Essential time-saving Photoshop tips

One of the hallmarks of mastery is the ability to get more done with less effort. It can be a treat to watch somebody work with a tool or do an activity that they are truly fluent in – no superfluous movement or wasted energy.

In this article, I’ll share 5 shortcut tips and tricks that I use every day to streamline my workflow. The goal of these shortcuts is to allow editing to progress in a smooth, uninterrupted fashion. Whenever I need to click into a menu – or, worse, dock my stylus in order to type something with both hands – it’s like hitting a speed bump. It kills my productivity.

To maintain efficiency, I keep one hand on the mouse or tablet stylus as much as possible, and use the other hand to update tools, settings or contexts via keyboard shortcuts – I call this “fluent editing.”

Here are the shortcuts that I find most useful, along with tips for combining them in a fluent manner. While many of these shortcuts and techniques may be familiar to you already, they can be combined to minimize context switches for maximum efficiency.

1. Scrubby zoom

While using zoom (magnifying glass) tool: click and drag left or right

Scrubby zoom is a feature that some users find annoying until they start using the “fluent editing” (one hand to mouse / one hand to hotkey) approach. To use this feature: while using the zoom tool, click and hold the mouse button, then drag the mouse left to zoom out or right to zoom in – no extraneous clicks and no extra keys to zoom out. Just click and drag until you reach the appropriate zoom level.

2. Scrubby hand

In any tool, hold space bar and drag the image

I don’t know if this feature has a proper name – I call it “scrubby hand” since it feels similar to scrubby zoom to me. Regardless of the name, it’s incredibly useful when you’re working on an image at a high zoom level.

Rather than mousing over to the scroll bars or switching to the hand tool to pan your image, just hold down the space bar – your pointer will turn into the “hand” tool icon; you can now simply click anywhere in the image (while continuing to hold the space bar) and move the visible part of the image, similarly to how you would move an image on a tablet or smartphone.

3. Temporary tools

Hold any tool shortcut key

Let’s say that you’re using the paint brush tool to paint on a layer mask, and you want to change zoom level before continuing to paint.

The non-fluent approach requires 3 steps:

  1. Type (z) to switch to the magnifying glass
  2. Use scrubby zoom to change the zoom level
  3. Type (b) to go back to the brush tool

It’s even worse if you’re not yet familiar with the tool hotkeys.

The fluent approach: just hold down z and drag to use scrubby zoom.  When you release z, Photoshop will automatically return you to the brush tool.

This technique works for temporarily changing to any tool, not just zoom. Simply hold down the hotkey for the tool you wish to use temporarily.

4. New layer

With options dialogue: Ctrl+Shift+N / Cmd+Shift+N
Without options dialogue: Ctrl+Shift+Alt+N / Cmd+Shift+Option+N

On many of the images I edit, this is the first command I execute. I often start with a new empty layer for baseline retouching. I use a non-destructive editing workflow, which means that I make changes to my images in a way that allows the edits to be tweaked or reverted at a later time. This is useful for situations where you learn a better way of doing something, or the capabilities of the software you’re using improve.

For example, after I started using the color blending mode to adjust odd skin tones, I was able to go back and update photos on which I’d originally used a less-effective combination of hue/saturation and curves adjustment layers, but I didn’t have to start from scratch.

5. Merge stamp visible

Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E / Cmd+Shift+Option+E

Once you have a pile of layers and adjustment layers, it is sometimes necessary to composite them together (e.g., to apply a filter to the overall image). This command is a one-handed shortcut that creates a new layer comprised of all of the currently visible layers in your layer stack. I don’t know how I survived before learning this one.


It takes some practice to stop mousing over to tool palettes and use the keyboard hotkeys instead. Investing the effort pays off in the long run – you can save a lot of time while editing images by getting to know the hotkeys for actions you perform frequently, and getting into the habit of leaving your non-primary hand on the keyboard so that you can access those hotkeys quickly. These tips are time-savers that I use every day, and I hope they are useful for you as well!

Why We Use Photoshop: Top Photographers Explain

Photoshop has been a valuable tool for photographers of all kinds for years in the photo industry. From basic color adjustments to full-on photo manipulations, the sky’s the limit when working in this program. If you’re new to the world of photography, you might not fully understand the benefits of using Photoshop. That’s why we’re going to discuss exactly what makes Photoshop so useful for photographers in this post.

Photographers use Photoshop for a variety of purposes ranging from basic photo editing adjustments to photo manipulations. Photoshop offers more advanced tools compared to other photo editing programs, which makes it a valuable tool for all photographers. 

So what exactly are those tools that add so much value? Well, let’s break it down and go over a few of the most important reasons why photographers use Photoshop.

