Lightroom keywording

Adobe Lightroom is one of the most popular and powerful tools for organizing an image library. But do you know how to get the most out of it?

In our new Coffee Break Course, Organize Your Images With Adobe Lightroom: Keywording, you'll learn how to add keywords to an image so that, later on, we can find images that match our search. This course is quick but comprehensive—it's designed to help you master keywording in Lightroom in just ten minutes.

Watch the introduction from course instructor Andrew Childress below to find out more.

You can take our new Coffee Break Course straight away with a free 10-day trial of our monthly subscription. If you decide to continue, it costs just $15 a month, and you’ll get access to hundreds of courses, with new ones added every week.

This is the first course in a series of quick, ten-minute courses, each covering a different aspect of Adobe Lightroom. Coming up soon are courses on:

  • color labels and flags
  • ratings
  • power filtering
  • collections
  • smart collections

And if you want to unlock more time-saving strategies with Lightroom, check out the range of useful Lightroom presets on Envato Market, which allow you to create a wide variety of professional effects quickly and easily.

All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoAndrew Blackman

DSLR FILM NOOB Podcast Episode 102

Episode 102 of DSLR FILM NOOB podcast is up. Mitch from planet5D.com joins me to discuss Crazy wide angle filters, the G55 field monitor, Olympus’s new TG-tracker, game controllers used as an editing interface and more.

New podcast logo 3 (1 of 1)

You can find the show notes here. You can find the show on itunes here, Soundcloud, or under the podcast tab above. You can also leave questions on reddit at r/dslr.

The post DSLR FILM NOOB Podcast Episode 102 appeared first on DSLR Film Noob.

All credit is given to author DSLR Film NoobDeejay

Making good video requires a lot of help, and the ideal video team consists of a range of people and talents. In high-budget productions, every role is delegated to an experienced professional. Normally, though, you don’t have the luxury of a big team when you’re getting started in the world of video or working on small productions.

At certain point in the growth of your video practice you'll need to build a small team to achieve a higher level of quality. One of the first responsibilities to delegate is sound recording and audio production. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to add a dedicated sound technician to your crew.

Film crew interviewing
Two person crew interviewing a subject in Yaletown, Vancouver, Canada. Photo by Atomic Taco, CC BY 2.0

Sound Makes the Picture

A sound technician is the ideal first member to add to your video team. Passing all audio responsibilities onto somebody else has a number of benefits. Primarily, it’s frees up time and lowers stress. Assigning audio gives you one less thing for you to worry about, one less thing to go wrong, and more time to concentrate on photography and directing.

The Buddy System

The best sound is recorded with microphones close to the source, ideally with a boom mic. This limits your options. In most situations it’s very difficult to capture high-quality sound when you are also behind the camera; it’s impossible to operate a boom mic and a camera at the same time.

As soon as you put somebody else in charge of sound recording, the quality and dependability of your sound recordings will increase considerably. With the extra brainpower freed up by letting someone else worry about sound, so will the quality of your photography and directing!

Rolling With the Action

Having a fluid team is important when filming documentaries and action scenes. Without a dedicated sound technician who can quickly move around and react with a boom microphone, this would not be possible. The classic team-of-two relies on just two people: a director-photographer operating the camera, and a producer-technician operating the audio equipment. This setup is popular for cinéma vérité, observational cinema, direct cinema and other documentary styles where reaction time, inconspicuousness, and portability are key. It also works well for business, news, and event videography.

Responsibilities of The Sound Technician

Within a high-budget production, audio capture and production is delegated to a whole team of people. The boom operator is in charge of positioning and using boom microphones, ambient microphones and lavalier microphones. The sound mixer is in charge of controlling levels and recording the audio. The dialogue editor is in charge of editing dialogue and recording ADR (additional dialogue) and voice over. The sound designer is in charge of adding sound effects and foley. The mixer is in charge of balancing the dialogue, sound effects and music for the final production.

On a small budget, the sound technician must take on all of these roles. Sometimes post-production—editing, sound design and mixing—is left to the director or video editor. However, in most cases the sound technician will do it all.

Responsibilities the Small-Team Sound Technician

A professional sound technician working as part of a small team has to wear many hats. She will:

  • Consult with the director or producer to find the sound equipment requirements for each shoot.
  • Rent or provide audio equipment.
  • Assess the acoustics and noise levels of a recording location and consider other factors that could affect the audio recording.
  • Use the boom mic, set up ambient microphones (when needed), set up lavalier microphones and operate wireless audio transmitter systems.
  • Check levels and record audio to a portable recording device or transfer the audio signal to the camera.
  • Manage the master clocks and audio-video synchronization.
  • Anticipate and fix any problems with audio equipment.
  • Audio post-production and processing, including dialogue editing, ADR and voice over recording, sound design and foley, noise reduction and mixing.
two person film crew and crowd
Two-person crew in the Stadshart, Zoetermeer, the Netherlands. Photo by zoetnet, CC BY 2.0

You Don’t Always Need a Sound Technician (Until You Do)

There are some situations when having a dedicated sound technician might not be completely necessary. Wherever lavalier microphones are used exclusively (for example, in an interview) it might be easier to set these up yourself. Nevertheless, if you want to save some time and stress, a sound technician is still beneficial.

If you are on a low budget and can’t afford to hire a dedicated sound technician, you will need to resort to lavaliers, static microphones, and on-camera microphones. The range of shoots where this works well is limited, but still doable. It actually takes more experience to pull of direction, photography, and audio all at once, so in many ways it makes sense to work with a sound technician, even on small jobs, when you're starting out.

So, in theory, you might not always need a sound technician, but conditions on the ground change rapidly. Beyond being just a valuable creative collaborator and friend, your sound technician is a kind of insurance: they add a certain flexibility and resilience you just can't have when you work alone.

