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Create a Safety Net

If you're in the gym and trying to lift something heavy, odds are you need a spotter. Even if you fancy yourself to be a big strong macho man (or woman). You may think you can just do it yourself (and maybe you can), but wouldn't it be safer to have an extra set of hands to yank that weight off your chest if you try to bite off more than you can chew? Perhaps you and your silly pride can struggle through it, but odds are you're going to have bad form; the sloppy reps just aren't going to deliver the results you were hoping for. Creating a piece of artwork is no different. Sure, you can do it all by yourself and get something done, but it's always a good idea to find an artwork spotter to have your back.

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Using Motion Blur to Create Action

A super easy way to add motion to an edit is to apply a motion blur filter. I know it's so obvious it seems silly, but there is definitely more to it than just slapping a filter on top of your image. First of all you have to decide what is in motion and what direction it's going in. For "The Retreat" I knew that he (the dragon ... well subsequently Niall too, I guess) would be charging towards the left side of the frame, so the angle of my motion blur was easy enough to figure out. I was attempting to emulate the look you get when you pan the camera following along with a moving subject. For example, if you were to try to take a picture of a passing motorcycle, you could track it in the center of your frame, then when you snap the photo the motorcycle would be more or less crisp and the background would have the motion blur.

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Ultimate Guide To Selections: THE MAGIC WAND

I recently started a series of blog posts in which I gab on about the various selection tools of Photoshop. So far I've only gone over the pen tool, my main squeeze when it comes to most selections. It's definitely my go-to selection tool because it's just so dang precise, but let's be real here ... it is NOT always called for. There are going to be many selections that don't require quite the amount of work and attention that goes into penning a path around something. Oftentimes when I know it's going to work quickly and efficiently, I just look no farther than the Magic Wand Tool ... I mean it's got "magic" in the name so it's got to be good for something, am I right? 

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You Don't Always Need Fancy Lights

I'm the first person to say that I totally LOVE studio lighting. I crave a few hours spent in a dark studio tinkering around with big-expensive-flash-photography-toys as much as the next guy. Probably more than half of my portfolio was shot in the studio with multiple huge flash banks and other fancy lighting tools and modifiers. I wonder if (slash secretly hope) some photographers out there see this image and think something like, "This is so cool, but I can't afford all of that snazzy flash lighting stuff." Or that some photographer who's stuck in their old ways, thinking you can only get good images with expensive lights, will see the image and say, "See look what a stunning image you can create with some good lighting equipment ..." Well, this image is a testament that with a little creativity, a good group of friends, a bag of candles, and .... some cell phone flashlights ... you can accomplish something truly magical!  

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Ultimate Guide to Selections: The Pen Tool

I know there are a lot people out there who want to be better at Photoshop - heck, I've been doing this for almost half of my life and I want to be better! Well, I was really thinking about it and it dawned on me that more often than any other tip, I'm telling people they really should master the pen tool. It is hands down the most advanced and precise selection tool and if you boil Photoshop down to its simplest form, it's a SELECTIVE photo editing software. So I thought to myself, "Hey self, why not really dive deep into selection tools - how to do them, when to use which one, and why they are so dang important?"

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