Free Download: Photoshop Sharpening Action

In every one of my product photos, there is at least some form of sharpening. Even though I try to always use the best camera settings yielding the most out-of-camera sharpness, a little computer sharpening never hurts.

That is exactly what this action does. Upon the press of the F2 key, the selected layer will be duplicated and a Smart Sharpen filter will be applied to the image. The settings for the sharpening are: 150% amount, 1.6px radius and 10% reduce noise. Lens Blur removal is enabled also. Shadows and highlights settings are untouched. These should work for most of your photos. What I like about this action is that, with the press of a single button, you can have an important step of your workflow completed. It really accelerates things up.

You can instantly download the file by clicking on the button below.

What other steps do you like to automate in Photoshop? Let us know in the comments below!

Cheers,

Tristan

 

 

The Best Type of Tripod Head for Product Photography

A solid tripod for still life and product photography is undeniably one of the most important tool. It helps you keep the camera in the exact same place for when you are doing focus stacking. Also, it helps you ensure that you can have the perspective that you want to have. Along with the legs, there are quite a few different types of tripod head on the market. Here is the one I most prefer and why.

A three-way tripod head

A three-way tripod head

The 3-way tripod head lets you independently control the yaw (turn it from left to right), the pitch (turn it up and down) and roll (same motion as pitch, but turned 90°) of the camera. The roll motion is particularly useful for correcting if your subject is not perfectly straight. A ballhead can achieve those motions too, but in a much less precise way. Because of the fact that you can lock in each axis with the screw/handle, a 3-way head also tend to be sturdier and not so expensive because of its simpler construction. Further, I like the presence of a bubble level, though this is less and less required because of the fact that many new cameras have a digital level built-in. Finally, they tend to not be so heavy and do not take too much space (however, I have to give this one to ballheads).

Some product and still life photographers prefer ballheads, but, personally, I like 3-way heads better. If you want to have the most rock-solid tripod head ever, you can always buy Arca-Swiss’ “The Cube”!

What types of tripod legs/heads do you prefer? Share you thoughts in the comments below!

 

Cheers,

Tristan

Is This Capture One Pro’s Missing Feature?

What is one photography technique that a lot of landscape photographers use extensively? Panorama. Lightroom, in its last big update, introduced a HDR and panorama stitching algorithm, that proves to be really quite useful. Should Phase One include a native feature like that in Capture One?

The other day, I was making a panorama for my brother using Lightroom (I have Adobe CC so I just quickly downloaded it) and thought to myself that it is really convenient to do all of your work in one software. Then, I wondered about the Capture One update and how they don’t have anything to particularly attract landscape photographers. I mean, if they keep adding more and more killer feature to let edit your photos, maybe they should let you stitch frames and make HDR with them too, right? Maybe they should have a built-in focus stacker too. Maybe they should add an innovative on-screen shooting help (for example, automatically check if your horizon is straight). They have a superb Focus Mask feature that makes it really easy to check your focus. I think that, if they added at least one or two incredibly useful features, they could win some Lightroom users over. For my part, I would love a built-in focus stacker; it would speed things up a bit. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still think that Capture One Pro is an incredible piece of software with a lot of power, I’m just thinking that it would be even better if the software had some more built-in features!

 

What do you wish would be included in Capture One Pro? Share it with us in the comments below!

Cheers,

Trista

Capture One Pro 9’s Three Best New Features

On November 30th, Phase One surprised everyone with the release of Capture One Pro 9. The new software adds a slew of new controls, some minor, some major. You can upgrade to it from C1P 7 or C1P 8 for $99 USD. The Sony-only version (which is what I am currently using) can be had for $50 USD. Here are the three features that I am the most excited for (in no particular order).

Camera battery indicator

Yup, the software now has a live indicator of the tethered camera’s battery charge percentage. I know it’s not the most revolutionary feature but it keeps the frustration of having your camera die on you out the way. It is a menu option that you have to enable.

Keywords

 

Digital Asset Management (DAM) has been really improved in the new release. Specifically, the way we work with keywords is better than ever before. The refined Keywords tool is similar to what it’s been before. The real star of the show is the Keywords Library tool. You can attribute specific keyword databases to a session or catalog. That makes it a breeze to have your DAM done for a specific shot. You can even import .TXT files with keywords in them, which lets you organize you files even better. It opens up a whole world of inter-connectivity.

Masks from Color Editor

 

The Color Editor, a über-powerful tool that I use on virtually all my shots always had the ability to edit a specific colour groupe; you could make adjustments just to the Reds, or the Greens, or the Yellows, and so on. In addition, you can now save that colour mask and use it with other tools, such as the Local Adjustment tool. It will definitely save a ton of time and add another layer of control!

Phase One has uploaded quite a few videos on their YouTube channels describing and going over the software’s best new features.

I find the new software quite interesting. The $50 USD price for the updated Sony version makes it very appealing indeed! What do you think of it ? Are you a Lightroom person? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Cheers,

Tristan

The Three Best YouTube Channels to Learn Product Photography

Learning product and still life photography doesn’t require going in a full time university program. It can very easily be self-learned at home on your computer. YouTube is home to tons of free content that offers high-quality and resourceful video tutorials. I feel like these next three YouTube channels are the best out there.


Karl Taylor’s

Karl Taylor is a renowned still life, architecture and people photographer. He currently has a lot of videos going over his still life techniques and also reviews and digital asset management tips. Karl maintains a ‘How To’ serie in collaboration with studio equipment manufacturer Broncolor and swiss photographer Urs Recher. His videos are really professional and show tried-and-true techniques. He is a definite must watch.


RGG EDU

RGG EDU’s main mission in the sell amazing quality photography tutorials ranging from beauty photography to food and product photography, just to name a few. Those tutorials are several hours long and are available for download on their website. On YouTube, amongst other things, they share pieces on the main tutorial. There are several, watch-worthy videos about product photography issued from Tony Roslund’s “The Complete Guide To Product Photography & Retouching“. There are also clips from Rob Grimm’s food photography tutorial. I definitely recommend giving those guys a watch, they are of incredible quality.

Photigy’s

Okay, okay, this one isn’t only on YouTube; it’s also on Vimeo. Combined, they have hundreds of videos. Much like RGG EDU, their main goal is to sell still life, CGI and product photography tutorials on their website. However, they do have several great videos on studio photography tips and technique freely available. They also periodically do live streams and critiques that are kept up there on the Internet. Furthermore, on their actual website, they write several blog posts a week on inspiration and tips for product photography. Overall, Photigy is a great learning resource and are highly suggested.

Those three educator are guaranteed to teach you something about product photography. They are a great starting point, yet are addressed to every skill level out there! What is your favourite place to learn product and still life photography? Tell us in the comments below!

Cheers,

Tristan