How To Hire a Sound Technician

Most positions are filled by word of mouth. Tap into your network and ask around for somebody who is interested in your project. In most areas, the film and television audio community is pretty small: once you know one sound technician, you know them all.

If you don’t know any sound technicians or industry professionals, artist-run media centres and independent filmmaker cooperatives are good places to look for connections. Most have job-boards or email newsletters that you can tap to get the word out that you're looking for someone.

If don’t have an friends in the industry, or are in a region without a media centre or coop, there are many places online where you can look for the right person. I have had success with Film and TV Pro, and I know others who have used Mandy. You can also try regular job boards.

Before hiring a technician, check their credits and show reel. Although major credits are impressive, quality is more important. Listen to their reel on good speakers or headphones, and focus on the quality of the audio. Can you hear everyone clearly? Is everything well balanced? If they don’t have a show reel, you could ask for a reference or request a sample of their work.

If you are building your portfolio and working on a video that will not make a profit, you could try reaching out to an inexperienced sound technician and see if they have an interest in joining you on the project. Otherwise, expect to pay at least $20 an hour for a technician on a low budget project.

Conclusion

A dedicated sound technician is the ideal addition to a small video team, and should be your first consideration. Delegating all audio responsibilities will result in clearer audio and dialogue. It will save you setup time and allow you to create a portable, fluid team. Recruit from your community, if you can. Look for technicians who have made quality recordings, even if they've only worked on smaller projects.




All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoRob Mayzes

Monoprice 108323 headphones

You can’t get a good mix on your audio projects if you are listening back on cheap computer speakers. High-quality monitors and headphones will let you really hear what is going on. 

In this video tutorial from my Advanced Audio Processing for Video course, you will learn why this is important and what to look for in a set of monitors and headphones. 

Watch the Tutorial

Here are links to the equipment I mention in the video.

Recommended Monitors

  • Behringer Truth B1031A: A lot of bang for the buck with this monitor! Keep in mind these are priced individually.
  • Yamaha HS8: A more refined and balanced sound with a great price.

Recommended Headphones

  • Monoprice 108323: One of my favorite headphones! Great performance at a fantastic price.
  • Sennheiser HD 380: Popular cans with replaceable parts and passive sound attenuation of 32dB.

Watch the Full Course

In a video production, audio is arguably a more important factor than picture. In the full course, Advanced Audio Processing for Video, you will learn how to edit, process, mix, and master audio for your video projects. 

You will learn how to use essential audio plugins like EQs, compressors, gates, expanders, and de-essers. You'll learn how to clean up dialog tracks by fixing noise, reverb, and mouth clicks. You will also learn how to mix and process effects so that they sit in the mix. Finally, you will learn how to use some mastering plugins like compressors and limiters to keep your audio levels and tone in check. 

By the end of this course, you will have the skills you need to be able to tackle the audio portion of your projects like a pro!

All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoDavid Bode

We all know that actions can be a great way to speed up your workflow and give your images a style that may not be achievable through your own editing process. Here, we look at 15 Photoshop actions for portraits that come in under $10 each.

Actions and Style

Before we start, a word on actions. You can take one portrait (or three, in this article’s case) and create some very different end results just by using actions. We all aspire to have our own style, whether that’s making photographs, processing them, or both. Actions aren’t a substitute for your own style; they should, if used properly, compliment your vision.

There may be a particular look that you have in your head but don’t have the editing know-how to get that final image. This is one way actions are useful: they can provide the base processing help you attain a complex, stylised look, with enough flexibility for you to make changes and hone the image into what you see in your mind.

For me, the best actions are the ones that break down into many different parts or folders, that I can then tweak, brush on and off or hide altogether in order to get the result I want.

In this article, I’ve selected a range of actions that are good for use on portraits. Some of these require a little prep beforehand and some are simple colour washes, but I’ll demonstrate each one so that you can see the results.

I’ll be using three portraits; one with a lot of vibrant colour and style, one quite neutral and light; and the third with a darker background, skin tones and clothes.

portrait 1
Photograph licensed from Photodune
portrait2
Photograph licensed from Photodune
portrait 3
Photograph licensed from Photodune

Actions and How to Install Them

Actions are a series of commands that automatically run to achieve a certain goal. You can hear more about Photoshop Actions, in 60 seconds, from Harry Guinness. To use the pre-sets outlined in this article, some preparation is required. Harry Guiness explains how to install Photoshop actions in this tutorial.

15 Photoshop Actions For Portraits Under $10

1. Urban Shift $4 – by Betoalanis

urban shift
Urban shift action

This is a cross process effect and is ready to run once you've installed it; no preparation required. 

There's only one action here. The initial run was too warm for me, so I hid the 'add warmth' layer and raised the opacity of the gradient fill layer, which added more of the blue, cool colour. I also darkened it a little by dropping the opacity of the 'lighten' layer.

before and after urban shift
Before and after Urban Shift

2. Realistic Drop Shadow $4 – by Art 101

drop shadow
Realistic Drop Shadow action

As the name suggests, this action gives you a drop shadow effect. There are right and left options. The action comes with a help file and a video as it requires some work before running: a duplicate layer with the background removed and the subject in isolation.

Due to the nature of the action, it's only going to work properly on certain images and even then, will probably need refinement. 

3. ReFocus – Tilt Shift + 14 Photo Filters $5 – by Artbees

refocus tilt shift
Tilt Shift action

This action is for stylised blurring. There are three options when run: filters, circle tilt shift and square tilt shift.

The action guides you along the way with what you need to do. The first step is to choose the area you want to keep in focus and then the second part needs starting manually once you've done that.

