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Photography for Photoshop

Lesson 14 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Photography for Photoshop

Lesson 14 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

14. Photography for Photoshop

Ben shows you some things you might shoot with Photoshop in mind, such as taking a panorama.
Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The lesson is about shooting for Photoshop, specifically focusing on techniques such as panorama stitching, HDR photography, combining multiple exposures using blending modes, light painting, and reducing noise by taking multiple exposures.


  1. What is shooting for Photoshop?

    Shooting for Photoshop is the practice of thinking about the editing process in Photoshop while taking photographs in the field.

  2. How can you stitch multiple photographs together to create a panorama in Photoshop?

    You can use the Photoshop photo merge feature or open the images in Camera Raw and merge them using the merge to panorama option.

  3. What is HDR photography and how can it be achieved?

    HDR photography involves capturing a wider range of brightness in a scene than is possible with a single photograph. This can be achieved by taking multiple exposures of the same scene and merging them in Photoshop or in Camera Raw.

  4. What is light painting and how can it be done?

    Light painting is a technique where you use a flashlight or other light source to selectively illuminate parts of a scene during a long exposure. This can be done by taking multiple exposures and combining them in Photoshop using blending modes.

  5. How can you reduce noise in an image using multiple exposures?

    By taking multiple exposures of the same scene and then combining them in Photoshop, you can reduce noise by averaging out the noise in each exposure and creating a cleaner final image. The lesson covers techniques for reducing noise in images using Photoshop, creating time-lapse videos using image sequences, and using multiple exposures to create a unique effect in photographs, such as filling in gaps in waterfalls. The instructor also mentions additional resources available to those who have purchased the course, including bonus videos, a comprehensive handbook, practice images, and daily homework assignments.


  1. How can you reduce noise in images using Photoshop?

    Load the images into Photoshop layers, convert them into a smart object, and apply the stack mode "median" to reduce noise.

  2. How can you create a time-lapse video using Photoshop?

    Capture a series of images at regular intervals, resize them to fit the desired video size (e.g., 1920x1080 for HD video), and open the image sequence in Photoshop as an image sequence. Adjust the playback speed and export the video.

  3. What is the purpose of the "image sequence" checkbox when opening a file in Photoshop?

    It allows you to open a series of images as a sequence, which is useful for creating time-lapse videos.

  4. How can you create a unique effect in photographs using multiple exposures?

    Take multiple short exposures of the subject, such as a waterfall, and set each exposure layer to the blending mode "lighten" to fill in gaps and create the appearance of more water flowing.

  5. What additional resources are available to those who have purchased the course?

    Bonus videos, a comprehensive handbook, practice images, and daily homework assignments.

Lesson Info

Photography for Photoshop

We're back with one more session of Photoshop CC, the Complete Guide. We're in week three. Here are our topics for week three. We have a whole bunch of great things to get into and this particular session is Shooting for Photoshop. What do I mean by shooting for Photoshop? What I mean is thinking about Photoshop when you're in the field taking photographs so that you can capture things unique, knowing that you're going to do something in Photoshop to complete those images. Let's take a look at some examples. We will jump into Photoshop. First, let's talk about some standard things you do when shooting for Photoshop, one of which would be a panorama. You probably wouldn't take a panorama of multiple photographs unless you knew you could somehow combine them together and if you have Photoshop that would be one of the choices for how to combine them together. Here I have a bunch of images to stitch. The first one we will start with is one of a waterfall where I just did not a very wide pa...

