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Monthly Archives: June 2018

  • Five Common Macro Photography Mistakes and How to Fix Them

     macro leaf autumn - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    Macro photography requires a unique set of skills, but along with these skills comes a new set of mistakes to overcome. Fortunately, many of these macro photography mistakes are easily fixed.

    In this article, I discuss five common mistakes made in macro photography. Then I give you the tools to correct them in the field, which will result in instantly better macro images.

    1. Shooting in direct midday sunlight

    The first mistake often made in macro photography is heading out when the sun is high in the sky (midday). While the light during this time is bright, it’s also very harsh and contrasty. Images taken at this time are difficult to expose well, and colors are far less saturated.

    The angle of the sun causes additional problems. It beats directly down on your subject, causing the underside to become shadowy.

    flower tulip - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    I try to avoid going out to shoot on sunny afternoons. This tulip image was taken on a cloudy spring day.

    How can this problem be fixed?

    You have a few options. First, try waiting until the evening, when the light is warm and soft. This will reduce contrast and light your subject more evenly. You could also cast a shadow on the subject yourself, or find a subject in the shade. This will reduce the extent to which your subject encounters the harsh and contrasty light.

    flower tulip - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    These tulips were photographed in the evening, when the light was far less harsh.

    Cloudy days are the third option. Then, the sky acts like a huge softbox, and the light is diffused across the subject.

    flower abstract - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    Another photograph on a cloudy day: notice the soft, delicate feeling and more saturated colors.

    If you do decide to go out in midday, you might consider bringing a flash or a reflector to add some punch to your images and reduce midday shadows. While this won’t negate the problems described above, it will reduce them.

    2. Shooting dying or dirty subjects

    A second common mistake made in macro photography is shooting subjects that are either dying or dirty.

    This isn’t really a problem with insect photography, but when photographing flowers, the condition of your subject is something to watch out for. If the edges of a flower are turning brown, I generally wouldn’t photograph it. Same thing if the center has some fraying stamens.

    flower dahlia abstract - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    I searched through a number of dahlias until I found one in peak condition.

    Flowers can also become dirty, especially if they are low to the ground. A few small pieces of dirt isn’t much to be worried aboutit’s nothing that cloning can’t take care ofbut too much dirt, and it becomes difficult to get a strong image.

    How can this problem be fixed?

    The first method just involves inspecting your subject carefully before shooting. If the flower is dying or dirty, find a different flower. You might also consider wiping away small pieces of dirt with your finger or shirtsleeve.

    flower rose - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    Checking the center of flowers is important; it’s easy to miss anthers that are on their way out. Fortunately, this rose allowed for a few images.

    The second method is more difficult and involves hiding the dying parts of the flower through creative compositions. For instance, you can ensure that the wrinkled parts of petals are out of focus, or obscured by another part of the flower.

    flower red abstract - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    The outside of this flower was a bit worn, so I chose to emphasize the stamens instead.

    3. Centering the subject

    This is a common mistake in all types of photography – placing your subject in the dead center of the frame.

    While this might make sense from a visual perspective, it generally results in an uncomfortable, less-than-desirable image. The composition feels imbalanced or boring.

    How can this problem be fixed?

    flower photography macro aster - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    Placing this flower off center allowed for a slightly stronger composition.

    Instead of placing the subject in the center of the image, place it off to one side. Try using the rule of thirds. Additionally, you might add some dynamism to the composition by tilting your camera and placing the flower along a diagonal line. This will ensure a much more dynamic image that holds the viewer’s eye.

    4. Using busy backgrounds and foregrounds

    A fourth macro photography mistake often made is using foregrounds and (especially) backgrounds that are messy.

    For example, messy backgrounds might have splotches of colors, might be crammed with slightly out-of-focus elements, or have sudden transitions from light to dark or dark to light. Messy foregrounds, on the other hand, consist of branches, twigs, or other flowers that distract the viewer and get in the way of the main subject.

    flower bleeding heart - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    While this bleeding heart photograph may seem chaotic, it’s not particularly messythere is a clear point of focus (the flower) that is not dominated by the background.

