Tag: Graduated filter

Top 10 graduated filter tips

01 Shoot raw You can’t recover detail in an overexposed sky if it’s been clipped and lost forever in the original image. With a JPEG, what you see is what you get, but with raw files you’ve generally got an extra 1EV of ‘invisible’ highlight detail which can be recovered with a good raw converter. 02 Use coloured grads If you do have an overexposed, detail-free sky you might just get away with using a light blue grad to simulate a blue sky. Color Efex Pro (Google Nik Collection) has a nice selection. You can experiment with colours even...

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Saturday spotlight: Budapest parliament

It’s all very well giving advice about how to achieve certain effects using this software or that software, but it always strikes me that no-one ever talks about WHY you should use a particular effect with a particular subject. Books and magazines are very tied up with the mechanics of photography but rarely stray into the stuff that really matters – what we’re trying to capture or evoke, and how to do it. So I thought it might be interesting to dissect a few pictures, explain the thinking behind the effects I’ve used and try to make this connection between...

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Graduated filters can go up as well as down!

Here’s a technique I use quite often to add a little extra drama and contrast to a scene. I use a graduated filter effect to darken the sky, and then a second graduated filter to darken the foreground. Using two graduated filters creates a powerful lighting effect and increases the tonal contrast of the picture – it’s really effective where you have an image that already a full range of tones (the histogram fills the full width of the scale) but still looks flat and lifeless. Here’s the start shot. I was sure there was a picture to be...

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Use Color Efex Pro control points to mask your graduated filters

Graduated filters are perfect for toning down bright skies, but they have a problem. Any object sticking up into the sky gets ‘graduated’ too! But Color Efex Pro control points are the answer… All the filters in Color Efex Pro have opacity control points. You can use them to hide the filter effect in areas you don’t want it, or add them to apply the effect only in specific areas. They use Nik Software’s clever ‘U-point’ technology, which automatically masks the adjustment based on the tones underneath the control point. This becomes a lot easier to understand when you...

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How to use gradient masks in Capture One to improve outdoor shots

Capture One provides a system of internal adjustment layers so that you can make localised adjustments to your pictures. These aren’t directly compatible with the adjustment layers in Photoshop and Elements – they just share the same name – but they are saved with your images in the Capture One library, so you can go back to them later and change or remove them if you want to. I’m going to use two adjustment layers to fix the picture below. It’s a common problem – you’re shooting on a sunny day, so you’ve got a bright sky in the...

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About this site

Rod_Lawton_circle Photoshop is not the only image-editor in the world. It's not even the best. This site is where the alternatives get a proper shout. Rod Lawton, Head of Testing, Future plc Photography Division

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