n but I did some. I wanted to take this with my camera tilted vertically so that I could get a higher resolution image because you have more information on the vertical end of the photo when you stitch them together. I'm going to select those three images. Then there are two different ways I can stitch them together. The first method for combining these together is to go to the tools menu in Photoshop to choose Photoshop and to choose photo merge. This is the way you had to do it in older versions of Photoshop. When you choose that choice it will bring you into this screen where on the left side you can tell it how you are going to allow Photoshop to distort your pictures in order to get them to fit together. I would usually choose the choice of auto because most of the time it does an okay job and only if it doesn't do a good job would I try this process over again and force it into one of these other settings. We will use one of these other settings in a creative way in a little while but for now we are just going to use auto. In fact I'm going to leave everything that is in here at default settings. The one thing I might want to consider is if I have a newer version of Photoshop. There's a checkbox at the bottom called content aware fill transparent areas and what that will do is if your panorama does not end up being a perfect rectangle, which is almost never is, any areas that are undefined, any areas that would look like a checkerboard, Photoshop would automatically fill in. Using the content aware feature where usually you have to make a selection of that area, you would go to the edit menu and you would choose fill. You would set it to content aware. By turning on that checkbox, it's going to do it for us. I'm going to click okay and we will see if it can stitch those images together. When using that particular feature, it's important that you preadjust your pictures so that the brightness, the color, the contrast have been optimized because, that is if you shoot in raw format that is, because afterwards you will no longer have a raw file using this particular technique, and therefore it is best to get the highest quality out of your picture while it's still a raw file. In a moment once this is done, I will show you an alternative method for stitching the panorama which is going to make it much more versatile. In this particular case it might not even do a good job with this panorama, just looking at my layers panel, seeing what it sees. Once it's done, I will show you the second method. In fact, I can start showing you the second method while this thing is not even done yet. I'm going to go back to bridge, because that's where we are going to do it. I'm going to select the same three images and this time I'm going to go to the file menu and choose open in camera raw. In bridge I went to the file menu which was open in camera raw and when I did, since I had more than one image selected, on the left side of my screen I see those images. What I would like to do is select all of those images so I know Photoshop will consider all of them when creating the panorama. I can do that by typing command A for select all, control A in Windows. Then just above those thumbnails there is a little icon that allows me to get to a side menu. That's also where I will find the choice that's called select all so if you don't like keyboard shortcuts you could use it. Then in only the newest versions of Photoshop will you have the choice of merge to panorama. What's special about that, this will come up on occasion but not frequently. These particular images were shot with a special lens called a tilt shift lens. If you happen to shoot with a tilt shift lens, it will complain. If you don't, you won't see this on the screen. What's special about this is that when you merge your images together using camera raw, the end result is still a raw file. What that means is that it's not critical that you preadjust the images. The quality of the adjustments you could make after the panorama has been stitched are just as high quality as working on the original raw files and to me that's a huge advantage to using this particular technique so the vast majority of the time this is what I would use. The other thing is, when we did it the manual way, the old way, which is what I was showing you a few minutes ago, there were choices on the left side of my screen but there were no previews. If I were to switch between those choices I couldn't see what the end result was without actually clicking okay to have it stitched and show me that end result. Here I do have a preview. There's only three choices for what's known as the projection but if I click between them it can regenerate the preview here and show me it. Not all of these will be usable though. Sometimes it will complain like this particular one, that it can't be used but it is nice having a preview where you don't have to restart the process in order to use a different setting. Then only in the new version do you have this area on the right side called auto crop and a slider called boundary warp. Let's see what they do. If I turn off auto crop, it will show me the full image that it ended up creating and it's usually not a rectangular image. If I turn on auto crop it will automatically crop to the largest rectangular image it could get out of that result. With auto crop turned on you see it's cropping the image. Watch what boundary warp does. I'll first do it with auto crop turned off and look at the empty areas of the image and as I bring this up, it's going to distort my picture to bend it to try to fill those empty areas and on some images that will work perfectly fine because there's nothing near the edge of the photograph that has like a, if you had a bathroom tile or something over there where if you warped it, you bent it at all, you would notice that the grout lines in the tiles aren't straight. If you don't have that kind of content near the edge of your picture, often times you can get away with just bending the picture out to fill those ares and if so you can use boundary warp. Now most of the time when I use boundary warp though I have the auto crop check box turned on. Then what I see is when it's turned all the way down, is I see the undistorted version. Then as I bring boundary warp up where it can fill more of those areas, the cropping becomes wider and wider so I can judge how much can I get away with and will it look good? When I'm done I can hit the merge button and when I do it will ask me where it should save the end result. In my case I will put it on my desktop because that's going to create a brand new file that contains the panorama. It will be a DNG file. A DNG file is Adobe's version of a raw file. It has the same qualities as a raw file which means that had I not pre adjusted the image here in camera raw, I would still be able to get the highest quality out of it. It's often much easier to figure out which settings to use after you have already see it stitched together into a wide panorama. I will just click done here so we've created it. Remember that the manual way of doing this, the old way of doing it, was to instead select those same images, choose tools, choose Photoshop, and choose photo merge. I would use that only if the feature I just showed you a moment ago didn't work, didn't produce a good result, and sometimes it just can't stitch things. It just, there wasn't enough overlap between the pictures or something that makes it so it can't, and this is using slightly different technology so it's just another chance to possibly get it stitched. When I chose that though, let's see what our end result looked like. Remember I left it running in the background and I said let's switch over to bridge and do it the new way. It actually didn't do a very good result, if you look at it. Isn't the result on the other one look wide and look normal? In this particular image, it just looks really odd. It doesn't look anything like the actual scene that I was photographing, so it's unusual for it to do that but in this particular case since I used a tilt shift lens, it can get a little bit confused. Now when you do stitching of panoramas, you don't have to just do horizontal ones. Here I have a vertical panorama. In this particular case, there was a table right outside this store where if I were to go to the other side of the table, meaning walk further away, the table would be blocking your view. Imagine like you have a store and right outside is a table full of goods for sale and if you back up you're going to include the table and I wanted to include just the shop. I had to stand in front of the table when I shot it and I didn't have a wide enough lens so I just tilted my camera down took one shot, tilted up to choose the other. I can take those two images, I go to the file menu in bridge and choose open in camera raw, and on the left side I