on tiptoe. All this set of non-technical details, made me think that something wrong in this shot but that I reevaluated it today, also looking at the many images that run on web with very prominent framing like this

The blurring of the leaves on the left gives an idea of ​​the context in which this splendid temple is located in Kyoto, a beautiful garden that I could safely admire and turn at the opening of the temple gates to avoid finding tourists in the area


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I take this shot as single exposure so no digital blend was done for this, I started fixing highlights, shadows and contrast using luminosity masks.

I removed some chromatic aberrations around the corner of the leaves and I fixed colors first removing any color cast than increasing the purple tones and increasing vibrance

I added some more details selectively, than I added a soft orton effect. As final step I added a small vignette increasing the light in the center to make the image more pop

I hope you will find this usefull! I like to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Sigma 24-70 f/2,8 (used at 70mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 200 at f/7,1

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


How to read Histogram for Better Photography Exposure

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The histogram is an incredibly powerful tool that allows us to discover important aspects of the light during shooting, it is a great tool to better understand the correct photographic exposure. Learning how to read the histogram can take photography a step ahead and improve your photography exposure


Histogram Basics

The Histogram is a phisical representation of an image through levels. The Highlights and whites points are represented on the right side of the graph while the shadows and the blacks are represented on the left. In the middle part of the level there are the midtones while in the vertical axes is represented the number of pixels in a specific tone

Many cameras on the market are equipped with an histogram function that allows to view the relative graph for each image taken, in the form of levels. What the camera does is to create the histogram by converting the image to greyscale and divides it into 256 levels of brightness: starting from 0 up to 256, where 0 represents the pure blacks while 256 the pure whites. After analyzing the pixels of the image, the camera transform it into a chart


Understanding clipping Highlights and Shadows

Every time the graph moves too much on the right or on the left we talk about clipping highlights or clipping shadows, more pixel clipping on the sides of the charts and more information are being lost. Let’s see in details what does it mean

Clipping Highlights

Overexposed image

When we talk about clipping highlights we talk about loss of information on overexposed images, in this case the pixel portions where information are lost will be represented in the graph on the clipping part on the right

Clipping right graph

On camera raw there’s the possibility to put a tick to display the clipping warnings, in this case the highlights warning warn us for those areas where the pure white is, represented by the red color

Pure white warnings

To show the pure white areas in Camera Raw just click the top white arrow, in the image the area where I circled in red. Note than the areas in the sky, although they are extremely white and overexposed they cannot be considered pure white, is a subtle difference but only in the red part could be considered pure white points

Clipping Shadows

Underexposed image

Talking about the shadows the image below is underexposed so it’s more dark that how should it be, in this case the pixel portions where informations are losts are represented in the graph on the clipping part on the left

Clipping left graph

On camera raw also here there is the possibility to check for displaying the clipping warnings, in this case the shadows warnings are represented as the blue parts that corresponds as the pure black points

Pure blacks warnings

Same as the highlights also for the shadows to show the pure black areas in the image, just check the top of the chart, note that the areas on the rocks are extremely black and underexposed but we can consider the pure black parts only the blue areas selected in camera raw that are 100% blacks


So what’s the perfect Histogram?

The goal is to achieve the perfect histogram, to do that it depends of what are you photographing but in general, the perfect histogram is that has pixel spread throughout midtones and you don’t have lost of informations on clippings shadows or highlights

Below there’s a representation of just two different types of ideal histogram this to remembrance that’s not just 1 kind of ideal histogram but many types of it, depends on the scene and also other many factors that change from picture and picture. Essentially the loss of informations from shadows or highlights is something to avoid but also loosing too much midtones can “compromize” your perfect histogram


Why reading Histogram is Important?

After shooting a photo simply relying the review on the camera screen can be a mistake, because it does not give us a precise representation of how balanced the image is. It can happen that the camera LCD tries to represent the photo in a brighter and less precise way and once you open the shot into Photoshop you can find errors of loss of informations

As mentioned at the beginning of this article many cameras are equipped with the histogram tool, which after taking the photo allow you to view the representation in charts, in this way so it’s more easy and accurate to adjust the exposure

When shooting, using this tool is a great help to create more balanced photos. Personally I check the histogram on all the images I shot in order to keep under control the possible loss of information and not to lose dynamic range


My Method

As you know I make many of my shots using bracketing mode in order to capture every image with different exposures. Every time I take a photo I set the camera values to have a shot as precise and balanced as possible, I check the histogram to get the exposure more balanced as possible, then I activate the bracketing mode to achieve all the shots I need to capture the greatest number of dynamic range

I use the overexposed and underexposed shots only to realize my digital blending techniques and to selectively chose the necessary areas of interests for blending

Some exceptions:

Despite everything there are some styles of images that do not always require a perfect histogram which in this article I consider necessary to mentions, it is the case of all those images where a unperfect histogram is part of the intrinsic style of the photo

Without necessarily delving into each of these techniques I will just list them, maybe in the future if you are interested I will be able to create a guide on this topic. Exceptions are:

