The Skylum Ambassador Program 2019 is open for applications. We’re looking for Skylum Luminaries all over the world who are socially active photographers at both the pro and amateur levels.
As a member of the program, you'll be the first to get access to upcoming Luminar updates (for free) and can earn commission for referred customers. Moreover, we'll feature your photos on our website and on social media.
Direct connection with and first-class support from the Skylum team
Access to product announcements before the general public
Assets and creative materials for sharing Luminar with your network
Marketing coverage, and swag to run workshops and local events
Commission for sales
Rewards and bonuses through the Skylum Affiliate Program
Do I qualify to become a Skylum Ambassador?
We welcome all Luminar enthusiasts. Whether you have a big community on social media or a couple of friends keen on photography, we encourage you to apply!
What happens once I apply?
After you apply, the Skylum team will review your application and invite you to pass a proficiency exam showing your knowledge of editing with Luminar. From there, applicants will be vetted through an application process that selects the most passionate Luminar users. Anyone who passes the proficiency exam will be issued a 'Certified Luminar Instructor' certificate with their name in print-ready format.
Once selected, Ambassadors become the Luminar leaders in their area, armed with all the materials they need to organize and run Luminar workshops and events for Luminar users and newcomers.
What am I expected to do as a Skylum Ambassador?
Skylum Ambassadors make important contributions to the Skylum community both online and offline. You can participate online by sharing Luminar tips and tricks on social media, recording video reviews, writing blog posts, collaborating on blog posts and external articles for skylum.com, providing photos for advertising campaigns, posting in the Skylum Photography community, and offering Luminar-themed webinars for your subscribers.
Offline, you may start a local community and organize Luminar-themed offline events, workshops, and meetups. The Skylum team will fully support you with swag and marketing materials.
You can choose the activities that are right for you.
Can I be a Skylum Ambassador and also a member of the Skylum Affiliate and/or Luminar Referral Programs?
Yes, you can.
Click here to apply for Skylum Ambassador Program 2019.
Discover the Instagram black market, hidden in plain sight. Meet these fake 'Influencers' - with seemingly glamorous lives, but no real sway on social media - who are fraudulently cheating the system by buying likes, comments, and followers. You'll find out how little the social networks and agencies are actually doing to protect major brands across every industry, who these Influencers are defrauding to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
Go on a deep dive into the social media black market and explore its harmful psychological effects with Trey Ratcliff, a social media insider who has accrued over 5 million followers (170K on Instagram) the honest way. Take a trip through the behind-the-scenes economics of social media, learn how to spot fake accounts, and discover how it's possible to stay zen on the Internet - without needing to unplug completely.
Want to get a copy? Enter to win by following these simple steps:
Photoshop World is a live 3'day creative event jam'packed with hands'on training, fun events, networking and opportunities to interact and meet the best instructors in the Photography and Design community. With 7 specialized tracks each day and over 100 classes and live shoots, regardless of your skill level there's the right training for you.
The Photoshop + Illustrator Conference for Designers is a full-day, multi-track conference for designers on June 10, followed by two optional deep-dive half-day tutorials on June 11 that explore integrating Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Bridge, Lightroom, and more. This event is a master class in everything from logo design to selections and masking, social media to building UI/UX/web elements.
In love with photo effects? Looking for fast ways to express your creativity? These Photoshop plugins are all you need to transform your photos into works of art without leaving your favorite image editor.
As much as we want to get perfect images directly from the camera, post-processing is often needed. Photographers use photo filters and effects both to improve image quality and to completely transform their work according to their imagination. Using the right tools, you can deliver artful photographs and express your creativity.
Default Photoshop filters are dedicated to basic adjustments and common effects. You can combine them to create your own effects, but this takes time and energy. Instead, you can install the best plugins for your needs and finish your work in no time.
Photoshop plugins for photographers offer amazing effects and dedicated photo filters. Here's a comprehensive list of the best of them, grouped by company.
Skylum develops Photoshop plugins for photographers. You can use them to enhance photo quality, add atmosphere, realize your artistic vision, edit HDR images, and more. Plugins from Skylum are easy to control, subtle and realistic, and match your vision perfectly. Skylum uses artificial intelligence to automatically detect and enhance specific areas of images.
Skylum Photoshop plugins are available for Windows and Mac.
Luminar Flex offers more than 70 creative Looks and more than 50 artificial intelligence-based filters. Flex allows you to retouch your photos, apply special effects, and completely transform your images.
If you want to enhance image quality fast, you can use dedicated filters like Details Enhancer, Dehaze, Advanced Contrast, and Remove Color Cast. Luminar Flex allows you to control the intensity of filters and manually fine-tune the result.
If you want effects that match your creative vision, Luminar Flex offers a panel of creative Looks along with quick previews. Aged, Grunge, and Sun Rays are just some of them. As with filters, you can control the intensity of each effect, make adjustments, and personalize Looks. There are so many predefined Looks that you probably won't even need to create your own.
Luminar Flex costs â¬59.
You can use Photolemur to enhance photographs with different styles. It comes with many creative looks and can work with multiple images at a time.
Photolemur offers dedicated photo filters for portraits based on AI Face Finish technology. You can use it to smooth skin and remove imperfections, whiten teeth, and enhance eyes. It also has dedicated photo effects for landscape photographs, including Sky Enhancement, Exposure Compensation, Foliage Enhancement, and Color Recovery.
Photolemur costs $35.
Designed specifically for your drone photos, AirMagic offers photo filters and effects dedicated to aerial photography. You can use it to remove haze, enhance the sky, reveal details, boost colors, make lens corrections, and perform many other adjustments. It also has predefined styles for creative effects and artistic perspectives.
AirMagic automatically enhances your images using artificial intelligence algorithms. All you need to do is tell it what you want. It can process multiple images at once and works with RAW files.
AirMagic costs â¬29.
Aurora HDR offers more than 20 tools for HDR editing. Among them are dedicated HDR photo filters like Denoise, Details Enhancer, and Polarizing. But Aurora HDR goes even further, giving you more than 80 unique looks designed in collaboration with professional photographers.
Aurora HDR allows you to expand dynamic range using even a single image. Its photo effects are designed for architecture and nature photography and can be used with layers and masks. Aurora HDR offers batch processing and supports RAW files.
Aurora HDR costs â¬99.
The Plugin Site
The Plugin Site develops a wide range of Photoshop plugins with photo filters and effects. They're available for Windows and Mac, and some can be used as standalone applications. Here are the best plugins for Photoshop from The Plugin Site.
This collection of Photoshop plugins is dedicated to image enhancement and retouching. The PhotoWiz Collection costs $99 and contains seven plugins:
1. ColorWasher for color, contrast, exposure, and saturation adjustments
2. LightMachine for light-related adjustments
3. ConstrastMaster for contrast-based photo effects, HDR-like effects, and dramatic looks
4. BWStyler for black and white conversions and effects
5. ColorStyler for color and photo effects
6. FocalBlade for screen and print adjustments
7. NoiseControl for removing noise and noise-based effects
8. PhotoFreebies for other effects
This plugin helps you edit, save, organize, and record Photoshop actions. It's fast and efficient, offers batch processing, and allows you to use 24 conditions for running different actions. With Actions XXL, you can combine image filters, create unique effects, and automatically apply those effects to multiple images.
Actions XXL is available only for Windows and costs $49.95.
Galaxy Plugin offers more than 160 photo effects grouped in 17 categories. It also has more than 400 presets. Among the most popular photo filters are texture and pattern generation; noise creation; sunset and star effects; effects for creating metal, neon, glass, page curl, and rainbow styles; contrast and frame effects; enhance and colorize filters; and rendering of cosmic scenes.
Galaxy Plugin works with layers and allows you to control and modify effects, preview the results, and generate animations. It costs $49.95.
Designed to apply textures, this Photoshop plugin offers a wide range of textures and tools that you can adjust and combine. With HyperTyle, you have access to more than 1,200 seamless textures and 110 presets and can apply 20 textures to the same image. HyperTyle generates surface, erosion, paint, transparency, edge, shadow, and texture effects. You can choose from metal, chrome, noise, pop-art, warp, and many other styles.
It's available for Windows and costs $49.95.
This is a free Photoshop plugin that offers photo filters with 69 photo effects grouped in 9 categories. Harry's Filters include basic effects like color adjustments as well as creative effects like lighting, tornado and polar lights, zoom, patterns, image warping, and paint.
This plugin has over 130 presets, various blending modes, and preview and animation tools. It's available only for Windows.