Reasons Why Photographers Use Photoshop To Edit Photos

No matter what type of photos you’re working with, Photoshop offers tools to enhance any image. From color, exposure, spot removal, and image blending adjustments, there’s a long list of advantages. Although I could talk about this all day, let’s focus on the most useful aspects of Photoshop.

You Can Edit Photos Non-Destructively

Non-destructive editing means that you can make any adjustment without permanently applying it to your image.

In some photo editing programs, each adjustment is directly applied to your photo. In Photoshop, you can use layers to keep every adjustment separate from the image.

This is a huge advantage for any photographer since it’s much easier to go back and refine certain adjustments. Especially when you’re editing for a client and need to do a re-edit, you can target the exact adjustment faster than in other programs.

In Photoshop, every adjustment or adjustment layer is put onto a new layer. With layers, each change to your photo is added in front of the previous. Just like makeup, the different adjustments combine to create a new look to your image. However, the starting image remains unchanged beneath all of the layers.

It Uses Layer Masks To Refine Adjustments

One of the huge advantages of Photoshop is something called layer masks. This is a tool that helps to change where a certain adjustment is visible.

For example, let’s say you wanted to brighten the subject in your photo. With a regular exposure adjustment, it would brighten the entire photo. However, with a layer mask, you can make that exposure adjustment only appear over your subject.

This same idea applies across all the different adjustment layers in Photoshop, making it very easy to refine color and exposure in your image.

Although other editing programs do have their own versions of masking, they simply don’t compete with the layer masks in Photoshop.

Using black or white on the mask to identify visible or transparent areas, it’s easier to understand where an adjustment is taking place. Even if you have a hundred different layers, all with their own layer masks, you could easily identify what each one is affecting.

That same ability isn’t as simple in programs such as Lightroom or Luminar. In those programs, it can get confusing where all of your adjustments are targeting after you start adding more and more.

The simplicity of layer masks in Photoshop creates another big draw for photographers to use the program.

There Are More Spot Removal Tools

The one tool every photographer needs is a spot removal tool. This type of tool works to remove unwanted distractions from your photo and clean up your image.

In most photo editing programs, there are only a couple of basic spot removal options to choose from.

With Photoshop, there are 5 different spot removal tools, each offering a unique purpose.

Whether you’re looking for an automatic spot removal adjustment or want to do it manually, Photoshop has a tool for the job. This program does a far better job at retouching images and blending those new spot removal adjustments into the photo. After only a few minutes, you can easily remove even the most complicated objects from an image.

One powerful aspect of Photoshop’s spot removal tool is the content-aware feature. This feature scans your entire photo to find the best possible match to fill a selection area with. That means the program can make accurate spot removal adjustments that look flawless in the final image.

Sometimes better than what you could have done manually.

It’s Easy To Blend Multiple Photos Together

There are a wide array of photography techniques that require you to merge multiple photos together. For example, you might want to focus stack, blend exposures, or create a creative composite image.

In other editing programs, it’s difficult or impossible to blend photos because there aren’t any layers.

With Photoshop, you can add multiple photos into the same project, but on different layers. Then you can use layer masks to refine where each photo appears in your final image.

For creative effects, having this ability is second to none and is what separates Photoshop from other programs.

There Are Graphic Design Options

Every photographer will come to a point where they need to do a little more than just edit a photo. Especially if you’re running your own business, you need to make video thumbnails, promo images for social media, or even to design a logo!

Although there are options such as Canva for this, a lot of photographers prefer to use a program they already have and know how to use.

And in Photoshop, there are countless tools for creating professional-looking graphic designs.

Whether you want to make a simple text-based thumbnail or get more in-depth with textures, lighting effects, and shapes, it’s all possible with Photoshop. It’s truly an all-in-one program for any creative looking to work with digital images.

So now you have a clear idea of why photographers use Photoshop in their work. This program offers countless advantages that simply aren’t available in other editing programs. With more advanced adjustments, non-destructive editing, layer masks, and better tool options, it’s a no-brainer to use the program.

If you’re looking to see all these features in action, contact us

Basic Photo Restoration: How to Restore Old Photos Using Photoshop

Do you know that strange red tint on all of the photos in your family albums? It has a name – it’s called a color cast. Most old pictures have one, and if you can and upload them to Photoshop, you can easily do away with it.

Essentially, though, what Matt means is that to get the best results you’ll close the gaps between the edge of the range for each of the channels: red, blue, and green. It’s a simple technique that just requires a little slide of the mouse. And even though it’s a simple action, the results are impressive

Steps to Restoring Old Photos in Photoshop

To enhance your old photos, we’ve listed down several steps you should follow. These steps apply to digital photo restoration using the latest version of Adobe Photoshop.