  • Low Key mages
  • High Key mages
  • High Contrast images
  • ETTR Technique

On this last technique I want to spend few words for a more detailed description: ETTR a photographic technique that consists in realizing the shots aiming towards a histogram to the right of the necessary one

The reasons behind this technique is that through this system it is possible to maintain a wider dynamic range and less information loss, in fact by successively lowering the exposure in the camera raw and reporting the exposure values in a balanced way the image final returns to being correctly exposed but with a greater possibility to manage the details within the shadows

Conclusions

So those was how to read the histogram for better photography exposure, as we see the histogram is an important tool for evaluating an image and a method for creating alternative photographic techniques. If you do not usually use it, I invite you to do it already from the next shots, I await your feedback on the results


5 Post Processing tips for Better Landscape Photography

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The power of landscapes is something magical that captures, that attract, that relaxes us. Being transported by the images of natural landscapes is something that fascinates, that allows us to imagine and transport

As a landscape photographer in shooting natural sceneries I always try to guide the viewer’s eye in the frame and post production helps to amplify this aspect towards our imagination and nature

In this article, we will see 5 Post Processing tips for Better Landscape Photography, thanks to which with some we could restore the original beauty of the scene you see or enhance that scene further and push it more toward’s imagination


1) Correct Color Cast

Color Cast can happen in several photos situations, it constitutes a somewhat unavoidable element of photography in many situations, for the white balance not always perfectly set or using an ND filter that leaves us a cast in the photo

On how to remove the color cast from a photo I published a specific article some time ago called 4 Methods to Correct Color Cast in Photoshop, the video below will show you how I removed the cast from the shot with 4 easy ways


2) Light Bleeding

This technique is very useful for enhancing the sunset colors with excellent results, through light bleeding we will literally go to painting directly within our image with the color we want to enhance

Let’s see how to do it:

Create new layer: To create a new layer, go to the button left of the trash can in the layers panel and click on it;

Select Color Picker tool: and find the color you want to enhance, when the color picker tool window will open, move the cursor to the color tonality you want to enhance;

Paint across the frame: into the new layer created on all areas you need to affect of the paint;

Change the blending mode to soft light: decrease the opacity to softener the effect;

Mask out the ares you don’t want to affect: in case you acidentally wrong with brush, just create a layer mask and paint with black the unwanted paints


3) Add Orton Effect

I like very much the magical feel created by orton effect, it’s a great way to add glow and give more impact to your image. Many times the dreamy feel of orton effect fits very good to landscape photography, increasing the dark mood and glow

I created a guide to create different types of Orton Effect, you cand find them in the dedicated article 3 different ways to Create Beautiful Orton Effect.

Below the main steps to create Orton Effect

Duplicate Background Layer: Right-click on it and choose duplicate layer or press Ctrl+J (Mac Cmd+J);

Apply Image: Navigate to Image>Apply Image. On the dialog box make sure to change the layer to background, channel RGB and select multiply;

Image with strong Orton Effect

Apply Gaussian Blur: Now on the same layer apply gaussian blur, I usually set radius between 22 and 45 it depends on the image;

Change The Blend Mode: Now change the blending mode to screen and reduce the opacity as your taste


4) Use Detail Enhancer

A very effective method to give greater impact to your photos is to add details and create beautiful textures that complete or guide the viewer’s attention through the scenery

When you apply the details enhancer remember that is a enhance that performs better when used through a selective application, for that I recommend you to read my article on this thread how to increase details selectively which you can find the related video below:


Pro Tip

A further step to the selective details enhancements is to add them through the use of the luminosity masks and apply the selection, to better understand it I created a course dedicated course to the use of the luminosity masks including the selective application of the details called Mastering Luminosity Masks


5) Dodge and Burn

Another powerful editing tool that I often use in my workflow is dodge and burn. It is a tool that allows us to emphatize some elements of the photo in a very specific way

Through the use of dodge and burn it is possible to darken or lighten some areas and following the direction of the light, thanks to this it is possible to create situations of great scenic impact. But how to create a dodge and burn filter?

Below the necessary steps:

1. Create a new layer;

2. In the new Layer dialog box select overlay and Fill with overlay-neutral color (50% gray);

3.  Select the dodge tool or white brush and paint all the areas that need to be lightened;

4.  Select the burn tool or black brush with the same opacity and paint all the areas that need to be darkened;

If you get a look at the grey thumbnail for the “dodge and burn” layer in the Layers palette, you can see all the areas  painted with black or white like the image below;

Here a before after image with dodge and burn filter applied, you can see some areas are lightened or darkened simply using paintbrush


Pro Tip

The next step to dodge and burn is to apply it to luminosity masks and avoid every change to wrong the paint over the picture, there is a specific tutorial I created about this you can find in my dedicated article How to Dodge and Burn using Luminosity Masks, below the related video:


Conclusions:

These were 5 Post Processing tips for better Landscape Photography for feel free to write me to let me know the ones you use. As always if you have any question write feel free to contact me, I am always happy to answer you!