FilterHub replaces the Photoshop Filter menu. It supports not only built-in filters but also filter plugins and third-party automation plugins. FilterHub adds new filters like Curves and Channel Mix, allows you to use paint and erase filters with the brush tool, runs multiple filters at the same time, applies filters to smart objects, and creates layers before running a filter.
FilterHub can work with the Actions XXL plugin to record a sequence of steps. It costs $29.95.
This is a collection of 12 free Photoshop plugins for photographers. PhotoFreebies plugins cover many basic photo effects: black and white conversion, color blind, chroma negative, desaturation gradient, histogram fix, luma negative, RGB to HSL and HSL to RGB, sepia, RGB to YCC and YCC to RGB, and remove transparency. Some of them have adjustable controls while others are applied without user interaction.
Richard Rosenman develops commercial and free Photoshop plugins for producing creative effects. His effects are extremely artistic, providing fractal reproductions and unique shapes. Richard Rosenman products are available for Windows.
Barnsley Fern Fractal
Fractal patterns are mathematically generated and can be reproduced at any size. The Barnsley Fern Fractal is based on self-similarities set and reproduces the shape of a fern. Still, the plugin can be used to generate other creative shapes with similar properties. The results are extremely decorative.
You can use Barnsley Fern Fractal for free.
Based on the Mandelbrot set rendering technique, this Photoshop plugin gives you a special effect similar to NASA galaxy renders. There are several versions of the Mandelbrot set including Tricorn, Burning Ship, and Diamond fractals. With Buddhabrot, you get exquisite shapes and colors. It allows you to work with a single color channel, set the time spent calculating a fractal, and save results for future use.
Buddhabrot is a free plugin.
Channel Inverter allows you to create artistic effects by inverting color channels precisely and independently. It gives you control over the inversion and the possibility to output or repress a specific channel. You can use it for free.
Carotid Function Fractal
This plugin generates carotid function fractals and allows you to explore them in colorful graphics. It can be used for graphic design, motion graphics, and illustrations. Carotid Function Fractal allows you to set the number of curves, pixel step size, and coloring. You can use it for free.
Similar to Photoshop's built-in diffuse filter, Diffuse allows sub-pixel diffusion. This feature is important in projects where you need anti-aliasing. Diffuse generates subtle diffusion and produces pleasant results. It's also free.
This plugin generates fractal flames and gives you control over how they're generated. You can use it to generate unlimited combinations of fractals with amazing color mapping routines. Abstract and futuristic, Fractal Flames enriches your visual projects. You can use it for free.
Using rule-based evaluation, this plugin offers photo filters for basic adjustments. You can use it to replace colors, invert colors, perform black and white conversion, blur pixels and add grain, and make many color adjustments. The effects can be applied to specific color channels or ranges, luma ranges, or combinations thereof. Evaluate is a free plugin.
Dedicated to complex fractal generation, this Photoshop plugin is capable of exploring different types of fractals. It generates colorful images using anti-aliasing and shading techniques. Fractus can generate high-resolution fractals, offers preview and navigation tools, and allows you to color fractals using a single color, multiple colors, MAP files, or an image source palette. You can use it for free.
The Halftone plugin generates halftone patterns from an image and works with both color and monochrome images. You can choose to have different dot sizes based on pixel intensity or to have the same dot size. You can also control the print angle and the custom color used for masks. Halftone is a free plugin.
If you're in a creative mood and you want photo filters that distort your images, you need to use this free Photoshop plugin. Lens FX gives you a set of eight distort matrices: pinch, push, pinch sine, push sine, concave, convex, wave, and ripple. It also gives you several interpolation techniques for high-quality anti-aliasing.
This plugin does exactly what its name says: it traces particle trajectories. Particle Tracer creates amazing effects with natural results and an artful style. You can set up particles by tens, hundreds, and thousands and give them a random lifespan. Among its features are gamma correction, path density fine-tuning, color randomization, and particle-dependent coloring. You can use Particle Tracer for free.
This free Photoshop plugin developed by Richard Rosenman is dedicated to generating simulated CCD camera noise. Photometric Noise allows you to control the amount and type of noise. You can also control the photometric noise curve.
This Photoshop plugin generates complex lens flares. It gives you a complex set of photo filters including natural flares, stylized flares, glints, and light leaks. Ultraflares offers hundreds of presets. Its photo effects simulate real-world lens flares and give realistic results. You can combine them to achieve greater complexity. You can also move the lens flare object where it suits you best. Ultraflares costs $99.99.
This free photo filter pixelates an image with a cell outline. You can choose the color and intensity of the outline and adjust the cell size. Pixelate is based on the Adobe Photoshop Mosaic filter.
Spherical Mapping Corrector
This plugin corrects 3D spherical polar distortion by producing a texture map. Spherical Mapping Corrector allows you to choose the interpolation method and performs the correction by itself. You can use it for free.
If you need to transform an image into a 3D sphere array, this free plugin is what you need. It allows you to control sphere radius and light intensity, specularity, shape, position, and size. It also gives you backlight options.
This plugin creates procedural lattice structures. It's useful in generative design and offers the beauty of ordered chaos. You can choose line and point size, minimum and maximum particle distances required for a connection, and the maximum number of connections. You can then fine-tune the effect, add noise and turbulence, and choose the color scheme.
Lattice allows you to simulate depth of field, bring particles in or out of focus, and change perspective. It's a sophisticated plugin with unlimited combinations of effects. Lattice costs $69.99.
One of the best Photoshop plugins for photographers, DOF PRO generates complex depth of field photo effects. Among its features are circular and polygonal aperture shapes, custom apertures, blade notching with variable notch scale and positive and negative notch angle, sagittal and tangential astigmatism, aspect ratio selection, and optical vignetting. You can buy DOF PRO for $99.99.
For $49.99 you can have Lumiere, a Photoshop plugin that gives you advanced glow photo effects. It can generate specular blooms, flared highlights, and diffused glow. It works on image luminance for natural effects.
Lumiere offers fast previews, advanced selection tools for fine-tuning, and precise control tools for choosing algorithms and features. You can use it for subtle and natural effects as well as for dramatic looks and cinematic styles.
This plugin covers motion blur effects, producing multi-directional and high-quality effects using motion vectors. MBL PRO is useful in sport photography and street photography. Among its features are single vector blurs, zoom blurs, spin blurs, and multi-vector blurs. All types of blurs have a wide range of distributions and can be applied to subjects, backgrounds, or both. MBL PRO costs $99.99.
Photo-Plugins develops a series of free Photoshop plugins for photographers. These plugins are designed for photo retouching and cover most basic adjustments. The Photo-Plugins collection is available for Windows.
This is a plugin for transforming color images into monochrome images that offers control over the entire process. Among its best features are the possibility to control tonal response of a specific color, presets that simulate tonal responses of the most popular films, a grain effect, effects similar to color lens filters, a toning effect, and a brightness meter.
Useful for portrait and fashion photography, this plugin offers a soft focus effect that allows you to choose the focus softness, effect intensity, and blending mode.
This plugin allows you to apply a gradient blur over parts of your image, drawing attention to the subject. It allows you to choose the effect's position and strength and preview the results.
Dedicated to artists and photographers, these Photoshop plugins offer creative photo effects and editing tools. They're available for Windows and compatible with Adobe Photoshop 6 and higher. Here are the best Photoshop plugins from Cybia Software.
This is a collection of five Photoshop plugins that produce colorful photo effects and perform color retouching. You can use them to enhance or correct colors but also to transform your images in an artistic way.
Hotshot â Dedicated to image enhancement, this plugin offers black and white conversion, a grain effect, color inversion, desaturation, and boosting.
RetroGrade â Recreates classic photo effects inspired from traditional black and white film.
Fluoron â Offers ultraviolet and fluorescent color styles for artistic effects.
Alienator â Generates effects by producing random combinations of parameters. Alienator allows you to set your preferences and mix the other parameters.
Vivida â Enhances contrast, brightness, and saturation for individual channels or for the entire image.
You can buy Colour Studio for $19.95 or buy each individual plugin for $8.
Based on traditional equipment and photographic techniques, Fotomatic is a collection of eight free Photoshop plugins that simulate analog photo filters. The collection contains:
Hi-Spot â Creates high-contrast black and white pictures and offers filters like sepia and old-fashioned monochrome tint.
G-Force â Gives monochromatic grain effects by adding textures and noise.
Techni-X â Produces clear monochrome images for black and white prints and photocopies.
NightScope â Converts images to black and white and simulates exposure in low-light conditions, adding a soft blur effect.
Pseudo-IR â Reproduces the infrared film look.
