guest spot

Photoshop tutorial: create a Photoshop action to add texture overlays

guest post by Adrian, at Five Star Studios
wedding photographer, Mackay, Queensland in Australia


Neil’s post on applying a texture to the background, made me think of the things I do to give photos ‘that special look’ and when I told Neil about it, he kindly invited me to write an article on this topic – adding texture layers to photos. This can be easily applied via an action, outlined step by step further down.

The post by Neil was a texture ‘replacement’ background as opposed to laying a texture on the image itself, a big difference, and that involves a lot of ‘cutting’ out, brushing, etc, which just simply cannot be done via an action unless a lot of  ‘Stops’  – read a message (messages on what to do can be built within actions) – and then continue.   It’s just not practical with some images.

Remember, we are laying a texture over the image, as opposed to using a texture for replacing the background, so before we start, you need to have some images that you have found or even shot yourself.

Images like rusted metal, old painted peeling doors/walls, rocks, absolutely limitless.

Google ‘textures/patterns’ and there are 1000’s of free images to source.

Also, give them names you can relate to, makes it easier rather than eg: Image1.jpg, Image2.jpg, etc.

The textures we are going to use will first need to be made into Patterns and the beauty of this method also is you only have to build just the one action, but you can apply countless different numbers of texture variations over the image/s by merely changing the ‘Pattern’ itself on the ‘Pattern Adjustment Layer’ built into the action.

Learn more inside…


Boudoir Photography tutorial: five top-selling images & quick posing tips

Posing women in boudoir portraits is both an art form and a learned skill. Women are by nature sensitive about perceived body flaws. Expert posing aimed at highlighting her favorite features (and downplaying others) can make or break her experience and love of her photos—and ultimately your sale.

Petra Herrmann, an exceptional boudoir photographer, based in Kansas City, has the guest spot here with a few of her top-selling poses with some quick posing tips you can try out during your next boudoir session.

Here is Petra’s Top Five Sellers in boudoir photography – the images that really appeal to clients …

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feminine portraiture – Pure: the authentic beauty project

Since 2012, Stacie Frazier, owner of Haute Shots Beauty and Boudoir Photography in Las Vegas, has been on an interesting mission – one to help women relinquish the control of cosmetics and see their own authentic beauty in the form of beauty and/or boudoir portraiture. Recently Stacie invited others to join her in this mission by announcing the PURE: authentic beauty project on the Business of Boudoir website.

Learn more inside…


Tilo Gockel’s photography on his website and in the Strobist FB group, always impresses. He is always pushing his own boundaries, coming up with images that surprise. From photograph of models, to the latest – product photography that excels. Tilo was kind enough to expand on the image, and explain how he set it up.

Product Photography – Diver’s Chronograph

a guest post by  Tilo ~Gallo~ Gockel

Hi everyone, I feel very honored that Neil invited me again to write a guest post for the famous Tangents blog. So here we go, and I hope you’ll enjoy it!

I like shooting small objects and I like to try to make them look fresh and cool. Usually, something with flares, blur and backlight and lots of bokeh bubbles is the outcome. :-)

The Idea for “Diver’s Chronograph”
For the watch at hand I thought about a setup, that would deliver a shot that really sparkles, and I knew––from other experiments––that water splashes, frozen via flash and shot with a wide aperture, can look really interesting. For a nice basis I collected some stones from a near railway track (don’t tell them) and arranged them on a board on our bathtub. To get a dark background, I added some dark pieces of foam rubber and a darkblue blanket.

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software review: Capture One Pro v7 RAW Converter Tests

guest article by: Adrian
Mackay wedding photographers
(Adrian is better known as Trev in the Tangents forum)

Recently I have been trialling the Capture One Pro v7 Raw Converter to see if I could get my files better from the get-go before I started tweaking in Photoshop.

Short Verdict: Simply outstanding; makes ACR and Lightroom look very mediocre compared to Capture One Pro v7 in initial rendering of images.

Now, to be clear, I am not doing full edits within it like a lot of people do in ACR/Lightroom, etc. but basic edits like WB and Exposure, Shadows, then I export out to PSD files and tweak it in Photoshop.

The reason I wanted to try was mainly to see what sort of highlights I could retain so I experimented on several images which were well over-exposed, up to 3 full stops. The samples shown here are 2 over-exposed images and 1 very difficult image with extremely bright Highlights and very dark Shadows, shooting against the sun, seascape type image.

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Tammy Hineline is a Sergeant in the US Marine Corps serving as a Combat Photographer / Videographer. And … Tammy follows the Tangents blog! She graciously responded to my request asking if she’d be interested in writing a guest article about the life as a military photographer in the Marines. It’s a fascinating glimpse into a photography career outside of what most of us would ever experience.

Since enlisting in 2008 Tammy has done two deployments and has provided photographic support to multiple training evolutions, humanitarian operations, and other military events. She recently returned from Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In her spare time she enjoys taking pictures of people that aren’t Marines and assisting on weddings.

life as a military photographer in the U.S. Marines

a guest post by Tammy Hineline

In January of 2008, I enlisted into the United States Marine Corps. I was taking photography classes at my community college and shooting baby portraits at a Wal-Mart Portrait Studio. I wasn’t doing so hot in school and barely putting enough effort into my work to pass. I was beyond bored with everything I was doing.

