Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Magnified World of Macro Photography

Macro photography is all about taking magnified shots of intricate details that can't be seen with naked eyes. It's definitely a subject worth exploring if you are into Nature or Stills (subjects which most macro objects fall into). With the right macro equipment, you'll be able to magnify an object at 1:1 or at larger ratios, without losing much image quality! You'll need lots of practice and experience to produce great macros but here are some basic tips that can help you get going.

123RF Tutorial: Create Lomography effect using Photoshop

Lomography, with the introduction of the Lomo LCA camera in the early 1980s, was founded in 1991, and has since gained a massive following worldwide. Photographs taken by the LCA are known for their vibrant, vintage looking, deeply saturated colors and vignette framing.

In this tutorial, we'll show you how to manipulate your images to make them adopt the effects of Lomographs.

Before & After:

Select the image that you want to use. We will be using this image (12mb Print Res) for the tutorial.
Image ID: 4460282 © TONO BALAGUER

123RF Tutorial: Mystic Ocean of Sunken Galleon and City

Create an underwater seascape using a combination of filters and blend modes.

Filters such as chrome and plastic wrap comes in handy as most of the effects (e.g. surface texture and light rays) are based on it. By transforming, masking, and blending those elements together, we will be able to achieve a different outcome to the items we are working on.
Final Effect:

How to Photograph Children?

Do you know that children images are one of the more popular subjects when it comes to photography? Children images cover up to 81,000 of the total images in our site and it's always one of the top-searched keywords here in 123RF!

Reading back some of our Hear It! interview pieces, I cant help but to notice one thing - many photographers confessed that children are one of the toughest subjects to shoot! As much as they provide photographers with many unique opportunities, they cant help thinking that children are also one of the hardest subjects to control. They are easily restless, unpredictable and communicating with them can pose quite a challenge. Being a parent myself, I fully understand that it is indeed difficult to capture children behind the lens (I nevertheless kept good records of my child's growing up years! *Smug).

To capture good children-images, you have got to first capture their heart. Try to put yourself in their position and ask why would you want to choose work over play? Children wouldn't care less about having their pictures taken. They have much better things to do than to be surrounded by lights, props and people directing them what to do in front of the camera.

Children photography is therefore all about being quick and fun. You'll need to get them engaged without making it a chore for them. Having the right skills and equipment help as well. Here's how:

123RFTutorial: Frozen and Burnt Face

Using a mixture of simple techniques, we are going to blend 2 different elements to a face. By adding minor details like Icicles and Melting Plastics, we are able to portray an extreme freezing effect on one side, and give a blazing hot effect to the other.
Before & After:

123RF Tutorial : Transforming Pictures into Illustration

Have you ever thought of designing a wallpaper for your beloved pet? Or have you encountered a time where you wish to change a picture into illustration? That's what we are going to show you in this tutorial.

Before & After:

123RF Tutorial: Creating Glow Effects and Light Streaks

Using the blending options, path tool and a little imagination, we'll show you how to add mood to an image by creating stunning glow effects and light streaks.

Before & After:

123RF Tutorial: Creating a Digital CD Cover Design

This is a simple way of creating a CD cover design with digitized background and neon lights text. This method was adapted from an old Photoshop tutorial which I've then modified and used to create this cool digital-concept CD cover design.

Final Result:


Step 1
Open an image for the background and Duplicate the layer.
Image ID: 3502224 © Aleksey Baskakov

Step 2
NOTE: The following effects are all created using Filters.
Firstly, go to Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic. Set Cell Size to 8 square.

Then, go to Filter > Stylize > Find Edges. The results should be similar to what you see here. Cool ain't it?

Next, go to Filter > Noise > Median > Radius: 2 pixels.

Step 3
Invert the layer before duplicating it.

Next, go to Filter > Stylize > Find Edges again. This is to add more outline on the colorful dots.

You should get something like this by now:

Step 4
Go to New Adjustment Layer > Levels to adjust the contrast of the layer.

Step 5
Duplicate this layer (Layer 1 copy 2) for the next effect. Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and follow the settings below:

Now, hide “Layer 1 copy 2” and work on “Layer 1 Copy”. Do the same steps as previous layer, but change the Angle to -45.

