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Published June 25th, 2011

*Tip 12*

I hear complains that Photoshop’s Reduce Noise tool doesn’t work ~ My tip: try customizing it instead of using the auto mode. The settings that work best for me: Strength = 7; Preserve Details = 50%; Reduce Color Noise = 95%; Remove Artifact = Checked. It’s a subtle, but effective improvement. Some images are beyond salvaging, but this works if an image has just a little bit of grain. (Go to Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise to customize your settings).

*Tip 11*

To add tones and a soft vignette to a picture: In Photoshop:Go to Filter> Render > Lighting effect > Soft Omni -> then choose the color and customize the intensity and brightness to your liking. You can also use Flashlight instead of Soft Omni fora more vivid result.

*Tip 10*

Whenever you see something that grabs your attention (bridges, sculptures, flowers, etc), "stay with it" for a while and try capturing it in *several* different ways - check this link to see examples of same subject / different compositions: ~Your photography will be more interesting, and you'll be able to discover and appreciate all the facets of your subject.

*Tip 9*

To get a dramatic distorted effect: in Photoshop, go to Filters > Distort > and then you can play with your options. It’s fun! Click on this link to see some of my favorite effects: Pinch, Wave and Twirl:

*Tip 8*

To create fun, two-tone portraits - In Photoshop: Select your 2 desired colors (background and foreground - color picker on your left); Go to Filter > Adjustments > Gradient Map > then Reverse. You can also get a similar effect using Picnik: Go to Create > Effects > Duo-Tone (chose the colors and adjust brightness, contrast and intensity to your linking). See examples here:

*Tip 7*

To get beautiful warm tones in your pictures, set the White Balance to "cloudy" - this setting will work well for almost all kinds of photos (if you, like me, love yellow tones) ~ but it will particularly enhance a golden sunset.

*Tip 6*

Pay attention to your backgrounds. Sometimes we’re too focused on the main subject – but the background is equally important, it can make or break a photo. Look for beautiful colors and light, interesting patterns; whether you’re going for a lively, colorful setting or a clear, uncluttered one make sure you avoid unwanted items: trash, ads, passersby, etc. Take a sec to review what’s going on around your subject and wait or change position if needed.

*Tip 5*

If you’d like to capture someone’s smile: crack a joke! Or tell them to think of Brad Pitt, Charlie Sheen’s rants or their favorite dessert... get creative! If you just ask them “smile”, you might get a fake one. Fake expressions are recognizable and unflattering. And NO, you can’t blame a client/model for artificial smiles – it’s your job as a photographer to capture them in the best way possible.

*Tip 4*

The moment you press the shutter: *hold your breath!* You’ll get sharper images and will secure the alignment. This is so basic, but still lots of people forget and it can make a big difference ~ especially if you’re not using a tripod, a lens with Vibration Compensation or Image Stabilization or if you’re zooming in all the way.

*Tip 3*

When photographing a woman, do it from above, it’s flattering: her eyes and cheeks will seem bigger - her chin, more delicate. She will look thinner. When photographing a man, do the opposite, from below eye level: he will seem taller, commanding; his jaw will look stronger. (Note: avoid a low POV when photographing someone who is overweight, this perspective adds pounds).

*Tip 2*

The time between 9am and 3pm on a bright sunny day could be great for flower close-ups: all that light will reveal great detail in the petals. The trick is to position yourself in a spot where you’ll create a shade over your subject, use something to block the direct sunlight or ask someone to work as a “shadow” for you.

*Tip 1*

Whenever you're photographing anything, try capturing it from different, unusual angles: photograph it from behind, from the sides, from above, from below... You'll get more fun, interesting, original images!

> If you found these helpful, please feel free to follow my FB page ~ I post tips every now and then there:

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