SkyGrad â Dedicated to adjusting the sky and changing the mood of your images.
FastFix â Covers basic image enhancements.
BW-Plus â Converts color images to monochrome using a colored optical lens filter.
This collection of Photoshop plugins covers basic adjustments and filters any beginner photographer needs. It's free and contains eight useful and easy-to-use plugins:
AlphaWorks â Removes black or white values and adds transparency.
ColourWorks â Gives you color-based image filters and corrections.
EdgeWorks â Offers edge-related styles and filters and creates dramatic looks.
ScreenWorks â Offers embossing styles for adding depth to your images.
SwapShop â Allows you to swap colors and create surreal and abstract images.
MasterBlaster â Gives you the possibility to add intense colors for dramatic looks and strong overall cast.
Mezzy â Offers grain and mezzo effects.
Developed by Imagenomic, Realgrain is a Photoshop plugin that offers photo filters and effects in old photography styles. Among its best features are black and white conversion, toning, film and grain effects, and color effects.
Realgrain is available for Mac and Windows and is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 and newer. It costs $99.95.
Mister Retro plugins
Mister Retro offers Photoshop plugins with vintage looks. You can transform your images using old printing styles, cartoon effects, comic book looks, and many other fun and unique photo filters. All plugins are available for Windows and Mac and are compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS2 through CC 2015.
This plugin allows you to add light leaks and give a vintage look to your photographs. It simulates the light leaks that affect analog film cameras and adds a nostalgic feel. You can choose from 20 different light leaks and adjust their intensity, size, and saturation. Light Leaker costs $29 for a single user license.
Spot Wash Halftone
This plugin gives you halftone textured weathering, surfaces, and tactile effects. It has 20 wash textures and allows you to control their scale, roughness, and orientation. You can apply the effects on a selected area, layer, or color range. Spot Wash Halftone offers 20 background papers to add realism and tactile effects. You can buy it for $29.
Spot Wash Dirt
Choose from 20 textures to make your images gritty and rough. Effects include aging, weathering, and distress. You can erode, stain, bleach, and colorize each effect. Spot Wash Dirt comes with 20 paper types. It costs $29.
This is a Photoshop plugin that recreates vintage offset, letterpress, and silkscreen analog printing effects. It works on text and photographs. Among its features are ink color modes, paper types, CMYK mode, ink settings (opacity, viscosity, texture), plate effects, halftone effects, press effects, and edge effects. You can buy Permanent Press for $99.
If you want old-style photographs, then Retrographer is the plugin you need. It gives you vintage photography effects and allows you to edit them according to your creative mood. Retrographer has 15 effects: processing, photo lab, aging, light, vignetting, halftone, lens focus, lens gel, flaming, surface, flash..
This guide provides information on Game of Thrones locations, includes the country’s top tourist spots, and describes how to take breathtaking Iceland pictures.
It's hard to find someone who doesn't know that Season 8 of Game of Thrones was broadcast last month. It's impossible to hide from all the spoilers and discussions, and the spectators have also problems with the resistance to ask a question, Where is Game of Thrones filmed? Those breathtaking scenes leave you no choice.
Though we don't know how to stop thinking about this year's most popular series, we have an answer to the latter question. To find all Game of Thrones locations, you'll need plane tickets to Europe. Once on the continent, visit the British Isles, Malta, Spain, and Croatia. Moreover, go to the Titanic Museum in Northern Ireland to understand how the TV series is produced.
In short, you'll need a whole Eurotrip.
Photo by Matt Palmer
Hverir, or the Hverarond sulphur springs, is a must-visit place for Games of Thrones fans and all tourists. Hverir is a geothermal field of mud, mystically covered by steam vents. Creating an unforgettable atmosphere, this place is frequently used as a movie set for thrillers and fantasy movies.
What was Hverir in Game of Thrones? Season 3 starts with a scene where Samwell Tarly is walking through a storm. That's Hverir!
Useful information for travellers: Once you get to northern Iceland, don't miss the chance to see all the interesting places nearby. Among them is Myvatn Lake, the setting of the battle between the Night's Watch and White Walkers. There's also the Dimmuborgir lava field where the camp of the Free Folk and Mance Rayder were situated. And, of course, the meeting place of Jon Snow and Ygritte's date ' GrjÃ³tagjÃ¡ cave! As you can see, there are lots of interesting things to do in Iceland related to Game of Thrones even within the area of one location.
Moreover, you can walk in Hverir by yourself and experience the feeling of standing inside a snowstorm!
Possible dangers: Carelessly walking in this area may entail serious risk both to you and to the fragile natural environment. Beware that the storm that resembles snow is actually hot and smells like sulfur. In short, take care!
#4 Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach: The residence of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea
Photo by Maxime GauthierTo see the incredible natural habitat where Eastwatch-by-the-Sea was filmed in Season 7, head to Reynisfjara Beach. The landscape will make you feel like Jon Snow and his warriors mooring on the northern shore. Supplemented by a mountain of a fantastic tower-like shape, this beach may be the most impressive sightseeing spot you've ever visited.
In fact, the beach is outstanding even without being one of the Game of Thrones locations. Its sand is as black as night! Reynisfjara is easily accessible from the main road, which turns it into a top place to visit on the map of Iceland. And of course, the mysterious atmosphere guarantees you'll capture outstanding Iceland pictures even without special preparation.
What was Reynisfjara in Game of Thrones? Eastwatch-by-the-Sea was mentioned several times in the series but appeared only in Season 7 Episode 5, since the Night King was seen for the last time in that area. Later, Jon Snow started his journey in search of a White Walker (to bring him back to King's Landing).
Useful information for travellers: There's a huge parking lot nearby, so you can plan a stopover at this Eastwatch-by-the-Sea place. However, the weather is usually rather gloomy, so having picnics here isn't among the best things to do in Iceland.
Possible dangers: Waves. They appear unexpectedly and are huge enough to spoil your tour, though they may make for outstanding Iceland pictures. Take care!
#5 DyrhÃ³laey Peninsula: A spot offering numerous things to do in IcelandPhoto by Iurie Belegurschi
Another Eastwatch-by-the-Sea filming spot, DyrhÃ³laey offers many things to do beyond searching for the answer to the question, Where is Game of Thrones filmed?. It's a habitat for the island's birdlife, and its southern shore is a perfect place to get amazing Iceland pictures. A 120-meter promenade, DyrhÃ³laey offer the view of the whole landscape of southern Iceland, including a marvelous view of a castle-shaped lighthouse and a pleasant beach.
What was DyrhÃ³laey in Game of Thrones? DyrhÃ³laey represents the landscape of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea in Episodes 5 and 6 of Season 7.
Useful information for travellers: Consider spending several hours at DyrhÃ³laey to feel its atmosphere to the fullest.
Possible dangers: From May 1 through the end of July, this area has limited access and the higher part is closed to car traffic.
Richard Harrington, photographer and VP of Product Management at Skylum Software, shows us what's different in the latest version of Luminar 3.1.
Learn how the next generation of Accent AI introduced in Luminar 3.1 makes enhancing your images easier than ever. Plus, check out performance and usability enhancements that will make your editing workflow even faster.
Impressed? Don't miss Skylum's special Spring Offer and get Luminar along with the Photography 101 video course by SLR Lounge ($99 value) for just $69. Or get Luminar AND Aurora HDR for $129.
What do pro photographers say about Luminar 3.1 with the new Accent AI 2.0 filter?
The first Luminar 3.1 reviews are in! We've been overwhelmed with the initial positive feedback about Accent AI 2.0 and wanted you to take a look at these video reviews by pro photographers who share their first impressions.
I believe this is an awesome filter for all photographers but particularly those who are new to photography. Let's face it: post-processing is difficult, and with just a slider you can do great post-processing to just about any type of image. - Anthony Morganti
It's kind of a super filter, like an 'easy' button. - Jim Nix from Nomadic Pursuits
The Accent AI 2.0 filter does indeed prove remarkably good at enhancing outdoor portraits, keeping faces and skin tones looking natural while increasing contrast, saturation, and detail rendition everywhere else. It's not just for portraits, however, but for any kind of image that needs improving. - Rod Lawton from Life after Photoshop
Learn the secrets of classic photorealist artists in this overview.
Simply put, photorealism (sometimes written as âphoto-realism') is copying a photo by creating an artwork based on it. A photograph is projected on a canvas where an artist uses an airbrush and creates a painting that looks like a print. Because of that, photorealism is an interesting merger between photography and fine art, making these two types of art friends, not rivals who struggle for the most accurate visual representation of reality.
