Creative flower photography: how to shift the focus using layer blending techniques

In this tutorial we show you how to get creative with your macro flower photography by adjusting the focus in three separate exposures, and blending the shots for a magical effect.

Creative flower photography: how to shift the focus using layer blending techniques

We’re kicking off our new series on macro photography by creating a flower image with a difference. Flowers are a favourite macro subject, and you can produce great results simply by shooting conventional close-ups, but in this tutorial we’re going to be using layer blending techniques to get creative with focus, and produce a colourful image with a dream-like quality.

We’ll show you how to shoot three separate exposures of the same flower, and then combine them. The aim is to capture one shot that’s in focus and two that are blurred, and the magic happens when you blend the images together, using layer masks in Photoshop Elements.

It’s important when planning your shoot to take into account the light. For the best results you want to shoot either first thing in the morning or late in the day, when the sunlight is softer and warmer.

Although this effect lends itself particularly well to shooting flowers, feel free to try it with other subjects – for example in a woodland setting or at the beach. Just make sure you compose your image so that you have something of interest to keep in sharp focus, and other elements that you can throw out of focus.

Down and Dirty Guide to Milky Way Photography

Another World | Mono Lake, California

Seeing the Milky Way with your own eyes is a life-changing, mind-blowing experience. It will put your place within the universe in to perspective and remind you just how small and insignificant we all are. The sad part is that most people have never seen it. Over half of our planet’s population lives in cities where seeing the Milky Way is all but impossible.

Even when people get out of the city and have a good view of the stars, they usually don’t focus on them long enough to find the Milky Way. It’s something that you either stumble onto by accident, or something that you have to plan ahead of time. Here’s a few quick tips for getting the Milky Way in your viewfinder and exposing it properly – your guide to Milky Way photography.

Before and After: How This Photo was Processed in Lightroom

Post-processing in Lightroom

The Story

A few years ago I passed through Bolivia, South America’s poorest and, in some ways, least developed country. I spent a few days in Potosí, a small, largely forgotten city whose history had a central role in shaping the modern world. Built at the foot of the Cerro Rico (Rich Hill), the silver mined in Potosí flowed across the continent, through the cities of Cartagena and Havana, and across the ocean to Sevilla and Madrid in Spain, where it powered the rise of European nations as the wealthiest and most developed of the era.

Lightroom tips: how to reveal more midtone detail using the Clarity slider

In this Adobe Lightroom tutorial we show you how to reveal more texture and detail by selectively increasing midtone contrast using the Clarity slider.

Lightroom tips: how to reveal more midtone detail using the Clarity slider

01 Examine the histogram
Import midtones.dng into Lightroom and take the photo into the Develop module. In the Histogram graph, we can see that the strongest tones are the shadows, followed by weaker midtones.

7 Tips For Great Digital Photographs

Before you can begin to share photo memories with family and friends, you need to take great digital shots that are razor-sharp and crystal-clear. After all, there’s nothing quite so frustrating as when your photos of memorable events, like a graduation, wedding, or a vacation, turn out blurry or fuzzy or just plain dull.

"wedding photo" captured by Tatiana Garanina

The good news is great photos can really be a snap — if you keep in mind a few important tips. I guarantee that in no time you’ll create photo stories and share photo memories like a real pro!