Tallan Paul Photography

How to Help Make Your Photos Look More Professional

If you are just starting in Photoshop, and you want to make your photos look better, there are a few simple things you can do. 

First, you need to be shooting RAW, which is the highest possible quality your camera can produce. Shooting RAW gives you a lot more freedom and flexibility in post production, because there is simply more information to work with. It allows you to retain high quality if you need to crop, and more importantly it let’s you pull out and manipulate colors. 

You can use two simple and popular techniques to make your photos look better. The first of which is the famous black and white filter. Not every photo will look great in black and white, and there is not a cut and dry solution to get the proper adjustments. Photoshop has an initial camera RAW editor that pops up once you open your image. There you will have a multitude of adjustments. The first thing to adjust is the saturation, you will want to bring that bar all the way to -100. All of the other settings you will need to worry about is the middle section, you don’t have to worry about temperature, tint, or vibrancy, because they will make little to no difference. I would suggest going through the settings in a linear fashion to find what looks best for you. Everyone has different tastes, but I am positive that a lot of people will share your preferences. I personally prefer high contrast in black and white. I like dark shadows, and bright highlights, so my adjustments are changed accordingly. 

The second simple method is making the colors “pop.” The point of this is to exaggerate the colors to your liking. It is the same basic process, the only difference is that you are focused on what colors look right. I will generally warm the image slightly by adjusting the temperature. I don’t really mess with the tint setting, so I wouldn’t worry about it for now. Again, you will want to go through each adjustment in a linear fashion to find what looks best for you. My approach is slight adjusting, I want to moderately exaggerate color so that it still looks believable. Small adjustments can go a long way.

The next step, for both methods, is to get rid of any blemishes. This is simple, all you need to do is first make a copy of the original layer, then open up the “spot healing brush tool” and go to work. This tool is like magic, you set the size, then click, and the blemishes vanish. If you run into problems however, you may need to resort to the patch tool, stamp tool, or other means of fixing blemishes. But you shouldn’t run into too many problems, and the best thing to do is to stick with it and try different approaches. You want to edit the photo as minimally as possible, because the more you mess with the pixels, they can sometimes end up looking extremely distorted. But that is why you always make a copy of the previous layer before you attempt to make any significant changes to the image. That way you always have something to revert back to. 

What I would do next is adjust anything else that you think needs adjusting. I can’t tell you exactly what needs to be fixed or what you can leave alone, that sort of hunch comes with practice. The goal when editing people photography is to help make the subject look their absolute best. That is really important, and that is why I emphasize exaggerating features that either you like, or that you know the subject will like. In contrast, you may want to get rid of, or reduce, embarrassing features such as scars, pimples, difference in eye size, the list can go on. And that is why it is important to keep communication with the subject, and find out what they may be self conscious of. You don’t want to explicitly ask “what do you dislike about yourself?” that is a very bad idea. But I find that you can learn body language, verbal queues, and sometimes the subject will just simply tell you what bothers them; as well as what they would want you to fix in post. 

The best thing to do if you want to improve your post processing is by practicing, and finding a rhythm. The more you do it, the more techniques you will master, and the better your photographer’s eye will become. 


YN600EX-RT-II Flash Overview


Today we are going to be talking about the Yongnuo YN600EX-RT-II for canon cameras. It is almost an exact copy of the Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT, yet roughly $300 cheaper.

TOPICS OF DISCUSSION

  • COST
  • CONTROLS
  • FEATURES
  • RELIABILITY
  • EFFECTIVENESS

COST

This speed light is resting at about $115 last time I looked, which is significantly cheaper than the canon speed light it is modeled after or in competition with.

This is definitely affordable, especially for young photographers. I find that a speedlight is a good investment, for any kind of photography that you do. Maybe except for landscape photography but I can see how you would use a speed light for some situtations.

There are other cheaper options for flashes but the difference isn’t significant. Well it’s not significant for me, $40 could be a make or break deal for some of you I am sure. But I would rather spend the extra $20 or $30 personally.

CONTROLS

I find that the controls were difficult to understand at first, but once I got acquainted I actually liked it better than my other flash. The first flash I got was the Yongnuo 560 mark IV. The controls on that flash were really simple and easy to understand, but with this flash there is are obviously different buttons and it has this wheel here and other switches that I honestly just like better.

For one, the on and off switch is a great one for me. Because with the YN560 IV you have to press and hold the button to turn it on; while the YN600EX-RT-II you just switch it on and you’re good to go. The switch has 3 options, OFF, LOCK, and ON. I like the lock aspect because once I get the settings I want, I lock it. I do so because I don’t want to accidently press a button or nudge the wheel and change something. There are many functions to this particular flash that are really cool, but I don’t need them and don’t use them. So if you want to look into those just read the manual or look at other videos. I will be talking about what I mostly use and need it for.