  1. Digitize your old photo.
  2. Open the image in Photoshop.
  3. Crop, straighten, or rotate the image.
  4. Make the necessary adjustments to your image.
  5. Apply a filter to reduce noise.
  6. Save the newly restored image.

Digitize your old photo

a scanned film photo of a family


The first step is to scan the photo to get a digital copy. You can use a regular photo scanner, take a photo using a digital camera, or use a scanner app on your smartphone.

Whichever method you use, make sure that it will yield a large, high-quality copy of the photo to make it easier to work with.

Open the image in Photoshop

Next, open the digital image in Photoshop. Then create a second copy of the image. You’ll want to keep an original copy for reference, so you’ll be working on altering the second copy.

How to create a duplicate copy of an image in Photoshop:
  • Select a layer in the Layers panel.
  • Drag the layer to the Create a New Layer button, or select the Duplicate Layer option from the Layers menu or Layers panel menu.
  • If you’ve selected the Duplicate Layer option, give your layer a name, and click OK.

Crop, straighten, or rotate the image

Before you can begin making any adjustments, make sure that you’re working with a clean, properly oriented image.

If there’s any unwanted white space (or any kind of space that shouldn’t be there) around the edges, you can simply crop all of that out.

How to crop your image:
  • Click on the Crop icon on the toolbox (on the left side of Photoshop’s default workspace).
  • Draw a new cropping area or drag the edges of the crop box to the desired positions.
  • Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS) to crop the image.

f the scan of your image is a bit crooked, you can straighten it out using the crop tool.

How to straighten a crooked image:
  • Click on the Crop icon, then click the Straighten icon on the toolbar.
  • Drag a line along a horizontal or vertical element in the photo.
  • Let go of the mouse so that Photoshop can rotate your image and crop its uneven edges.
  • Once you are satisfied, press Enter. Photoshop will also remove the excess image if you’ve enabled the Delete Cropped Pixels checkbox.
How to rotate your image:

Photoshop CC lets you rotate your image through its Image Rotation setting or the Transform function in the Edit menu.

To rotate your image using the Image Rotation option:

  • Click on Image in the taskbar.
  • Select Image Rotation.
  • Choose your preferred rotation.

To rotate your image using the Edit menu:

  • Click on your image to select it.
  • Click on the Edit menu, then choose Transform.
  • Choose your preferred rotation.

Make the necessary adjustments to your image

There are two ways to do this step in Photoshop: adjusting your image’s color and fixing its damaged spots.

Make color correction adjustments.

Old photos are usually faded, but if you want to improve the tone, color, contrast, and overall vibrancy of the photo, Photoshop can do these, too.

If you select Image from the taskbar, you’ll see a drop-down menu that will pretty much give you everything you need for some basic color correction. Under Adjustments, you’ll see three options: Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color. Try these out first and see if these automatic corrections deliver your desired effect. If not, you can do these corrections manually.

It’s a good idea to learn how to read the histogram so that you can make highly accurate adjustments. From there, select Adjustments and use the different functions under this menu option. There are basic adjustments such as Brightness, Contrast, Exposure, and Vibrance, or the slightly more in-depth adjustment tools such as Curves and Levels.

Depending on the condition of your photo, the best thing to do is to play around with these different adjustment tools to get the right tone, color, and contrast.

If your image has a color cast, here are a few steps to follow to correct the effect:

  • Highlight your duplicate layer, then click on the adjustment layers icon under the Layers panel.
  • Choose Levels from the adjustment layer options.
  • To adjust your photo’s RGB (red, green, and blue) levels, click on the dedicated tab. A RGB menu will appear.
  • Click on any of the color options, then bring the white and black sliders to the histogram’s upward line.
  • Once you’re done adjusting the RGB levels, click on the Layers panel to exit.
  • Highlight your duplicate layer and your adjustment layer, then right click on the area and select Merge Layers to combine both layers.
Fix the damaged spots.

This part is where it gets a bit tricky—you’ll definitely need an eye for detail and a whole lot of patience! If there are any scratches, stains, and other unwanted marks on your photo, you can use a few beginner-friendly spot correction Photoshop tools: the Spot Healing Brush, the Patch Tool, and the Clone Stamp.