The filters can be used afterwards for colour adjustments if desired. I used Circle Tilt Shift here and added Dream Glow with a lowered opacity, to finish.

before and after
Tilt Shift action before and after

4. Vintage Summer PS Photo Actions $4 – by MikeMoloney

Vintage Summer action

There are 5 options with this set and none require any prep beforehand. These are essentially colours laid over the top of your image, so there's very little option to adjust anything. What you see is pretty much what you get. I used Fade here, with a texture.

vintage summer before and after
Vintage Summer 'Fade' before and after

 5.Professional Retouching Actions Kit $4 – by Oneeyelab

retouching
After using Retouching Action

As my two example images are already edited, I chose a more natural image to demonstrate this set. The actions contain five options which focus on different parts of the face.

These need a very light touch or you'll end up with a doll-like plastic face. Some of the actions are masks and some are folders with several options broken down inside. There are no blush/colour in the cheeks options and nothing for edits to hair. It does include a couple of skin changes, eye 'pop' and teeth whitener.

portrait retouch
Photograph via Pexels CC0. Before and after the action.

 55++ Vintage / Retro Effecs $5 – by Sodasong

55 vintage and retro effects
One of the 55 effects in the pack

There are, as you'd expect from the name, 55 options in here. I chose Glitch to demonstrate as it's quite funky and I've not seen much like this around before. This is at 70% opacity.

You can run packs of actions together so that you can turn each off and on to see how it looks. These include light leak options too, for a more subtle look.

55 retro before and after
Before and after 'glitch'

7.  Shimmer $6 - by Sevenstyles

shimmer
Shimmer action

This action requires some preparation, but it's worth it, I promise. You need to paint over your subject on a new layer called 'brush'. Once you hit run, it takes a long time, and I mean a long time! 

The wait is worth it; the action is broken down into colour variations and then 'shimmer'; incredibly, each 'bit' is a separate layer so you can tweak until your heart's content.

This is Colour 1 with 'Add Saturation' hidden; the image had enough already.

shimmer
Shimmer

8. Double Exposure $6 – by Eugene-design

double exposure
Double Exposure action

Obviously you need two images for this or it wouldn't really be a double exposure. You have to open your portrait on top of your other image for the best result and make sure you’re clicked on the top image when you run the action.

I combined my portrait with a city. There several options and it's really hard to get right. I think a different type of portrait may work better; possible one in profile rather than face on. 

9.  Retro Painting Machine $5 – by Indieground

retro painting machine
Retro Painting Machine action

You get three options here, for three canvas sizes: 1000px, 2000px and 3000px.

I ran this on an image 3000px long and it took a while. Everything was already on 100%, which is a shame really as there's no room to boost certain features. The colours/tones are quite similar for the other options but you do get a slightly different effect. Running the image again might help to further stylise it.

retro painting machine before and after
Retro Painting Machine before and after

10. Fashion $4 - by Jewel420

Fashion action

There are ten options with this pack and they're very quick to run. Essentially, these are colour gradients layered over your image, so there's a little variety in each option but little room to adjust.

fashion before and after
Fashion before and after

11. Fearless2 $6 – by Sevenstyles

fearless2
Fearless2 action

You'll need to install a brush that comes with the pack to use this action. It also requires a new layer called 'brush' with your subject brushed over.

There are three options, rain falling straight down and then rain from either the left or the right. This is the straight down version, with the face detail brushed back in over the mask.

fearless 2 before and after
Fearless2 before and after

12. Film Ultra Violet $4 - by TheColorizer 

film ultra violet
Film Ultra Violet

This is one action with one option, so there's no tweaking to be done here other than painting it out over a layer mask. This action essentially softens, smooths and warms your image.

ultra violet before and after
Film Ultra Violet before and after

13. Filmtastic Photoshop Film Actions $5 - by MustaART

filmtastic action
Filmtastic Film Actions

Here there are five options in a range of similar tones, from deep to faded; warm to cool. The image is brightened and maybe looks a tad more soft.

filmtastic before and after
Filmtastic before and after with the 'cool' preset applied.

14. 25 Bluez Black & White Photo Efftects $5 - by Ghorami

25 black and white
25 Bluez, Black & White Photo Efffects

As you’d expect, 25 presets here all of which pop their layers into a folder for tweaking; something I always find useful.

This is Hazy BW with a couple of minor adjustments: less contrast and darker highlights.

hazy bw
Hazy BW before and after

15.  Burning Vintage $6 - by Noahdesign

burning vintage
Burning Vintage action

You'll note the texture here, which requires the pattern file to be loaded in. It also needs a background selection called ‘area’ as a separate layer.

burning vintage before and after
Burning Vintage before and after

 Conclusion

On the whole, the actions listed here are very flexible. Some even come with a number of presets, which means you can get several looks from one pack. Particularly with the stylised ones; they often need preparation first, whether that’s a new layer or something else loading in, like a brush or texture. This can seem like a faff, but the results are worth it to get something really special and unique for your image.

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be the only person using an action; that’s why it’s important to dig down where possible and customise the various options, so you get the look that’s right for you and that hopefully, nobody else will have replicated.

 


All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoMarie Gardiner

For many photographers, WordPress is the tool of choice to showcase their portfolio. Coming from a full-featured digital asset management tool like Adobe Lightroom, however, the photography and media-management tools in Wordpress can feel a little disappointing. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way!

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to use WP Real Media Library by MatthiasWeb to supercharge your media library and get your assets organized.

Tame Your Media

Media Library Screenshot
This is the stock WordPress media library. Although we can search for a file, the organization options are virtually non-existent. This is where WP Real Media Library comes into play.