Viewers are likely to be impressed with photorealistic artworks. Admirers of photorealism acknowledge its tremendous WOW effect on spectators after they realize it's a painting in front of their eyes, not a photo. By the same token, watching the best representatives of the photorealism art movement is huge fun, especially when you view their artworks alongside the real photographs and try to guess which is which.
However, the photorealism movement is not well known among the general public. In this post, we want to attract your attention to this incredible artistic style and inspire you to give it a try.
The history of the photorealism movement
According to arthistory, the two precursors to the photorealism art movement were pop art and minimalism. Both of these trends tried to deconstruct existing hierarchies in choosing subjects and using advertising imagery. Having the same starting point, photorealism steadily evolved into an independent style with its own characteristics.
The development of the photorealism art movement happened in several stages. It started in the late 1960s in the United States when several artists called for a return to maximum vividness in opposition to the widespread Abstract Expressionism. This ambition was enabled by cheap cameras becoming available to the general public. After becoming able to take photographs, many artists decided to create their artworks with careful pre-planning and by copying of their chosen subject in detail. These principles still are fundamental to either photorealism or realism movement.
At the same time, the thing that differs photorealism from the realism movement is that its proponents kept on depicting ordinary objects. This enabled a new stage in the genre to appear, turning the whole artistic style into a mirror of banal life. In the US, photorealism even gained the subtitle Americana, showing the extinct American life in its wistful details.
The period of Americana was the peak of this artistic movement, which ended in the 1970s. Today, people with nostalgic sentiments love looking at the artwork of those times.
In the 1990s, interest in photorealism reappeared thanks to the technological revolution, which increased the access to photography and the reach of the photorealism movement. It turned into a global trend that hasn't lost its popularity today. Since the 1990s, photorealism has held a place among contemporary art.
Is photorealism real art?
Notwithstanding its unique features, the photorealism movement hasn't managed to attract the professional attention it deserves. Many art specialists not only forget to include it as an important avant-garde trend but also question it as art itself. Let's redress this injustice here.
In the opinion of the artists themselves, photorealism is true art. The question of whether it's art is closely linked to the question of whether photography can be considered art. And to both questions, the answer is the same: the individual perspective matters, turning a mechanical deed into something bigger. In other words, photorealism is art just like photography is art insomuch as the artist puts himself/herself into it.
In this context, the inclusion of artistic imagination is a must in all works of photorealism. From the very definition of photorealism, it's evident that it supplements the mechanical work of a copying machine with a human touch. And so it goes beyond the limits of technology.
Moreover, to turn from an amateur preoccupation into a complete photorealism art movement, there appeared the set of process rules that manage artist's inclusion into a photograph. For example, among representatives of the photorealism movement, it's common to replicate objects much bigger than they are in reality. In addition, the photorealistic style calls for using special paints (oil or acrylic, specifically) and creating the smoothest surface possible for painting.
Here are five grounding principles determined in photorealism manifesto:
A photorealist uses a camera to gather information.
A photorealist uses technical means to accurately transfer information to the canvas.
A photorealist has technical capacities to make the result look like a photograph.
An artist should have a published photorealistic artwork since 1972 to be a prominent photorealist.
An artist should dedicate at least five years to creating and publishing works in the photorealism genre.
(Meisel, Louis K. Photorealism. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, New York. 1980. p. 13.)
As you can see, the creative approach of an artist is postulated at each stage of this photorealism manifesto.
In other words, photorealism isn't just art: it's a highly sophisticated form of art with its own rules and methods. And with its own quality standards. The more time spectators dedicate to believing that it's a drawing and not a photograph, the greater mastery a photorealist has demonstrated. To achieve this effect, artists use techniques from other art genres like Verism and Super-Realism to amaze viewers. The tremendous effort put into enhancing these photorealistic practices made it possible for the whole photorealism movement to appear.
Here are the five best photorealists.
5 classic masters of photorealism
In Britannica, the list of masters of photorealism includes Richard Estes, Ralph Goings, Audrey Flack, Robert Bechtle, and Chuck Close. Let's look closer at what beauty they created and why they left such a huge footprint on this artistic movement.
#1 Richard Estes
As one of the most appraised artists of photorealism, Richard Estes believed that a photograph couldn't be considered complete without the touch of a brush. We agree with Estes and highly recommend using post-editing software to beautify your images!
==luminar_partial==Estes, R. Telephone
Booths. Acrylic on masonite. Collection of Museo Thyssen, 1967
In his artworks, Estes depicted the big city life of New York. His contribution to photorealism was inventing the genre as we know it. In his famous Telephone Booths, Estes achieved an outstanding meditating effect in the depiction of urban scenery. Moreover, a closer look at the image reveals a rich bouquet of colors: probably even too rich to believe something like that could have been caught by a low-quality color camera in the 1960s.
Estes, R. People's Flowers. Oil on canvas. Collection of Museo Thyssen, 1971.
At the same time, the works of Estes managed to capture the aesthetic heritage of New York City on the threshold of an economic crisis. As in the image above, his choice of colors and manner of representation resemble fine art from Medieval times and is aesthetically beautiful. However, all his plots were taken from ordinary life, which makes Estes a realist. And the mix of aesthetics and and key principles of realism art movement happened because he didn't aim at showing the world exactly as it was in the photograph. He beautified reality.
Estes, R. Supreme Hardware. Oil on canvas. High Museum of Art, 1974.
If we closely consider his photorealistic technique, Estes is not a typical artist of the movement. Even though he used a camera to gather information, he never supplemented copying an image with technological means, using neither a grid nor a projector. In addition, he avoided showing areas of photographic blur or focus. In fact, that was a great invention in an era when cameras were incapable of catching all details without distortion.
#2 Ralph Goings
Another top representative of the photorealism artists, Goings showed a willingness to crisp a veneer of photographed landscapes. Inspired by the interiors of diners, gas stations, and pickup trucks, he created outstanding artworks by copying photographs with watercolor and acrylic paints.
Goings, R. Black Ford. Watercolor on paper. Plus One Gallery, 1975As one of the pioneers in the photorealism movement, Goings faced heavy criticism for working from photographs. To defend his approach, he dedicated significant attention to painting the play of light and changing the shapes and colors of the objects he depicted. Goings is considered a photorealistic artist who was highly attentive to the details of working-class life in California.
Goings, R. Donut. Oil on canvas. USEUM, 1995
Since the peak of his artistic career happened during the 1973â1975 recession, the works of Goings gained social meaning. He objectively showed elements of everyday life and gained a reputation as one of the best photorealists of his time. In the 1990s, Goings published a series of outstanding still life paintings of tables in diners that still impress spectators.
#3 Audrey Flack
Audrey Flack is the only woman among the well-known photorealism artists, and this fact adds unusual emotional and social layers to her artworks. Commonly, the works of Flack are viewed through the lens of their feminism and kitsch, as this is how she showed the essence of pop culture. Flack was so influential that some people call her the Mother of Photorealism.
Flack, A. The Art Muse #1. Digital print with hand drawing and glitter. Artist's Collection, 2004
Flack started down her path by creating sculptures, self-portraits, and general abstractions. But after getting acquainted with photorealism, she turned to making large-scale painted copies of historical events. In addition, she revealed her feminist ideas in sculpture: starting in the 1980s, she turned to this art completely.
Flack, A. Royal Jello. Oil on canvas. Gary Snyder Gallery, 1962
In her photorealistic drawings, Flack worked mostly with still life photos, dreaming to revive the old culture of vanitas. With the help of this style, she aimed to reveal the fugitive essence of the materialistic world, an idea that went back to the front burner with the appearance of consumption culture. To achieve this effect, she supplemented ordinary objects with symbolic meaning. That was her mission in painting photographs: to add a hyperreal dimension to seemingly banal things.
#4 Robert Bechtle
Like Goings, Bechtle preferred working in photorealism as a way to deepen the perception of an image with several layers. In his peaceful, sunny artworks, he became the master of revealing the mystery behind emptiness. This secret knowledge makes his artworks attractive to spectators of any time and place.
Bechtle, R. Chrysler â64. Soft ground etching. Alpha 137 Gallery, 1971
For inspiration, Bechtle used the common scenery of his neighborhood in California, with its typical families, cars, houses, and nature. Cars were his secret passion â most of his suburban works contain them.
Bechtle, R. 73â Malibu -
NFS. Oil on canvas. Meisel Gallery, 1971
Bechtle explains his willingness to paint photographs by the need to move the emphasis from how something is depicted to the objects themselves. That's probably why his whole creative work is considered melancholic: things in their extreme ordinality are rather boring.