ETTL stands for evaluative through the lense which is just a better communication between your camera and your flash. Your camera takes in the amount of light and it sends that information to your flash and your flash will calculate how much light it needs to give your camera a proper exposure. And again I don’t really use it because I usually want a different amount of light than what the flash gives me for artistic reasons so I just stick to manual.

MULTI is actually a really cool feature and you can take some pretty cool pictures using this. What it essentially does is you set the power and herts, and then you tell it how many flashes you want it to give off. So in one picture you can have 3 exposures, or 6 exposures and get a multi hand type photo. Because the flash goes off 3 times, if I move from an object across the scnene, the object will show up 3 times or how ever many times you want in the picture. Again I don’t use it that much but it’s a pretty cool feature.

The next controls I like are the power controls. Again for those who don’t know the smaller the fraction, the less amount of light the flash will produce. And the fraction is based on the full the power of the flash which is pretty bright; I don’t know exactly what the specifications are on that but i’m sure you get the idea. 1 is full power, ½ is half power and so on. Actually this was also one of the selling points of the flash for me. Not only does it give the main fractions, but it gives you extra fractions in between the main ones so I can really get the exact amount of light I want. In contrast, my other flash only deals in halfs or doubling. Like let’s say I’m at ⅛ and I want a little more light. I don’t want todouble the amount, I just want a little more, like maybe I want ⅙ or something. This new flash let’s me do that, which I find was really cool feature and essential.

That’s pretty much it for the controls for me. If you want a more in depth video on the controls and features for the flash I can make a video on that explaining everything in more detail and how to take advantage of the settings.

RELIABILITY

This flash is extremely reliable. It’s sturdy and has yet to fail me. I have been using this flash for a little under a year now and I love it. It works perfectly and seamlessly in every situation I put it through. For portraits it’s great because I can really get the perfect settings with it and for events and weddings I can just take picture after after picture with little down time. During events, especially indoors, I am usually operating at ¼ to full power and it performs as I need it to.

I can’t say the same for the YN560 IV, and actually because this flash wasn’t performing how I needed it to, I bought this new flash. The difference is small, but it is huge when it comes to photography. That half second of down time, or well anything minor like that, can make or break a photo. I noticed that I would miss shots with the old flash and with my new flash I haven’t had problem.

Also the little things like the tightening aspect at the bottom is crucial for me. Because I switch from on camera to off camera flash quite frequently during events and weddings, because things change, and people go from individual stuff to group dancing or something like that and I need to change how i’m using my flash. It takes a lot of time to unscrew the YN560 IV from the camera then screw it onto the stand. The YN600EX-RT-II is 4x as fast. It feels very secure, and again I haven’t had any problems with it falling off or anything.

CONCLUSION

I really enjoy this flash, I highly recommend this flash to young photographers, as well as professional photographers, but it is a good starting flash and I will probably be buying more of these to use during my shoots. I will be making videos and how to use this flash for different situations in the future, but until then, thank you for watching and I will see you guys in the next one.


How to choose the right camera for you


Choosing a camera, especially a first camera can be a tough decision. There are many various types of cameras out there, and I am going to help you make a decision on the right one for you. So, I am not going to talk about Film cameras, and I am not going to talk about cameras on your phone. Well scratch that, briefly, the camera on most phones nowadays are great, the iphone 7 has a surprisingly high quality camera that performs well in low light. But in terms of photography, you can use your phone, but it will not get you very far if you are looking to become a professional. So for me, I don’t buy my phone for the camera, I have my phone for a million other reasons, but it is nice to have a decent camera in my pocket wherever I go.


So now that that’s out of the way, I want to cover this question with a few more questions for you to think about so you can make a good choice on the right camera for you. My questions will hopefully narrow down the choice from millions of cameras for you. Assuming that you are reading this with no knowledge of cameras. So question one, why do you want a camera?

This is a simple question, yet a crucial one. When I first got a camera, I wanted to record videos, make skits, and make vlogs etc. I didn’t get a camera to take pictures. Do you want a camera for taking pictures? Do you want a camera for making videos? We can narrow down those divisions into subdivisions, for instance what do you want to take pictures of? Wildlife, landscapes, food, people, your family? Same goes for video, what do you want to make videos of?

Skits, vlogs, vacations, weddings, interviews, etc. Figure out why you want or need a camera first, then begin your research on the cameras you may want.


And that brings me to my second question, are you looking to make money with this camera?

Which, as a photographer, is a crazy idea. Any ways, I want you to really think about what you’re going to be using this tool for and why you need it. And my last question is, what is your budget? Because that will be a major factor in the quality of the tool you are going to be using.