can say select all because merge to panorama is not available if you don't have more than one picture selected. So I select all and merge to panorama. I've done this with vertical panoramas that were like ten images wide, it can do that. In this particular case it had to bend the image but with boundary warp it's kind of unbending it, which is kind of fun to get a good balance of the two. Because I was so close to that building that when I tilted way up and way down there was quite a bit of distortion in the end result but here you can see with boundary warp. Also I might turn off auto crop so I have that extra space because I might choose to crop this in Photoshop because I could always fill these empty areas up here with the content to where fill command, so I can always leave that turned off. When I hit the merge button, that's when it's going to ask me where to save the image. Then I'll click done. They were saved on my desktop so that they don't show up within this screen. One other thing we can do is we can even merge together more than one image that was shot with a fisheye lens. A fisheye lens usually bends the horizon as it gets closer to the edge of the frame. Any straight line that is near the edge of your frame will be bent. That should make it extremely difficult to stitch the images, so let's see if it can. Here is a panorama shot with a fisheye. I was at this huge cross, and watch what happens as that cross gets near the edge of that frame. See how it bends? That's due to the fisheye lens. If you need to stitch together images that were shot with a fisheye, what you need to do is select those images, and this is one time that I would want to use photo merge because it has some special features for stitching panorama shot with fisheye lenses. So tools, Photoshop, photo merge. Now in here in order to stitch images that were shot with a fisheye lens, I must first have it set to auto. It doesn't work with the other choices. Secondly, down at the bottom I need to turn on the top three check boxes. If I turn on the top three check boxes, then it's able to do it and you're welcome to turn on the bottom one as well if you want it to fill the empty areas. I'm going to click okay and let's see what happens. Now when it's done it's not going to be a perfectly normal panorama in that it will have some distortion. We can correct for that distortion. We mentioned how to do so when we talked about filters, but I can give you a quick reminder. You can see that I have my individual layers there. I don't need to work with the individual layers so I will merge them together by choosing merge visible. Then I would usually go to the filter menu. I would convert for smart filters so that any change that I make with the filter is something I can go back to later and make further refinements. It wouldn't be permanent. Then I'm going to choose adaptive wide angle. Even choosing adaptive wide angle, it's going to try to start correcting for the image, but it didn't quite correct the way I would like it to be. I don't want my horizon line to be so bent. There's a tool in the upper left that is active by default. This one. And with that tool active, I will click where the horizon would meet the right edge of the image and I'm going to drag and just follow the horizon. As long as it produces a line that matches the shape of the horizon then I will continue across the image. If it ever starts to deviate then I'm going to stop. Like right now, do you see how it's going up into the sky? So I'm going to just say how far could I go? I'll probably go to the middle here. That should work fine. If I were to just let go right now, it would turn this into a straight line. It doesn't mean that that straight line is horizontal though. Then, I could right click and force this to be horizontal. If I right click on it I have that choice. Now it's horizontal. Or when I'm doing it to the opposite side of the image, if I want it to be horizontal from the beginning of me trying this, then what I will do is just hold down shift. Shift means turn this into horizontal when I let go. So you see how I can do that. Then you see the curvature at the top of the cross? So I'll click on this and as long as Photoshop can figure out that it is curved, meaning that it produces a curve of the same shape I can put it right across there. I'll hold shift to say I want it perfectly horizontal, and you see how it's straightening it. I'll do the same thing for the vertical part of the cross. Hopefully it will line up, because it's aware of what kind of lens I shot this with and so it knows about some of the distortion. It just needs to know what part of the image is important to fix. Now this isn't perfect by any means. The cross is not equally, extended on each side. It might have been my positioning as far as where I shot the photo, the angle and such. Considering what we started with which was a bunch of images shot with a fisheye lens, it's crazy it was even able to stitch it at all. So the fact that I can get to this point, to me, is just wild. Just remember when you stitch the image, I did it not using camera raw, I used the old manual way which is what was available in previous versions of Photoshop. What I did at the bottom, there were three check boxes that need to be turned on and I had to use the choice called auto to get it to be able to do that. Then another typical task when it comes to shooting and thinking about Photoshop when you do it would be HDR. HDR stands for high dynamic range and it simply means obtaining a wider brightness range than you could achieve in a single photograph. As an example, here is a little church in Iceland and I could choose to expose for what is outside those windows and I could easily get the detail that is out there, but if I do the interior of the church you can't see a thing. If I attempt to brighten this in camera raw, the problem is that noise appears in the dark part of the picture. The darker it is the noisier it is so even if there was any data in there I was able to extract by brightening it, it's going to be really noisy. So then I could take another picture that's brighter, but that's not bright enough. I still can't really see what's in the image, so I will take another image that is brighter. I will continue to do that until I can start to easily see what is in the church. Now if I was a whatever that is, piano or organ, salesperson and this was my image I would probably want one additional picture even brighter so I could see down at the bottom of this instrument and stuff because right now I can't easily see too much detail down there so if that was a very important component to me, I would want even one more brighter. When I'm shooting HDR, what I do is I set my camera to auto bracketing where if I press and hold the shutter, it will take more than one picture and then I press and hold the shutter it takes three pictures and I can, depending on the camera, tell it to take more than three like five or seven or nine, and I review the picture I just took, the sequence of images. I look at the darkest photograph that it captured and I just look and say did it capture highlight detail, meaning detail in the brightest part of the scene. What I want is, my camera, I can get it to flash if anything is turned white, solid white. I call it the blinkies but it's a setting. Sometimes it's called the highlight warning on your camera. It causes white areas to blink. What I want in my darkest photograph is no areas blinking unless the area is something so bright I wouldn't look right at it, like the noonday sun. I won't stare at the noonday sun, it will hurt my eyes. If it's a search light out there or something else, fine. If it's blinking then it has white in it and it would hurt your eyes to see it. Otherwise I want, in my darkest exposure, to see the detail. I don't want anything blinking white. Then I get brighter, brighter, brighter. Let's say that's what my camera captured. I will look at that brightest shot and just say is it easy to see what's in the dark part of the picture? If the answer is no then I need more than three pictures. I might need four, five, well I don't have five. I only have... So it depends on the scene how many pictures you need. For most images, three exposures that are two stops different in brightness works fine for most things, but if you're on the interior of a building and where it's outside is really bright like noonday sun out there, you might need more than three. I'm going to take this sequence of images that I have and there are two methods I could use to combine them. The first method would be the old school way, which means the way you would do it in older versions of Photoshop. If I go to the tools menu, choose Photoshop, there is a choice called merge to HDR pro. If I choose that, it will start to combine these images together and then it will present