Category Archives: technique

Making Photoshoots Possible Without Photographers

A Dutch company called StyleShoots has recently created a machine that records and takes photos on its own. A model steps inside the machine, and the stylist sets up the lighting, background, and more with a tablet on the outside.


The stylist and model work together to create the final product. Before recording begins, they tell the StyleShoots machine what result they want. When “shooting” is finished, the machine selects the appropriate footage, and puts them in the assigned format and style.


This invention helps the photoshoot experience become less time consuming, but still results in a high quality product.


Learn more 



– Brenton Wiseman


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Toying With Photography


When I think of toys, the first thing that comes to my mind are the times I enjoyed as a child creating my own make-believe adventures. Waging war with my armies of action figures. Building magnificent cities with Legos, only to have them crushed by Godzilla. Even racing the greatest cars on earth that could submerse under water and fly through the sky. As a child, my enjoyment wasn’t confined to the bounds of the toy itself, instead I made it my own experience by creating a story for each adventure.

This same concept is critical to the photographer who wishes to use toys as his subjects. Almost any photographer can take a landscape photo and make it look good, but not everyone can snap a photo of an action figure and pass it up as A+ work.

So what is the secret formula for photographing a good toy shot? Well, according to my college photography instructor, “You need to have a story behind your photo, make it interesting.”

Take this photo by Brian McCarty for example:


In his photo, McCarty replicated a scene straight out of a sailor’s nightmare by having the toy squid “attack” the toy submarine in a swimming pool.

In Chris McVeigh’s album, he features pictures of his action figures interacting with neighborhood critters:

Under Siege!

My personal favorite is a photo album of the character Danbo by Arielle Nadel. Danbo was originally a manga character, then became an action figure, and finally was photographed by Nadel in an album called “365 days of Danboard:”

A Little Soaked

The key is to not just photograph toys as the subject of your picture, but instead use them to create your own world of imagination.


-Glenn Hiller

photo sources:

35 Extraordinarily Clever Examples of Toy Photography

(link for featured image)

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Getting The Most Out Of Autumn

Shoot Reflections In Water:

Works best at sunrise or sunset on sunny days. Try playing
with the white balance to find one that emphasizes reds, yellows,
and oranges while retaining the strong blues as well. A polarizer
can make autumn reflections pop, or removed them entirely.

Use RGB Histograms:

The histogram is useful in evaluating the overall exposure.
One or more of the colour channels may be clipped, or
even lacking in detail.

Shoot In Mixed Light:

Take advantage of digital cameras superior dynamic
range by shooting in mixed light. Avoid mixed-light
areas in the middle of the day because of the
harshness of the light.

Good Fall Colour Isn’t Enough:

Strong fall colours aren’t always enough. Every photo
needs a clean, clear composition. Spacing between
trees can help prevent shapes from merging together.
Including green trees can give better balanced colour
and contrast.  Take out anything that doesn’t contribute
to the photo.

Look Through The Viewfinder And Explore The Scene:

Move around! Think of different ways to take the same photo. Aim
the camera up, down, and all around to maximize your composition.

For more tips and information about taking great fall pictures, get the full article here:

Posted By:
Olivia Henning

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Making the Mundane Magical: The Art of Infrared Photography

Photographers looking to spice up boring old landscape shots with a touch of the alien and surreal may want to look into the practice of Infrared photography.

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This young lady, Crystal Rose Mihaylo, has some really interesting silhouettes and self portraits. She’s a local, she lives in Milford, Delaware, and she uses a Nikon D80.

I’ve sort of met Crystal a few times. I wanted to share this not only because she’s talented and has some great concepts, but she’s young and from around here. She does promotional shots for bands, she photographs weddings and engagements, but she also just has fun with her art.

Since we’re doing a lot of what she has already done, I see her as a good source for inspiration for our class. She’s been a photographic role model for me in some ways over the years.

I hope you enjoy her work!


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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

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Using Picasa To Edit Photos

Not everyone can afford their own copy of Adobe Photoshop (even with the student editions offered by sites like JourneyEd or CampusTech), and it’s not always convenient to drive to the campus just to touch-up your pictures.

A good alternative program to consider for “basic” photo-editing, in my experience, is Google’s Picasa.

Like most Google products, not only is Picasa free, it also focuses on user-friendliness and intuitive controls.

Though Picasa is lacking in sheer power compared to Photoshop, it’s also has a much smaller learning curve to use effectively.

The following is a quick crash-course on the tools available in Picasa for editing your photos.

Uploading Photos With Picasa

Uploading your pictures is painless with Picasa. With computers running Windows, when you put in your SD card, it should bring up a prompt with “upload pictures using Picasa” among the options.

After selecting this option, Picasa will run and begin automatically copying your photos.

While this operation is running, you can select or create a destination folder for your uploaded images.

After copying has finished, you can either select which images you’d like to upload, or simply ‘Upload All Photos’.

After the pictures have uploaded, you’ll be taken to your Picasa Library, from here it is simply a matter of selecting a photo to edit.

Double-clicking an image opens it in the Picture Editor, though you can easily select other pictures to alter without having to exit the screen.

Editing Photos In Picasa

Editing and altering your photos is intuitive and easy with Picasa. Most of the available tools are labeled in a self-explanatory way, and the level of adjustment is controlled with a slide bar.

As you move the slide bar, Picasa will render the changes in real time, allowing you to preview the changes without committing to them.

If you change your mind about the alteration, a prominently displayed and easily-accessed ‘Undo’ button is found in each tool’s menu.

Editing tools in Picasa are found in three tabs located to the left of your selected image. Here’s a brief description of the three tabs and the tools they contain:

Basic Fixes

While most of the tools shown in the image to the left are pretty self-explanatory, a few are worthy of further explanation.

I’m Feeling Lucky: A Google standard, this tool makes automatic alterations based on algorithms and image characteristics.

Auto Contrast: This tool attempts to correct the contrast of the image without user input.

Auto Color: Similar to the aforementioned tools, this feature gives the colors in your image a tune-up.


The second panel of Picasa’s tool suite consists of four slide bars,

The last slider, ‘Color Temperature’, changes the dominant color in the photo, similar to changing your camera’s white balance setting.


From the ‘Effects’ tab, you can add various properties and filters to your pictures.

With ‘Effects’, you can accomplish many tasks with photos.

Change color pictures to black and white or sepia tones, sharpen or blur the focus, and the like with ease.

With most of these options, you can select only specific areas to adjust, or target the entire picture.

The only real drawback I can think of with using Google Picasa for editing your photos, is that there is no simple and easy option for adding borders to your pictures without printing them.

While there are methods to add photo borders using Picasa, it is a bit involved for the scope of this tutorial. That, and other advanced features of Picasa will have to wait for future blog entries…

Picasa 3.8 is available for download on Windows and Mac operating systems.

– Wayne Sisson

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