Oxford School of Photography

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Daily Archives: March 1, 2012

Replace boring skies with Photoshop selection tools

When it comes to taking photos (or trying to top up your tan) the weather inevitably will let you down, even when you’re shooting in an exotic holiday destination. This can be especially annoying if you’re trying to capture white sands, bright blue seas and clear blue skies.

But thanks to one of our favourite Photoshop tricks, we can select our start image’s drab overcast sky and use the Photoshop selection tools to replace it with a more brochure-like graduated blue. On its own, the Photoshop Magic Wand tool can select most of the picture’s original sky, even if it contains a mixture of greyscale clouds and patches of blue.

However, the Magic Wand won’t be up to the challenge of including delicate details, like our straw parasol’s fine, pointy leaves. Fortunately the Magic Wand belongs to a team of selection tools that have the combined ability to tackle just about any selection challenge.

Below we’ll show you how to use the Selection Brush to add or subtract from the Magic Wand’s initial selection to include the parasol, beach and sea, then turn the selection into a Layer Mask, and then coax back missing details, like delicate palm tree fronds.

We’ll also show you how to use the Gradient tool to create a clear blue sky from scratch, and even add a couple of clouds to add points of interest and a sense of depth to the scene.

All you’ll need for this Photoshop tutorial is Photoshop Elements 9 or higher and about 20 minutes to spare!” This is from Photoplus……MORE of this tutorial here

I was teaching about selection tools on our Photoshop Course last night

Alex was a friend from the distant past when he used our darkrooms, that is when we had darkrooms for hire. Here is information about his latest publication

Alex Ramsay Photography, news and blog

Gardens of Cornwall is published today, with a lovely text by Katherine Lambert and (of course) pictures by me. If you know the south-west then you’ll know how wonderful these gardens are – if you don’t, buy the book and then go yourself. Now is the moment to be there. One picture below, but more can be found here.

The weekend saw a quick trip to Brighton, famous for dodgy antiques and mad regency architecture among many other things. It should also be famous for the daily flypast of the vast flocks of starlings that roost under the pier, a sight that regularly draws the crowds from the slot machines and reduces them to awed silence – pictures below (clicking on them gives you a larger image):

starling flock at sunset

starling flock at sunsetstarling flock at sunset

starling flock at sunsetstarling flock at sunset

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Laos 2011 the full set

I have now uploaded the full set of images to my Flickr stream, you can see them here

5 Lessons That Model Shooting Teaches You

These little nuggets of advice are all true and part of what I teach on our Portrait Photography course starting tonight

From the Lightstalkers down-under By

“Working with models can be rewarding and frustrating, often all at the same time.  For many photographers shooting falls more into documenting, even if you are composing the shot.  If you think about it, wedding, engagement, family, landscapes, birding, photojournalism, and even macro photography are all ways to document what you see.  Working with a model is vastly different, and can truly change how you approach photography and people.  Over the last decade I’ve worked with countless people in the studio and on location for shoots, here’s the lessons I’ve learned.”..….MORE

Photo by: ZOBEL

The Great Escape 2012 New Music Festival – Brighton

The connection to photography is tenuous with this post, however we will be in Brighton at this excellent festival of new music as official photographer for the world renowned music blog The Recommender Between the 10th and 12th May we will be down by the seaside without our buckets and spades (Brighton has pebbles) but with our cameras to record the very best in new music.