#5 Chuck Close
Close was one of the most innovative photorealism artists. Working with portraits captured by his friends, he made gigantic images and introduced a brand-new technique. In his photorealistic approach, he used a light pencil grid for scaling, then made a sketch with an airbrush and added the final details with paint.
Close, C. Keith/Random Fingerprint. Stamp-pad ink and pencil on paper. American Art, 1979
Being an ideologist of photorealistic portraits, Close started his career by creating a series of eight heads painted in black-and-white with an airbrush. In his approach, a grid was important for him. With this tool, he believed to add wider analytical layer into a detail-oriented camera focus. The success of this first attempt inspired him to dedicate all of his artistic energy to painting portraits.
Close, C. Maggie. Oil on canvas. Pace Gallery, 2005â2006
While gaining mastery in painting photography, Close revealed his ability to introduce philosophical concepts to an image. Having dyslexia and facial blindness, he raised the subject of human vulnerability in each artwork he created. In particular, he believed that he added timelessness and hardiness to fragile photographed subjects.
Techniques used in photorealistic art
Photorealism artists (don't mistake them with realism artists!) tend to become skilled at watercolor sketches before turning to monumental photorealistic painting. Thus, the watercolor technique won't go amiss in photorealism attempts of any scale.
Once you have the necessary skill in drawing, it's time to make an accurate photograph that will serve as the basis for a painting. Here, you'll need all your attention and talent for capturing the reality on the streets. Before starting a photo session, get basic knowledge of how to take street photography and candid photography. Pay special attention to these street photography tips - it contains all the information needed for non-invasive photographers. In any case, photorealism doesn't possess strict rules for photography. Consider the photograph as a draft for your painting.
Once they have a photograph, all modern photorealism artists use technology to copy the image. The available photorealistic tools are a projector and a grid system: these are two common ways to transfer an image from one medium to another. In contrast to copying paper, these instruments allow the artist to catch all the tiniest details in the painted image.
You can draw the image by using different approaches. For example, you can follow the technique of Richard Estes and beautify the low-grade parts of a photograph while strictly following the image in other sections. Another way is to add a mystical dimension to reality, as Audrey Flack did. No matter which approach you choose, remember to reveal your artistic style. It should be natural for you to draw in the style you've chosen. At the same time, attention to detail is a must in photorealism, so carefully select colors, brushes, and drawing techniques for different parts of the painting.
For your convenience, here's a checklist of the grounding principles of photorealism. Use it to practice and become a professional in this style:
The drawing stage has the aim of introducing an unreal dimension into reality. (Otherwise, why not leave it as a photograph? Why complicate your life with a purposeless photorealistic painting?)
All objects you've chosen are free of social labeling. Even though they're recognizable elements of ordinary life, they should talk by themselves and be free of any commentary from the artist.
Don't deny the link with the photograph: choose photorealistic paint and a technique that depicts the image you've taken with the camera in the most accurate way. Don't hesitate to use the most accurate copying instrument.
Carefully plan how you'll draw the photograph and make sure all details are depicted in the final artwork.
If you feel inspired to try your hand at photorealism, remember that it's a process that shouldn't be stressful! Precise attention to detail is a meditation practice, not torture. Have fun!
Editing and post-processing for photorealism
As is evident from this overview, photorealism can't be done without a photograph. And the quality of that photo is a very important element. In other words, you should get the most out of your photo, meaning you can't skip the post-processing stage.
As top-rated photo editing software, Luminar allows you to introduce adjustments that either fix photography mistakes or put emphasis on the details you'll draw in the next stage. In addition to basic editing features like straighten photo and apply filters, Luminar helps professionals with changing exposure, noise level, white balance, and other nuances. Try it by clicking the button below!
Candid photography can capture the magic inherent in spontaneity, but they can be tough to get right. Here are 8 tips to help you get started.
A candid photo can tell a million stories. Capturing unscripted moments may seem easy, yet getting the image right can be complicated.
Candid photography is sometimes misinterpreted as a simple snapshot. While candid photography doesn't involve any direction from the photographer, it still follows general rules of composition. In order to capture a candid photo that has a lot of impact, you'll likely need to take many photographs of the same scene before you get it right. By following a few simple tricks for candid photography, you'll be able to take impactful photos in no time.
What does candid mean? The definition of candid is capturing a scene exactly as it appears without offering any direction or manipulation. As opposed to posed images, candid photos show how things are in real life.
A candid photo can show a woman hanging clothes on a line or a family sitting down to their evening meal. It can capture raw emotion between two people or show a protest on a street corner. One of the most beautiful aspects of candid photography is that there's raw emotion behind each image. Candid shots can also be applied to many different types of photography.
Setting up your camera for candid photographyChoose the right camera mode
When you're setting up a shot, you have time to make sure the lighting is just right, the exposure is perfect, and the focus is sharp. When shooting candid photos, there isn't time for any of this prep. If you're just starting photography, shooting in automatic mode may be the easiest way to start. You can focus solely on the scene in front of you without worrying about your camera's settings.
If you're a more experienced photographer, you may already be used to shooting in manual mode. But since you'll be shooting many images at once, it may be too difficult to constantly adjust all your settings. In this case, shooting in either Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority is the best decision. When shooting in Aperture Priority mode, you choose the aperture and ISO and the camera determines the correct shutter speed. This mode is best in well-lit conditions and lets you decide on the depth of field in your images. Shutter Priority mode is best when you're capturing a moving object or are shooting in low-light conditions. It allows you to choose the shutter speed ' slower for low-light or faster for capturing motion ' and the ISO, while the camera chooses the correct aperture.
Use continuous autofocus
If you use the autofocus on your DSLR, you've likely been using Single Point AF-S (Nikon) or One Shot AF (Canon). This tells your camera to focus your lens wherever you've placed your autofocus point. In most cases, this is an easy and effective mode to use. Yet in candid photography, people may move without warning, throwing off your focus.
This is where continuous autofocus comes in, and most DSLRs offer this setting. Switching to Continuous AF-C (Nikon) or AI Servo AF (Canon) tells your camera to automatically refocus every time your subject moves. This allows you to shoot continuously without having to refocus for every shot.
Use a zoom lens
In candid photography, you never know what will happen. One second you may be shooting something close to you while the next you're photographing something several meters away. You can't spend time constantly changing lenses or else you'll miss the moment. Zoom lenses offer the most versatility. While prime lenses are often desired for their wider apertures, nowadays there are plenty of zoom lenses on the market that also offer wide apertures.
Another bonus of using a zoom lens for candid photography is that you'll be able to zoom in close to the action without being intrusive. This is especially helpful in moments in which you're trying to capture emotion between your subjects. They're more likely to be comfortable and let their emotions flow freely if you aren't hovering over them.
Shoot in burst mode
Burst mode, also referred to as continuous shooting mode, is perfect for candid photography. You'll need to take a lot of shots in a short amount of time in order to capture the ideal moment. In normal shooting mode, the camera can't take photographs as quickly. When you switch to burst mode, you can take a number of shots in rapid succession. This allows you to capture minute changes in poses and expressions. The smallest shift in body position or emotion can make or break an image.
Editing your candid photos
You may be able to capture incredible candid pictures, but they won't truly pop until you learn how to edit them properly. The first step is to get photo editing software, such as Luminar 3. If you've shot your photos in RAW format, it will be much easier to adjust your exposure and white balance. Use the Highlights, Shadows, White Balance, Exposure, and Contrast sliders in Luminar or another photo editor until you have a good starting point. Then straighten photo if necessary.
At this point, you can choose to keep your candid pictures as they are or experiment with filters. Luminar 3 offers a wide range of Looks for every situation, from landscapes to street photography to portraits.
In this candid photo of a woman walking the streets of Morocco, the colors don't pop. This is easily remedied.
A quick crop (removing the left side of the photo) along with lightening of the shadows and boosting of the contrast instantly brings the photo to life. If you wish, you could leave it at this. If you want to make it pop even more, you can experiment with Luminar's Looks.
One of Luminar's most basic all-around Looks is the AI Image Enhancer. It instantly perfects the exposure, contrast, and saturation to truly make your image pop. This is a good Look to start from, and its intensity can be adjusted from 0 to 100.
Luminar's 5th Avenue Look softens the rough edges and brightens the overall photo without oversaturating the colors. The final result is clean and beautiful.
The Blockbuster Look really enhances the two main colors in the image: blue and orange. Attention is automatically drawn to the woman in orange walking through the bright blue streets, and the two complementary colors work together wonderfully.
