December 19, 2014

Making Ethereal Macro Shots in Camera or in Processing

Colleague Tony Rizzuto has written a pair of articles for the Rocky Mountain School of Photography's blog on macro photography. In them he explains how to create a dreamy, double-exposure effect that's awesome for flower close-ups. You can do this either with your camera, if it has a multiple exposure option, or with photo editing software like Photoshop or Elements (version 10 or newer). Check out the links here.

December 16, 2014

Winter 2015 Classes Posted

My next round of night photography classes in Missoula are now open for registration. Choose from both camera and photo editing classes.

Camera Classes
  • Getting to Know Your Digital SLR Camera
  • Photo Composition
  • Better Close-up Photos
  • Black & White Photography
Photo Editing Classes 
  •  Photoshop Elements Workflow - Part 3: Selections
  • Advanced Black & White Photography
  • Shooting & Processing Digital Camera Raw Files
You can read descriptions on my web site and register by phone at 406-549-8765 or online at The Lifelong Learning Center.

I hope to see you in 2015!

December 12, 2014

Practicing Photography---Ideas for keeping your skills fresh

Whether you are a beginner just starting to become comfortable with your camera controls or you're an experienced shooter, it's useful to spend time on a regular basis cementing or refreshing your camera technique and visual skills. Here are a variety of resources with ideas to get you started.

Visual Exercise is Good for You by Rob Sheppard
In this post, Sheppard offers a few ideas for visual exercises to keep your skills sharp & have fun. One suggestion is to photograph the same scene with both a wide angle and a telephoto focal length. Below are two examples.

Wide angle left; telephoto right

Wide angle top; telephoto bottom

December 5, 2014

Tips for Winter Photography from Rob Sheppard

Rob Sheppard, editor at-large for Outdoor Photographer magazine, has written a list of tips for winter photography on his blog. Rob began his photographic life in Minnesota, where the winters are long and cold. Check these out and use them to help you make great photos this season.

Winter [Photography] Is Here

November 3, 2014

Free, Easy Resizing and Watermarking Images

If you are new to digital photography, you may not know that your camera produces photos that are very large, both in dimensions measured by pixels and in file size measured in megabytes (MB). These pictures are suitable for making large prints, but they are too big to share via email or on social media sites like Facebook, Flicker and Google+.

Resized and watermark added with

October 20, 2014

Daily Exercises for Better Photos

I recently came across an article with several, seven to be exact, suggestions to apply daily to your photography with the promise that your pictures will improve. Jeff Meyer posted his ideas in "7 Daily Exercises That Will Make You a Better Photographer".
  1. Use spot metering for more exposure control
  2. Check the histogram to verify exposure
  3. Shoot with a prime (fixed length) lens
  4. Choose a specific white balance
  5. Create a custom white balance setting
  6. Use manual exposure mode
  7. Post one image every day
 I like these suggestions, but I'd make a couple of additions.


October 14, 2014

The Output Workspace in Bridge CC

Bridge CC comes with several different work spaces which provide a variety of ways to display your photos. However, Bridge CC does not include a workspace I used frequently in Photoshop CS5 and CS6: the Output workspace.

Bridge CC Output Workspace showing a custom 3x3 contact sheet

Adobe has recognized this oversight and published instructions on how to add the Output workspace to your copy of Bridge CC. It works for both Windows and Mac systems. Follow the link below for instructions on how to add this useful workspace to your copy of Bridge CC.

Adding the Output Workspace to Bridge CC


October 7, 2014

New Missoula Night Classes Ready For Registration

My next round of night classes at +The Lifelong Learning Center are available for registration. These courses begin in November and conclude in December before the holidays.

Here's what's coming up:
  • Tips for Shooting with Wide-Angle Lenses
  • Exploring Photo Ideas (a class in creative seeing)
  • Photoshop Elements Workflow, Parts 1 & 2
See my web page for course details. To register, visit or call 406-549-8765.

October 6, 2014

Using the Contact Sheet II Plug-in in Photoshop CC

I wrote a new post for the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, this time on how to use the Contact Sheet plug-in for creative ways to print multiple pictures per page. You can read the full text here.

The Contact Sheet option is also available in earlier versions of Photoshop as well as Photoshop Elements.

September 12, 2014

Creating a Poster with Photoshop CC

In case you missed it, Rocky Mountain School of Photography also published a post I wrote on using Photoshop CC to create a poster. You can read the instructions here.

If you work with an earlier version of Photoshop or use Photoshop Elements, the techniques in this article apply to you as well.

September 7, 2014

Dirty Dash, Missoula, MT 2014

Over the weekend I attended the Dirty Dash in Missoula and created a photo essay using the pictures below. I have many more shots I like, but I'm practicing making a photo story the way I learned in a workshop earlier this summer. Enjoy!

See more...

September 4, 2014

Placing Multiple Photos on a Page with Lightroom 5

Rocky Mountain School of Photography has published a new post I wrote on using Lightroom 5 to put multiple images on a single page. You can read the instructions here.

