I’ve been out in the field for two long days during my workshop at the Palm Springs Photo Festival. One of the techniques we practiced is exploring how using Photoshop’s Transform and Content-Aware Scale can change the way you make exposures – opening up possibilities for both strengthening classic compositions and also for making new compositions you might otherwise pass by – or not see.

The classic Photoshop Transform tools have been long overlooked and underutilized. Now, in Photoshop CS4, we’ve got a new way to Transform our images – Content-Aware Scale. This will scale specific areas of an image more than others. Many photographers scale an image to resize it. Sometimes portrait photographers squeeze images 10% horizontally to make people look thinner. But how many photographers use these tools to create more compelling proportions in their images? How many use them as a tool to strengthen or weaken relationships in their images by making areas of an image closer to or further away from one another. Few. These are new tools. They’re not hard to master technically. Activate the tool of your choice and then push or pull. Simple. (Favor squeezing instead of expanding to avoid upsampling artifacts.) This may be challenging for some to feel comfortable with as an accepted practice. We accept the distortions of lenses. Why is this type of post-processing any less acceptable? This is challenging to master perceptually. Incorporating these new tools into your ways of seeing takes practice. Once you do master them, you’ll find you’ll make new types of exposures with these possibilities in mind. You’ll learn one more way of seeing your subjects. New possibilities bring new ways of seeing. To master them you’ve got to use them – a lot. It takes practice. Try it. And keep using it. This technique can make an amazing difference in many images.

Learn these and other techniques in my upcoming Workshops.
Find out more in my downloads.


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