If you're ready to take your candid shots to the next level, try Luminar 3 today!
Tips for getting the perfect candid picturesBlend into the scene
What makes candid pictures so powerful is the fact that scenes are captured without any disruption from the photographer, who shouldn't make themselves known. If you've ever been in front of a camera, you know that it can make you feel a bit uncomfortable. This feeling takes away from the raw emotion of a powerful candid photograph.
Even if your subjects know they're being photographed, it helps if you aren't constantly interrupting their activities. This allows them to relax and go about their day as normal. If you're shooting an event, try wearing clothing that doesn't draw attention. If possible, you should also avoid using flash. The less disruption you can cause, the better.
One of the best aspects of taking candid photos is the fact that you don't have to constantly interrupt the action to bring everyone's attention to you. There's no need for posing subjects, getting children to cooperate, or trying to find someone's missing uncle. Instead of being right on top of the action, try photographing from the side or a bit further away. This is where a zoom lens comes in handy. You can also attempt to shoot from the hip so people don't know you're taking a shot.
Candid pictures can be hauntingly beautiful, but try not to be voyeuristic. Not being acknowledged can lead to some incredible shots, but try to make sure your subjects consent to being photographed.
Take your time
Many of the best candid photos come at the most unexpected moments. In order to capture impactful candid pictures, you may need to sit in the same spot for a long time. You may also need to keep your camera focused on your subject's face for a long time in order to capture a specific emotion.
It may seem as though candid photography involves a lot of waiting, especially when you could simply tell your subject to smile or place their hand in a particular position. Unfortunately, posed images usually look posed. It's so easy to spot a fake look or smile, and it takes away from the power of the final image. Waiting for a hint of emotion or a genuine smile is worth the time.
A powerful wave of emotion or a simple gesture can make for an incredible shot on its own. Yet a bit of context can really pull the image together. Try to include a foreground or background that reveals where the subject is or what's happening around them. The gaze of lovers can be powerful, but why are they looking into each other's eyes like that? Perhaps they just had a child or they're celebrating their wedding day. Adding a hint of context can improve the final image.
Photo credit: Teryani Riggs When in doubt, interact with your subject
This may seem to go against the rule of not interfering with your subjects, but sometimes it's the best way to get them to loosen up and get used to having you around. Without pointing your camera directly at their faces, try to have a friendly conversation with your subjects. If you aren't a conversationalist, create a list of go-to questions beforehand.
When you get a person talking about something they're passionate about, their focus will no longer be on the camera. This can be especially effective when working with couples. Have them tell about their first date or the story of how they met. Get them to interact with each other in a natural way, then start photographing.
Different types of candid photography
Whether you usually shoot portraits, travel images, weddings, or other occasions, you can add candid photography to your repertoire. Candid photographers know how to step away from a scene and view it in all its beauty. They use simple changes in light, movements, and scene to create impactful images. All of this comes with practice. Even if you aren't ready to give up posing your subjects, adding a few candid shots to your portfolio can greatly enhance your work.
Couples are no longer looking for traditional, posed wedding photographs. Wedding photographers need to adapt to a new style of photography, one that ties in candid photography with posed images in a way that tells a story. Taking candid photos of a wedding allows you to capture authentic emotions of the couple, the wedding party, and the guests.
Chances are the couple hired you because they love your style of photography. From the beginning, you should keep an open line of communication to determine exactly what they're looking for. Do they want you at every step of the wedding, or are you just capturing the main event? Are you going to be photographing both the bride and groom getting ready? Are they expecting posed shots at a specific time? Do they want you in a particular location to shoot candid shots?
Having all of this worked out before the wedding day is incredibly important. You should also keep on hand a schedule of the day's events so you know where to be when. If you can, try to visit the venue beforehand to scout good locations. By being prepared, you can be as unobtrusive as possible while allowing the couple to enjoy their special day.
As a wedding photographer, you should always be a few steps ahead. When the bride and groom are about to walk down the aisle, you should already be in position. When the cake is about to be cut, you should already be off to the side, camera at the ready. The same is true for every step of the day that you're expected to capture. Weddings can't be recreated ' at least not candidly. In order to capture the moment, you need to be ready before the moment happens.
Use the right equipment
Having your DSLR on hand is a given, but sometimes having a smaller camera can be helpful as well. Some of the small mirrorless cameras now available allow you to get right into the action and still capture great shots. This is also helpful in situations where you don't want to intimidate your subjects with a huge zoom lens. Try to keep an extra, smaller digital camera in your pocket for these moments.
Switch things up
While you should always be ready for the important moments on a wedding day, you should give yourself a bit of freedom when capturing the rest of the event. Try to get candid shots of people alone: perhaps the bride's mother taking a second for herself before the ceremony. Get right into the action, such as in the middle of the dance floor during the afterparty. From this perspective, you can get candid photos of people dancing, laughing, and having fun.
By always being ready, capturing in-between moments, and using basic candid photography tips, you can create candid shots that couples will cherish for decades to come.
Candid street photography
If you find yourself people watching every time you head outdoors, you're the perfect candidate for street photography. This type of photography takes a lot of practice and patience. If you're capturing a protest or some other event, you can know where the action is and simply follow it. In other cases, you may be waiting for an interesting moment for hours. If you don't mind spending all day waiting for the perfect moment, you can create beautiful candid photos anywhere.
Many photographers carry around a DSLR camera and a mid-sized zoom lens. While this can be useful in many situations, it's actually a hindrance in street photography. What makes street photographs so powerful is the fact that their subjects are often caught in an unguarded moment. Their true emotions show on their faces, and their true nature comes out. If people see you on the street with a professional camera and huge zoom lens, they may start to act guarded or unnatural.
By choosing a smaller camera, such as a mirrorless or basic point-and-shoot, you can blend into the crowd easier. This allows you to get closer to people without them realizing that you're photographing them.
Act like a tourist
How often do you see tourists wandering the streets with a camera in hand? In many places, tourists are so common that people don't give them a second glance. One of the best ways to get candid street images is to act as though you're a tourist. This is another reason why a smaller, less obtrusive camera is helpful. Act as though you're taking a photograph of a building or other object near your actual subject, then at the last second snap a photo of the person.
In order for this trick to work, you must keep the camera to your eye until your subject passes you. On instinct, photographers tend to remove the camera from their eye as soon as they take a photo. This will tip off your subject that you just photographed them. If you keep your camera to your eye even after you've clicked the shutter, your subject can pass by without even noticing you. You should also avoid making direct eye contact with your subject, as this will also draw their attention to you.
Think outside the box
Your version of street photography may include walking down a busy city street, strolling through a rural town, or simply sitting at an outdoor cafe and waiting for something to happen. All of these scenarios offer the chance to create incredible candid photos, as long as you have the drive and the patience. If you've been spending a lot of time in one area and you can't seem to create images you like, try moving to a different area. Try sitting on a terrace above the action or focusing more on inanimate objects instead of people. If you're worried about people noticing you, try shooting from the hip instead of at eye level. Over time, you'll develop the skills you need to create inspiring street photographs.
A candid portrait seems like an oxymoron. How can a portrait be candid, especially if the person you're photographing knows they're being photographed? Imagine a posed portrait, where the subject is told to smile as you lift the camera to your eye. Since nothing actually made the subject smile apart from your direction, the smile is often fake. This inauthenticity can be easily seen in the final image. Now, let's say you're having a conversation with your subject. You're telling a funny story and your subject laughs. At this exact moment, you take a photograph. The final image will show true happiness instead of forced. This is what sets candid portraits apart from their posed counterparts. With a few portrait photography tips under your belt, you can master both candid and staged images.
Capture the in-between moments
When placed in front of a camera, people often feel as though they have to act or look a certain way. The most natural moments are the in-between moments in which you're changing a lens or simply speaking to your subject. Try to take a look at the way your subject behaves when your camera isn't pointed at them. What expressions do you see when they're talking about something that excites them? What emotion does their face show when they're deep in thought? This is what makes a candid portrait beautiful.
Photo credit: Teryani Riggs Have someone interact with your subject
It can be difficult to carry on a conversation with your subject while you're trying to photograph them. As soon as you distract them from the project at hand, they notice a camera in front of your face. Instead, have a good friend of theirs come along for the shoot. The friend can remain out of the frame yet naturally interact with your subject in ways that bring out their true colors. When your subject laughs or gives an emotive look, capture it. This way, your subject will be focused more on their friend than you, and the candid portrait will show real, raw emotion.