Step 6
Adjust the Opacity of “Layer 1 copy 2” to 60. Now you will see that the lines are cross-hatched.

Correct the color by adjusting its New Adjustment Layer > Curve. Next, merge the layers by pressing Ctrl+E.

Step 7
Open the next image. Mask out the dancer using Magic Tool (W) and bring it to background workspace we have just created. Transform it to your prefered size.

Image ID: 3683121 © Alexander Yakovlev

Step 8
Next, fill the selected area in Black and Crop (C) the image into a square (or whichever size you might want it to be).

To enhance the effect, set Opacity level to 70% and let some of the background lines overlap the black dancer.

You can also use the Brush tool to bring out more lines from the background, just like the example shown below:

Step 9
Now for the Text, choose a font that you like. I've personally chosen “SF Distant Galaxy AltOuline”.

Step 10
Now is the time to add some neon effects on the text. To do this, you can double click on the layer or go to Blending Options and just follow the steps below.

a) Set the Blending Mode to Overlay.

b) Duplicate the text layer, and set the Blending Mode to Darken.

c) Duplicate the text layer again, and set its Blending Mode to Hue this time.

Dont forget to do the neccesary color corrections for better output. Flatten the layers when you are done and you will have your final image.

If you liked our tutorial, feel free to share it with your friends or even bookmark it! Also, do check out our affordable credit prices to get images where you can create stunning works of art here at 123RF

Freezing Time – Suspending Water Droplets

As the old idiom states, “Time flies”. And to most of us, it cannot be said any better.

We often overlook the quiet beauty in the simplest things in life. But if we were to take our time to stop and look hard enough, we might just find all the splendor, majesty, and perhaps a little mystery that simply leaves one at awe. If diamonds are in the rough, then water is its equal.

A body of still, calm water may look bland. But when little droplets form and time is suspended, the captured images are nothing less than breathtaking.

Things You Need

  • External Speedlite Flash
  • Container – A square glass tank would be ideal
  • Dripping source - a plastic bag, a stalk of flower or leaves, etc
  • Tripod
  • Pen
  • Cardboards/Wallpaper – color depending on results you want to achieve
  • Cloth

How It Is Done
Depending on individuals, what you wish to achieve will determine how you want to shoot and prepare your session. It's more of a self-experimenting session really.

For the most common of suspending-water-droplet shots however, you'll need to place some cardboards around and below a water tank before filling it to the top with water. This is a way to transfer the color of the cardboards into the water and to create a colorful effect on the water droplets.

Next, place a bag with a small pin hole over the top of the glass tank and have a trial run to ensure water droplets are falling into the right position and in a controlled manner.

When you are done, place your camera on a tripod and carefully position it so that it is level/slightly higher than the water surface. This is to create an impression that the shot was taken on open water, and not in a “fish tank”.

Then, set your macro lens to manual focus. This will help your frame capture the droplets in close-up. A word of advise: always give the subject matter some extra frame space for unexpected situations.

Have the flash set up and position at one side of the subject. This will help minimize the appearance of shadow and reflection casted from the glass tank or the water itself. Many flashguns nowadays offer a multiple flash or strobe effect that will fire several flashes in one exposure. Use it!

When you are all set to go, place the tip of your pen at approximately 1 cm above water level, at the spot where the water droplets are estimated to land. Look through the viewfinder and you should see a red focal point flashing at the tip of your pen. Once the camera setting is confirmed, try not to turn off your camera or change the lens focal length anymore. Start shooting!

Camera Settings (in a brief)
Lens: Macro / Standard lens
Shutter Speed: > 1/200
Aperture: > f/16
ISO: 100-200
Focus mode: Auto Focus/AI Servo

Additional Tips

  • Use a real macro lens if you want to achieve better results.
  • Set your camera to either “shutter priority” or manual mode and turn off your AF (automatic focus) lens to adjust your focus manually.
  • Experiment on different shutter release timings.
  • Try different camera- and lighting angles.
  • Take lots and lots of shots.
  • Keep your working space dry.
  • Have sufficient lighting. If you don't have a flash, try using nature's supply.
  • Stay away from shadows and reflections.
  • Be patient.

When you have finally got the grip, try experimenting with patterned bowls or drinking glasses and water color or milk! Have fun trying.