me with a screen with some options. This is a choice that I used to have to use all the time in older versions of Photoshop but I rarely use these days. Over here I have some adjustment sliders I could use. I could try to bring out some highlights and shadows, gamma means overall brightness, that kind of thing. This I have pretty much stopped using altogether. Instead there is a newer way and that is I would take those same images, go to file menu and choose open in camera raw. You can do that even if you shoot JPEG files. Camera raw can open JPEGs, TIFs, raw files. On the left side of my screen there is a little pop up menu, just little bars you click on to get to it. I would choose select all to select all these pictures. Then on the same side menu there's a choice called merge to HDR. Only in the newer versions of Photoshop. If you don't have that feature in your version of Photoshop, you will have to use the alternative that I showed you. There is a weird tip related to that old method if you happen to have an old version of Photoshop, while I'm waiting for this. In there was a pop up menu that said "what kind of end result do you want?" And you had the choice of 16 bit, that kind of stuff. I believe there's a choice in there called 32 bit and if you set it to 32 bit, all the adjustment sliders below will go away. If you set it to 32 bit and you click okay, then save the result as a TIF file. TIF file format. Then you can adjust the end result in camera raw and it will look much better than if you didn't know that trick. I don't have to go through that in the new versions because it has this feature we are using currently, that we're doing in camera raw. Now there's some red covering up my picture and that's there because of this feature down here called deghost. I'm going to turn that off for now. Then we are going to explore that later. Right now if you ever see an exclamation point in the upper right corner, it means it's not done updating the screen. It just means, hey hold on a second, I'm still calculating. It might change when that goes away. In the upper right we have a few choices. We have align images and that makes it so I could shoot HDR handheld. I wouldn't do handheld HDR in this kind of situation where the interior of that church is so dark that if I'm shooting handheld the brightest exposure would be too long of an exposure to be sharp handheld. When you're outside, like noonday sun kind of time, you can easily shoot HDR handheld. This will align your images. Below that is a choice called auto tone. If you don't have that turned on your image will look rather dark and dull and what that does is the same thing in general as being in camera raw and there's an auto button that just tries to adjust some of the sliders for you to get you started with your adjustment. It's just a nice way so it's easier to preview what you have. Then below that we have deghost and if there was any movement in your scene, if there was a flag flapping in the breeze, there was water with a ripply top on it where it's going to be different in each exposure, then if you don't turn on deghost you can end up with kind of a double image where a flag is in two different positions overlaid on each other, that kind of thing. When you set deghost, you have three settings for how aggressive it is trying to tackle the motion. If I set it to low and I turn on this check box called show overlay it's going to show me the part of the image where it detected that there might have been motion and where it's trying to compensate for it. Let's say we did have a flag flapping in the wind, what if that only covered up half the flag and you could tell that the rest was still flapping. Then you could set it to medium or even set it to high and do that until this red covers up all the areas that had the motion you were concerned with. The motion could also be people walking through your scene where they are just in a different position in each photograph. I wouldn't automatically set it to high because it can degrade the quality of those areas because it's going to limit which exposures it can take from for that area and if it happens to have to take from one of the really dark exposures it can be all noisy in there and things. In this particular case I don't actually think there was much motion at all in this scene. I don't see people walking through the outside out there and all that so I'm even going to have it turned off. Then it's up to you if you have auto tone on or off. I often actually like to have it off. I click on merge because, let me just save this and I will save it to my desktop, because it simply determines what settings you are going to end up with here in camera raw. Are these sliders going to already have been moved or not? I just like to be able to see what I have and start fresh. It's a personal choice. A lot of people, I would say a majority of people, probably like auto tone being on. Then in this case I want to adjust this image. I would like to see more detail in the areas outside the window and so I can take the highlight slider and bring it down and as I do you can see the detail coming into the window. Then I would like to see the detail in the darker part of the picture so I'm going to bring the shadow slider up to see if I can get that. I have maxed out the shadow slider. I can't go any higher. When we talk about camera raw, you will have learned that if you max out the shadow or the highlight slider there is a way to get around it and what it is is you go to the exposure slider and move it in the direction you wish you could move the one that is maxed out. I wish I could move the shadow slider further this way. Do that until you like the shadows. The problem is the exposure slider affects your whole image so that will have caused the bright part of your picture to get too bright so to compensate then you're going to come down here to the highlight slider and move it in the opposite direction that you moved the other sliders. There will be a limit to how far you can move it but that's usually the solution. I will fine tune what I have here. Contrast will also help to control how much of a difference there is between bright and dark. This is just like any other file at this point as far as how you go about adjusting it using camera raw. What's nice about this method is that unlike the old way of doing this, the way where I mentioned you had to select the images you chose, tools, Photoshop, merge to HDR pro, this is a raw file when I'm done. Using the other method it's not and that means adjusting things like white balance. It gives you a much higher quality result than it would if you used the other technique so it's very much preferable I would say. When you are done you can just hit the done button and you will end up with a DNG file. I believe I saved mine on my desktop and you're good to go. If you don't need a DNG file because you need to supply it to someone else, you need a JPEG or a TIF, open that image in Photoshop and just go to the file menu and choose save as, or in camera raw in the lower left there is a button called something like save image and in there you can say make this a JPEG or a TIF and it will save out a copy to give to somebody else. Here's another example. This is the exposure I needed to get the detail of the interior of this particular structure. Then I took another one two stops darker, and another one two stops dark to get the sky, but in this shot look at how dark the interior is. If I try to brighten that up using Photoshop it will be so noisy that I won't like it because the dark parts of your image, the darker it is the more noise there is. If I take those three images and combine them, I can easily see the detail in all of those areas using HDR. You can even do an HDR panorama. HDR panorama? What you do is when you're shooting the panorama, you will be taking a bracket of exposures, most of the time three, and so on one side of my scene I go click, click, click and get that part, then I pan over a little bit and click, click, click, get another, and pan over a little bit click, click, click, and keep doing that until I have gone all the way across the scene. Then what you would do is first merge each section as an HDR, take that set of exposures, merge it as an HDR and save the result. Take the next section and do the same thing until you have merged each one so you would end up with one DNG file for each one of those sections of your panorama. Take those resulting DNG files and stitch them as a panorama and it works. I've done it many times. I don't have an example in front of me though. Let's talk about other times when I'm going to think about Photoshop when I'm in the field. Here I am shooting through a broken window and my camera is very close to the glass of the window. Any time you are very close to something it is difficult to get deep depth of