We have another Photo Premium tutorial exclusively available to Premium members today. In this tutorial, we look at some of the styles or effects that photographers usually use on their images to give the final result a certain look and feel that better communicates the message hidden behind their shots. Learn more at the jump!
For best results, a photographer has to keep in mind what message a certain look communicates and what purpose it serves, even before getting into the technicalities of how to achieve each one.
It is also very important to keep in mind that while image styles are created in the digital darkroom, some scenes and subjects just tend to bring out the best of a certain look and shine work with it.
Back when film was the only medium around to shoot with, the variety of available image effects was somewhat limited and well defined by the characteristics of each film type or manufacturer. With digital advancements, the image effects that can be produced are actually more than anyone even cares to find. So let’s get to it:
A Glowing Look
Glowing is an effect that can be produced by actually encouraging light flare. Flare is seen as unwanted rays of light, or sometimes halos and circular white outlines, that are created by the refraction of light hitting the lens directly. When light passes through sharp edges or goes through narrow slits, the rays are deflected and produce fringes of light and dark bands.
When used mindfully though, flare can be incorporated into the image to get that interesting glowing look that feels as if light is pouring out of the frame. This is done by intentionally placing the light source (such as the sun) within the edges of the frame and shooting straight into the light. I should also mention that you need to be carefullooking directly into a bright light source.
This effect is more effective if the whole glow is captured within your frame, and not cut off at the edges of the image. Although it does add contrast to your image (sometimes more than your sensor can handle), flare can add a very warm and indulging feeling to many landscapes, cityscapes, and outdoor portraits.
For best results, experiment with different exposures to get that awesome look you want. Sometimes overexposure might be needed to capture the full effect and convey a dreamy look.
Old, un-coated lenses accentuate this look best as modern and more expensive lenses have been made correct extreme flare.
Photo by Meyer Felix
Photo by Neil Krug
Photo by Neil Krug
The Hazy Look
Photographing in a thick atmosphere, such as fog and mist, can yield very compelling, moody, and dramatic results. Fog is usually present in the evening through early morning. It changes intensity, shape and location with time. We are not aware of it because of the ability of the human visual system to adjust to changing conditions quickly and flexibly.
Haze can also be a product of flare. It gives photos a flatter look by cutting down on contrast as well as introducing a subtle hint of blurring.
Because haze somewhat blurs out internal texture of surfaces, elements in your scene might appear smooth, but the outline is often emphasized and accentuated to some degree. This could help you capture striking, bold silhouettes.
While shooting photos in mist and fog can yield that interesting hazy look, making an exposure can be a little tricky. The somewhat bright quality of fog makes air more reflective. This can causes your camera or light meter to under expose the shot. Fog also acts as a large natural diffusing softbox, which makes everything much more flatly lit.
What you need to do is dial dial your exposure up a little. You can make your shutter speed longer, your aperture wider or your ISO higher.
The hazy look can also be replicated either by placing a soft-focus filter in front of your lens at the time of shooting, or digitally using Photoshop or any image-editing software you might prefer.
To replicate the hazy look digitally, simply make a copy of your image on a new layer on top of the original. Apply some blurring to the copy, and then using a mask apply your blurred results to highlight areas of your image. Play with layer blending modes and opacity till you get the result that best suits your photo for this particular look.
Photo by coyote-agile
Photo by Per Ola Wiberg
Tune In for More
Didn’t hear about Photo Premium? You can find out more here. It’s an additional, in-depth article, published each week just for our Premium subscribers (on top of all our regular free content!)
Join Premium and Expand Your Photography Knowledge!
This is a really interesting technique to perfect, and you’ll be really pleased with the result! This Premium tutorial will help you get started with ease.
For those unfamiliar, the family of Tuts+ sites runs a premium membership service. For $19 per month, you gain access to exclusive premium tutorials, screencasts, and freebies from Phototuts+, Nettuts+, Psdtuts+, Cgtuts+,Activetuts+, Aetuts+, Audiotuts+, and Vectortuts+! For the price of a pizza, you’ll learn from some of the best minds in the business.
What Do You Want to See on Premium?
Is there a specific technical aspect of photography that you really want to learn more about? How about a very advanced technique that you could never quite grasp fully?
We really want to make our Premium content as relevant and useful to you as possible, so do send through your comments and requests to email@example.com. Let us know what you want to see, and we’ll commission top-notch photographers to teach you!