Spot Healing Brush Improvements in CS5

Lately I’ve shown you guys a few videos that I’ve made displaying Photoshop tips or other things related to photography. Today isn’t going to be any different. Today I’m going to show you another video I made for the “Next Photoshop Evangelist” contest. It shows the improvements in the spot healing brush and how quick and easy it is to use.  So sit back and spend the next 3 minutes seeing why YOU NEED CS5 and these new features.






You can get Adobe Photoshop CS5 Here.

5 quick tips for Photoshop

Hey guys! I’m trying to mix it up a little here and give you all not only great Photography info tips and tricks, but also some great Photoshop info. With that in mind, I give you 5 tips and tricks for Photoshop. Some are Photoshop CS5 Specific, some aren’t. Some may be basic but everyone starts somewhere.

Extending a white background with the crop tool

This one is a quick one. If you have an image that you’ve shot on a white background that you want to extend the background to make it look larger, use the crop tool. Make sure that you have white set as your background color on your color swatches then select the crop tool, drag it out to cover the entire image. Release the crop tool then grab the small square on the edge you want to extend. In my case, I extended it down so I grabbed the square in the middle bottom and drug strait down.  When you press enter, the area that you extended the crop area to will be filled with the background color, in our case white.

Content Aware Fill

This one is a CS5 only tip. When you have an area that you want to remove such as the softbox in this image, content aware fill makes it easier than it used to be. To do this, you need to make sure that you have the background layer selected.  Make a selection around the area you want to remove with your favorite selection tool. Here I used the rectangle marquee tool. At this point press the delete or backspace key. You will see a dialog box with content aware set as the default for the dropdown. Leave content aware selected and press ok. this will fill the selected area with what Photoshop “thinks” should be there. Usually Photoshop does a good job of filling this area, but sometimes it doesn’t. (quick tip: if you don’t like how Photoshop filled the area, undo the fill, change the selection slightly and try it again. A slight change will make a dramatic difference.)

Make a selection to do your cloning in

If you have an area that you want to clone that is close to a hard line area that you don’t want the cloning to spill over to, make a selection around the area to be cloned to constrain it. You can use your favorite selection tool to select the area to be cloned just like with the content aware tip above. (tip: this trick will work with the healing brush, and the spot healing brush too.) 


New layer for cloning

Here’s one that is supremely important. When you are doing cloning, always do your cloning on a blank layer above the layer you’re wanting to clone. When you do this you have to make sure that you have the “all layers” or “current and below” selected in the menu at the top of the screen. There are a few reasons to do your cloning on a new layer. First, if you clone too much, or you do something you don’t want to do you can either just grab the eraser tool and delete the cloned area that you want back, or delete the whole layer and start over. The next reason is that because it’s on a new layer, you can lower the opacity of the cloned layer to make it not so “heavy handed” or fade it slightly. (I didn’t actually clone anything in this example, I just used it to show you where the drop down on the menu bar was)


Turn an image into a virtual Pano

This image was ok, but I thought that it would have looked a whole lot better as a “pano” or panoramic. The problem was, I had only shot the one image, not multiple images to stitch to make a true pano. What to do? Fake it! Open your image in Photoshop, grab your crop tool and drag it out from edge to edge on your image. Then slowly bring the bottom and top in until your have the area you want selected. I have found that cropping off in between 1/3 to 1/2 of the image works about perfectly. In the end, you have an image like this:

I hope that you have picked up a tip or two from this post. If there’s anything you have a question about, feel free to leave it in the comment section. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @JasonLPhoto or on Facebook here.

Wacom Tablets for editing

What do you use to edit your pictures? I don’t mean Photoshop or Gimp, Lightroom or Aperture. I mean what instrument do you use to physically input to your computer? If you answered mouse, or (ahh) trackpad, you’re not getting the best that you can possibly get out of your photos. One of the Photoshop guys (it was either Matt, Scott, or R.C.) said recently that using a mouse to edit an image is like using a single sized paint brush to paint an entire house. Yes, you can get the job done, but not with the precision, quality, or speed that you could with a roller, and a fine brush. The same holds true with tablets for photo editing. The Wacom Intuos Tablet has 2048 levels of pressure. This means that you can use paint brushes, erasers, and all of the other pressure sensitive tools in Photoshop to a level that you couldn’t do with a mouse or otherwise. So what do I use? I use the Wacom Intuos 4 Small.