I use WP Real Media Library to organize all of the media for Preset Love, a website I created. Preset Love offers free Adobe Lightroom presets and is built on WordPress. It's a complex site: with a media library full of images and preset files, I needed some help to get organized and stay organized. 

Real Media Library
After installing the plugin, your media library screen will be transformed! The Real Media Library plugin gives you the option to organize your images into virtual folders and collections. Screenshot from CodeCanyon.

By the way, this tutorial is for users of WordPress installed on their own domain and webserver, also known as WordPress.org, not hosted sites on Wordpress.com.

Instal the Plugin

WP Real Media is available for purchase through the CodeCanyon marketplace. CodeCanyon is owned by Envato, the same people who bring you Tuts+, and offers many premium WordPress plugins. Although WordPress has many free plugins, I often turn to CodeCanyon because I know the plugins are carefully reviewed and often include support from the authors for a period of time. Check out the WP Real Media Library plugin and purchase it from CodeCanyon.

WP Real Media Library Download
After purchasing the plugin and paying for it via PayPal, I returned to the item page to download it. You can find the download link on the right side. Press Download to download the plugin file.

After purchasing the plugin, it will become available for download in your CodeCanyon account. The easiest way to download it is to return to the item page, where the plugin is now unlocked. Download it to your computer in a place that's easy to find like the Downloads folder or desktop. Then, unzip the file and find the real-media-library.zip file.

Now, login to the WordPress admin panel for your site (typically located at yourdomain.com/wp-admin) and find the Plugins menu on the left side. Choose Add New to jump to the Plugins panel. Then, click Upload Plugin at the top of the window.

Add new and upload
To upload a plugin from your computer, find the Plugins menu on the left side of the Admin panel and choose Add New. Then, click Upload Plugin on the next page that pops up.

Now, you'll need to browse to where we downloaded the plugin file. Select "real-media-library.zip" and then press Install Now. On the next page, make sure to press Activate.

Add Plugin Resized
Once you're on the plugin installation page, browse to the Real Media Library zip file and choose "Install Now." Then press "Activate" on the next screen.

That's it! You've now installed WP Real Media Library. To start using the plugin, just return to the standard Media Library from the admin sidebar that you're accustomed to. 

Organize Media into Folders

One of my favorite features of WP Real Media Library is that it integrates seamlessly with WordPress. It simply replaces the stock Media Library that's built into WordPress. To start using WP Real Media Library, just return to the Media > Library option from the WordPress admin panel.

WP Real Media Library starting point
Once you've installed the WP Real Media Library plugin, your media library will be transformed into a much more robust media organizer. Every image will start off in the "Unorganized" section and can be dragged and dropped into specific folders.

Create a Folder

First, let's create a folder. Folders can be used to organize files in your media library. In my case, I'm going to sort all of my preset preview images into one folder, and all of the downloadable presets (zip files) into another folder.

To create a folder, click on the folder with plus button icon in the upper left corner of the media library window. Once you click it, the plugin will create a new folder in the folder tree at the bottom. I've gone ahead and given it the name "Presets" to sort my preset files into.

New folder media library
To create a new

By default, WP Real Media Library puts everything in an "Unorganized" category that you can see on the left side of the media library. When you click on "Unorganized", you'll see all images that aren't sorted into a folder. Eventually, we'll want to move every media file into a more specific folder so that our media library remains organized.

To move a piece of media into a folder, just drag and drop it from the unorganized list onto the new folder that you created. Spend some time working through the "Unorganized" category and migrate your media into a series of folders.

Drag and drop media library
When I created a new "Presets" folder, the purpose was to hold all of the Lightroom preset files. 

When you move an image into a folder, it doesn't change its location on your web server. This is important because it won't break the link in a post or anywhere that you've already used it. Folders are just a virtual organization tool for sorting your media.

It's easy to move several images at the same time as well. Just tick the checkboxes to the left of all the files you want to move together, and drag and drop them all at once.

Multi Move
In this image, you'll note that I have three files selected using the checkboxes to the left of the image. Now, I can click and drag any one of them to move them all together.

Finally, you can use multiple levels of folders to create a highly organized media structure. With one folder selected in the media library, press the new folder button again to create a second level folder.

Level 2 Folders
To create a second organization level, select a folder that you've already created. Then, press the create a new folder button that's highlighted in the screenshot. You'll notice that it creates a second level of organization, where you can give the folder a name of its own. I'm using multiple levels of folders to separate different types of presets.

Collections and Galleries

WP Real Media Library also offers collections and galleries that you can insert into posts. Collections contain galleries, and individual galleries contain images. Think of these as similar to folders, but with the option to insert them into a stylized grid in a WordPress post. Let's create a collection, then a gallery, and put some images inside of it.

To create a Collection, press the new collection button (shown in the screenshot below) and give it a name.

Create a collection
Create a collection with the new collection button in the media library. It will show in the same folder tree with an image-style thumbnail.

Remember that collections hold galleries. Select the collection that we just created, and the icons at the top of the column will change. Then, press the right icon shown in the screenshot below to create a gallery inside of the collection.

Create gallery
Once you've selected the collection, press the icon shown above to create a gallery inside of it.

Now that we've created a gallery, we can put some images inside of it. I'll return to the Unorganized section and drag and drop images into the gallery. I used the checkboxes to select 11 images, then dragged and dropped them all at once into the gallery.

Move images into a gallery
We can move images into a gallery just as we move them into folders.

All done! Now that we've added images to a gallery, let's go add that gallery to a WordPress post. Create a new WordPress post or jump over to an existing one. On the post editor, find the new Gallery button (it looks like four squares in a grid) on the toolbar and click it.

Add Gallery WordPress post
To add a gallery into a post, find the "Gallery from Media Folder" button on the toolbar. Go ahead and click it and you'll get some new options for how to add the gallery.