How to use the Spot Healing Brush:
  • Click on the Spot Healing Brush icon (the one that looks like a band-aid) on the toolbox.
  • Choose your desired brush size in the options bar.
  • Choose between the Proximity Match, Create Texture, or Content-Aware Type options. Any of these options should work for what you’re trying to achieve.
  • Select or deselect the Sample All Layers option if you want to sample data from all layers or one active layer.
  • Click on the spot you want to fix, or click and drag the brush over imperfections in a larger area.
How to use the Patch Tool:
  • Select the Patch Tool.
  • Select the area you want to repair by dragging, then select Source in the options bar. You can also select your sample area by dragging and selecting the Destination option.
  • Adjust your selection by using the Shift-drag, Alt-drag/Option-drag, or Alt+Shift-drag/Option+Shift-drag combinations.
  • Select Transparent if you want to extract a transparent texture from your sample area, or deselect it to put the sample area over the target area.
  • Adjust the Diffusion slider.
  • Place the pointer inside your selection, then drag it to your sample or patch area.

Apply a filter to reduce noise

You can’t magically get rid of the dust and scratches with just a press of a button—you’ll have to do it manually. However, you can make that job easier by using Photoshop’s Filter functions to reduce some of that unwanted noise.

Save the newly restored image

Once you’re happy with the image, delete the unedited layer (the original reference layer) or right-click the edited layer and select Flatten Image (make sure that your edited layer is on top). After that, just follow the steps below to save your photo.

5 Tips to Create A Brand Envy Photoshoot

Are you a small business owner, entrepreneur or a brand enthusiast looking for a social media transformation? Having a library of custom images for blogging and social media will drastically improve your digital strategy and have an enormous impact on how people engage with your brand. 

Photographer and brand strategist Jasmine Star’s teaches that memorable content begins with a strong point of view, authenticity, and consistency. In this sneak peek from her upcoming class ‘Your Social Media Bootcamp’ she explains how to create content that shares ideas and educates your ideal clients while still promoting your brand.

5 Tips To Prepare A Branded Flat Lay

  1. Don’t back away from collaborating with your photographers. They can help identify a visual story that speaks to your brand and create a series of flat lays that will cohesively work together. 
  2. Identify your brand’s visual style. Create a mood board or Pinterest board that speaks to your ideal customer that inspires and motivates them. The more visual references you have the easier it will be to collaborate with your photographer for the perfect shot. Subtle differences in color palettes, finishes, and quotes will make a big difference in how people remember your brand.
  3. Less is more. Photography is a subtractive art form. Be selective about what you choose to include in your flat lay images and leave negative space to add text in post-production with apps like Canva or WordSwag. 
  4. Incorporate motivational quotes as an engagement driver. Blank labels and smartphone screens are great to add text post-photoshoot.
  5.  Create a list to get all your props ready. Start by identifying props that compliment your brand story then divide your props for styling business and casual photos.

With research suggesting that people are more likely to remember content they’ve seen in images, rather than text, it’s crucial that the photography representing your business perfectly reflects your brand.

Tone And Palette

It’s important the tone of your photo incites the feeling you want your audience to associate with your brand. For a calming, high quality effect, high-exposure images with a large depth of field, creating out of focus foreground and background should be used. Minimalism and warm and neutral tones are important to create a sense of relaxation. Take luxury body-care brand Aesop. Their use of warm tones and minimalism reflects their packaging and each photograph across their website and their instagram reflects this aesthetic.

Highlight People

The people in your photos communicate a lot, as humans are hyper-intelligent when it comes to recognizing emotions on other people’s faces. This can be used to quickly communicate how your product makes people feel. For example, university images are likely to show people looking intrigued or engaged – demonstrating the interest they feel in their studies; while images from a day spa are likely to depict relaxed, serene people. Swap those styles around and suddenly things get very confusing – why are the students asleep at university, and what kind of day spa makes you sit exams?

For more information or buying Best Camera or to know camera price in Pakistan, please contact our experts

Tips to Shoot Safari-Style Photos

Now that zoos and wildlife parks are open again, here are some tips to take photographs worthy of a safari.

Unlike safaris, where there’s no guarantee of seeing your favorite animals, wildlife parks offer assured access to these incredible creatures – but the drawback is that there’s a physical barrier between you and them. Though that’s no bad thing, considering these are predators that could consider a photographer to be a snack! 

By following these steps, you can take brilliant and natural-looking images that look like they could have been shot in the wild – but you’ll need to try to get closer access than a regular zoo can provide. 

01. Lens choice

We used a Canon EF 100-400mm telephoto-zoom – but as we got close to the animals, we could get away with a standard zoom too. Longer focal lengths and faster apertures enable you to achieve a shallower depth of field – all important for that ‘on safari’ look. 

02. Exposure and aperture

Shoot in aperture priority or manual and start with an aperture of around f/5.6. This will ensure that the animals’ facial features are sharp, with their bodies slowly falling out of focus – and distracting backgrounds, such as fences that give the game away, will be blurred.

