How To Remove Hard To See Dust Spots in Lightroom 5

“Lightroom 5 has a great new non-circular spot removing/healing brush. However, there’s a feature that many will overlook for using the tool for what it was originally intended for. It’s always been great at removing dust spots from dirt on your lens or sensor dust as long as you could see the spots in your images. Now with the new Visualize Spots feature you can find them much easier.”
This new feature is included in ACR / Photoshop CC too.
View more on Terry White’s blog.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

4 Ways To Divide The Frame

The four most important lines of any image are the ones that are often least recognized consciously – the frame. Second only to these are the lines that divide the frame, creating frames within the frame. Becoming more aware of how the frame can be used and how it can be divided will help you make more successful compositions.
There are many ways the frame can be divided. You can divide the frame horizontally, vertically, or diagonally; in each case the layers included define the virtual space presented. Different areas in an image can be divided differently. You can divide the frame (or a frame within the frame) multiple times; the more times the frame is divided the more packed and dynamic it becomes, progressively growing more design oriented and finally being reduced to pure texture. Each operation has significant consequences.
One of the most significant results of dividing the frame is the creation of specific proportions. (The combination of the individual aspect ratios of each element creates a new unified aspect ratio.) Much has been made of the ‘rule of thirds’. Dividing the frame into three parts (left/center/right or up/middle/down) is a simple and often useful strategy for making images more directed, by prioritizing one element over another, and dynamic, through imbalance. Too little has been made of other ratios. What of fourths, fifths, sixths, sevenths, or eighths? No musician would be content to only divide an octave into halves and thirds. Every proportion produces particular effects, which are further modified by placement (high/low or left/right) and content. Rather than a rule to be adhered to, proportion is a force to be explored expressively.
When it comes to controlling the division of the frame in your images, you have more options available to you than you might think. You can crop, retouch, distort, or composite. These four operations can be used in combination with one another. For instance, you may decide to first crop an image and then distort it to a standardized aspect ratio. Or, while maintaining a frame of the same aspect ratio, you might increase the scale of a selected area only and in the process crop a portion of it. Many other permutations are possible.
If you find these many new possibilities dizzying, you get it. The only way to understand this intuitively is to explore your options. The development of new possibilities encourages us to ask new questions and develop new habits. For what effect are you dividing the frame? To that end, how many different ways can you think of dividing the frame? My advice? Develop the habit of exploring your options before settling on final solutions, ones that help you create your strongest statements.
Read more at Digital Photo Pro.
See my related post Exploring The Expressive Possibilities Of Aspect Ratio.
Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

Birgit Neiser – How Far Is Too Far?

A few times a year I do one-on-one private sessions. Birgit Neiser came from Germany to take an HDR workshop with Dan Burkholder at MMW this week. A few days ago, she spent two mornings with me consolidating her knowledge base. We covered a lot of ground. An alumn of mine, Birgit stayed current and was well-prepared for the session. Private sessions are great for going over specific topics and spending as much or as little time as possible.
Learn more about workshops here.
Learn more about private sessions here.
After color adjusting a challenging image and taking it through the proofing process to a final 8×10″ print, she wanted to resolve a very interesting image. It was somewhat atypical of the rest of her work, but she was strongly attracted to it. So was I. She thought she’d like to correct some distortion, expand the canvas, and add add a cropped arm. It worked out handsomely, but when compared to the original it seemed less contemporary and edgy. We went too far. You don’t know how far to go, until you go to far. This answered a lot of questions for her about what to photograph, where to go to photograph, and how to photograph. We listed many elements that made this image work, with the idea of finding more like it – amputation, enjambment, off-kilter compositions, reflections, distortion creating abstraction, etc. Our heavy retouching session failed. Or did it? It’s not failure if you learn from it and then turn that failure into future success. At the end of the sessions, Birgit felt as if she was well along her way. Seeking outside feedback from trusted sources can greatly accelerate growth.
See more of Birgit’s work here.
How many trusted sources can you go to for feedback?
Can you think of times when feedback has helped your growth.
Tell us about it! Comment here.