Now, you'll see some options for how to insert the gallery. You'll need to use the "Folder" dropdown to select the gallery you just created. You can also tweak the number of columns in the image gallery grid.

Gallery from Media Folder
To finish up the gallery, point WordPress to the gallery you just created using the first dropdown. Then, press "OK."

Once you press ok, WordPress will insert a shortcode that helps insert the gallery into your post draft. Let's press preview to see how it looks.

Gallery in Post
These galleries only take a few minutes to generate and are a great way to show off images in a post. 

Very nice! Galleries are a great tool for adding images in a visually attractive way to your WordPress posts. In the process of getting organized, you can also bundle images and put them into galleries for easy showcases.

Recap and Keep Learning

The WP Real Media Library plugin is powerful for organizing your WordPress site. As your site's media library expands, you'll need a few folders to keep things sorted and organized and this plugin is the perfect solution.

If you're interested in learning more about WordPress, Tuts+ has a great selection of tutorials. This WordPress gallery roundup has a great list of plugins that can be used to show images in WordPress. You might also want to learn about CodeCanyon's selection of form plugins for interacting with your visitors. Finally, if you really want to get started with using the WordPress admin panel, Rachel McCollin offers a handy short course on creating content.


All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoAndrew Childress

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Welcome to our Photoshop in 60 Seconds series, in which you can learn a Photoshop skill, feature, or technique in just a minute! 

The Blur Gallery

Ever wanted to create those picturesque blurring effects found in photography? Well with Adobe Photoshop's Blur Gallery, you can explore depth of field and play with a wide range of motion and blur in only a few clicks.

With intuitive on image controls, you have more control over the range of blur than other traditional blur tools. 

Let's take a minute to see how it's done.

A Bit More Detail...

Learn more about Adobe Photoshop on Envato Tuts+.

And feel free to download the images used in this video from Envato Market.

60 Seconds?!

This is part of a new series of quick video tutorials on Tuts+. We're aiming to introduce a range of subjects, all in 60 seconds, just enough to whet your appetite. Let us know in the comments what you thought of this video and what else you'd like to see explained in 60 seconds!

All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoMelody Nieves

Panoramic images are a striking, but underappreciated, type of photography. In this tutorial we’ll look at what exactly a panorama is, show you some inspirational panoramas and give you some tips to take your own, stunning shots.

What is a Panorama?

Panoramic photography is also known as wide format. In the days of film, you’d have to buy a panoramic camera (I had one of these, it was a small red plastic box with giant film) or spend a long time in the darkroom piecing together your images by overlapping the exposures.

With digital, panoramic photography is so much easier to do, but the definition has become more complex. A picture taken with a wide angle lens is not necessarily a panorama. 

Generally, a panorama is considered to be an image with an aspect ratio of 2:1 or larger: so at least twice as long as it is high. The field of view that the image covers is equally as important. To be considered panoramic, it should really show a scene that would be greater than that which we could see with our eyes

To complicate things further, you could technically take an image with a wide angle lens, and then crop it to a panoramic ratio. Today, though, the technique is mostly to take a series of images and then digitally ‘stitch’ them together using editing software, later.

What You Need

A Lens

With the digital stitching method, pretty much any lens will let you get a great panoramic shot—it doesn’t have to be a wide angle! Experts often consider a sharp prime lens, like the cheap and cheerful 50mm, perfect for this kind of photography. The shorter the focal length, the more of the scene you’ll be able to get, in fewer shots. Conversely, taking more images with a zoom lens, will allow you greater scope for cropping or zooming in later. This has all sorts of exposure and size implications which I’ll touch on below.

If you are really into panoramics, or want to make pictures of moving subjects, there are specialty cameras, like the Hasselblad XPan and the Fuji 617, that are made especially for wide-format photography and produce fantastic results.

Recommended Reading:

A Tripod

A tripod isn’t essential but you’ll make your life a little easier if you use one. As well as the stability, which is essential for shake-free shots, you’ll want to make sure it has a flexible head (ideally with a handle) so you can pan easily from left to right.

A shutter release is also helpful to ensure sharp shots, but again, something you can manage without.

Photo Stitching Software

To make your individual shots into one large one, you need software that can do a specific task called stitching. This is where the programme takes recognisable areas of an image called control points in order to understand where they should be joined. For example, if you were taking a cityscape, the software would pick up on a building in one shot, find the same building in the next shot in the sequence and make the join there.

You don’t need something expensive and bespoke to stitch images into a panorama. Many regular image editors like Photoshop and Lightroom already have this function built in. If you don’t have access to these, then there are free stitching programs such as PanoramaPlus and Hugin. These free pieces of software will obviously limit you in some way, whether that’s the size of your image or, in the case of a piece of software I used to use many years ago, plastering a big smiling face watermark over the image.

Recommended Reading:

Inspiration

London Skyline

london skyline
Photograph licensed from Photodune

Here, the bridge creates a nice leading line to Big Ben (the clock tower) in the background. It also breaks up the water; I think without the bridge, this shot would have lost some of its impact, there’d be too much river. Capturing this shot with a wide angle lens would have put the main subject (the architecture) far too far away in the background, and again we’d have seen too much river.

The Maldives

the maldives
Photograph licensed from Photodune

This is a nice example of using a structure like a bridge to pull us into the panorama.The central composition works well here and the sky and the sea are both broken up; one by clouds and the other by a small boat and hut; I think this balances the picture nicely.

Chicago

chicago
Photograph licensed from Photodune

Cityscapes are really popular panoramic subjects. This one has the added complexity of being a long exposure. Creating a long exposure probably means the blending was trickier than that of a normal panorama and probably some layering (as well as stictching) has occurred. The contrast between the warm and light left side to the cool and darker right works really well.

