Have you ever wondered why your photos look terrible online when they looked amazing in Photoshop?
The way your photos look often relies heavily on the specific website or social media platform where you upload the images. Compression saves space and many places on the web, especially formats like Facebook, compress heavily. We have FREE tools to help, such as the Facebook Fix actions, but sometimes their algorithms still make a mess of pictures. Unfortunately, much of this is out of the photographer’s control.
Here’s where we can help: Color problems on the web
One aspect to web images in your control — the color range matching original edit. “Why does the color when I upload look totally different than when I am in Photoshop?” This questions crosses my inbox daily from frustrated photographers. If you notice that the color zaps out of your images as you upload them online, you likely need to check your color space. Read and bookmark or pin the graphic below, as a quick tip to convert your photos to the sRGB color space for optimal viewing online.
Now it’s your turn. If you have more tips on making your photos stand out and look better on the web, let us know in the comments below!
To me, the best way to get better at photography is to practice. Sometimes though, especially if you are photographing your own kids or things you love, it’s easy to have blinders on when analyzing your own work.
I think back to when I first started in photography — I thought I rocked. I had an SLR and a prime lens. I could get background blur, and usually I even followed the rule of thirds. So… the photos must be amazing. Well, they weren’t. And looking back now, I wondered how people rarely told me that my photos needed improvement.
But, there’s more to photography than nailing your focus. Everything has to come together from the focus and composition to capturing emotion, the lighting and the exposure.
The best way to judge your work is to get feedback from peers and mentors that you respect. I’d say “get constructive criticism” but it’s not just that you get it, it’s who gives it to you. Make sure you ask photographers for opinions when you find their work inspirational. Look for people who don’t just say “that’s great” or “that sucks”- but who give you tips, tricks and things you can practice to improve.
If you practice and work hard, some day you may have others asking you for critique… and it likely will be sooner than you think.
If you are looking for photography and editing advice, join our MCP sponsored group here.
Playing in Photoshop is fun and often therapeutic for some photographers. True photography artists, like Pia Rautio, use our Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions as tools that help mold their beautiful straight out of camera images into a unique look they can call their own. I know a “Pia” photo when I see it, and even though she uses our products, her images remain true to her style.
So, don’t let some of the big name photographers who host editing workshops convince you that actions and presets are evil and that you need to spend a grand to edit their way. Actions and presets often help photographers find their signature looks – and these powerful tools to save you time edit after edit.
In the images below, we showcase five different edits.
Pia’s camera settings were:
ISO400 1/400 f2.8 @200mm – in all natural light using a Canon 5D MK III & 70-200 2.8L II
Here’s the straight out of camera – already pretty amazing!
And her edit using Spring Splendor Photoshop actions:
- Base 15%
- Vintage Postcards 25% (Hazy layer off)
- Sunlight 60% (from top)
- Cherry Blossoms 20% (only layers Light Hazy Wash + Cherry Blossoms)
- Antique 30% (Fresh Squeezed OJ + Hazy Days off)
- Orchid (Only layers Orchid Field + Orchids + Add contrast)
And her edit using Summer Solstice Photoshop actions:
- Base 25%
- Warm Summer Vignette 24%
- Ocean Breeze 48% (layers Blue Water + Ocean Breeze off)
- Oasis 45% Â (only layers Spice Vignette + Deep and Rich)
And her edit using Autumn Equinox Photoshop actions:
- Base 15%
- Warm Cider 10%
- Japanese Maple 20% (only layers Fall Reds + Dark Edges)
- Back-to-School 30%
- Fantasy Football 25% (Cool Defense & 50 Yard-Line layers off)
And her edit using Winter Whirlwind Photoshop actions:
- B&W 100% – masked off flowers ~65-80%
- Details 25%
- Base 25% (no toning selected)
- Winter Blues 10% (only layer Blues)
- Storm 20% (only layer Storm)
- Barren 40% (layers Dark & Icy)
- Season’s Extras: Temperature Adjuster (added red and magenta on flowers to make them match the light tones of the rest of the image)
And lastly the Inspire actions + MCP Texture Play Overlays:
- Base 30% only on kids
- MCP Texture 07 from Texture Play Overlays added with MCP (free) Texture Applicator
- Custom Edge Burn 15%
- Custom Ball of Sunshine 25%
- Sweet Dreams 20% (only layer Sweet Dreams)
- Modern Matte Twist 35% (masked off faces to bring back contrast)
- Georgia Peach (only layers Peachy Color Changer and Peachy Contrast)
- Bittersweet 25% (only layers Rich Chocolade + Dark Chocolate Contrast)
- Mood Ring Wistful 20% (toning)
- Manual Color Switcher on the bowtie (from blue to purple)
- Rich 40% On faces
Pia’s daughter Taika (3,5+ yrs old) said that her favorite is Autumn (because she likes “the greens like that”), next best Summer (she “likes all colors”), then Inspire (no comments), then Spring (I like it because it has all the light) and Winter she likes the least (but she reckoned her brother would probably like colorless version the best.