July 5, 2014

Working on Photographic Projects

I have been working to understand making photographs in projects instead of single, "trophy" pictures. I recently read this post by Alain Briot on the importance of photographic projects. If you are looking for ways to take your pictures to the next level, check out this article.

Why Photograhic Projects are Important 

A small project I've been working on recently

July 2, 2014

New Fall Classes Open for Online Registration

If you live in Missoula, MT and want to learn more about photography, I'm happy to announce that my early fall classes are now available for online registration. Go to the Lifelong Learning Center web site and click on Classes and then Photography. 

Here's what I'm teaching and when. For a complete description, visit the web site. See you in the fall!
  • Making the Most of Your Point & Shoot Digital Camera
    Tuesdays & Thursdays, 6:30-9pm, September 2-11
  • Getting to Know Your Digital SLR Camera
    Wednesdays, 6:30-9pm, October 1-November 5
  • Mastering Your Digital Camera
    Tuesdays, 6:30-9pm, September 30-November 4
  • Tips for Shooting with Telephoto Lenses
    Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30pm, September 3-10
    Saturday, 10-12am, Sept. 6
  • Photographing in Montana's Parks
    Thursdays, 6:30-8:30pm, October 2-30
    Saturdays, October 4-25 (no class October 11

Aperture Priority, f/5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO 100
75-300mm lens at 140mm

April 27, 2014

Three Easy Editing Steps for Digital Photos

Even the best photos from your camera can benefit from some gentle editing to enhance their appearance. You don't have to spend time sitting in front of the computer to make your images look good. Here's an easy way to bring out the best in your pictures in just three clicks using Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Before and after simple editing steps

April 21, 2014

Spring Photo Classes Open for Registration

NOTE: These classes were offered during the spring of 2014. They have already finished.

Spring is a great time to learn more about photography and your digital camera. I have the following classes starting the first week of May. Check out the full descriptions and register at The Lifelong Learning Center in Missoula, MT.

People Photos: Casual & Candid with professional portrait photographer Bret Tate

Getting to Know Your Digital SLR Camera

Creative Camera Techniques (
formerly Advanced Digital Camera)

Photography in the Field

April 17, 2014

Designing a Poster in Lightroom 5

Rocky Mountain School of Photography has published a new post I wrote on using Lightroom 5 to design a poster and prepare it for photo lab printing. You can read the instructions here.

April 7, 2014

Changing the Photoshop CC Crop Tool to Work as Before

With the release of Photoshop CC, Adobe made some changes to the crop tool so it acts like the version in Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). In all three programs, when you select the crop tool, the bounding box is already placed around the entire image; you do not have to drag a box manually. So you can start adjusting the sides as soon as you select the crop tool.

The crop tool in Photoshop CC, Lightroom and Camera Raw crops to a particular ratio or proportion for the image (e.g., a square, a panorama or a rectangle), not to specific dimensions and resolution. In addition, the cropping box displays reference lines, such as a Rule of Thirds or a traditional grid, to help strengthen composition during the cropping process. And no pixels are permanently discarded when you use the crop tool in Photoshop CC, Lightroom or Camera Raw.

Photoshop CC Crop Tool with 1:1 ratio and Rule of Thirds Overlay

All these features are intended to speed the cropping process and provide non-destructive editing because you can back out of a cropping mistake.

Photoshop CC Crop Tool Standard Options

March 31, 2014

Create Better Car Trail Photos with Photoshop Elements

I recently read a new book from colleagues Gabriel Biderman and Tim Cooper called Night Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots (Peachpit Press, 2014). Along with fantastic advice about equipment, exposure and creative techniques for after the sun goes down, the book includes a last chapter with tips on processing your nocturnal images. There I read an easy way to improve the impact of car trail photos. While the directions use Lightroom and Photoshop, I discovered that with a minor change, I could create the same effect using Photoshop Elements. So for all my budget-minded friends, here's how to create the same effect using Elements 9 or newer.

Stacked images of car trails
Las Vegas, Nevada


March 25, 2014

Update: Repairing Pet Eye with Photoshop Elements 12

When Adobe released Photoshop Elements 12, they finally included a long-missing feature: the ability to automatically fix "pet eye"! This changes the Red-Eye Removal Tool from looking for red pixels to looking for the green, blue, or yellow discoloration found when our camera's flash reflects off our pet's eyes.

Before and after using the Pet Eye option of the Red Eye Removal Tool


January 27, 2014

Winter Session 2 Classes Available

Lolo Pass in Winter, Montana
I updated my classes and workshops page with the new dates for my courses at The Lifelong Learning Center in Missoula today. Choose from Getting to Know Your Digital SLR Camera to topics classes on people, landscape and built-in flash photography. I'm also teaching two sections of Photoshop Elements Workflow. If you've ever wondered where to start editing your pictures and what to do next, this class provides a process that's easy to follow. To read full descriptions of these classes, visit my Classes & Workshops page or go to The Lifelong Learning Center to register. Courses begin the week of March 10.

January 17, 2014

I Want to Buy Photoshop, But Which One?

If you are just starting to learn more about editing your photos with digital darkroom tools, you may be confused by the variety of Photoshop programs available. The names are very similar, so it's hard to know the ways they are different. Here's a short summary.