Sunset

sunset
Photograph licensed from Photodune

I would guess that this has been post-processed this way rather than using a filter, as the exposure isn’t very long; the water hasn’t smoothed out at all. This could have been taken with a wide lens but the cropping certainly makes this look panoramic.

 Underwater

underwater panoramic photograph
Image licensed from Photodune

Again, I’d guess at this panorama being a cropped wide shot. It’s unlikely the fish would hold still long enough to have taken multiple shots and it would become even harder to blend with the busy background. Still, the cropped nature means the photographer obviously wanted to create the panoramic look and I think this works well; the added interest being that it is of course, underwater—something we don’t see all that often.

Technique

Which Mode to Shoot In?

I recommend you stay away from auto when taking panoramic images. You’ll be capturing several pictures across your scene, so if there are subtle changes in light, you don’t really want the camera compensating for that automatically, or you’ll end up with a hodge-podge of exposures to try and fix together.

Ideally, you’ll choose your settings manually and lock them down. This might not be possible if you are, for example, taking a panorama in which the sky is bright sunshine at one side and has a storm moving in on the other. In that case, you’ll want to make adjustments manually. The idea is to keep as close to the same settings as possible. I’d suggest noting down the changes you’ll need before you start to shoot to make things easier for yourself. If you try and do this while panning you might forget where you were up to or make a mistake, while all the while the conditions could be changing, meaning your earlier images no longer match your later ones as well.

Remember that as well as your settings being manual, you need to turn off auto-focus too. You don’t want the camera changing focus or ‘hunting’ every time you try to take your next shot.

Landscape or Portrait?

Panorama images tend to be (although aren’t exclusively) landscapes, or scenery. When shooting like this, the tendency can be to hold your camera in landscape orientation, and why wouldn’t it? It’s what we’re used to. However, I’ve actually found using the camera in portrait orientation much more effective. When you’re taking your panorama photos you need plenty of height as well as the width.

My recommendation is to do two passes using portrait orientation. First get plenty of sky as and the top half of your scene or subject in one pass. Then move down and capture the bottom half of your subject (with a healthy margin of overlap) and the ground. This will give your chosen ‘stitching’ software lots of references when it’s matching up what goes where and you can crop to suit, later.

Remember Your Basics

Remember to set up your shot as you usually would, still thinking about things like composition. It might be harder when you can’t see the representation of your finished image in your viewfinder, but picture the whole scene in your mind. Mentally divide it into grids if it helps and place points of interest logically. You don’t have to be exact; especially if you take more than you need and give yourself room to crop.

Potential Problems

Making an image that is deliberately designed to take in more than we usually could with the naked eye can be tricky. The way we see objects from a certain distance can be different depending on the angle: this is called parallax. A perfect example is having my mother in the passenger seat of the car, telling me I’m going too fast because the angle she’s at means the speedometer needle looks different for her than it does for me. If you’re taking a photograph from left to right, photographing an object from two slightly different perspectives then you might end up with an anomaly in your finished image. Try to keep everything at a decent distance to combat this, even if you crop in later.

Movement is a real headache too; you don’t know pain until you’ve tried to stitch together a sea-scape or a grove of trees on a windy day. In short, avoid movement if you can. If you can’t, then try and get the pesky movers in one shot so you’re not stitching two differently positioned items together,

Watch out for image sizes. If you already have a camera that outputs to a large size and you shoot in RAW, joining many of these together can cause your computer to grind to a halt, or take forever for a result. Be prepared to wait a significant time for large-scale panoramas to render. From experience, I find it’s best to have everything else on the computer closed, and just let the software do its thing.

Top Tips to Getting Great Panoramic Shots

  1. If you’ve been taking a lot of images through the day, can you remember where your panorama starts and ends? Take a picture with the lens cap on or take a picture of your hand as the first and last picture of each shot in the series. It’ll make it easier for you to see which images group together.
  2. Remember to change your settings to manual: the last thing you want is your camera bumping up the ISO in dark parts of the image, or altering the white balance.
  3. Shoot portrait for easier, added height. Why not try a vertical panorama?
  4. If you’re shooting hand-held, stay in the same place and only move the upper part of your body.
  5. Remember to compose your image in your head before you start to shoot and know exactly what you want.

Further Resources

Final Thoughts

Panoramic shots stand out, no matter what their content. The nature of their ‘odd’ ratio and unnatural field of view draw our eye and have us scanning the image looking for details we might have missed on first glance.

Whether it’s an impressive city-scape from up high, or a simple landscape, panoramas offer us the opportunity to showcase something from a different perspective, something that not everyone is able to get. Nailing this can be tricky, there are a lot of things to consider and you never really know if it’s going to work how you pictured it until you’ve stitched it in your software.

When you’re taking your shots, remember to work out your composition and any settings that might need changing, before you start to shoot. Photograph in manual mode to prevent any auto-adjustment headaches later on and try shooting in portrait orientation to get plenty of height. Avoid windy days where possible if you have moving objects like trees; and try and keep any large subjects in the distance to prevent parallax anomalies.

All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoMarie Gardiner

10 Ways To Share Your Business Video

You’ve created a compelling video about your business. You’ve invested time and money in the content and messaging, and are confident it sells. How do you get people to watch it when there’s so much competition for eyeballs online?

TV screens
Untitled by geralt/Pixabay

Uploading your video to YouTube is a no-brainer. But don’t stop there! You need to share that video far and wide to maximize reach and engagement.

Here are ten ways to share your business video, with tips and best practices for each.

YouTube

YouTube is the second largest search engine online after Google, so uploading your video here is essential. YouTube is especially well suited for educational content such as “how to” videos and product demonstrations. The downside? There are hundreds of millions of hours of videos on YouTube, and getting found can be difficult. Bringing traffic back to your website is even harder still.