    How can this problem be fixed?

    I write about this a lot, but that’s because it’s such a common (and easily rectified) problem. It involves a bit of measured consideration before shooting. Simply make sure there are no distracting foreground or background elements. As discussed above, these include branches, twigs, or sticks. It also might simply be contrasting colors or dark spots.

    flower aster silhouette - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    Notice the smooth, uniform background in this flower image.

    5. Capturing a subject as the subject

    This final macro photography mistake is a bit less straightforward: capturing a subject as that subject.

    What do I mean by this? In truth, it’s not all that complicated. Basically, macro photographers often see an interesting subject and attempt to photograph that subject efficiently. The problem is that the subject then lacks interest. It feels like it’s part of a snapshot when you want it to feel like a deliberate photograph.

    abstract dew drop - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    How can this problem be fixed?

    If you photograph a flower, don’t try to just capture it as a flower. Look for interesting aspects of the subject. What is it that made you want to photograph it in the first place?

    Try to go beyond that basic “it’s a flower” essence, and communicate something about the flower. Does it have a photogenic center? Colorful petals? A beautiful shape? Emphasize this through your photography.

    flower photography macro dahlia - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    I chose to get extremely close to this dahlia in order to emphasize the pattern of its petals.


    I have discussed five common macro photography mistakes, as well as a number of simple ways to fix them. By following these guidelines, you should be able to enhance your macro photography and ensure consistently better images.

    Know any mistakes that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

    flower photography macro dandelion - Common Macro Photography Mistakes

    The post Five Common Macro Photography Mistakes and How to Fix Them appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Source: DP School

  • How to Choose the Right Color Profile For Sharing Images Online

    Many people have problems with the color of their photos when they publish them online. There are several reasons why this might be so, but the most common culprits are the color space of the image and whether or not the profile is embedded. Both color settings can radically affect web browser color and how your photos look.

    Let’s look at some of the potential pitfalls more closely.

    The Importance of Embedding the Color Profile

    Whenever you edit your photos in an editing program like Photoshop, you are doing so using a specific RGB working color space. To be sure of preserving the color you see when you’re editing, you need to embed the profile before saving the image.

    In simple terms, the ICC profile is a translator. It enables different apps and devices to interpret the color as you intended. If you get into the habit of embedding profiles into your images as you save them, you’ll reduce the chances of color looking wrong on the web or in print.

    ProPhoto RGB image with embedded profile - How to Choose the Right Color Profile For Sharing Images Online

    The rich color in this ProPhoto RGB image will look okay in many browsers despite not being sRGB as normally advised. If it looks muted and drained of saturation to you, it’ll be because you are viewing it in a non-color-managed browser. By embedding the profile, I’ve given it the best chance of looking as intended to the majority of people. On a wide-gamut monitor, the colors will pop a bit more.

    Embedding the profile into an image adds about 3-4 kB to the file size, so the only time it makes sense to exclude it is when you’re uploading vast quantities of photos to the Internet.

    If you must leave the profile out, making sure that the image is in the sRGB color space will limit any resulting damage. Two or three of the more popular browsers will still display the color faithfully because they automatically guess the profile correctly (i.e. sRGB).

    Although most browsers have improved in their handling of color recently, it’s still good practice to embed the profile. Don’t leave it out without good reason.

    Prophoto RGB image with no profile - How to Choose the Right Color Profile For Sharing Images Online

    Because the profile has been left out of this same ProPhoto RGB image, the brightness and color will look terrible in most browsers and on most monitors. By contrast, a missing profile for an sRGB file would be undetectable to a large number of people.

    How to Embed the Profile

    Embedding the profile into images is usually just a case of checking a box when you export the photo. If such an option doesn’t exist, the default will either be the predefined working space of the program, or it’ll be sRGB for web-specific output.

