This gave me a lot of insight into various points related to makeup and what one should keep in mind in such scenarios. Do keep in mind that this is my first attempt at this…I only do wildlife otherwise!
These shots also gave me the opportunity to test out all the new masks in Lightroom 12 in a practical scenario and that is what we are going to look at in this video.
Someone recently asked me online about how to create a painterly and also an artistic effect for bird photographs.
This video is all about these two points…
1. How to simply create a painterly effect
2. How to make it artistic
So, let’s take a look at a quick example of how to achieve both these goals in Photoshop.
I have selected a recent shot from my balcony for this purpose which should be good enough to illustrate the basics of how to achieve this goal.
Okay, so a “Command” or “Control” + “E” would take this image from Lightroom to Photoshop.
Now, as illustrated in earlier videos, we just do a basic cleanup on this image.
First, we duplicate the image which puts it on a layer and we retain a backup in case we need to re-do the process. Command + J is a shortcut for this. Now, we can make the background layer invisible since we do not require it anymore.
A command + 0 fits the image to the window for a better view…
A simple select subject, and mask out the subject. Just use the selection and brush tool to clean up rough edges. Maybe try the colour range selection as well, if needed.
Now, let us see how to simply create the painterly effect.
Select “Stylize” from the “Filters” menu and choose “Oil paint”. Feel free to play around with the settings in this dialog box.
You can always use the help built into Photoshop to find out more about the settings in this dialog and what each option does.
Once you are done with that, just press “Enter” or click “OK” and we have our “painterly” effect.
Now, what about the “artistic” effect?
As it turns out, the person who asked me about this was looking for multiple copies of the same image put together in different sizes.
This is how I went about it…
Just duplicate the layer we already have. Use the “Free Transform” from the “Edit” menu to modify the copied layer. You can make as many copies as you want and pretty much apply any kind of transforms to each.
The art and concept belong totally to you and what you choose to create!
This is just an example that I came up with just to illustrate the concept.
Of course, you can also try to “Oil Paint” one layer at a time to give them all a different artistic look.
There are quite a few of us who indulge in walk-around birding. In short, we walk around parks and general birding hotspots and try to get whatever shots we can. For a vast majority, this happens on weekends.
I am just going to discuss one technique that I have learned over the years during my walk-around birding. This is about the settings I use on my camera and how.
Most of us already know that we can find birds just sitting around or ones that just fly past. We mostly miss out on the flypast ones. The shutter speed is the culprit in all these cases that I have seen so far (besides focus, but, that remains otherwise as well).
This is a technique that I have shared with my colleagues and friends which helps in dealing with such scenarios for the most part.
Generally, we would use slower shutter speeds for sitting birds than BIFs which would require a much higher shutter speed.
I will not get into which camera mode you choose to shoot in or if you use full manual or auto-ISO. The kind of metering mode you use will affect any “auto” that you use. That part is all yours.
The only mode in which you cannot use this technique is the Aperture Priority since this is based on shutter speed.
Personally, I use full manual (excepting for Auto-Focus and Auto-White Balance) and you can and use manual mode with Auto-ISO for similar results. I spend a lot of time round-tripping my shots from any new gear to figure out the response to light and distance and prefer to set the ISO manually instead of depending on the metering on the camera.
Now, when you are at the spot you want to start birding, just take a test shot to make sure that you have the camera working as expected.
Then, set the shutter speed to your favourite BIF speed. I generally use 1/1250, although, I have started using 1/1600 with my Nikon D850 and I will explain why in another video.
Now, take a test shot again and just make sure it is not too dark on the histogram of the LCD on the camera. I would not advise looking at the image to figure that out.
This is actually it!
Always walk-around with the camera set for BIFs. You will have enough time to reduce the shutter speed for still targets, but, if any bird flies past, you might not have the time to bump up the shutter speed at that moment.
Whenever you take a sitting bird shot, let us say with a shutter speed of around 1/640, make sure you switch right back to 1/1250 after that.
This process has two advantages…
1. You will generally be able to get birds in flight that pass by since your camera is already set for that. 2. For smaller/tiny birds, you would need a higher shutter speed even for sitting shots and even if you take those shots at 1/1250 or just one rotation of the shutter speed dial lower, you will still get them. Assuming you are working with the camera default settings of 1/3rd stops, a single rotation of the dial will set the shutter speed to 1/1000 which is good enough for most tiny birds.
To summarise, always keep your camera set to shoot BIFs. Change the shutter speed only when needed for sitting targets and switch back to the BIF settings right after that shot.
Last, but not least, is that you should keep your shutter speed to what works best for you for BIFs. The lowest reasonable speed from my experience is 1/1250. Feel free to go higher than that when needed. For example, small birds would be better at 1/1600, the tiny ones would require 1/2000 or even more.
Try out this technique and do drop in your experience with the same in the comments.
My Flickr stream has more images with the complete EXIF at Flickr in case anyone wants to look at the settings and the details related to the same.