One day, a Marine Corps recruiter set up shop at my school. I went home thinking, “Wow, wouldn’t it be crazy if I joined the Marine Corps?” So I did it. A break up with my loser boyfriend and some good timing on the recruiter’s part brought me to the famous yellow footprints at Parris Island.

I enlisted into the Combat Camera MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) and since then I’ve done two deployments, traveled to seven different countries, blown up a lot of stuff, eaten a lot of Meals Ready-to-Eat, sailed on a Navy ship, trained alongside foreign soldiers of various countries, once stood in line for two hours just to eat corn dogs, flown in more aircraft than I have ever wished to, and have taken a ton of photos.

The military is a beast of its own kind and a lot of people don’t really understand what we do; let alone what a photographer does in and for the military. I’m hoping today we can answer some of those questions.

The one thing to remember: We are Marines first, photographers second. We do all the things regular Marines do. We go to bootcamp, we shoot on the range once a year, get paid the same, have to meet the same physical fitness requirements, and everything else the entire Corps has to do. It’s the nature of the job.

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Brian Friedman is an event and publicity photographer based in NYC. When I first became acquainted with Brian and his work, my reaction was, “damn! I wish I could shoot this type of work.” Looking at his website, you’ll see the kind of gigs that Brian shoots – interesting and diverse. Quite exciting. Brian was gracious enough to describe the behind-the-scenes activity of a recent photo session: “Kitten Bowl 2014”

anatomy of a “simple” photo session for a client

a guest post by Brian Friedman,
New York portrait and event photographer

The assignment. Take a portrait of the gorgeous Beth Ostrosky, as well as some “action shots” of kittens. Kittens just “being kittens” and playing. Football that is. Say What!?

And so it is bestowed upon me by my client to do so – and not in a photo studio. I had to create my own studio in a common room of a sound stage. Okay then. It’s time to get to work. Here’s what I did for “Kitten Bowl 2014” gallery shoot which will be broadcast during the Super Bowl half-time show on Sunday, February 2, 2014.

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The Tangents blog has seen numerous iterations over the past 10 years that I’ve maintained it. Originally it was PlanetNeil, which was based on an HTML template. Right now, my website consists of various WordPress installations, spread over two domain names. It’s huge! And it is a massive under-taking to maintain and constantly improve it. For the past few years, my web techie guy, has been Griffin Stewart who has been invaluable in working with me on improving and expanding this site. Learn more about Griffin at the end of this post here.

I specifically mentioned that this website is based on the WordPress platform. It is a powerful platform, and one which is easy to use, yet endlessly adaptable. I would strongly recommend to anyone to use WordPress if they are looking to improve their website. There are also numerous WordPress plug-ins that make life easier for anyone who maintains a website …

5 Free WordPress Plugins to help maintain your blog

a guest post by Griffin Stewart

Thanks to Neil for inviting me to guest post.  I have enjoyed working with Neil since 2011 to help design, update, organize, consolidate, and tweak his various sites and I hope that you, his readers, have enjoyed and liked the front-end changes and back-end improvements we have implemented in that time.

Today I would like to share with you some helpful and free plugins that you can use to help you maintain, clean up, and customize your WordPress website or blog.

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Petra Herrmann, of Bella Boudoir, runs a successful boudoir photography business based in Kansas City. In my opinion, she’s one of the best boudoir photographers around. Her work is sexy in its simplicity, which I find quite appealing. Her use of interesting angles and composition first drew me in when I saw her work awhile back.  Petra also has a series of workshops on boudoir photography that will hit various cities over the next year. Check out her website, Level Up Boudoir Master Class, for the schedule. (Some future dates will still be announced.)

The theme of Petra’s workshop is Shoot smart, shoot sexy, shoot to sell.  I’m happy to feature Petra as a guest writer with advice on how to increase your sales in boudoir photography.

shoot details and sequences – increase your sales in boudoir photography!

a guest post by Petra Herrmann  /  The Business of Boudoir

When you present a woman with boudoir portraits that show her as romantic, bold, daring, fun and sassy (but hide her cellulite) she tends to buy more. When you capture aesthetically pleasing angles and perspectives of a woman’s body—especially those that are outside of the norm—she will buy more. When you capture images in a progression that tells a little story on an album spread,  she will add those images to her album. And when you capture detail shots with a bit of mystery, she may just buy a canvas for her bedroom wall.

These statements may seem obvious. But until I put them into practice, my work looked just like everyone else’s and my business was mediocre. As I refined the statements into business practices, my boudoir studio has blossomed.

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I met German photographer, Tilo Gockel / fotopraxis, during his visit to New York, where he and I did an individual workshop. Seeing this photo on his blog recently, immediately reminded me of my recent first attempt at playing with colored gels and flash .. except that he did it better!

So I asked Tilo if he’d translate his article for us into English. It’s always good to get another angle on doing something. There are a couple of good tips and ideas in there. Thanks Tilo!

flash photography tips & ideas

a guest post by Tilo Gockel

Hi everyone, I feel very honored that Neil invited me to write a guest post for the famous Tangents blog. So here we go, I hope you’ll enjoy it!

As probably most of you, I am a big fan of Neil’s work, of the Black Foamie Thing and of other concepts, and so I am trying to adapt these new techniques to my own lighting vocabulary and also to include these concepts in my workshops. So this is what we did on the last workshop here in Aschaffenburg / Germany.

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