123RF Tutorial: Creating a Glowing Sphere in An Inverted Image

Learn how you can create an interesting image by adding in some simple Photoshop effects and by inverting its colors! Inverting an image can sometimes produce unexpected results, and in this tutorial, you'll learn and practice Filters – Liquify, Blur and Lens Flare tools to create additional effects and elements to make it more stunning.


Part 1 - Step 1
Open the Futuristic Girl image and duplicate the layer.
Image ID: 3108466 © Andrejs Pidjass

Step 2
Next, open the Embryo image. Make a selection of the Embryo using Magic Tool (W), go to Select > Modify > Contract and set pixels to 2.
Image ID: 389528 © Evgeniy Meyke

Then, go to Select > Feather > Radius: 2 to smoothen the edge of selection.

When you are done, bring the Embryo selection to the Futuristic Girl working space.

Step 3
Use Transform Tool (Ctrl+T) to transform the size of the embryo and flip it horizontally.

Step 4
Now, hide the Embryo layer and duplicate the Futuristic Girl layer again.

Go to Layer 1, make a round selection on the metal ball using the Marquee Tool (L), set the Feather Radius to 5 and then, add a vector mask to it.

Step 6
Bring the Embryo layer under the two Futuristic Girl layers.

Next, add a layer mask for Layer 1 Copy and invert it by clicking Ctrl + Backspace. Use the Brush Tool (B) to bring out the model's fingers if it's blocked by the Embryo.

Step 7
Go to Adjustment Layer > Curve and do the necessary color correction on the Embryo.

Once changed (in this case, to red), brush clean any excessive color around the embryo before merging the layers together.

Part 2 - Step 8

We will create the glowing ball effect now. Open a new document at 500x700 and fill it in black. Duplicate the background layer and name it as Effects.

Step 9
Go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. Choose a 105mm Prime, set the brightness to 100 and position the flare to the center.

Next, go to Image > Adjustments > Color Balance and follow the settings as shown below (or change it according to your own preference):

Step 10
Duplicate the Effects layer, then go to Filter > Liquify. Go to Twirl Clockwise tool and enter the settings as shown in the diagram below. Create a twirl on the duplicated flare.

Step 11
Create another new blank layer and name it Ray. Draw lines (color to your preference) over the layer using Brush Tool.

Go to Filter > Liquify > Twirl Clockwise and follow the settings as shown below.

Step 12
Next, go to Filter > Blur > Radius Blur. Set the method to Zoom and quality to Good. Then, shift the Radius Blur Center near to the right side corner in the preview box.

Step 13
Now, choose an appropriate Brush and brush size from the brush palette. I chose Natural Brushes > Spray to help create the effect below.

Step 14
Go to Filter >Liquify > Twirl Clockwise and follow the settings below to create this next effect.

Part 3 - Step 15
Double click or right click the Brush Layer to enter Blending Options. Adjust the Outer Glow and settings as shown in the diagram below. When all is done, create a group folder and put all these layers into it before bringing it to the Futuristic Girl working space.

Step 16
Hide the Glowingball Effects Group layer and work on Layer 1 Copy (Futuristic Girl) first. Invert the image by clicking Ctrl + I or go to Image > Adjusments > Invert.

Next, mask out the embryo to so that its color is not affected by the inversion we just did.

Step 17
Now for the Glowingball, set Group 1 Layer's blend mode to Screen. Add a vector mask to Group 1 layer and slowly mask out the fire, bursts and rays of the Glowingball that we have just created.

Duplicate the whole group layer to enhance the effects of the Glowingball. This time however, you can erase or mask different parts of the ray randomly for better results.

Next, duplicate Group 1 layer again, flip it horizontally and transform it to the position that you like.

Part 4 - Step 18
Open the last image, an Abstract background and bring it into the Futuristic Girl working space. Set the Blend Mode to Screen and erase the edges to blend it into the image.
Image ID: 3080527 © Ivan Piven

Step 19
Feel free to play around with the color adjustment, filters and blending options, or add in more elements to get the best results.

It is finally done! Good luck trying!

If you liked our tutorial, feel free to share it with your friends or even bookmark it! Also, do check out our affordable credit prices to get images where you can create stunning works of art.