I use the Wacom Intuos small for two reasons. First, it fits in my laptop bag and goes everywhere my laptop goes. Second, I prefer the cheaper price of the smaller tablet. My buddy Terry did a review of the Wacom Medium tablet here. Everything in his review of the medium applies to the Intuos 4 small except for the LEDs next to the buttons. The Small doesn’t have them. I agree completely with Terry’s review of the tablet. Wacom builds great quality products. I started with the Wacom Bamboo tablet. The Bamboo is Wacom’s consumer line of tablets, and while still a good product, it pales in comparison to the Intuos 4. With Six customizable express keys, a touch ring with 4 customizable functions the Intuos 4 is sure to speed up your workflow 2 fold. Besides Photoshop CS5, the Wacom Tablet is my most important editing tool.

You can but the Intuos 4 Small Here for $199

You can buy the intuos 4 Medium from Here for $309

Natalie and Midwest Promotional Marketing

A little while ago I got a call from my friend Natalie who I have done work for in the past. Natalie is a wonderfully talented stylist working for a really well known salon in the Cincinnati area. A year or two ago she entered a contest for a hair style magazine that she needed images done for. Together with her beautiful styles and my images, she won the contest and a trip. This time Natalie needed some new shots of herself as she was working for Midwest Promotional Marketing.. Besides being a really talented stylist, Natalie is also beautiful, so working with a modeling agency like Midwest Promotions is a perfect fit for her. A lot of what Midwest does is provides beautiful women for product promotions, corporate events, trade show models, booth receptionists etc. Natalie expressed her vision of the shoot and the images to portray sexy yet classy. With this goal in mind, we set out to do a combination of indoor shots as well as some outside stuff. What we got was some great images that I think show her personality, and beauty well. We started indoors against a white background with a two light setup. Up front and camera left we had a beauty dish as our main light. For the fill/kicker we had a strip box camera right and behind Natalie. I say fill because this was a slightly oversized strip box and I had it fairly close so the wrapping quality made it fill in some of the shadow side of Natalie’s face.

We moved on from there to a black background with a slightly different setup. The main was still the beauty dish camera left, and the fill was still the strip box, but instead of placing it behind, we moved it in front of Natalie and camera right. You can see the outcome above on the very first image in this post. Natalie’s beautiful skin, and awesome highlights separate her from the black background and really make her “pop”!

For the last few outfits/shots we moved outside to a few different locations. We found this great little gazebo down by a lake that was just too nice not to use. I setup a pair of Nikon Sb-700’s and utilized a high speed sync function to blur the background but keep Natalie lit really well. All in all I think these images turned out really well, and while this is just a very small selection of the final shots, they are my favorite of the day. Again, I think that they show her true beauty and wonderful personality. The next time you need a model, or models for your event think of Natalie and Midwest Promotional Marketing. Jason

Sharpening while preserving detail in Photoshop CS5

I wanted to show you guys a video I made for my entry into the Photoshop Evangelist Contest last year. It highlights the improvements in the sharpening tool for Photoshop CS5. I hope you all enjoy it, and it shows you something that you didn’t know. Jason

The Most Underrated Piece of Equipment that Every Photographer Needs

I want to take a moment today to talk about the most underrated piece of equipment that every photographer taking photographs outside of a studio needs; a Hoodman Loupe. This seemingly simple combination of plastic, rubber, and glass allows a photographer to clearly see their images no matter how bright it may be outside. The Hoodman Loupe 3.0 will (like it’s name implies) work on a LCD screen up to 3inches.

I resisted shelling out the $79.90 for the Loupe until one day I was shooting a model outside and completely missed a small blown out area of an image because of the bright ambient light outside. Since that day, every time I step outside to do any sort of image I have my Hoodman around my neck knowing that I will get a clear view of my LCD giving myself a fighting chance. Just like your camera, the Hoodman Loupe has diopter adjustment of +/- 3.

Overall, I know the price of the Hoodman Loupe seems a little on the steep side, but take my word for it, you’ll be asking yourself how you took pictures outside before it.

You can buy the Hoodman Loupe from B&H for $79.90 here.

Tamron Lenses and Why I love them

I started talking to the Tamron reps the other day at Photoshop World about my love of the Tamron lenses and why I use them exclusively. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against other brands. I’ve owned Nikon, Tokina, and Sigma but I keep coming back to the Tamron lenses because of their quality build, and quality optics, plus a little known fact about the 70-200 2.8 but more on that later.  The Tamron lenses are built out of quality materials, and use quality optics for superb images.  Not to say that the Tamron lenses don’t have their flaws. They are notorious for having slow autofocus, specifically the 70-200 but it’s not so slow that it is crippling.