    If you want to check the color of your web images before publishing, open them directly in a browser (preferably a reliable one like Chrome) and see how they compare to the original in your photo-editing program. Be a little wary of uploading images to platforms that strip out the profile, though these will not typically be photo gallery sites.

    embedding the profile into web photos - How to Choose the Right Color Profile For Sharing Images Online

    Embedding or stripping out profiles usually only requires you to check or uncheck a box when saving. This is the “save as” pane in Photoshop.

    Converting to Profile

    You can use “convert to profile” in Photoshop to create an sRGB image, which is the safest color space choice for the web. Be sure not to overwrite the original file and save it this way, because larger color spaces are a better choice for outputs such as inkjet printing.

    Do not use “assign profile” for profile conversion, as it causes a color shift and is not meant for this purpose.

    Using convert to profile in Photoshop - How to Choose the Right Color Profile For Sharing Images Online

    Using “assign profile” in Photoshop to convert between profiles will cause a color shift. Color in the right-hand image above has gone flat as a result of assigning an sRGB profile to an Adobe RGB image. You must use “convert to profile” if you want to create an sRGB version of your photo for the web.

    Why Monitor Gamut Matters

    Color management needs at least two profiles to work (image profile and monitor profile in this case). If you publish images without profiles embedded, you’re relying on the viewer’s browser to guess the color space correctly.

    When color management is absent from the browser or app for whatever reason, the following statements are true:

    • An Adobe RGB image looks roughly correct on a wide-gamut display.
    • An Adobe RGB image looks muted in color on a standard-gamut display.
    • sRGB images look roughly correct on a standard-gamut display.
    • An sRGB image looks oversaturated in color on a wide-gamut display.

    Note that an Adobe RGB image without a profile embedded looks muted in most situations and must be avoided. Browsers will guess the color space to be sRGB if they guess at all.

    standard gamut monitor exceeding srgb - How to Choose the Right Color Settings For Sharing Images Online

    The graph above shows the difference between a standard-gamut Dell monitor (colored outline) and the sRGB profile (dotted outline). Even on a regular desktop monitor, some colors are quite likely to exceed the sRGB color space and look too saturated when viewed in Microsoft browsers.

    In the monitor above, it’s reds that are most exaggerated in that situation. If you haven’t profiled your monitor or if the gamut of the screen is contained by sRGB, you won’t encounter this.

    Browser Behavior 2018

    To understand color profiles, it helps to know how different browsers behave with color. I tested five browsers for this article to give you an idea of what to expect. Feel free to query this if you think any of these observations are wrong:

    Google Chrome

    Chrome is a fully color-managed browser that assigns sRGB to any “untagged” images (i.e. those without profiles embedded). It reads all embedded profiles.


    Opera is a color-managed browser that automatically assumes photos to be sRGB if the profile is missing. Like Chrome, it reads all profiles, including Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB.

    Firefox Quantum

    You can configure Firefox to assign sRGB to any untagged photo. It reads all embedded color profiles.

    If you happen to run two monitors, Firefox does not maintain full color management across both of them. For optimum color, you must dial in one monitor profile then stick with that monitor. This only applies if your monitors have custom profiles.

    Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer

    Microsoft Edge has a half-baked solution to color management. It reads different color profiles and converts everything to sRGB for display. The main problem is that it doesn’t use the monitor profile. Thus, it works best if your monitor does not exceed sRGB in gamut. Otherwise, you’ll see wayward colors.

    Safari (for Windows)

    Safari can read profiles in images and uses the monitor profile (unlike MS Edge or MS IE), but it does not assign a profile to an image if one is missing. In that situation, it displays color wrongly as Microsoft Edge does.

    Web browser proof colors - How to Choose the Right Color Settings For Sharing Images Online

    In Photoshop, you can use “Monitor RGB” proof colors to show you what the photo will look like in Internet Explorer on your own monitor. You’ll need to convert the image to sRGB first. If colors look brighter than they do without proofing, it means your monitor’s native gamut exceeds the sRGB profile.

    A second experiment is to view the proof colors of an Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB image using “Internet Standard RGB”. This will show you how photos in bigger color spaces look on the internet if you omit the profile.