03. Spot metering 

It’s crucial that the animal is properly exposed – set spot metering so that the exposure is weighted towards the selected focus point, which will be on the cat. The center-weighted metering mode would try to expose the entire scene, but the subject is more important.

04. ISO and shutter speed

The big cats we were shooting weren’t running around, so we didn’t need a super-fast shutter speed – just enough to avoid camera shake. Aim for at least ‘one over’ the longest focal length of the lens – so, 1/400 sec for a 400mm. Increase the ISO, if needed, to achieve this.

05. Continuous focusing

Set continuous autofocus mode to track the animals, combined with a low-speed continuous burst mode. You don’t need to be shooting at 10fps for these cats, so avoid high-speed continuous to avoid filling up the memory card. 

06. Pinpoint focus

Set a single AF point mode and position this at one side of the frame, so that there’s negative space for the cat to move into. Keep focus on the animal’s nearest eye so that it’s sharp as you follow it around. Zoom in and out to capture a variety of body shots and close-up portraits shoots.

07. Set-up: zoom in close

The combo of wide aperture, telephoto focal length and your focusing distance will mean your depth of field is so shallow that the bars on the cage will vanish. For the best results shoot as close to the fence as you possibly can, then be bold with your composition and fill the frame with these strong animals. As we discovered up close, male lion’s heads are huge – so it’s easy to get a tightly framed portrait even when shooting at 100mm.

08. Set-up: exposure compensation

Big cats come in all colors, from near-white lions to black jaguars, and spot metering will ensure that your camera biases its exposure to the subject. However, your metering system will still try to expose for a mid-tone, so you will have to dial in negative exposure compensation for cats with dark fur, and positive exposure compensation for animals with lighter fur (if shooting in manual mode, increase or decrease the ISO and/or shutter speeds).

09. Set-up: better backgrounds

Try lots of compositions, and try placing your subject to one side of the image and leaving space for it to look or ‘move’ into. Look to avoid man-made objects in the frame to maintain the natural ‘safari’ feel to your shots. If you can’t blur out the fence at the end of the pen, try composing with some more natural elements positioned behind the animal.

10. Set-up: capture behavior

Look to take dramatic photos that capture the big cats displaying emotion – and their impressive teeth! This can help show a powerful predator on the prowl, rather than a captive cat. These beasts love to climb up high, and this offers a great chance to zoom in with a super-telephoto to capture them against the sky. A good tip is to find out from your guide which cats are likely to show off, then be patient and sit ready with your lens raised and pre-focused on them; it may be a fleeting display, so shoot with a fast shutter speed.

For more information or buying Best Camera or to know camera price in Pakistan, please contact our experts

food photography

6 Must-Have Food Photography Props to Give Your Images Something Extra

When it comes to photographing your food, it’s all about setting the “right” scene. If you want your honey-baked ham or apple pie to make your Instagram followers salivate with envy, well then expert food photographer, Andrew Scrivani has a few tips & props that will make your shots really look like you know what you’re doing.

Ideal food photography props need to walk the line between neutral and nondescript, and personality-based and playful.

“You don’t want your propping to distract from your food,” explained New York Times contributor Andrew Scrivani in his essential class, Food Photography, emphasizing the importance of neutral props and props which don’t compete with the color or texture of your food.

That said, it’s worth acquiring some versatile, beautiful pieces to keep around, just in case. These staples, which will add something to a future shot (even if you’re not sure quite what yet), are, says Andrew, must-haves for any food photographer.

“Anything that catches your eye as interesting or may fit into your workflow at any point is something worth keeping.”

You may also need to do a little bit of repurposing, says Andrew, who “has gotten some great props from the garbage.” So when you’re shopping around for food photography props and pieces for the studio, remember to look for what a piece could be, not necessarily what shape it’s in right now.

Here are a few props to keep an eye out for when stocking your food photography studio.

Solid, neutral serving items

A white dinner plate. A silver platter. A beige soup bowl. These staples are so important because they’re both versatile and they aren’t distracting.

“You want to use things that are able to be used over and over again. You always want to keep it neutral so that it doesn’t challenge the food,” says Andrew. “The majority of the time, the food is the star.”

Look for hearty dishes or other serving items that can display a lot of types of food, with shapes that are easy to work with

A really gorgeous cutting board

Finished food is great to photograph, but preparation is also important. People like to see food in action, and food being handled or manipulated. A wooden cutting board is essentially a neutral surface but adds an element of movement or change. Prop your in-the-works food with a utilitarian knife and you’ve got a classic shot.

A surface that does the work

Andrew uses the same piece of marble, which he got for $20 from a junkyard, for many of his images. Almost purely white (but not totally white), it’s so important that “if I could ensure it, I would.”