field. It's difficult to get the thing that's closest to you sharp and something really far away sharp at the same time. In this case I focused on the sign that was in the distance and took a photograph, and before I walked away, I changed my focus ring and I took a second one so that I have one with the glass sharp and I have one with the sign sharp. I have to be careful because if I look at the ground, in here is see sharp ground, sharp ground. If it suddenly turned blurry about here, and in the other shot it was also blurry there in the middle I would need a third shot, I would need one halfway in between so that the ground in one of the shots was sharp. If it went blurry halfway between the sign and glass in the first shot and it was also blurry halfway between the sign and the glass in the second shot, it means I need three shots. I need to get that middle ground as well, just so you're aware that it's not always just two photographs. I'm going to take those two photographs and select them here in bridge and then I want to combine them together. To combine them together I'm first going to tell Photoshop to put them in layers. So load files into Photoshop layers will be the first thing. Then once it's done that, I need to select both layers and I want Photoshop to look for what is sharpest in each layer and only keep that, meaning compare the two layers and if the top layer is sharper than the bottom layer then keep that part of the top layer. If somewhere else the bottom layer is sharper than the top, keep the bottom layer. Keep only what is sharpest. It can do that because any time something is sharp and in focus, it has more contrast than when something is out of focus, so it's going to be searching for contrast and comparing the two layers and saying which of the two has more contrast in each area. To do that I'm going to go to the edit menu and I'm going to choose auto blend layers. Auto blend layers. Use default settings. The default setting is stack images. Click okay. Then let's see what our end result looks like. I will choose undo, before, after. Do you see that? Now we have the sharp and the, the sharp from both. Let's try it on a different picture where you can see when you need to take more than two photographs. Look at this photo. The near iguana that is sharp, notice that it gets out of focus right behind his head. Here the far one is sharp but just forward of it it is out of focus, so this area down in here that's in between the two is always out of focus isn't it? So I should have had a third shot. Also, I'm going to take these two images and choose load files into Photoshop layers. You also have to be careful if you shot handheld because that means the position of things might not be the same. Here, do you see the shift when I hide the top layer? You can try to use the command called auto align layers which would attempt to align them but since there's a large area that is out of focus in each image, it doesn't look the same as what is on the other layer so it won't know to align them. It won't know that the blurry iguana is the same as the sharp one, as far as subject matter goes. If you were in the class when we talked about blending modes then you would know that there is a blending mode that compares layers and it makes things black when they are identical and if they are not every going to be identical it just gets darker as things are closer to lining up and that's one called difference mode. If I turn on difference mode, I see some shades in here and I just move this around. I see that it gets brighter if I move in some ways and it gets darker if I go others and right when it's as dark as I can get it, probably right around there, is probably where it lines up. Even though the two layers are quite a bit different because one is blurry and one is not in each area, let's see if I turn off the eyeball here, they are pretty close to lining up now aren't they? So you see how that difference mode helps me out. Now I'm going to select those two layers and I'm going to go to my edit menu, choose auto blend and just use default settings. It should look weird because the part in between the two is going to still be out of focus. When you do this or you stitch a panorama, on occasion it will look like you have what I call worms, which is, do you see this little worm here? Those are not actually in your picture. If you were to save this as a flattened image, JPEG file, they wouldn't be there. If you were to print it, they wouldn't be there. It's just an artifact of viewing your image at an odd percentage of magnification. If you were to zoom up to an even magnification or get to 100 percent, 100 percent is the only truly accurate view of your image, you would find that those artifacts are not there. Watch this area, I think it was right there where the artifact was. You will see that they suddenly show up right about there, and it just has to do with your trying to show so much information on a screen that doesn't have pixels that small to show you everything that on occasion there are some little errors. If you want that to go away just tell it to merge those layers together, so you are done. Watch those little worms that are in there, they will go away, because now it had to combine those layers at full size and then it recalculated this small view and since it was one piece, it didn't get those little pieces. The reason those pieces were showing up, if I choose undo, is those are the seams of where it decided to stop using one image and start using the other. Then let's look at shooting with flash and doing light painting because it's something I do quite frequently. Here I shot an image at night. This is an airstream trailer. I used a flash, the same kind of flash you put on the hot shoe of your camera. I just took it off the hot shoe of my camera. It has a test button on it and I can manually fire it. I had a set of colored gels, just thin colored pieces of plastic that I could hold in front of it to change the color but I only had one flash. What I would have loved to have done was to put one flash on the left, one flash on the right, put another flash inside the trailer, put another flash somewhere else and create this whole lit scene, but I was too cheap, I was walking around with one flash in my hand. I put my camera on a tripod, I take my flash, I put the colored gel on it and I pop it off with that orange gel. Then I do a walk to the right of my camera, I put a green gel on it, and I pop it. Then I go inside and I pop it with a blue gel. Then I use a red gel, I put it right underneath my tripod and pointed it across the ground near ground level, and then finally in the far distance, I doubt you can see it, that's a motel sign sign in the distance. I ran out there really close to the motel sign, pointed up at it an popped it. Well I can take those images and end up with one that looks like I popped them all at the same time as if I had one, two, three, four, five flashes. How do I do it? I select those images, I choose tools, Photoshop, load files into Photoshop layers. That's going to stack these images. When I'm done, as long as I was on a tripod where these images line up, then all I need to do is select, looks like there was an extra image in there. Let me try one thing here. I didn't realize that I had selected an extra image. There was a larger picture in the same folder and so it caused it to have some extra space. When you're actually shooting things like this you won't have that, they will all be the same size. I had to do something quick just to clean up my file. I'm going to select all those images in my layers panel. I just clicked on the top layer, I held shift, and I clicked on the bottom layer, and then all I need to do is change this menu to a choice called lighten and it just combined them all together. I'll show you another example. Here are some exposures. In this case, I didn't even bring a flash. I found a flashlight. My friend had a flashlight, we went to this place and here I am doing a long exposure moving the flashlight around to control what's lit. I still have the colored gels. You can get colored gels, there's a company called Rosco or Rosco Lux is I think their product and I got a Rosco Lux sample pack. It's like when you go to the paint store and you get the little sample chips of paint. Well you can get sample chips of theatrical gels and they're small but they're big enough to hold in front of a flashlight, a medium sized flashlight, and that's all I'm using. Tools, Photoshop, load into Photoshop layers. If you want to learn how to do light painting, if you have never done it before, I have a free PDF that gives you the basics of how to get started with it. If you go to my website which is, that is, I also have an extended ebook about light painting and if you go to the page for that on my website, you will find a shortened version