While candid photography may not be easy at first, with practice you'll begin to take images you're proud of. You can use these tips to branch off into candid fashion photography, candid wildlife photography, and other areas. Get comfortable with your equipment, be sure to use the correct camera settings, and start shooting! By following these tips and tricks, you'll be taking beautiful candid shots before you know it.
Here is a list of the best Photoshop plugins that can help simplify designer's workflow and save you a lot of time and efforts.
As a designer, you're used to working with deadlines, demanding clients, and a wide range of software. Adobe Photoshop is one of the best known pieces of design software, and it offers useful tools to designers and photographers. But even though it's a great tool by itself, there's still the need for straightforward and efficient Photoshop plugins.
Photoshop plugins are dedicated to specific functionality. Usually, you'll use more than one to cover the entire production flow. They're precise and optimized and can save you a lot of time and energy. Here are the best Photoshop plugins a designer can wish for.
Project management & collaboration tools
In the design department, things are always changing. Projects are modified every day. A new version, a different approach, or a new idea from the client can give you headaches if you don't have good management tools. Keeping up with the team and clients is the secret behind every successful project. Here are the best Photoshop plugins to help you keep everything in control.
Craft (Mac, Free)
This package of Photoshop plugins helps you design, prototype, share, and collaborate faster. Craft allows you to sync your designs with InVision and gives you control over what you upload and when.
With Craft, you're always connected with your team, allowing you to chat, receive feedback in real time, and use synchronized tools. One of the best free Photoshop plugins, Crafts offers tools for prototyping, getting stock images from Getty and iStock, and finding duplicate images.
Avocode (Mac/Windows/Linux, $14/month)
This plugin automates the hand-off workflow. You can use Avocode to open designs without having design tools, sync and discuss design changes with your team, export assets, and share designs securely with encryption.
Avocode works with Sketch, Adobe Photoshop, XD, Illustrator, and Figma designs. Pricing starts at $14 per month for one user.
Mockplus iDoc (Windows/Mac, $7/month)
Mockplus iDoc is one of the Photoshop plugins for design collaboration. It generates specs automatically, marks layers as exportable, uploads all possible slices in real time, and provides a space to share your documents with your design team. It also collects and organizes resources from the entire team and builds a style guide you can easily use.
Mockplus iDoc is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 and newer. You can use it for free for five members and five projects or choose a pricing plan starting from $7 per month.
There are some things a designer can never have enough of: fonts, brushes, colors, and other useful tools make imagination become reality. These tools have to be user-friendly and offer a wide variety of styles. Many designers use Photoshop plugins for a specific font or brush instead of using a general editor. Here are the best Photoshop plugins for design assets.
What would design be without fonts? They personalize and enhance the style, create a mood, and give clues about the message you want to convey. Here are the best Photoshop plugins for working with fonts.
FontExplorer X (Mac, $99)
This Photoshop plugin helps you organize your fonts. Among its best features are font management, a character view, detailed font info, optimization for Retina Displays, backups, and printing tools.
Suitcase Fusion (Windows/Mac, $119.95)
This plugin helps you manage all your fonts and gives you search, view, and organize tools. You can also use it to share fonts with your team and organize them by client or project.
Fontself Maker (Windows/Mac, $99)
If you aren't happy with the fonts you have, you can make your own using Fontself Maker. It allows you to turn any lettering into an OpenType font. Among its functionalities are transforming a shape into a letter, ligatures, alternates, exporting OpenType fonts, and kerning. Fontself Maker is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 and newer.
Colors are the heart of design. It's only natural that many Adobe Photoshop plugins work with colors. Colors give consistency and style, and it's essential to manage them precisely and efficiently. Here are the best Photoshop plugins for working with colors.
Prisma (Windows/Mac, Free)
This plugin helps you change colors in an entire project without adjusting each layer individually. It lets you link your layers and update their fill colors at the same time. It also allows you to work with multiple projects at once. Prisma has tools for organizing swatches, sharing colors via a unique URL, and importing and exporting ASE files. It's compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2014â2017.
Hover Color Picker (Windows/Mac, $16)
Developed by Rico Holmes, this plugin is a fast color picker for Adobe Photoshop CC. It hides itself when you're painting and comes back when you hover over it. Hover Color Picker is designed to stay in the background and not use CPU when you aren't working with it. It allows you to choose hue, brightness, and vibrance, and comes with easy-to-use and intuitive sliders.
Swatchy (Windows/Mac, Free)
Swatchy allows you to manage swatches and offers you a system of folders to organize them in. It's compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 14.0 and newer.
Coolorus (Windows/Mac, $14.99)
This color wheel plugin for Photoshop is easy to use and efficient for those looking to improve their workflow. It has Color Schemes, Gamut Lock, and HSV representation. You can use Coolorus to change the fill color of text and shapes, share colors, and blend colors. It's compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 and newer.
Magic Picker (Windows/Mac, $19)
Magic Picker is a color wheel and a color picker in the same plugin. It has big color swatches, dark UI support, and smart keyboard shortcuts. It allows you to control color temperature, lock the tone and a constant CMYK black level, and colorize text and shapes.
Magic Picker is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS3 and higher and Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 and newer.
Brushes are the best tools to express your creativity. You'll never have enough brushes, so here are the best Photoshop plugins for working with them.
ParticleShop (Windows/Mac, $49.95)
Powered by Painter, this Photoshop plugin comes with the motto 'ParticleShop will make any composition pop.' It has 11 built-in brushes with artistic allure and modern shapes that allow you to achieve thick strokes, pointillist looks, fluid lines, and glow. ParticleShop works with layers and is easy to use. It's compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS5 and CS6 and Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 and newer.
BrushBox (Windows/Mac, $15)
BrushBox allows you to organize brushes and tool presets. It offers search functionality, tags, color codes, and import tools to save you time and improve your work. It's compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 and newer.
Digital design would be almost impossible without layers. They save you time and energy and allow you to focus on each detail of your creation. Many Photoshop plugins help you manage layers and produce high-quality designs. Here are the best of them.
Composer (Windows/Mac, Free)
This Photoshop plugin allows you to update multiple layers at the same time. All you have to do is select the layers you want to update, select the layer comps you want to change, and use one command to update them. The available commands are Update Layer Style, Update Position, Update Visibility, and Update All.
Composer is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS5, CS6, and CC.
CSS3Ps (Windows/Mac, Free)
CSS3Ps is a free Photoshop plugin that converts layers to CSS3 format. Among its features are multi-layer selection, text layers, a cloud service, and support for size, stroke, shadows, glow, and gradient overlays. It's compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS3 and later.
SVG Layers (Windows/Mac, $19)
This Photoshop plugin imports SVG files and transforms them into vector layers. It also lets you export layers as SVG files. With SVG Layers, you can use Photoshop as a vector editor. It's compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS5 through CC 2018.
Renamy (Windows/Mac, $9.99)
This plugin renames multiple layers at the same time. Moreover, it allows you to search layers by text and work with long names, and has a powerful matching substrings mechanism. It's compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 and newer.
Layrs Control (Windows/Mac, Free)
One of the best free plugins for Photoshop, Layrs Control offers seven tools that improve your work with layers. You can use them to rename layers and folders, remove effects from selected layers, flatten layers, delete empty layers, rasterize smart objects and convert layers into smart objects, and find files with similar names. It's compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.
Ink (Windows/Mac, Free)
This plugin allows you to document layers by adding information about typography, effects, and shapes. You can add information about most HTML5 effects, text formatting, and layer dimensions. All documentation is stored in a main folder. Ink is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS6 and CC 2018. Although it's free, the developer encourages donations to a good cause.
Photoshop allows you to create your own textures and effects, but this takes time and the results aren't always perfect. Instead of spending hours creating an effect, you can use one of the Photoshop plugins dedicated to filters and special effects. You'll find basic effects and textures but also eccentric ones: the kind you use only once in a lifetime. Many Photoshop plugins offer libraries with the most amazing and modern special effects. You'll definitely have something to choose from.
Kubota DASHBOARD (Windows/Mac, $9.99/month or buy effects separately)
This Photoshop plugin offers over 400 effects for photo editing. It's a Photoshop plugin for photographers, but it's useful for designers too. Its effects are dedicated to adjusting colors, working in black and white, retouching images, and doing creative work. You can also use Kubota to add borders and textures to your images and can take advantage of its tools for searching and batch processing.
This luminosity masking panel for Photoshop allows you to see a full-screen preview before applying a mask, group masks, see the history of your actions and undo them, create vignettes in any area of the image, and save large files. Lumenzia is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS6 and CC.