“I put things on top of it, instead of moving it” Andrew explains, because it’s just so functional.

There’s no need to drop a lot of cash on these kinds of surfaces; beat-up door panels, old tiles, and just about anything else that at one point might have been used in home repairs are all fair game. Find a surface that you can lay on top of any table, whether it be a piece of concrete, a chunk of marble, or any other neutral foundation and you’ll have a tool you can use for years for any number of shots.

A “panic button” dish

Sometimes, the food is not the star…because the food is not particularly star-worthy. When you’ve got unattractive or unappetizing food (it happens!), Andrew says it’s best to have some dishes or utensils that are so beautiful, they make the entire shot look like fine art. If you’ve ever been truly struck by the beauty of a bowl or the curve of a glass, keep it!

Food basics

Pepper, flour, sunflower seeds — these extras can be great props themselves. Stock your food photography studio with some seasonings and other edibles that can make otherwise bland or textureless food come to life. These items are inexpensive, shelf-stable, and can add a lot of intrigue to what might have been quite mild-looking.

Linens that lend a sensibility

We’ve covered the hard pieces, but what about the soft? Dishcloths and other textiles can help not only add color or texture to an image, they can also give the picture a sense of place, time, or emotion. Gingham looks like a picnic, a white napkin is high-class, and a slightly-used dish towel says “work in progress” and also “hand-made.” Used under a plate or off to the side, linens can be hugely useful in your studio — plus, they’re easily laundered and reused.

A personal piece that you really love

Food isn’t your only passion — and you want to make sure that comes across in your photos. Andrew says that one good goal is to “show that you have a range of interests.”

When it's done right, food photography can be a truly gorgeous art form -- and a big part of good execution are props and plating. Learn more from Andrew Scrivani on the CreativeLive blog.

“Not everybody has the same aesthetic,” explains Andrew. Whether it’s family heirlooms or funky flatware you picked up at the flea market, keeping around a few personal items is great for your branding and your unique images.

Photography Tips For Capturing Authentic Holiday Moments

From capturing the food to showcasing the decor, from snagging a quick family portrait to freezing that sparkle in grandma’s eye, Thanksgiving is ripe with creative possibilities for photographers.

But add in a group of people who haven’t see each other in a while, social distancing, indoor lighting, and eating entirely too much turkey, and Thanksgiving photography isn’t exactly simple point-and-shoot photography. To make the most of the holiday, we’ve put together some photography tips to capture the best memories of the day.

Don’t forget the behind the scenes

The camera shouldn’t stay tucked in the bag until that dinner call. What happens pre-turkey often makes up many of the family memories. Record Grandma making her infamous recipe, the mid-cooking jokes, and all the work that goes into that big meal. 

Find a window

Thanksgiving photos are often tricky because, frankly, November is too cold to eat a nice dinner out on the patio in most areas. Indoor lighting means using wide apertures and higher ISOs, but you can also improve your shots by using natural light from a window.

Look for details.

What are your favorite memories of Thanksgiving? Often, the smaller details make up some of that list. Take a macro shot of the whipped cream curling on top of that pumpkin pie. Create a still life of that gravy river through mashed potato mountain. You can’t photograph the smell of Thanksgiving, but you can get pretty close to capturing the sense of it by getting up close.

Watch for distractions.

The little things make great photos — and they also break them. Check the frame for anything distracting from the subject. Adjust the table setting to get a shot that focuses on just one element. Move the dirty dishes out of the background. Work to make sure everything in the photo is supporting the main idea rather then taking away from it by moving objects, adjusting the crop, or changing the angle.

Capture the not-so-perfect.

Distractions are one thing, pretending you have a magazine-worthy family Thanksgiving every year is another. Maybe family tradition requires that someone always burns those rolls. Maybe (or rather, probably) the kitchen looks like a war zone at the end of the meal. Capture the tears clinging to eyelashes when the toddler can’t eat dessert first. Maybe the dog makes off with one of those rolls. You’ve captured the food, now capture what makes that day belong to your particular family.

Mix it up with different angles and focal lengths.

I know it’s hard to move around with all that tryptophan pumping through your system, but avoid shooting every photo from the same height. To create variety, shoot from different angles. Shoot that food photo from both that popular top-down spread and using a side angle. Get a tall shot of everyone around the table, and an eye-level shot of family members together. Changing the focal length, if you use a camera with interchangeable lenses or a zoom lens.

Capture what you are thankful for.

Thanksgiving photos don’t necessarily have to be about turkey, cooking, and family gatherings. Try a different angle on Thanksgiving photography and photograph what you are thankful for. Maybe that’s a person (or people). Maybe that’s an item that’s important to you. Or, maybe you’re thankful for something a little more abstract. Ideas that aren’t things are tricky, but with some creativity, you can capture that abstract thing you are thankful for.