    Choosing sRGB for the Web

    The reason why sRGB is a safer choice of color space for the web is that most displays or monitors are not wide-gamut. Thus, if the profile goes astray or is stripped out, or if a device or app doesn’t support color management, the color will still look okay. This is what Microsoft’s browsers rely on to work.

    If you want the color of your photos to look “okay” to the widest possible audience you need only do two things:

    1. Make sure the image is in an sRGB color space either by using it as your working space or by converting to sRGB before uploading to the web.
    2. Embed the sRGB profile into the image before saving.
    Photoshop save for web - How to Choose the Right Color Settings For Sharing Images Online

    Photoshop’s “Save for Web” lets you convert to sRGB at the very last moment by checking a box. If you leave the box unchecked, the photo is saved in whatever color space you edited it in. You can’t strip the profile out with this checkbox: it’s purely for conversion.

    Other Choices: Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB

    Since most popular browsers are now color savvy, the possibility of using other color spaces on the web exists. You could, for instance, publish photos with an Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB profile embedded, and they’d still look good to most people. To a minority, they’d look better.

    The color of wide-gamut monitors typically exceeds Adobe RGB in places. Hence, there is theoretically a reason for publishing photos in ProPhoto RGB. However, this is offset by the dire color that results when the profiles are missing or ignored. It’s high risk.

    Adobe RGB is an interesting prospect for the web because it still benefits users of wide-gamut monitors. Importantly, it doesn’t look as bad as ProPhoto RGB when things go wrong. However, if you publish in Adobe RGB, you’ll still be doing so for a relatively small audience.

    If you do use these wider-gamut color spaces for the web, you absolutely must embed the profile. As soon as that goes astray, the color in your photos will look a bit flat to many people. In the case of ProPhoto RGB, it’s likely to look awful.

    sRGB color vs wide gamut monitor color - How to Choose the Right Color Settings For Sharing Images Online

    This 3D diagram (above) shows the sRGB profile encompassed by the profile of a wide-gamut monitor. In particular, you’ll note the extended range of cyans and greens in the latter.

    The idea of using larger color spaces on the web is appealing, especially if you’re a landscape photographer for whom these colors are often truncated. It means you’d be making more use of your camera’s capabilities. However, it’s inherently riskier and you’ll be playing to a relatively small audience. The safe choice is still sRGB.

    In Summary

    Although modern browsers are more flexible, sRGB is still the safest choice of color space for the web. Again, this is because it roughly matches the gamut of most electronic displays. Using bigger color spaces risks draining your photos of color, especially on tablets or smartphones that may not be color-managed.

    I hope this has been of some use. Feel free to ask questions if you need any clarification.

    The post How to Choose the Right Color Profile For Sharing Images Online appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Source: DP School

  • Filmstro releases over 1,000 tracks of free music to use in your YouTube videos

    Filmstro is something of a unique service when it comes to music. With plugins for both Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, you can pick your music and then use sliders to adjust the momentum, depth and power of that music throughout your clip. You can adjust any tune to match the mood of your scene […]

    The post Filmstro releases over 1,000 tracks of free music to use in your YouTube videos appeared first on DIY Photography.

    Source: Diyphotographynet

  • The Pentax FA* 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW lens finally ships in July and will cost $1,199

    Yes, that’s right Pentax shooters. The wait is almost over. The Pentax FA* 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW lens you’ve all been coveting is finally being released. Pentax says that this is the first new lens which follows a new set of standards for their top-of-the-line Star series lenses. New standards that will, they claim, help […]

    The post The Pentax FA* 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW lens finally ships in July and will cost $1,199 appeared first on DIY Photography.

    Source: Diyphotographynet

  • Weekly Photography Challenge – Bridges

    I hope you haven’t burned any bridges lately, literally or figuratively. Because it’s time for this week’s photography challenge which is – you guessed it – bridges.

    Here are some articles to give you some ideas and tips:

    Weekly Photography Challenge – Bridges

    Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge. Sometimes it takes a while for an image to appear so be patient and try not to post the same image twice.

    Share in the dPS Facebook Group

    You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.

    The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Bridges appeared first on Digital Photography School.

    Source: DP School

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