AlphaPlugins produces several Photoshop plugins dedicated to special effects. They're available for Windows and Mac and are compatible with Adobe CS2 and CC.
RichTextallows you to edit text in Photoshop. It has its own text editor that allows you to use RTF files and copy large amounts of text from MS Word. It also offers a wide variety of effects to apply to your text and supports multi-line paragraphs.
Digitalizer II ($30) â Also dedicated to text, this plugin transforms any image into a series of symbols, digits, and text. It has a large library of text effects including for 3D perspectives and randomizing separated symbols.
Engraver III ($74.95) â This software transforms pictures into old-style engravings. It offers multi-layer support and a wide range of geometric patterns and ink colors. You can use it to add noise, texture, and imperfections, choose a paper color, and simulate the results of an old printing press.
IcePattern ($48) â IcePattern creates frozen figures using a wide range of patterns. It offers a preview mode to see your adjustments and a long list of presets to ease your work.
Eye Candy (Windows/Mac, $89)
Version 7 of the Eye Candy plugin offers realistic effects but also some pretty exquisite ones. You can choose between Fire, Chrome, Smoke, Animal Fur, Reptile Skin, and many more. In total, there are 32 categories and over 1,000 presets. You can preview an effect by hovering and experiment with them quickly. Eye Candy is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS5 and newer.
Flaming Pear Software plugins
Dedicated to designers, photographers, and other creative people, Photoshop plugins from Flaming Pear Software are straightforward and easy to use. They're available for Windows and Mac and are compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS5 and CC.
Flexify ($54) â This is a plugin for panoramas, maps, and polyhedra that bends images into amazing new shapes. Among its features are HDR support, exporting of 3D panorama models, hundreds of full-sphere and partial-sphere output formats, buildable polyhedra and origami, and hyper-wide-angle views.
Flood ($33) â This Photoshop plugin is particularly for photographers, as it adds water to pictures. As the developer says, you can 'inundate the landscape and submerge your friends.' Flood is dedicated to landscape photography and allows you to create water reflections, control waves, add 3D realism, and spin the altitude, perspective, and horizon.
Texture Anarchy (Windows/Mac, Free)
Dedicated to creating borders and 2D and 3D textures, this free Photoshop plugin offers three texture filters: Texture Explorer for seamless procedural textures, Tiler Anarchy for seamlessly repeated textures, and Edge Anarchy for distressed and ornamental borders.
Mister Retro plugins
If you're a fan of retro styles, then these Photoshop plugins are for you. They offer textures, patterns, and filters to recreate old looks. These Photoshop plugins are available for Windows and Mac and are compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS2 through CC 2014.
Spot Wash Halftone ($29) â This plugin allows you to create a halftone look using one of its 20 wash textures. It's quick and easy to use. You can adjust the scale, orientation, and roughness for each effect and can apply effects only to a specific area of an image. To make it even more realistic, you can erode, stain, bleach, and colorize textures.
Permanent Press 2 ($99) â This plugin allows you to recreate the vintage look produced by old printing tools. You can choose from a wide range of effects, from letterpress to silkscreen analog printing. These effects can be applied to text or images. Choose ink color, mode, opacity, texture and viscosity, paper type, halftone effects, and edge effects.
Long Shadow Generator (Windows/Mac, Free)
If you need a long shadow in your design, choose this free Photoshop plugin. It allows you to set the shadow length, opacity, and angle and choose from black and white shadows and flattened or gradient shadows. Long Shadow Generator is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC.
Andromeda Software plugins
Andromeda has many plugins for Photoshop available for Windows and Mac and compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC. For adding special effects to your designs, these two are the best.
Shadow ($129) â Shadow adds 3D shadows and allows for stereo 3D viewing. Among its features are four movable lights to give you multiple shadows, natural soft edges and blurring, a virtual camera for perspective shadows, and a preset library. You can use Shadows in Novice or Expert mode to suit your needs and level of expertise.
StippleArt ($89) â StippleArt transforms images into formal stipple art and artistic dot patterns. It works with color and monochromatic images. Among its features are adjustable dot size, a creative dot shapes library, dots editing and contouring, pointillist effects, and dot output for high-resolution screen effects.
Stock photos are often used in design. They're easy to find and inexpensive, add value and meaning to your work, and can be modified without copyright issues. Here are the best plugins for Photoshop that help you manage stock photos.
Shutterstock plugin (Windows/Mac, Free)
Shutterstock users can use this Photoshop plugin for free. It allows you to access, preview, license, and edit Shutterstock images directly from Photoshop. The Shutterstock plugin is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 and newer.
Pexels plugin (Windows/Mac, Free)
Pexels gives you access to over 30,000 free stock photos in the Pexels library. You can search using categories and filters such as recent and popular. The Pexels plugin is synchronized with the Pexels website and is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC.
SplashHolder (Windows/Mac, Free)
With SplashHolder, you can access the Unsplash library directly from Adobe Photoshop CC. Unsplash offers free stock photos and doesn't require a subscription.
Many designers create icons from scratch. Still, if you're in a hurry or need something common, you can use one of the Photoshop plugins dedicated to icons.
Font Awesome (Windows/Mac, $99)
This Photoshop plugin gives you access to over 6,000 vector icons and logos for social networks, 1,500 of which are free. Icons and logos are organized into categories and offer consistency and variety. Font Awesome offers some basic editing tools like rotate, resize, mirror, and align.
FlatIcon (Mac, â¬9.99/month)
FlatIcon creates patterns using icons. It allows you to duplicate, rotate, resize, and place icons according to your design. Icons are organized in categories, and you can mix them as you like; they come as SVG and PSD files for vectors and PNG files for fixed size.
Even if your work is great, it becomes perfect only after you get feedback from your team and clients. It's essential to have good tools to create mockups, so here are the best Photoshop plugins to help you with that.
Perspective Mockups plugin (Windows/Mac, $19)
This plugin helps you create presentations. It can be used for desktop, web, and app design, allowing you to edit and customize features like fonts and backgrounds. Perspective Mockups is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 and newer.
EasyMockups (iOS, Free)
Dedicated to app and mobile design, this Photoshop plugin is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 and newer. EasyMockups comes with ten mockups and allows you to select backgrounds and work with artwork layers. It's easy to use and delivers high resolution presentations.
There are many basic Photoshop plugins to use when you need tools for your design work. But there are also plugins that can make your life better even if you rarely use them. They're designed for specific actions, and without them your couldn't finish your project. Here are the best plugins for Photoshop to complete your work.
QR Code Generator (Windows/Mac, $19)
What can you do when your client wants a QR code in the project? Install this Photoshop plugin and create it inside your composition. QR Code Generator is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 14.0 and newer.
This set of plugins offers many interesting assets like avatars, emoticons, stock photos, and Google Maps. These plugins can be bought individually, or you can use them all for a monthly subscription of $3.
They're available for Windows and Mac and work with Adobe Photoshop CC. Uber plugins include:
UberData â Inserts images and text from collections and text lists
UserPics â Includes 100 avatars
UberStock â Gives you access to over 40,000 stock photos with Creative Commons Zero and Public Domain licenses
UberColumns â Divides paragraphs into columns
UberSpacer â Allows you to set the same distance between layers
UberMapper â Lets you include Google Maps in your Photoshop document
UberFaces â Adds randomly generated avatars to your design
UberFrame Allows you to present your mockup in a video player or browser
UberLine â Allows you to style your text using underlines
UberTuber â Inserts YouTube and Vimeo videos into your Photoshop document
Batch import and export between PSD and Artboards
FontFinder â A script that allows you to search a text layer by font
GuideGuide (Windows/Mac, $5/month or $36/year)
This plugin helps you create grids and manipulate guides. Among its features are guides based on canvas, artboard, or selection; marking edges and midpoints; creating custom grids; and saving and sharing grids. GuideGuide is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 and newer.
CoverActionPro (Windows/Mac, $197)
This plugin is dedicated to sales and marketing products. It gives you more than 500 3D mockups to create glossy and stylish book and magazine covers, software boxes, suitcase boxes, DVD cases, and other products. CoverActionPro allows you to choose the cover type, size, and format.
PixelSquid (Windows/Mac, $19.99/month)
PixelSquid allows you to add 3D objects from the PixelSquid website and spin them until you get the perspective you need. Objects are classified into over 20 categories. PixelSquid is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 and newer.
Descreen (Windows/Mac, $15+)
This plugin is dedicated to descreening images scanned from printed sources. Descreen uses dedicated algorithms to avoid blurring and to..