Author: Rod Lawton

Better Shadow/Highlight adjustments in Elements

Elements does have some limitations compared to Photoshop. One of these is the difference in the Shadows/Highlights tools. So is there a workaround? Yes there is… The Shadow/Highlights tool in Photoshop is designed to even up the tones in high-contrast pictures. It lightens the shadow areas and darkens the highlights by selecting these regions separately (though you don’t see the selections) and providing you with tools to adjust them. This picture’s a good candidate. It’s not an extreme example, but it’s typical of outdoor shots where the sky is bright and the landscape is a little dark. What I’d...

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Using external apps with Aperture is easy

Aperture and Lightroom offer a whole new way of working. They are both powerful image-cataloguing tools and RAW converters which have non-destructive image-editing tools built in. Sometimes you still need other image-editors or plug-ins, but both programs are designed to work with these – most mainstream plug-ins now come in Lightroom and Aperture versions as well as the traditional Photoshop plug-in format. What’s more, both Aperture and Lightroom support ’round-tripping’. This means that you can send an image to your external editor, make your changes, save it and have it appear back in Aperture or Lightroom as a new...

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How to stack filters in Color Efex Pro 4

Google’s Color Efex Pro 4 (part of the Nik Collection) doesn’t just apply individual filters – you can also combine, or ‘stack’ filters to create a cumulative effect. I’ve used it here to add a warm, dreamy glow to this minimalist landscape in order to show how this  stacking system works. The start shot is pretty uninspiring, but with the right mix of filters it should be possible to turn it into something much more interesting. 01 Adding extra filters I’ve started out by adding a Graduated Filter effect to create a blue sky. The precise settings aren’t important...

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Create a tilt-shift effect with Snapseed

Tilt-shift effects depend on two things – an understanding of how the illusion is created and the right kind of subject. The illusion is caused by a defocusing effect before and behind the subject. This is what we’re used to seeing in close-up photography, where the depth of field is limited and only a narrow region of the subject is sharp. When we see this applied to a full-size subject, it makes it look like a table-top model – but only if the subject is right. Actually, this is the tricky part. The tilt-shift effect only works well when...

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Better colours with curves adjustments

Contrast and saturation are closely related. Sometimes you can end up increasing saturation when really it’s the contrast that was the problem. That’s why it’s always a good idea to fix an image’s contrast and tonal properties before you start worrying about its colour. And one of the best tools for doing this is curves. You can apply curves adjustments in a whole range  of applications, including Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture One and here, in Aperture on the Mac. Curves adjustments work the same whatever program you use. In this case I’m applying a classic ‘S-shaped’ curve to boost both...

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About this site

Welcome to Life after Photoshop! It's a site dedicated to alternative image editors, photography techniques and camera gear.

Rod Lawton – photographer, writer and Head of Testing for Digital Camera, PhotoPlus and N-Photo at Future plc.