Tips: Fill out the title and description of each video with relevant keywords and tags for search engine optimization (SEO). Organize your videos into clearly defined playlists so they're easy to find on your channel. Use YouTube cards to direct people to your website or related content when they’re finished watching.

Vimeo

If you’re more interested in a quality viewing experience than being found, upload your video to Vimeo. This platform doesn't have nearly as big an audience as YouTube, but there are no banner or pre-roll ads or distracting cat videos. The other plus? Your video will plays in high definition without the viewer having to adjust settings.

Tip: Create a custom thumbnail image for your video after you've uploaded it. You can almost always do better than the one selected automatically! 

Your Website

Once you’ve uploaded your video to YouTube or Vimeo, grab the embed code and post it on your company’s website. Make your video a prominent size and place it “above the fold” – in other words, high on a page instead of buried at the bottom.

You can host your own video, but specialized video hosting services, like Wistia (the service we use to host our course videos), VHX, and Uscreen offer solid advantages for certain kinds of business video. These "white label" hosts let you display video on your site without any unwanted branding (or with your own), provide robust metrics and engagment tools, and won't try and drive your traffic back to their platform.

Website with video
A website with the video placed "above the fold" by Cindy Burgess

Don't forget to write a blog post about your video too!

Tip: Avoid auto play. Most viewers like to have control over when or whether a video plays.

Social Media Sites

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest are made for sharing. Post your video to all of your company’s social media accounts – repeatedly. Keep in mind that not everyone is going to see your video the first time you post it.

Whenever possible, upload your video directly to the platform in question, rather than posting a link to YouTube. Sites like Facebook give a higher priority to videos that are uploaded natively. Also, consider making different versions of your video for different social media sites. For example, you might want to create a 15-second teaser video for Instagram to drive traffic to the full-length video on your website.

Tip: Use online tools like Hootsuite to schedule your posts at different hours and on different days to maximize viewing.

Newsletters

Add your video to the next email blast or newsletter you send out to clients. They’re already interested in the content you provide, so chances are you’ll have a high click rate.

Newsletter with video
A newsletter with embedded video by Cindy Burgess

Tip: Encourage clients to share your video with others. Ask them what kind of video content they’d like to see in the future.

Email Signature

Promote your video in your email signature. Just write a line of text to tease the video, then add a hyperlink. Here's a fictional example to illustrate what I'm talking about:

John Doe | Widgets Inc. | (555) 123-4567
Have you seen our newest product line? Watch the video!

Tip: Change the signature every time you release a new video.

Press Releases

Most press releases are sent online these days, so it’s easy to link to a video. The next time your business introduces a new product or service or wins an award, make sure the press release includes a link to your video.

Tip: Include an eye-catching thumbnail image to entice people to click on the video.

Partner Blogs

Contact your industry partners and ask if they’ll feature your video content on their blog or social media sites. For example, one of my clients is a golf pro who created a series of short tip videos. She has sponsors for clubs, tees, and clothing that might be interested in sharing her videos because they serve the same audience.

Tip: Offer to promote some of their content in exchange.

Community Web Sites

Many communities have blogs or websites that profile local businesses and people, and they’re usually hungry for free content. It’s worth searching online to see what’s out there. Ask if they’d be interested in linking to your video or writing a blog post about it.

Tip: Offer to write a short introduction to the video to help make their job easier.

Stores, Trade Shows, Conferences

If you have a bricks-and-mortar storefront, set up a flat screen monitor to play your video. Same goes for trade shows and conferences where your business might have a booth.

Tip: Make a version of your video with subtitles so you can play it without audio.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are lots of ways to share your business video beyond YouTube. Which methods you choose will depend on your business and the type of video you’ve created. So start experimenting!


All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoCindy Burgess

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Music videos are often on the cutting edge of a culture's creative expression, both in terms of music and visual effects. They also serve as an excellent source of creative inspiration. In this series of tutorials, we will take a look at how to use Photoshop to reproduce some of the most eye-catching effects. 

In this tutorial we go a bit beyond just creating the effect—we record the steps as a Photoshop action. Actions are an excellent resource for being able to quickly produce a complex effect at the press of a button. For example, just take a moment to browse through the impressive actions available on Envato Market.

1. Gather Resources

Let's begin by taking a look at the inspiration for this effect. It's the wonderfully poppy and colorful music video for Lush Life by Zara Larsson. The effect that we want to focus on is the colorful clones effect seen notably around 0:35, 1:04, 1:58, and 3:07. 

Not only do we want to reproduce the effect, but we would like to create it as an action so it is easy to apply to other images.

The effect will work best on an image where the model is isolated on a pure white background—like this image of a beautiful blond girl in mini-skirt with summer hat available for purchase on Envato Market.

beautiful blond girl in mini-skirt with summer hat
Envato Market

2. Record the Action

The effect is relatively straightforward to accomplish in Photoshop. But if you want to create a reliable Action, some of the steps are not very intuitive. That's because the action needs to operate properly on images of different sizes, so some steps need to use relative size positioning instead of absolute pixel measurements. Otherwise, if an image is too small, the effect won't stay within the canvas size. 

It should be specified that the action will also require that the starting image is a single background layer, and has an active selection around the model. 

Step 1

Make sure the file is only a single background layer. If not, go to Layer > Flatten Image. Then use the Quick Selection Tool (W) to create a selection around the model. This will be the starting point of any image the action is used for.

Begin with a flattened file and a selection around the model

Step 2

Open the Actions panel with Window > Actions (Alt-F9) and use the icon at the foot of the Actions panel to Create new action. Name the action "Colorful Clones". As soon as you hit the Record button, be mindful of every step you take as Photoshop is now recording your actions.

