A few digital photography tips

I am an atrocious photographer, so I thought I’d attend a couple digital photography sessions and learn a few things. Turns out the first one I attended was way over my head, and the second was almost too basic. All the same, I picked up a few tips that I thought might come in handy to someone else.

Chris Orwig did a session on “The Art and Craft of Digital Photography” that was nearly two-thirds an inspirational speech centered on two quotes: “Stillness of hand does not make up for emptiness of heart” (Rodney Smith); and “The chief enemy of creativity is common sense” (Pablo Picasso). The remaining third was dedicated to Photoshop tips that I’m sure were fantastic if you could follow them. Chris Orwig certainly knows what he’s doing because many of his photos were absolutely beautiful. He continually stressed finding new uses for the tools you have available to you. “Color Balance,” for instance, is a Photoshop tool considered by many to be low-quality, but Chris considers it quite useful if you find other ways to use it than what the tool is intended for. Another tip he had was that the Unsharpen Mask tool (Filter > Sharpen) was really good for deepening contrast in your photos.

Macworld senior contributor Jim Heid gave a presentation on “Flickr in the Mac World” that was mostly an introduction to the hugely popular photo sharing site. I did pick up a few tips on uploading photos without having to use the uploader on Flickr’s page. For instance, you can email your photos to your Flickr photostream. You have to set this up when you create your account, at which time you’ll be given a secret email address to send your photos to. Or you can use the Flickr Uploader, a free widget that lets you drag and drop photos from iPhoto, give them names, captions, and tags, and upload away. You can also upload your photos directly from iPhoto or Aperture with plug-ins available from Connected Flow, but those cost money.