For more guidance and details please contact Golden Camera experts.

Canon EOS 700D vs Nikon D5300

We compare the Canon EOS 700D to the Nikon D5300: Which digital camera has the better sensor? Which has the better viewfinder or monitor? Which is faster?

Both cameras belong to the Amateur DSLR category.

For a more detailed size comparison, see the section further down below.
Canon EOS 700D vs Nikon D5300: Specifications at a glance

EOS 700D

Introduced in March 2013
Amateur DSLR
Sensor: APS-C
18 megapixel
5 frames/second
100 – 12800 ISO
1920 x 1080 Video
Viewfinder: Optical (Penta mirror)
76.00mm (3.0″) Monitor, articulated
Lens mount EF, EF-S
No WiFi
133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8mm³ (5.2″ x 3.9″ x 3.1″)
580g (18.7 oz.)


Introduced in October 2013
Amateur DSLR
Sensor: APS-C (DX)
24 megapixel
5 frames/second
100 – 12800 ISO
1920 x 1080 Video
Viewfinder: Optical (Penta mirror)
81.00mm (3.2″) Monitor, articulated
Lens mount F
WiFi built-in
125.0 x 99 x 76mm³ (4.9″ x 3.9″ x 3.0″)
530g (17.1 oz.)
EOS 700D vs D5300: The sensors

Both cameras use the same sensor format: APS-C (called DX by Nikon). This infographic highlights the sensor areas of both models compared to other common sensor formats:

EOS 700D vs D5300: The viewfinders

The EOS 700D uses an optical viewfinder with a penta mirror. The viewfinder covers 95% of the field of view and has a magnification of 0.53x.
The D5300 features an optical viewfinder with a penta mirror that also covers 95% of the field of view, its magnification is c. 0.55x.
This infographic illustrates the viewfinder magnifications of both cameras. The black area represents a magnification of 1x, corresponding to natural size; indicated in red is a magnification of 0.85x, the highest value in a any camera on the market today.

Sensor size is generally a good indicator of the quality of the camera. Sensors can vary greatly in size. As a general rule, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

Bigger sensors are more effective because they have more surface area to capture light. An important factor when comparing digital cameras is also camera generation. Generally, newer sensors will outperform the older.

For more information and guidance please contact us.

Studio portrait lighting: essential tips and setups explained

Want to shoot professional-looking portraits? Here’s how to get to grips with a basic home studio kit.

Studio lighting can seem daunting if you’ve never tried it before. However, it’s not nearly as scary as most people think. By using a simple home studio kit, with just a couple of flash heads and a few basic accessories, you can get great results in no time at all. In fact, here’s one of the best photography tips: it’s arguably easier to use a studio lighting setup than a speed light. 

While these are a great starting point, it’s best to experiment. So if you’re working in your own home studio, don’t be afraid to tweak these setups.

Studio setup

Light stands

Studio flash is all about positioning the light source away from the camera, so stands are crucial. They support the flash heads, which means they can be positioned at the right distance and angle to the subject. 

Flash heads

Most kits have two flash heads. Along with a flash tube, there’s a modeling light. Most have a switchable ‘slave’, enabling one flash to be triggered by another, so you only need to have your camera connected to one of the heads.


A brolly is the most standard form of lighting accessory. The flash is directed into the brolly so the light is reflected back onto the subject. They are available in different reflective surfaces – typically white, silver or gold. 


Softboxes are slightly more sophisticated than brollies and, once you’ve worked out how to assemble these tent-like devices, they create a softer and generally more flattering light, with more even illumination. 


Both of these tools help to concentrate or ‘focus’ the light. They’re ideally suited for use as backlights or for isolating a particular part of an image.


A simple reflector can be really useful in a studio lighting setup, especially if you’re only using one light. You use it the same way you would with natural light – to bounce light back onto your subject and fill in any hard shadow areas.


Position one flash head with a silver brolly at a 45° angle to the model at about six feet high. This creates a strong, hard, direct light from the side and above. This is called a key light. To even the lighting, position a reflector on the other side of the model to bounce the light back into the shadow side. There should be a small triangle of light on the subject’s face – this is referred to as Rembrandt lighting.

Kit needed:
• One flash head
• One reflector
• Two light stands 


This setup is great for beauty images as the lighting is flat and even. It’s pretty easy to achieve this effect too – all you need to do is place two softboxes on either side of your subject at the same angle and at an equal distance. Set the power so it’s the same from each light. Try using a reflector under the face – your model should easily be able to hold this. This will bounce light up and onto the face.

