Tag Archives: Tutorial

Using the Digital Zone System for Exposure Assessment

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted or made a tutorial. I have a good excuse though, I moved. I also changed jobs, and did a lot of work on a photography book. But I’m back baby, and will be posting more and more stuff in the coming months.

To begin I decided to focus more on photography this time out. Photoshop stuff will be back I am certain but for this first one here is a Zone System Tutorial for Digital Photography. The video is by and large based on the work of Norman Koren, and a great deal of credit goes to him for adapting Ansel Adams’ classic Zone System to digital. there are a lot of naysayers out there that say that it cannot accurately be converted to digital because of the systems original design as a very precise technique. I disagree. Even using a slightly loose iteration of the zone system based on Norman Koren’s work has improved my exposures. More than that it has proven useful for assessing the corrections I have already made to the image.

I’ve tried my best to simplify the concepts and apply a practical framework for you to start to use the Zone System principles when shooting and more importantly when assessing exposure while processing digital photographs. I sincerely hop you enjoy it. Find it below. Also don’t forget the chart I’ve included to help guide you in assessing your work. I keep it taped to my monitor so when I’m processing I can use it as a quick and handy reference.

Zone System Chart <——Download it here!

Posted in Learn About Photography | Also tagged , , , , 1 Comment

Design for Photographers: Part 2 – Color

Figure 1 - Design for Photographers:Colory (Photo Credit: 'Colour Pencils-1' by David Blaikie 2007)

Figure 1 - Design for Photographers:Colory (Photo Credit: 'Colour Pencils-1' by David Blaikie 2007)


This is the second part of our series of design tutorials for photographers. To read the first tutorial, about typography, please click here.

In this tutorial we will be discussing color as it relates to design. This is an important concept for the photographer to understand as it is critical to developing a strong foundation in visual arts. Walking around looking for images is a matter of training the eye to see those situations that present a bit of order in the otherwise chaotic world. A photographer often looks for compositional principles in a scene and tries to find a way to capture them. Understanding color schemes, relationships and color psychology allows the photographer to “see” more.
Again a disclaimer, this is an incomplete tutorial. I will but scrape the surface of this discipline, and hope that you will research more, experiment, and discover how design color theory can improve your imagery. At the very least this tutorial will at least provide you with the basics you need to properly decorate and paint your home.

Continue reading »

Posted in Learn About Photography | Also tagged , , , , , 1 Comment

Design for Photographers: Part 1 – Typography

Figure 1 - Design for Photographers: Typography

Figure 1 - Design for Photographers: Typography (Photo Credit: 'Blocks' by Jeremy Keith 2005)

This is the first tutorial in a series I will be doing on Graphic Design for photographers. As photographers we are at our core visual communicators. Producing effective visual communication is a multifaceted discipline that requires knowledge and tools from a variety of disciplines. The aim of this series of tutorials isn’t for you to supplant the designer in your process, but rather introduce you to the concepts and terminology of design. Just as a camera cannot replace us, keep in mind that owning Adobe Illustrator cannot replace a true graphic designer.

In this first tutorial we will discuss some basic concepts related to typography as well as some general tips for working with type. At some stage in our photographic life we will have to work with type. It is an inevitability. Either a client requests us to incorporate text in their product, we decide we can design our own business cards or we have to put together a poster to advertise our work. The intent of these tutorials are not to make you a qualified graphic designer, but they will hopefully help you in the development of your skill set and make you a better image maker.

Continue reading »

Posted in Learn About Photography | Also tagged , , , , , , 2 Comments

Focus Stacking Tutorial for Photoshop CS5

Photoshop Focus Stacking Tutorial

This tutorial is available for download in PDF format with RAW sample images at the following location:


File Size: 216MB – File type: Zip Archive – Contains: PDF, Sample NEF files, Example PSD

This tutorial is also on youtube here:



One of the greatest challenges in macro photography is dealing with depth of field issues. In my line of work I often have to provide technical photographs of circuitry. I typically use a top of the line macro lens like the Nikon AF-S Micro-NIKKOR 105mm, for these photographs. Even though this lens produces amazing images, I am forever striking a balance between elaborate lighting setups and limited depth of field (DOF). Presuming I even produce enough light to shoot at the maximum DOF of f32 for this lens, I still find at these extreme close-ups depth of field can be an issue.

Thankfully post processing techniques provide us with a tool that makes all of this a bit easier. Focus stacking is not that different than HDR. In essence we are taking several images with one variable adjusted (in this case focus) to create one image. The result is an image that gives a resultant image with greater depth of field than the source image.

This technique can be used in all sorts of macro photography, from nature photographs to microscopy. Thankfully the technique is made painfully simple with modern imaging tools. There are a number of tools that can achieve these results (CombineZM, Helicon Focus, Magnification, etc.) however we are going to use Photoshop CS5 for this tutorial.
Continue reading »

Posted in Digital Photo Processing, Learn About Photography | Also tagged , , , , , , , , 1 Comment