Monthly Archives: April 2011

How to add cinematic flair to your images

While researching some possibilities for my completing and expanding on my final project, a horror narrative, I stumbled across this handy tutorial on giving your photos a cool cinematic look written by FanHow users Kzion and Sunny, and decided to share the fruits of their labors with you all.

01. Open the image you would like to make cinematic in Photoshop.

This is the base image I will be using for the purposes of my tutorial.

02. Create a ‘Duplicate Layer’  and set the ‘Blend Mode’ for this new layer to “Overlay”.

This will give the image a darker and more contrasted look.

03. Bring up the Image Adjustments shortcut in the Layers menu and click on ‘Hue/Saturation’ (or you can simply hit Ctrl+U).

Reduce ‘Saturation’ to -65.

04. Bring up ‘Image Adjustments’ again, but this time select ‘Levels’ (or Ctrl+L).

Set the black slider on the left to ’20’ and adjust the middle slider to ‘1.30’.

05. Once again in ‘Image Adjustments’, click on ‘Curves’ (or Ctrl+M).

Using the above image as reference, add two anchors on the curve and adjust them as shown into a slight “S” shape.

Once you have done this, your ‘Output’ should be around 55, and your ‘Input’ set to roughly 65 (Click on the lower left anchor to get your reading).

06.  Now ‘Merge All Layers’ (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E), which should create a New Layer at the top of the stack.

07. Next, go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise and change the value to ‘3’, as shown below.

08. Create a New Layer.

09. Select your ‘Rectangular Marquee Tool’ to create two rectangles on the top and bottom portions of the image, using the below image as reference.

The easiest way to do this is to just create one large rectangle that covers all but the top and bottom, then right-click the rectangle and click ‘Select Inverse’. This will create two rectangles on the top and bottom respectively.

10. With the ‘Paint Bucket Tool’, click on one of the rectangles to fill the area with Black.

This creates a wide-screen ‘letterbox’ format, similar to the ones used in many films.

And that’s it! Now you have a cool, cinematic effect for your pictures, which will make them look like a movie still. Here’s a “Before and After” of the original image and the altered one.

Depending on your needs/tastes, you may want to play with the levels used in this demonstration to get maximum effect. For instance, with the image I used, I would probably want to make sure the final result was a bit brighter, but you get the general idea.

TIP: If, like myself, this is an effect you’d like to use repeatedly, it would probably save you a lot of time and grief to go ahead and record an ‘Action’ for this effect.

– Wayne Sisson


Leave a comment

Filed under creative, photoshop, research, technique, tutorials, Uncategorized

Expose yourself

Long exposure photography entails using a long-duration shutter speed to sharply capture the stationary elements of images while blurring, smearing, or obscuring its moving elements. Long exposure photography can range from having the shutter on from anywhere to 10 seconds to bulb, which the photography can control and leave on for as long as they please. Long exposure photography requires a lot of patience and time. The photo that are most often used for long exposure photos are water and the motion of lights, light painting. I have been interested in light painting since I first learned about it so this is why long shutter exposure has interested me.

-Andrew McMahon

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Nikon D7000 Technique – Mirror Lock UP and HDR

I came acroos this blog . It shows how the digital camera’s are becoming more advanced and capable of doing many thing in the world of photography.

Here for example it show how to capture a HDR photo using bracketing to get the result.

I found it very interesting


The new Nikon D7000 camera . There are a lot of little improvements in the software that really benefit photographers trying to get the most performance out of their gear. One of these is being able to shoot a bracketed HDR burst while also using Mirror Lock-up.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography involves taking a series of photos at different exposures and then blending the series together in software. Each photo is exposed at a different brightness level and therefore contains exposure data for certain parts of the scene. For example, the darkest photos in the sequence will contain data for the bright sky/clouds, while the brightest photos in the sequence will contain data for the shadows.

After you take the images, it is common to use a software program to merge the series together into one photo. Programs like Nik HDR Efex Pro take the best-exposed parts of each picture and then create one final image that has detail in the shadows, highlights and everywhere in-between.

Ok, now that you understand HDR, let’s talk about the process of taking the photos. Since the software will be merging many images to create one final image, it is important that the camera remains steady during the burst of shots. You can imagine that the photo might look weird if the camera physically moved between shots, since the software might have a difficult time properly lining up elements of the scene.

For the very best HDR photos, it is generally best to:

  1. Use a tripod
  2. Use a cable release
  3. Use mirror lock-up

The third item in the list presents a challenge to photographers. This is because it can take a long time to shoot a series of photos while also using mirror lock up. As many of you know, mirror lock up requires you to press the shutter release (or cable release) two times for each exposure. The first push lifts the mirror and the second push trips the shutter.

Normally when you are shooting an HDR sequence, you want to set the camera to take a fast burst of photos, so elements in the scene don’t move from shot to shot. For example, if you were photographing a landscape with clouds in the sky, the clouds can actually move quite a bit from the first shot to the last shot if you don’t rapidly take the photos. In this example, the software will have a difficult time with ghosting in the clouds, creating an odd look to the image.

Enter the Nikon D7000! In Nikon’s newest prosumer SLR camera, they now allow you to shoot a bracketed HDR burst while simultaneously using mirror lock-up. This means that the camera will automatically take the entire bracketed sequence while also activating mirror lock-up before each photograph. Awesome!

The result is a fast sequence for the bracketed burst, and a stable camera as a result of mirror lock-up.