of the same PDF that's just enough info to get you started with light painting so if you go to, go to the area that talks about an ebook about light painting and then scroll down, look for the free part of it. So anyway I will do this again. I will set it to lighten mode and it just combined all those together. We can then mask each individual layer if you would like so that if there is an area of a layer that you don't like, you just paint it out. Do you see the green that's on the ground over here? I don't like that. So I turn off the individual eyeballs one at a time in my layers panel to figure out where is it. It's in this layer. I click on that layer and I add a layer mask. I grab my paintbrush tool. Painting with black, I can come over here and just paint it out, but I need to make sure that my opacity is at 100. The other layers will fill in there. We have multiple layers to fill that area in. If there's something else I don't like. Maybe I don't like the ground near the corner being lit like that, then I will just paint it out. I have my layer mask there. What do you have? One I was looking at a different layer. Sorry I was looking up above. We are going to work on the layer that I was actually turning the eyeball on and off on so I will add a mask to the top layer, that's the one that had this in it. So I can fine tune it. If I think something is a little too bright, I click on it and I lower the opacity at the top of my layers panel so I can control how strong it is. By doing so I can click on all sorts of layers, adding masks and if I don't like things like the reflection of the tail light on the bumper, I can get rid of it as long as I can figure out what layer it's on. It's only if I were to add a mask to every one of these layers and paint in the same area on every one of the layers would I eventually see a checkerboard show up, meaning I have told it to hide something on every single layer all the way through, but otherwise as long as one layer is sitting there, you're fine. Even if I did that where I painted on every single layer, all I would do is add a layer full of black at the very very bottom so if I poked a hole through every layer, I see blackness, lack of light. So if you want to learn how to do light painting go on my website, look for the free PDF that is on the page for my ebook on light painting and try it out. It's really fun and if you do multiple exposures like these, combining them in Photoshop is relatively easy and gives you a nice looking end result. Some people need to reduce noise on images because they end up having issues with it. I want to show you one special technique for reducing noise. I personally don't use this technique much but I have been asked by multiple people how to do it so I want to show you. If I wanted to reduce noise, I would increase the amount of light in a room, use a flash, that kind of stuff. It's not often that I need long exposures and such. Looking at this image, to me it looks noisy and I hope you can see it on the video feed because I know with the compression it's sometimes hard to see. To me it looks very noisy. So what I did was I took more than one picture. Put my camera on a tripod, left the exposure identical, then I took another picture. Now when I take another picture, when you compare the noise in this picture to noise in this picture, it takes a while for it to switch between the two, they are in different positions, aren't they? The noise seems to move around between images. So if I were to take a bunch of pictures and by a bunch I mean maybe a dozen, then I could select those images and in this case I'm not going to select them all because it would take too long for my computer to wait and finish the process, so I will take three just to show you the technique. I'm going to take those images and choose to load files into Photoshop layers, same thing we used for the light painting images. Once I have loaded them into Photoshop layers, I need to select all the layers that show up in the layers panel and I need to turn them into a smart object. To turn something into a smart object you can choose layer, smart objects, convert to smart object. That will look as if those images have been merged together but it still has all the individual pieces. Then I'm going to return to the layer menu, I'm going to return to the menu called smart objects, and then I'm going to find a special choice called stack mode and I'm going to set it to a choice called median. Let me open a version of this file where that's already been done so that we don't have to wait for it to do the stacking and everything and I can show you the difference. I'll just choose layer, smart objects, stack mode, and I'm going to set this now to median. Let's see what happens to noise. I'll choose undo afterwards. Before I see a lot of noise. After, it's lessened. I can get rid of even more noise by using more shots. Take 20 shots, take 30 shots, whatever. It's looking for what's consistent between those images. Since the noise is in a different position in each image, what's consistent is the real detail in the picture and so therefore we can get closer to a crisp, sharp, image. So what did we do? We load files into Photoshop layers, we selected all the layers, we went to the layer menu, turned it into a smart object, and right after doing that went here to stack mode, median. Weird technique but it can work. I personally don't need to do that much but I did have requests for it because it's not something that you can discover on your own so a lot of people want to know. Let's talk about time lapse. If you put your camera on a tripod, you can capture one thing and over time, in fact let me go to a different series, here is Yellowstone National Park for instance. Steam is constantly moving so take one shot, take another shot. If your camera, like a Nikon camera, has a timer built in where you can tell it to take a picture every four seconds, then if we suddenly play back those pictures taken every four seconds at the normal video rate of 30 frames per second or close to it, we can speed up time. If you're going to do that and you're shooting with a high resolution camera, your camera is going to capture much more information that you truly need for a video because it's high res, it's like, my camera is I don't know if it's 42 megapixels or something, that's a massive amount of data. So the first thing I would do after capturing these images is I would select the sequence I would like to use. I would go to the tools menu, choose Photoshop, and choose image processor and see if Photoshop is awake or not. Of course not. Usually it doesn't bring up that screen that I'm getting quite as frequently as I am here but for some reason it wants to. This is the image processor. I would tell it to save my images as JPEGs and I would tell it to resize them to fit and the size for video, HD video, is 1920 by 1080. That's the number of pixels in the width and height of HD video. You could turn on this, I'm actually not sure if that's going to matter but I happen to feel like turning it on. Here you have a quality setting. For now you might as well set it to as high as it goes which I believe might be 12. If you're not sure, type in a massive number like nine billion and when you click okay or run up here it will complain and say that you can't type in a number that high. So when I hit high, the highest number is 12. I thought it was. So now I have to put that at 12. What this is going to do is resize all my images down to the size that I have typed in here so therefore Photoshop doesn't have to deal with massive images. You can tell it where to save those images in this second section up here. If you choose to save in the same location, it will create a new folder called JPEG and so it won't record over the originals, that kind of stuff, and it will put them in there. I would hit run. I'm not going to do that right now because it would simply take time. I have already done that to a folder of images. So that we don't have to wait for it to open each image, scale it down and resave it. Open the next image, scale it down, and resave it. Here's the different time lapse sequence. These have all been scaled down already. So let's figure out how to make that a time lapse using Photoshop. I'm going to go to the file menu and I'm going to choose open. I'll navigate to the folder we were just in. I'm going to click on the very first file and at the bottom down here is a check box called image sequence and that's what I need to use. When you do this it's important that the file names are what you might call contiguous, no sequential, meaning that you haven't thrown away some files where these numbers suddenly jump from image number 10 to image 15 with no of the numbers in between because it can get confused. So make sure the numbering, the naming, is consistent when it comes to that. You click on the very first file, turn on image sequence. When you click open it will ask you how fast you want to play those frames back. Do you want to do it 30 frames per second? Do you want to do it 24, do you want to do it 10? Whatever you happen to like. I'm going to come in here and use 15 to make it be a little slower. Click okay and it will just open it, and in your layers panel, if you look, it will have a little movie, a film icon in the corner. If you want to play this, you can go to the window menu. There's a choice called timeline. That's what you use for video and there's a play button. Ignore all the other buttons. It's right here, play. The first time you play it it might not go quite as fast as you told it to because it's kind of calculating what the images look like and it can be slow and jumpy. The second time you play it it will usually play closer to normal speed. There is a way to adjust how many frames per second afterwards. I actually don't recall what it is. If I do recall it later on I will have my wife put it in the handbook or I will put it on the Facebook page so you can know how to do that. Otherwise just choose open again and go through the exact same process again, just type in a different number. The higher the number where it said frames per second, the faster it will go. The slower, the lower. When you're done you go to the file menu, choose export, and I will find a choice in there called render video. Now I'm not an expert on video, I don't do much video, and so as far as which settings you should use in here, it's up to you as far as what your use for the image is, but we have 8264 which is a common format and you can tell it again what the frame right you would like to use in here but if you click render you will get a file in the file format you have asked for here that you can play in other programs like quicktime, the quicktime player. So that's one way of doing a quick time lapse using Photoshop. Did you ever wonder what that check box in the bottom called image sequence when you open a file does? Well that's what it does. One last thing. You remember what we did with light painting, how we had more than one exposure and we set them in lighten mode and that ended up combining those layers. You can do that with things other than light paintings. You can do that with a waterfall. Let me show you what happens. You know how with waterfalls you can do a long exposure and if you do a long exposure you get blurry water. In doing so, it looks like there's more water going down the waterfall because here where you see the gaps in the water, it gets filled in because eventually the water moves and covers up that area and looks whiter there. Here I just took multiple exposures instead of doing a long exposure. These are short exposures. You can see the water is crisp. You can see the individual droplets. If I select all these layers, and I change the blending mode the lighten, the same blending mode we used for the light paintings, watch what happens to the waterfall. Do you see how much water it looks like there is? Let me show you one, then we add them up and it's filling in the gaps. So if you want a different look on your waterfalls, instead of doing a long exposure, try taking multiple short exposures. Take 10 of them if you want. What's going to happen is in one exposure you're going to have a gap in your waterfall where the water is just not falling there at the moment, but in one of your other exposures there probably will be water in that specific area, like here. So if you set each one of these to lighten mode, it's going to say only let the areas of this layer that are brighter than what's underneath to show up and it will allow you to kind of fill that in. If you watch the bottom here where the cascading, or whatever you want to call, the white water down there is, look at the difference. So it's just another idea where sometimes I'm in the field and my brain just suddenly goes wait a minute, couldn't I try this in Photoshop? You know this little trick. I just wanted to share that with you. Well this session has been Shooting for Photoshop and that means when might I want to think about Photoshop when I'm out in the field taking photographs and change the way I capture that subject matter so that I can do something unique within Photoshop. Now tomorrow we are going to move on to advanced retouching. We covered basic retouching in another session but we didn't get into enough of the really interesting methods we could use for retouching so that's what we will end up doing tomorrow. Between now and then why don't you head over to Facebook because on Facebook we have our own private group. If you're not in the group yet, here is the web address you need to go to to find the group. You do need to ask to join it but we will approve you pretty quick. You can come in and start talking to everybody else that's taking the class. What's nice is that it's a private group so that your other followers that are not part of this group cannot see what you post there. That means you can ask all sorts of questions. Your clients won't know about it or anything unless your clients are taking this class and they decide to become part of the group too. Also the Facebook group is where I determine what questions you guys are into because every Friday I do a Q&A video and I look at the Facebook group to figure out what would you guys like for me to cover. Finally, if you purchase the course, it's a much better experience because you get bonus videos. There's a dozen of them. They are multiple hours long when you add them together. Just stuff we don't have time to cover here. You get a handbook that's very extensive. You get practice images so if you don't have a waterfall where you can take a bunch of short exposures, you get a waterfall where you can put together my images like that. So you can be experienced doing it before you need to actually use it on your own images. So by the time you get to the situation where you need it, you're comfortable. At least you have done it a few times and you can remember enough about it. I also give you daily homework assignments. If you want to find me online, here are a few of your options. I hope to see you in those areas. And this has been another episode of Photoshop CC, the Ultimate Guide. See you tomorrow.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Color Palettes
Edges and Textures
Hand-drawn Frames
Hand-drawn Graphics
Layout Templates
Practice Images - Lesson 18: Tips and Tricks
Practice Images - Lesson 19: Actions and Automation
Practice Images - Lesson 17: Advanced Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 12: Advanced Masking
Practice Images - Lesson 15: Advanced Retouching
Practice Images - Lesson 10: Blending Modes
Practice Images - Lesson 2: Camera Raw
Practice Images - Lesson 8: Color Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 5: Layer Masks
Practice Images - Lesson 4: Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 9: Retouching Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 3: Selection Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 14: Shooting for Photoshop
Practice Images - Lesson 13: Smart Objects
Practice Images - Lesson 1: Starting from Zero
Practice Images - Lesson 7: Tonal Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 6: Tools and Panels
Practice Images - Lesson 20: Troubleshooting and Advice
Practice Images - Lesson 16: Warp Bend Liquify
Practice Images - Lesson 11: Filters
Script Elements
Week 1 - Day 1 Homework
Week 1 - Day 2 Homework
Week 1 - Day 3 Homework
Week 1 - Day 4 Homework
Week 1 - Day 5 Homework
Week 1 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bit Depth
Color Modes
Color Spaces
Logic of Keyboard Shortcuts
Pen Tool
Week 2 - Day 6 Homework
Week 2 - Day 7 Homework
Week 2 - Day 8 Homework
Week 2 - Day 9 Homework
Week 2 - Day 10 Homework
Week 2 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Shooting for Photoshop in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Filters in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Masking in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Retouching in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 3 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Warp, Bend, Liquify, in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Tips & Tricks in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Actions & Automation in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Troubleshooting & Advice in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Layers in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 4 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bens Actions Sampler ReadMe
Bens Actions Sampler
Bens Styles Sampler ReadMe
Bens Styles Sampler
Texture Sampler
Save for Web
Facebook Q&A #1
Facebook Q&A #2
Q&A #3
PSD Preferences
File Formats
Customizing PSD

