Sunday, October 7, 2018

Kreative Lighting - Clamshell Lighting


Clamshell Lighting uses two opposing light source. One from above at an angle of 45 degrees towards the model and the other one from below again at 45 degrees towards the model. Top light is the key light and the lower one is a fill light. If top light is set at 100% power then the bottom one will be set at 40% or lower.


Fill light should not be overpowering the key light.

Lower light is a fill light and is at 40% of its full power.

Upper light is a fill light and is at its full power.


1. Simple to set up.
2. This light set up flatters practically any face.
3. Great for headshots.


Collection of portrait pictures using  Clamshell Lighting set up from various photographers.


Monday, October 1, 2018

Kreative Lighting - Butterfly Lighting


Butterfly lighting consists of a sole light aimed straight at the subject and raised high enough to create a downward shadow on the subject. This causes a butterfly shadow to appear directly under the subject's nose.


Here the shadow of the nose is directly under Mr. Kay's nose. Mr. Kay is facing directly towards the camera, the light is above camera pointing straight towards Mr. Kay's face.

The height of the light dictates the length of the shadow. I prefer shadow not to cross halfway distance between nose and lips.


1. Butterfly lighting accentuates cheekbones and jawlines. 
2. I do not find this lighting flattery on the weathered face.
3. I use this lighting on a young model with clear skin.
4. I avoid this lighting on a model with an oval face.
5. Use a reflector to fill in shadow under the chin.


Collection of portrait pictures using  Butterfly Lighting set up from various photographers.

Picture Correct
Digital Photo
Improve Photography
Photography by Neilvan Niekerk

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Kreativelens Workflow for Composite - 1

Composite consist of at least two images shot differently and is merged. To make two images blend and to look like one single image I follow these tips:

  • Matching Luminosity and Contrast,
  • Matching Saturation, and
  • Matching Tones

For simplicity, we will have two images one is background, and the other is a cut out of a model which we will refer to as a model layer.

  • Matching Luminosity and Contrast

Before matching the Luminosity and Contrast, we need to identify the luminosity and contrast level of the model layer to the background layer. To do so, we take a solid color layer and set the saturation layer of solid color is set to 0 and change the blending mode to color. This will convert the image to black and white, and then we can identify the brightest and darkest part of the background image and the model image. Use the curve tool to match the brightness and darkness of both layers (background and model). I usually have the model layer little brighter than background and background layer little darker than the model layer. Depending upon to which layer you are applying the adjustment curve you can clip the curve adjustment layer to that layer so that it is not affecting any other layer.
You can also use Lumenzia plugins to find the different level of luminosity.

  • Matching Saturation

Antti Karppinen is known for creating beautiful storytelling imagery; In his video in this link Antti's video, he describes the technique to match the saturation of composite. Steps involved are as follows:
First, we need to find out the saturation level of the colors which needs to be altered. Create a selective color layer set the radio button to Absolute. For colors Reds, Yellows, Greens, Cyans, Blues, and Magentas set the value of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow to -100% and Black to 0% and for Whites, Neutrals, and Blacks set the value of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow to 0% and Black to +100 %, this will convert the image to black and white, and the highest saturated color in the picture will be brightest. Once the highest saturated area is identified then either use curve or Hue Saturation adjustment layer to match the saturation of composite.

  • Matching Tones

In this video of Antti Karppinen Antti's video, he describes the technique to match the tones of the composite. Steps are involved as follows:
First, we need a color map of the composite which will help us to identify the area which requires our attention. To create the color map we need to get a solid color layer with 50% brightness and set the blending mode to Luminosity. To exaggerate the result, we add a Hue / Saturation layer and increase saturation to 100%. Once we have color mapping done then the objective is to have same color grading throughout the picture and to achieve this, we take help of Selective Color Layer and mainly modify color for Neutrals Whites and Blacks.

Annti Karppinen
Piximperfect Channel

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Adjustment Layer tweaks - Photo Filter

Use Adjustment Layers to fine-tune the tones and colors in your image with complete control.

When you first open an image in photoshop, you may decide to add more contrast, correct a color cast, convert to black and white or even turn your subject green. There are two ways to make adjustments as these. The first way is to go to image -> Adjustments and choose from the list of options. Any tweaks made here are applied directly to your image pixels. You can get perfectly good results by doing this, but what if later on you have second thoughts. The smart way to make any changes is to use Adjustment Layers. To apply these, click the circular icon at the bottom of the Layers palette or go to Layer -> New Adjustment Layer. Each adjustment you make appears in the layers palette as a separate layer that affects all layers below it. This means you can take advantage of all the editing choices that working with layers enables.