If want to automate the process, or just make it faster, then do this:

1. Set camera for M-Up (found on the shooting mode dial)

2. Activate bracketing on your camera by pressing the BKT button and rotating your command dials. You’ll want to set it so it reads 3F 2.0.

3. Press Menu button. Navigate to Shooting Menu (camera icon)

4. Choose Interval Timer Shooting

The instant you press OK, the camera will start taking the bracketed sequence, so you’ll want to already have your composition and focus set. The camera will then quickly take all three frames in rapid sequence while locking the mirror up for each one.

In summary, I really like how Nikon keeps innovating new ideas. Even if the ideas are fairly small in the grand scheme of things, Nikon is always looking for ways to make our photography better. Allowing us to lock our mirrors up during the HDR burst is a perfect example of Nikon listening to feedback and implementing that feedback in the real world!

Below are some recent HDR pics I’ve taken with the D7000.


Filed under Uncategorized

Cell Phone Photography

Usually, when I look at pictures I have previously taken on my cell phone, i’m never really all that impressed. Being only a small 5 megapixel camera, I shouldn’t expect a great shot right? Not necessarily. With recent advancements in cell phone technology, the cameras in these phones have advanced too. iPhone photography has become popular recently. Some photographers doing whole shoots with their iPhones. Also, check out this blog by the New York Times on cell phone photography. A portion of that blog talks about how a war journalist used his iPhone to take shots while he captured video with his SLR’s during a firefight.

Here are some cool examples I found

I. Cosgrove

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Your Waitress

Your waitress is a playground, portfolio and portal to share the photographic journey of Valerie J. Cochran. The first version of this site began on May 13, 2004. Her photographs today explore people and places in the urban landscape. All of the images were captured with film cameras. The main camera is a Canon ae-1 from the 1970’s with a 50mm f/1.4 lens.


Park Sleeper




The Dakota

I selected Valerie Cochran because I liked her photos. She goes around and takes random shots, that end up looking sick. I like her way of being able to capture the mood in her photos and the motion as well. I wouldn’t think about taking a picture of a man sleeping in the park surrounded by empty chairs. It’s different. I pretty much just like the way she thinks. I really liked her picture of the Empire State Building because the people are blurred but there’s the building standing in the center, lit up and nice. I think you guys should check out the rest of her pictures because she has so many unique ones on her Web site that you might be interested in. =)


Leave a comment

Filed under creative

The “Shooter” On The Front Lines

The evolution of documentary and photojournalism photography as soon as technology was able became embedded in wartime documentation.

The first known war (at least that I understand) using the beginnings of the camera and developing process all started right here in the US. And proceeding that technique, was the professional artist sketch. So which war introduced the concept of photojournalism setting precedent for the extremely daring art of battle/war time picture taking?

If you answered “The Civil War” you answered right.

I thought it would be interesting to point out the earlier art of this photography, as much as the idea of the dramatic and emotional brings the war to light though very heartbreakingly. For the time the technology of the camera was as exciting and novel as the technology we know more 100 years later. There is no disputing that the simple artist sketch had it’s place in wartime documentation. But, the Wet Plate camera process ushered in the idea of realism in a real life look at the essence of war, battle and the gruesome. The practice of shooting battlescenes on the frontlines though might have taken weeks or months to reach the population via print media, was no less unsettling than the excesses and speed of publishing via satellite and the world- wide- web .

Professional "field studio" of "The War Between The States

The application of much equipment and accessories though cumbersome, were simply just part of the job. As today,  in modern field and studio photography; equipment can be just as vast, involved and expensive.  Though technology might reduce the “size” of things. In the digital the computer is the darkroom. Editing software is “the chemical process.” Lighting sets can be huge. And there is the electricity to run it all!
The image to the right  is the WET PLATE  CAMERA, exposing for the colloidial process in developing.
Printing was also prepared on heavy papers and metals. The “Carte de Visite” is the French term for announcing in a photo a person. What we know as a business card (some also use photos) this “visite” had the same function. 

"Union Officer's "Carte de Visite."

In the field of photojournalism there is no denying the endangering lifestyle of the war photographer. Though today any one soldier can be a photographer with their  easy access cell phone. The practice of the professional traveling with battalions or regiments has a long history and in the war between Union and Confederate soldiers, these “shooters” would end up as dead as a soldier or sailor. Though in light of the face of death, the photojournalism of WAR brings it all home in a manner of minutes, hours, days. Only we can imagine being there.

Soldiers at encampment

I would like to add, in my opinion, that for the early years “social documentary” shooting and war time photography, I would say the work of the photographer/ artist was sophisticated, honest storytelling.
By JuneRose JR Futcher

Leave a comment

Filed under photojournalism, social commentary

Atiba Jefferson

Atiba Jefferson was born in 1976 in Colorado Springs, CO. After picking up his first camera in high school, he merged his new passion for photography with his passion for skateboarding and started to send his photographs to the very popular Transworld Skateboarding Magazine. From then on, he learned everything he needed to know from the great Grant Brittain. He soon had a staff position for the magazine, traveling the world doing two things he loved; skating and taking photographs. After leaving Transworld, he has since started the equally popular “The Skateboard Mag.” with a few friends.

Jefferson hasn’t only just shot skateboarding.He shoots professional basketball, motor sports, musicians, portraits and tons more.

Check out the rest of his work at his site here

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized