Awesome customization

Anton Spaans, aka the Flying Dutchie, has done a great job customizing his site. I was actually searching for blizzard pictures when I found this gallery.

You should check out his site, he has a pretty cool “photo crawl” on his homepage that scrolls through some of his awesome photos.

Check it out here!

He also has some great shots to browse. Here are a few of my favorites (they are protected, so I am only linking them):
Ominous Fall

From Poverty to Riches


Better Black & White

Sure, SmugMug has a BW conversion utility built-in – and it’s fine for quick and dirty BWs. But you can do better. This image is from a SmugMug Pro who would like to learn how to do his Black and White conversions better. He ordered a 20×30 print of this shot:

He wasn’t thrilled with the result. You probably wouldn’t have been, either? Why? Without color tonality changes, we have to work extra hard to create the tonal range and tonal differences that will make the image pleasing to our eyes. This blog entry will be dead-simple. For more advanced techniques, watch this thread on Digital Grin, our photography forum.

There are many ways to convert an image to BW but the way I want to *dis*courage you from using is “grayscale.” Try this for a quick way to get your image to BW:

1. New adjustment layer, Channel Mixer
2. Type 50 in the Red box, 50 in the Green box and 0 in the Blue box
3. Check the box “Monochrome”
4. Click “OK”

Now we want to look at the exposure and make any necessary adjustments. This image is underexposed, so I’ll use PS CS2’s Shadow/Highlight feautre to bring up the exposure a little bit. Be very careful with this photoshop tool, it can do great things, and it can wreck your images, too. As with most of photoshop, “less is more.” Here, I applied 20% shadow recovery, and you can see the difference in the histogram. We’ll get some more exposure boost in our next step.

OK. Now, let’s extend the tonal range – this is where the image will begin to be appealing to our brain sensors for tonality, contrast, sharpness, and more.

Make sure you’ve flattened any adjustment layers from the prior steps. Now open up a curves adustment layer, layer>new adjustment layer>curves. In the curves adjusment box that comes up, you’ll see a fancy graph, and a couple of eye-droppers.

Let’s only focus on the eyedroppers for the moment. Click on the black eyedropper. Now go to your image, and click on a part of the image that is really, really black. You’ll see an immediate change in the tonal range, and contrast, in the image. Click the white dropper, and then click on a white spot – like his shirt. Whoa – we’re really getting somewhere now!

OK how about a tiny bit of color to really set this image up right? Try a luminosity toning layer. Just a few steps. In Photoshop CMD-(PC: Ctrl)-alt-~ which selects only the luminosity of the image. Now do layer>new fill layer solid color>choose your color (I love dark chocolate brown). Change the layer blend mode of this layer to “color,” touch CMD-I (PS: CTRL-I) to invert the selection, and now reduce the opacity of this layer to about 19% or whatever looks right to you! Flatten the image, and you’re done.

Prophoto RGB – it's great but…

Many pros love working in the 16-bit colorspace Prophoto RGB. It’s a great color space, but there’s one gotcha:

Before you can upload your photos to your SmugMug site, you’ve got to convert them to sRGB.

A pro emailed our help desk, wanting to know why her baby shots were “green.”

after using Photoshop edit>convert to profile>sRGB:

Be sure you’re showing your clients the very best.