Ratings and Reviews


Ben Willmore is exceptionally and intimately knowledgeable about Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, including Bridge and Camera Raw, and how they work together. He's also a wonderful photographer. That's great, but what's even better for us is that he's an incredible and generous teacher. He shares his knowledge and experience in an organized, thorough, thoughtful and relatable way. I envy his efficiency with words and ideas! He isolates hard-to-understand concepts - things we'd be unlikely to figure out on our own - and explains them in simple terms and with on point and memorable examples. I completely enjoy Ben's teaching methods and his personality. His admiration and appreciation of his wife, Karen, are telling of what a good guy he must be, and he's got just an overall pleasant personality. I love his amusement when something "ridiculous" happens during an edit! This bootcamp is fantastic and just what I need. It's only one of Ben's many CL classes that I've watched and learned from - they are all excellent. Thank you, Ben Willmore. (And Karen!)

Lynn Buente

I purchased this course ---SMART MOVE!--because, at 74, I learn more slowly and need more practice. While I've had some "novice" experience with PS, this course is moving me along in a totally different way. Most tutorials just tell you what to do. Ben tells you not only WHAT to do, but WHY (--or why not) and HOW. Understanding better can lead to using the practices in PS more fluently AND to greater freedom to be creative. I find Ben's approach to be kind of a "come as you are" session. No matter where you are on the learning spectrum, there is something to review, something new, or a brand new challenge. The relaxed manner of presentation is great, but doesn't minimize the content of the class. I appreciate the additional explanations and theory. These help to make total sense of the tools and practices of good editing. I would really recommend that, if possible, you purchase the course. The practice images, the homework, and the evolving workbook are great review and reference points. Personally, I have downloaded the classes by week so I can view, re-view, and stop, start, and repeat segments as often as I need to --which is often! Also, sometimes I like to view and work on one segment of the class at a time. My study of this course will be a LOT LONGER than four weeks, and I know I'll be referring to it as long as I'm a Photoshop user. Thanks, Ben! (And thanks to your wife for her contribution as well.)

Carol Senske

I've used PS for about five years in many of it's various versions. Learning on your won is a tough proposition, and I've struggled the whole time. Seeing work I admired and that inspired me to strive for great er things then not being ablr to figure out how to do them was a major frustration. The jargon was sometimes foreign, the complexity of the program overwhelming but I soldiered on and learned bits and pieces. A friend recommended Ben's course and I immediately came to CL to see what she was so thrilled about - I was amazed! Ben is down-to-earth, explains each step, gives shortcuts, defines terms, and shows how to accomplish what he's teaching. After two weeks I bought the class. I not only bought the Photoshop course but I added the Lightroom course as well. I'll do that, on my own, when things slow down a bit, and I have no doubt that course will help me even more than the PS course. I'm totally at sea with LR. I like Ben's teaching style, appreciate all the homework and extras included, and greatly appreciate the magnificent, easy to use, workbook by Ben's wife. I give my wholehearted endorsement for this course!

Student Work