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Gary Detonnancourt

Harrisville, RI 02830
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More Than A Snapshot provides online photography education.

Booth Bay Harbor 2013-5410-color enhanced.jpg


This is the blog for More Than A Snapshot's Online Photography Classes.  In these blog posts I will give photography tips, tutorials, and show images.

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A First Look at Topaz Sharpen AI

Gary Detonnancourt

Download a free trial here.

The images below are the processed images by Topaz Sharpen AI. The first image of each set is the full size and the second is the 100% crop of the image. I found the results to be good. In the fourth image the sharpening messed up a spot in her hair when I looked at it in Sharpen AI but I don’t see the problem in this jpg. This could have just been a rendering problem in the software but this could also easily be fixed if you use some masking in Photoshop.

3 Ways to Set a White and Black Point in Lightroom CC

Gary Detonnancourt

How to Use the Match Total Exposure Settings Function in Lightroom CC

Gary Detonnancourt

When you review a series of images in Lightroom you may notices that sometimes images taken just seconds apart from each other have different exposures.  This can be due to using automatic or semi-automatic shooting modes in your camera because the camera meters each shot individually and producing slightly different exposures.  One fix for this would be to shoot in manual mode and simply make sure you are starting with a good exposure, once set, it will not change unless you change it.  However, if you encounter this problem, Lightroom provides a simple solution for a post processing fix.  Check out the video below to find out how.


What the Heck is Auto Advance in Lightroom?

Gary Detonnancourt

Lightroom Quick Tip
29.99 97.00

This course will help you to understand how to use Lightroom for all of your image editing needs. I cover everything from organizing your images to printing to slideshows. Every module is covered. This course is also frequently updated with the latest information and techniques. The course covers Lightroom versions 4, 5, and 6/CC.

This course is almost 100% video lessons with some supporting notes and references. The course has more than 46 lessons and I'm constantly adding new lessons. You will have access to me through Udemy's discussion tab for answering all of your questions and checking out your progress with your image editing.

You should take this course if you are new to using Lightroom or if you are experienced and just need to learn more details about how the program works. This course does start at the beginning but then goes to an advanced level.

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How to Customize the Lightroom Menu (Quick Tip)

Gary Detonnancourt

How to Customize the Lightroom Menu

How to adjust a Histogram in Lightroom

Gary Detonnancourt

How to adjust a Histogram in Lightroom:

10 Tips for Photographing Holiday Lights

Gary Detonnancourt

10 Tips for Photographing Holiday Lights

by Gary Detonnancourt

Photographing holiday lights is great fun and is very useful for practicing night photography.  I think you will get the best results if you do everything manually.  Follow these steps to get started:

Nubble Light - Cape Neddick Lighthouse - Maine

1.  Flip the switch on your lens to manual focus.  Autofocus can work with lights, however, any time I do night photography I prefer to focus manually.  If you are using a tripod it would also help to turn off image stabilization (VR, VC, IS).

Historic Wickford Village - Rhode Island

2.  Change the camera's shooting mode to Manual.  Shoot RAW if possible because you will have much more control when editing.

3.  Go into the camera's menu and turn off Long Exposure Noise Reduction.  The feature does remove noise, but it doubles the exposure time.  Today's image editing software (Lightroom, Photoshop etc...) are able to remove the noise.  You may also want to turn down the brightness of your screen a bit (-2, -3), a bright screen can make you think the exposure is too bright.

4.  When shooting at night with a DSLR, you should cover the eyepiece, and use live view.  Canon camera's come with a black piece of rubber on the camera strap that can be used to cover the eyepiece.  Nikon's have a switch to close the eyepiece and mirrorless camera's don't need to cover to do this because they don't use a mirror.  Blocking the eyepiece prevents light from coming in and affecting the exposure.

5.  Use a tripod and a cable release.  If you don't have a cable release you can use the camera's timer.

5.  Set the ISO to the lowest native ISO for your camera (50, 100, 200), unless your subject is moving, then you may need to increase the ISO to stop the motion of the subject.

I love this shot but I messed up.  Shooting at the lowest ISO works well when you subject isn't moving, but you have to remember to bump up the ISO for moving subjects, or you'll get a blur like I got on this dog.

6.  I recommend setting your white balance manually (K), and take few test shots until you get an image with no color cast, for holiday lights this may be in the 2800-3500 range.  You could choose tungsten when photographing older style lights or daylight when shooting more modern LED lights.

7.  Choose an aperture based on how much depth of field you need for the shot.  When not much depth is needed, try between f/4 and f/8.

8.  Set the shutter speed for the correct exposure based on the ISO and aperture you have previously chosen.  Take a test shot and use the RGB histogram to make sure the image isn't overexposed.  Push the exposure as far to the right as you can without overexposing.  You can alway darken an overly bright image in your image editing software.

9.  Use high ISO preview to avoid wasting time on long test shots.  If you do your test shots at ISO 100, you may waste a lot of time waiting to see a shot that isn't exposed properly.  If you chose to shoot at ISO 100, try using a high ISO for your first test shot like 6400 (6 stop difference), this should make the exposure time pretty short so you can narrow the exposure down to the perfect shutter speed.  Once you have figured out the correct shutter speed, convert it to minutes.

  • If you chose ISO 50 then use ISO 3200 so that 1 second will equal one minute.
  • If you chose ISO 100 then use ISO 6400 so that 1 second will equal one minute.
  • If you chose ISO 200 then use ISO 12800 so that 1 second will equal one minute.

10.  Use live view to frame up the shot.  Use the zoom in button to zoom in on some detail so you can manually focus with much better accuracy.