After seeing all these edits, we’d love to know which you like best? Answer in the comments below.
One of the hardest things to master in newborn photography are angles. We often get caught up in the poses, the props, the fabrics and all the other details and sometimes we forget about angles. It is amazing how moving our bodies and cameras ever so slightly can dramatically impact the look and feel of an image. A simple change in angles can turn a good image into a breath taking image. Here are a few tips on how to achieve the best angles when photographing newborns.
1. Always avoid shooting up the nose. It really isn’t flattering when the angle of the image shows up the babies nose and their nostrils. One way to avoid this, especially in top down images is to stand right over top of the baby making sure your camera is right above the babies brow shooting directly down and focusing on the corner of one eye rather then having your camera at their chin and shooting up. Always be sure to wear your camera strap, especially during these top down shots.
2. Be sure to move around. I always shoot from many different perspectives with the same pose. I usually know by looking through the view finder which angle I will prefer but many times when I am going through the images during editing I will find a different angle that I fall in love with. Don’t be afraid to move around and try new angles.
3. Focus and recompose using your center focal point so you compose images in camera.
If you are comfortable toggling your focus you can also achieve many different looks by toggling your focus. During one pose I will shoot straight on and then I will focus, tilt and recompose. A simple camera tilt will change the look of an image. I will do several variations of this with each pose.
*In both of the above examples the babies never moved. The only thing that changed was my camera angle.
4. When doing prop shots I pose the babies according to what angles I will be shooting. For example, if I am shooting top down in a basket then I always know to make sure the babies face is tilted upwards toward the camera so that I see their face.
Have fun and be creative! Don’t be afraid to move around. You may surprise yourself with a new favorite pose-angle.
If you want to learn even more about newborn photography, without having to travel and spend thousands, check out out NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP to learn how to get incredible images of newborns.
This probably sounds like every photographer’s dream – right? More great images – less work. It’s not a gimmick. It’s a quick tip.
Once you pose your customer, rather than shoot the images from the logical position, try at least two more moves. Your subject can basically stay where they are. You, however, will move up or down, left or right… or all the way around. Once you start moving yourself, you’ll realize you have more variety to choose from and often better images. So next time you think, “I’ll stand here and take pictures,” challenge yourself to circle around your subject.
Bonus tip 1: If you usually use a zoom lens, try a prime as it will force you to shoot more creatively since you cannot be as lazy by zooming.
Bonus tip 2: When shooting images in the same spot, make sure you use a consistent white balance, and when editing, use the same manual steps for toning and style (or the same Photoshop actions). The images in the samples below were all edited with MCP Summer Solstice actions.
Here is an example of the results from our social media assistant, Kristin Williams. Just moving around the little girl, Kristin got so many different images - the adorable child stayed in same spot the entire time.