Kit needed
• Two flash heads
• Two 66cm softboxes
• One reflector
• Two light stands

Rim lighting

Place both lights slightly behind the subject, pointing back towards the camera. This setup requires some tweaking and can work really well with nudes as it helps define body shape. You’ll need to watch out for lens flare, though, as the lights are pointing back towards the camera. A set of ‘barn doors’, a lens hood, or a shield can help prevent this. An assistant who can hold a carefully positioned reflector is useful – this will help fill in those areas of deep shadow. Advertisement

Kit needed:
• Two flash heads
• One reflector 

Things you need to Make Money from a Drone

One of the best things about a hobby like photography is the ability to take on a few freelance assignments and make the gradual transition to being a professional. Drones offer a similar route, but if you are going to make money from a drone there are a few rules and regulations that are unique to flying cameras.

If you’re taking the step from hobby to an income stream, there are a few things you’ll need to add to your flying bag, which we’ll look at below. Even the best drones need know-how, a degree of skill, and knowledge of the law.

The first question you need to ask yourself is “Do you have what it takes to be a pilot?” If that sounds a bit macho, worry not – this isn’t about doing loop-the-loops and pulling a 5G turn without emptying your stomach. What professional pilots really have to deal with is checklists, regulations, and communication.

Below follows a list of what you’ll need, rounded off with a list of professional drones you might soon find yourself wanting as you extend your client base.

Pilot Training

In most countries, you’ll need to be able to prove to the local aviation authorities that you’re a capable pilot before accepting commercial jobs. In fact with all drones over 250g (8.8oz) the chances are that you’ll need to at least register your aircraft, so you’ll probably already be somewhat familiar with your aviation authority.

You might think you can comfortably fly your aircraft – in fact with GPS switched on it’s not especially difficult – but that’s only part of the puzzle. You’ll also need to understand all the relevant air law which, as you can imagine, is both extensive and always subject to review and updates. Aviation authorities like the FAA and CAA produce and update a good deal of this and, while they’re certainly not the enemy, they do have a lot to worry about; airliner certification, government lobbying, and much else besides. By its nature, this is bureaucratic and complex.

A good trainer will put a human face on all this for you, and you should be looking for an organization you can build a relationship with. They will remember you, and help you keep your paperwork up to date. Budget for annual renewals or re-training as qualifications are updated. In the UK, for example, the current PfCO will change to a new system, called the GVC in July 2020, but what re-training is needed won’t be known until May. This kind of change is happening in every jurisdiction, and you need to monitor it, or work with someone who handles that for you.

You can find what to do next at the FAA Become a Drone Pilot page in the USA. In the UK look for a Full NQE which can carry out the training and exams, like Fly Icarus.

Airspace charts & apps

With every individual job, you’ll need to know whether you can take off at all. Your training will tell you how to read the aviation charts, but you should still pick up a printed one for your bag. As a drone pilot, you’ll be flying VFR (Visual Flight Rules), so it’s these charts you need.

In the US you can get your local FAA Charts: VFR from Amazon. In UK and Europe look for the Rogers VFR charts.

As a backup, it’s also useful to use an App which can provide live data. Great examples are 

• NATS Drone Assist (UK) or
• B4UFLY (USA). 

These have the advantage of accessing NOTAMs (Notice to Airmen), which warn of temporary restrictions (from cranes or air shows, say).


Commercial liability insurance is a necessity, and the market has got options for those working full time or operating more casually, with most offering the choice between monthly renewing policies and flexible per-flight protection. What you’re insuring against, for the most part, is the damage you can be responsible for with your aircraft (liability), which explains why the ‘basic’ cover protects you for a million or more in that category. Despite the high liability numbers, you may find the ‘Hull’ cover doesn’t cover the cost of your aircraft and equipment unless you spend a little more – be sure to check your policy. 

UK pilots look at Moonrock Insurance and Flock (who have an app which can give you a live risk-metric and quote based on your choice of aircraft, location and time). 

Battery safety

Lithium battery fire caused by short circuit test by the University of Maryland.

It’s just as important (and, in most places, just as compulsory) to ensure that your batteries cannot start a fire when they’re not in use. Damage can take some time to reach combustion, so you should always keep batteries in a fireproof container known as a “li-po bag,” in essence a fireproof blanket in the form of a bag. 

High-Vis Jacket

It has to be said that high-visibility goes two ways. On a busy site, you certainly want to make sure you’re seen by others operating dangerous equipment – indeed it might well be a requirement – but at the same time there are risks to drawing attention to yourself if the public can stray near. Once you’ve taken off, you don’t want interested members of the public disturbing you, however enthusiastically, so a vest with Do Not Disturb is a nice touch.