Begin recording a new Action

Step 3

Go to Layer > New > Layer Via Copy (Control-J), double click on the layer name, and call it "Copy 1".

Create a new copy of the selected model

Step 4

Create four more copies of the layer and name them in series "Copy 2", "Copy 3", "Copy 4" , and "Copy 5". Be sure to rename each layer as it is created; don't wait until after all the copies are made. This risks the action not being able to detect the correct layer to rename when it is played back.

Create four more copies

Step 5 

The canvas needs to be extended to create room for the effect. Go to Image > Canvas Size (Alt-Control-C), set the measurements to percent, and enter 280% for the Width. Using percentages means that the action will work on images of multiple sizes, not only this exact pixel dimension. Set the anchor point to the right center and the Canvas extension color to White.

Extend the canvas to make room for the effect

Step 6

Go to Select> All (Control-A) to select the entire canvas. Then go to Select > Modify > Contract, contract the selection by 150 px, and enable the Apply effect at canvas bounds option. This insets the selection by 150 pixels.

Create an inset selection

Step 7

Select the Copy 4 layer and go to Layer > Align Layers to Selection > Left Edges to move the copy to the far end of the canvas. Then go to Select > Deselect (Control-D) to cancel the selection.

Align the Copy 4 to the left edge of the selection

Step 8

Hold down the Control button and click on each of the Copy layers 1, 2, 3 and 5. So all five copy layers should be selected. 

Note: Do not use the Shift-select method to select the group of them at once, as that method is not reliable with an action. Each layer must be specifically selected by name in the action script.

Select all the copy layers

Step 9

Go to Layer > Distribute > Horizontal Centers to arrange the layers across the canvas.

Distribute the copies

Step 10

Set the Opacity setting for the layers as follows:

  • Copy 4: 50%
  • Copy 1: 60%
  • Copy 2: 70%
  • Copy 3: 80%
Set the Opacity for the copies

Step 11

Use the Control-click method again to select each of the copy layers 1-4 and go to Layer > Merge Layers (Control-E) and rename the merged layer to "Clones".

Merge the copies 1 - 4 into a single layer

Step 12

Set the Foreground color to a hot pink (e50fed) and the Background color to a neon green: (30ff07). Then go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient, leave the name as the default "Gradient Fill 1", and use the following settings for the Gradient Fill:

  • Gradient Preset: Foreground to Background
  • Angle: 45
  • Scale: 100%
  • Enable the Align with layer option
Add a Gradient Fill layer

Step 13

Set the Foreground color to a bright yellow (f7fa04) and the Background color to a neon blue (0719ff). Then go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient, leave the name as the default "Gradient Fill 2", and use the following settings for the Gradient Fill:

  • Gradient Preset: Foreground to Background
  • Angle: 315
  • Scale: 100%
  • Enable the Align with layer option
Add a second gradient fill layer

Step 14

Set the second gradient layer's blending mode to Hard Light to create this multi-colored quad-gradient effect. Then Control-select both gradient fill layers and merge them together with Layer > Merge Layers (Control-E). Rename the merged layer to "colorfill".

Merge the gradient fills into a single layer

Step 15

Go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask (Alt-Control-G) to clip the colorfill layer to the Clones layer.

Clip the color gradient to the clones layer

Step 16

Select the Clones layer and create a new copy of it with Layer > New > Layer Via Copy (Control-J). This adds a new copy of the layer, but notice that the colorfill layer is now clipped to the copy.

Copy the clones layer

Step 17

The original clone layer needs to be repositioned over the colorfill layer, but reordering layers in the Layers panel is unreliable in actions. Instead, select the Clones layer and go to Layer > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift-Control-]).

Move the original clone layer to the top

Step 18

Now go to Layer > Arrange > Send Backward (Control-[) to move the Clones layer down one spot in the layer order. Then change the blending mode to Luminosity and reduce the Opacity to 65%.

Move the layer again and set the blending mode and opacity

Step 19

In the actions panel, hit the Stop button to stop the recording.

Stop the action recording

3. Test and Edit the Action

The whole point of an action is to be able to use it to create this effect on other images quickly and easily. If the action doesn't have much flexibility, then its usefulness is severely limited.

Step 1

Reopen the starting image that was used to create the action. Create a selection again with the Quick Selection Tool. In the Actions panel, find the top of the Colorful Clones action and press the Play button.

Test the Action

The end result should look identical to the result created while recording the action.

Final Effect

Step 2

Open a different image and try it again. Ideally, the testing should be done with various sizes of images, as it is unlikely that you will always want to use the action on the same size image.

test the action on other images too
Toy Bunny

Step 3

If you detect a problem with the action playback, go to the Actions panel menu and select Playback Options. Then change the Performance setting to Step by Step. This means the action will play back more slowly, so you can see where things might be going awry.

Use the Step by Step setting for troubleshooting

Step 4

If something needs to be corrected, it doesn't mean you have to record the entire action all over again. Steps can be moved or deleted from the action script, or you can even begin recording new steps mid-action. Just select the step in the action script where the new procedure should occur and press the record button. Photoshop will insert any new steps right into the action script at that point. Then when finished, press the stop button and test the action again.

Edit the action instead of starting over

Enjoy the Finished Action

When the action is done, enjoy the freedom it brings. You can easily create this fun, colorful clones effect any time in just mere moments...

Lush Life music video inspired effect

... with any image you want!

Plush Life bunny effect

Need More Help?

Want to learn more about creating Actions in Photoshop? Consider my course on Building Your Own Actions in Adobe Photoshop.

All credit is given to author Envato Tuts+ Photo & VideoKirk Nelson