Now let’s get into what types of cameras there are. There are 3 main types of digital cameras


  • Compact
  • Mirrorless
  • DSLR


Compact cameras are, well, small and compact. They are the smallest and lightest types of cameras out there. But there are millions of choices when it comes to compact cameras, or otherwise known as point and shoots. Point and shoot cameras are for simple use only, and usually have limited manual functions. They are mostly automatic.


Pros:


  • They are cheap, with a price range of less than $100 to upwards of $300 or more of course. But I have a personal bias against point and shoots. I do not like them and I think that the only good thing they have going for them are that they are relatively CHEAP
  • They are also very easy to use, it’s as simple as pointing and shooting.
  • They are small enough to take anywhere.


The cons:


  • Not the highest quality of pictures or video.
  • The Sensor is about the size of an index finger and it is not very well suited for low light situations.
  • The zoom features aren’t very impressive when it comes to point and shoots.


I wouldn’t recommend a point and shoot, unless you don’t need the manual functions, or the best zoom, or interchangeable lenses. I would reccomend a point a point and shoot for someone who doesn’t need all that fancy quality, this kind of camera is for someone who wants to get snaps of the day with ease, where you don’t need to worry about the settings because these cameras do it for you and pretty well at that. These cameras are good to throw in your bag and pull it out whenever you need it.


The thing is, memories are important and the overall quality, zoom, sensor size, amount of megapixels, doesn’t matter. Capturing those memories are important and if you don’t care for all the other nonsense, then point and shoots are good for you. Actually, in that case I would recommend a polaroid; they are great and I love those cameras. They are fun and you get instant gratification that you can hang up on your fridge or wherever you please.


Mirrorless cameras on the other hand are a newer development, and they are growing in popularity. They can give you all of the features of a standard DSLR, but in a smaller, and more quiet package. Mirrorless cameras can be cheap again but they can match the pricings of a DSLR. ranging from lower $300 to thousands. Now I like mirrorless cameras, but the technology isn’t quite there yet. To me, mirrorless cameras are awesome and a great entry level camera for photography. They match the quality of DSLR’s and they can match the performance of DSLR’s, but more often than not, they don’t. If you have a DSLR and a Mirrorless camera that are the same price, odds are the DSLR is going to out perform it, but not by much.


I personally don’t like mirrorless cameras for those small, yet crucial details like:

  • Some mirrorless cameras don’t have interchangeable lenses
  • Some don’t have a viewfinder
  • There can be delay with the actual capturing of images, from when you press the button to when the image is recorded.

But by all means, I am not talking down to mirrorless cameras, I have one. All my pictures on my website are taken from a mirrorless. But from experience, I would rather have a standard DSLR simply because they out perform mirrorless cameras.


I would recommend a Mirrorless to anyone and everyone. For professionals, a mirrorless camera is great because you don’t have to carry around a hefty and expensive camera with you to get quality photos. They are good for street photography because they are mostly silent due to less moving parts. They are small and they can be taken with you wherever. But I wouldn’t recommend a mirrorless for professional use, the quality is there, just not the kind of performance that I need. And for those who are looking into getting started with photography, all the settings are the same, and most of the features are there but as should be known they differ from camera to camera.


Finally DSLR’s are my favourite, they are extremely versatile and can be used in pretty much any situation you would need a camera for. Now I talked about how DSLR’s compare to mirrorless cameras and they are close but the DSLR holds the larger stick. I also recommend DSLR’s for anyone, but if you are trying to go PRO I would get a Full frame DSLR, but that is a huge discussion for another time so I won’t touch on it now.


DSLR’s tend to have quicker response times, higher quality images, and they give you full control. I really touched on DSLR’s when I talked about mirrorless cameras; they are very similar. the only real difference is the moving parts in the camera and the viewfinder aspect. I recommend DSLR’s for people who are looking to get serious with photography. Whether that be as a passion, or as a professional. DSLR’s are expensive especially, like me, if you demand high performance, quality, and use of the camera.


In Conclusion, I highly encourage each and all of you looking to buy a camera, to research all of your options, and find what you want. There are too many options to choose from, but you need to find the right one that suits you. Figure out what features you need for what you will be using the camera for. If your budget does not allow you to get what you want, either wait and save more money, or settle for the best possible choice within your budget. But when it comes down to it, you can take amazing pictures with a “cheap camera”. A camera is a tool, like a hammer it does take skill to drive a nail in properly. If you hone your skills, you don’t need the most expensive piece of equipment to perform amazing photography.


I hope that this helps any of you looking for a new camera. If you have questions, you can email me on the contact tab, thank you!


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