Photo Filter:

Photo Filter offers a handy list of preset color filters that mimic the effects of traditional lens mounted filters. Most Adjustment Layers comes with a list of presets and are usually accessed via a drop – down menu. These can be a great help, particularly if you're not sure exactly how to treat an image, as you can use them to kick-start your creativity.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Smoke Art - Photography

Smoke Photography can free your imagination. I was browsing Graham Jeffery’s (who has mastered the art of smoke photography) pictures and found it very impressive and fascinating. The link from his website contains his amazing work and also explains the technique to shoot smoke along with post processing tips on smoke shots.

Here are few points which I learnt while shooting smoke
1.The cheapest way to get the “right” kind of smoke is using incense sticks.
2.Smoke is sensitive to even the tiniest of disturbances; use this to your advantage to sculpt your photo. Even smoke likes to dance on A.R. Rehman’s music.
3.Lighting plays a very important role while shooting smoke. You need a good depth of field (DOF) to capture all the details of a smoke column. To accomplish that you’ll need a well lit smoke with the most powerful source of light you can find.
4.The smoke produced by incense sticks is a light white color, so use a darker background. In this way you’ll have great contrast between the foreground and the background to better capture the nuances in the smoke. It’s common to see white smoke on a black background, and it’s easier to take the photo that way. But what about all those images with colored smoke with white background? Those are false negatives, created in post-processing.
5.To get the smoke focused can be difficult. Use any object or your own hand and place it the same distance as the smoke and use auto focus to focus it and after the auto-focus is done with its job, it’s time to turn manual focus on and start shooting without moving the camera.
6.ISO settings should be low as smoke has dust and you don’t want to introduce additional grains due to high ISO.
7.Once you get nice picture you can use any image processing software to post process the shots. Mainly cleaning up imperfections on the background, adjust contrast, sharpening, inverting, coloring, cropping ……

Link below discuss more about smoke photography and smoke art

Smoke Collage

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Photographing Special Effects - Multiple Exposure

Moon Light
While your camera is adept at recording the real world, you can also use it to create fantasy images that will baffle and delight your viewers. Among the most notable of these special effects is multiple exposure – two or more images superimposed or juxtaposed.
You might be wondering how there can be so many shots of American cities including a full moon when most buildings are too tall for a natural moonrise over the city skyline. The answer is simple: the magic of double exposure. I prefer this treatment because I can then decide exactly where I want the moon to be in my compositions.
In double and multiple exposures, one or more captures are combined to create a single well-exposed image. Thus if you want to create a double exposure, you must shoot two images, both underexposed by one stop, and combine them to get correct double exposure.
In some multiple exposures, much of the superimposed images will overlap. Try to make the images complement one another and distribute their tones to avoid too much exposure in one area and not enough in another.
Table below shows the exposure based on the number of images in montage.
Number of Images in montage
Number of f-stops to decrease exposure.
1 ½
2 ¼
2 ½
2 ¾

There is an important aspect to note about double and multiple exposures. Once an area is fully exposed to white, it cannot be exposed with any other color. This is one reason why you don’t see multiple exposures shot in snow.
Despite the need to be careful and precise, you will find that creating a double exposure is easy. You shoot the two compositions at one stop under the indicated reading.

Multiple Exposure

Multiple Exposure

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rear Sync - Flash

There's a setting on you camera that will help you get better-quality photos using flash. It's called Rear Sync, and what it basically does is change the time when the flash actually fires. Usually flash fires the moment you press the shutter button, so it does freeze any action in the scene, but it also generally makes everything solid black behind your subject (like you see in most snapshots). Changing to Rear Sync makes the flash fire at the end of the exposure (rather than the beginning), which lets the camera expose for the natural background light in the room first, and then at the very last second, it fires the flash to freeze your subject. Now your background isn't black - instead, it has color, depth, and detail, and this gives you a much more professional look all the way around. In the example below, the shot on the left is using the normal default flash setting (notice how dark the background is). For the shot on right, I switched the flash to Rear sync.

Give it a try and you'll see what I mean (just remember to keep the camera still when shooting in Rear Sync mode, because the shutter stays open longer- enough to expose for the background.)

This setting is very useful, while shooting in an aquarium where you want to capture the subject along with low light activities in background.