The 28-75 2.8 is my “short zoom”.  This lens is my go to lens. With its fast f/2.8 aperture and awesome focal range, it is perfect for Shooting within 15 feet.  When I’m out of town or traveling light I use this lens. With the ability to go from 28 all of the way out to 75 mm it really allows me the range that I need.


70-200 f/2.8

The Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 is my favorite lens. Hands down. The first lens when you get serious about photographer is a 70-200 f/2.8. Some choose the brand of their camera, Nikon, Canon, etc. Some people decide that the non brand name is the one for them. I first went with a Nikon and I was happy. The autofocus is fast, the build is awesome, and the glass is pristine. One thing that I didn’t like about the Nikon however was the focus distance. The minimum focus distance for a Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 is 4.6 feet according to their website but I think this is a little optimistic.  The Tamron minimum focus distance is 3.1 feet. It is very close. The Tamron has a 1:3 focus ratio which makes it a macro of sorts. I am an eyes photographer. I want to make sure that the eyes are perfectly in focus and sharp. With the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 I can make sure that it happens!


You can get the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 from B&H for $499 here

You can get the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 from B&H for $769 here

Photoshop World Orlando 2011 With Pictures

Shot at the Westcott Booth


Teaching some CS5 Goodness...

Hey everyone I just got back from a week in Orlando at Photoshop World!  I have wanted to attend Photoshop World for a few years now but I just never found the time to make it down to Orlando in March or Vegas in September. This year I went down to help my good buddy Terry White with his demonstrations on the floor.  I took a bunch of shots of Terry “doing his thing” at the Westcott booth, Manfrotto Booth, Adobe Booth, as well as some in class shots of him teaching the masses. If you don’t know by now I work with Terry over at the Best App Site where we review the best Apps available for the iOS platform. (You can see the most recent just by looking at the right side of this page)

My Buddy Terry White Teaching at the Manfrotto Booth


While I was down there to help Terry, I also had a lot of time to do some stuff that I wanted to do, and hang out with some of my other friends that I knew would be there. Raphael Concepcion or “RC” was teaching a pre-con workshop along with Matt Kloskowski on HDR.  I have known RC for a little while now, so I sat right up front and “heckled” him periodically throughout the class.  Anyone that knows RC knows that he’s awesome though, so he didn’t mind. We got to hang out a few times throughout the rest of the conference, enough that I think he was tired of me by the end of the week. Kidding.. But seriously I got to hang out with him, and I have to tell you all he’s not only a cool person but one hell of a Photoshop guru.

Then there’s Scott. Who could forget about Scott?  Scott Kelby is the President of NAPP and Kelby Media. Not only is Scott one of the most likeable, funny people that I know but he is also an AWESOME musician and singer! Wednesday night I went to the Photoshop World after hours party at BB Kings house of blues where Big Electric Cat (Scott’s band) provided entertainment with live music. They totally rocked the place! Big Electric Cat did one of the best cover shows that I have ever seen, and you can tell Scott is really in his zone on stage. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that Photoshop World is just an excuse for BEC to perform live for all of their friends. Kidding.  They did put on a great show though. I got to see Joe McNally and Moose Peterson “cutting a rug” for the crowd.  Tuesday night NAPP and the wonderful Nancy who runs the social media pages for them put on a “Tweet up” poolside at the hotel we were staying in.  Scott and I got to hang out a little while there but for the most part he was busy all conference long. He really puts himself out there for all of the fans, making himself available after every one of his classes and demos to shake hands, pose for pictures, or sign books. He’s truly there for the fans.

Brad Moore (Scott’s photo assistant) handled all of the photography at BB Kings. Not only is He Scott’s photo assistant, he is also a professional concert photographer and a heck of a guy. I’ve known Brad for a while now, and can’t say enough about him.

There were so many more people that I got to hang out with down there that if I right a paragraph about each you’ll be here for days so David Ziser, Damien Tepe, Alan Hess, Vanelli, Alan Brusky, David Rogers, Drew Gurian, Carly Adams, and everyone else that I hung with, you all rock and I’ll see you in Vegas in September.

So the best part of Photoshop World is… well everything is the best part actually.  Here are some of my favorite shots from the week. Most are taken with my iPhone but some were shot with my DSLR. Enjoy, and make sure you come to Vegas in September for the Photoshop World West!

Shot at the Westcott Booth


RC Teaching at the Manfrotto Booth

Me and V. at the after hours party at BB kings

Scott Kelby and Me at the closing Ceremony