Digital Blending Using Color Range

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Among my favorite subjects there are certainly the cityscapes, during my travels in Asia I had the opportunity to explore urban landscapes like these many times, which offer beautiful shots from an architectural point of view, especially at dusk in these spots you can work with colors of city lights in contrast with the night twilight

In this article I want to talk about a very simple digital blending technique that I often use whenever I find myself managing an image like this. It’s very usefull to speed up and optimize the workflow, I recommend that small tip that in a few steps allows you to exposure blend two or more images in order to easily obtain an exposure with optimal highlights

So let’s start the digital blending using color range technique:

I captured a series of shots of this place and I selected this two exposures

Darker Exposure
Brighter Exposure

The darker expousure is nicely exposed along the lights on the buildings and a brighter exposure better for reflections and everything else. In this case we need to recover the highlights in the brighter exposure from the darker one

The first thing to do is to stack both layers as you normally do when you digital blend and make the darker exposure unvisible


After this create a mask on the darker exposure

Than navigate to to Select>Color Range and here select Highlights

In this selection the highlights are the brights parts and the shadows are the darker ones, we need to separate the brighter tones with the darker tones

When you’re happy with the selection press ok, than put the layer thumbnail visible of the darker exposure and you will see the digital blending using color range have recovered the highlights just with a click in the brighter exposure

Result image with recovered highlights

If you don’t want to affect some part of the exposure like this colored reflections on the foreground you can always select a black brush and paint those parts out as I do for the colored spot at the bottom 🙂


Relighting

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A shot on a mountain view in Passo Falzarego captured during a strongly overcasted day. The light that hit the top of the mountain seemed to turn on that mountainous stretch of lighter nature, giving great difference of colors and tones to the rest of the mountain, the cloudy sky of those days characterizes the surrounding environment of a truly very involving atmosphere

I captured this shot with my 70-200 by freehand, (thanks VR :)) I made 3 bracketing shots that I easily realigned in Photoshop when making my corrections


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I digital blend the shots using TTS Pro starting from the darker exposure I used the auto blend function with the brighter exposure. I corrected contrast, lights and colors than I applied details to the whole frame

I give a touch of orton effect as I usually do in my every mountainscape, because I really like this effect on the mountain scenery, with dodge and burn I fixed up the yellow light over the mountain and I lightened the dark part of the sky

Again with the use of luminosity masks I made some adjustments to the highlights and shadows, after adding a cooling filter I applied selective warm color to the mountain lightened by the sun

As final step I added a vignette and slightly reduced the exposure of the picture to increase the sense of dark atmosphere

I really hope you will find this usefull! I like to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 70-200 f/2,8 (used at 98 mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 100 at f/9

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


Dreamland

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This image comes from a freehand single shot during my last excursion along the dolomites. It is beautiful to see how the light filters through the mountains, leaving behind you a glimpse of a blue sky veiled with rays of yellow lights

Although from a first glance the forest and the mountains may seem on the same level they are actually at two completely different depths and during my editing with Photoshop I tried to increase these visual differences by increasing the contrasts and adjusting the exposures in this sense

I tried to let the viewer focus his attention on the scenery at the bottom but without decreasing the importance of what constitutes the forest at the foot of the mountain


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

As said at the beginning of this post this is a single shot, so for this photo I did not do digital blending but I only used the luminosity masks to correct lights, contrast and colors

I increased the light effect coming through the sky with dodge and burn and I launched orton effect as I usually do in every my lanscape. After a small push up of yellows tones, I decreased the blacks and the shadows in order to give more prominence to the mountain

With the use of clone stamp tool, I removed some bushes on the bottom of the picture that moves attention away and I manually create a vignette using the glow tool you can find insid my TTS Pro panel

I increased the colors increasing vibrance and a small decrease of expoure as last touch

I hope you will find this usefull! I’m happy to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 70-200 f/2,8 (used at 180 mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 320 at f/9

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


On the Edge

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During this shot the sun was lowering in the sky and the colors of the sunset began, I captured the vertical scene to give the viewer a greater sense of movement between the waterfall and the mountain

This photo spot come next to the lake photographed in my last post, in fact I found this small artificial waterfall very close to the lake, probably the waterfall is used as energy source, the small costruction maybe is a energy cabin

I used a bridge that passed over it to benefit from a facilitated composition to portray both the flow of the waterfall and all the beautiful scenery that was behind it

I used a 3 stop ND filter since the light was not very strong I only tried to apply a filter that could give me more exposure without lengthening the exposure times too much


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I blended the shots using TTS Pro using auto blend darks function, than painting the darker areas with luminosity masks in order to recover the exposure in the darker areas using the brighter exposure

I made some adjustmesnts using clone stamp tool and I fixed perspective on the house, increased the sunset colors appliyng a warm filter to luminosity masks and increasing the highlights into the sun direction

After adding orton effect I applied dodge and burn with a warm brush over the water and on the rocks on the foreground. I lightened some other spot of the image using luminosity masks increasing darks and some highlights

As final touch I incresed the vibrance colors of the frame reducing the opacity to 60%

I hope you will find this usefull! I’m happy to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14 mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 100 at f/14

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


Site Founder

Hi, my name is Giuseppe Sapori, a professional photographer and author of this website, created by yours truly to show my work and share with you the techniques I use. My expertise is in the field of Landscape Photography... (Read More)

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