Are you still using the “Sharpen” Filter in Photoshop to try to improve the on-screen presentation of your photos?
There is a better way!
1) Sharpening is best done at the final output size, so first open your image in Photoshop, and scale it down to whatever size you want. For Flickr, 500 pixels wide is the size for the “medium ” option.
2) Go to the Layer palette, select your Background Layer, Right Click. Select Duplicate Layer.
3) With the new layer selected, goto Filter > Other > High Pass. Set the Radius to (probably) between 2 and 10. If you go too high, you’ll see a halo effect around the edges of your image. Back it down so the halo disappears. Click OK.
4) View your image at Actual size (Command + Option + 0 on a Mac)
5) From the Layer Palette, select Hard Light from the drop down menu. You can also select Soft Light or Overlay to see how those change your results.
6) Change the Opacity until the photo looks good to you. (Typically 25% to 75%).
I recently read a post by Scott Bourne in which he emphasized the importance of considering your background BEFORE you even start shooting.
It’s not that I NEVER consider the background, but I must admit that I seldom consider the background before the subject. Oh sure, if you’re in front of the Grand Canyon we all do, but in everyday shots with our kid in the foreground, I usually frame her, then move a little to adjust the background.
After reading his post, I find myself approaching every shot by looking 20-100 feet past where the subject will be. Then pick a line based on the view.
What is a Photowalk, you ask? He has a video on his website that provides all the details, but basically, you meet up with a group of people and take a somewhat planned route through an area of town, capturing as many different photos as possible.
Most groups end up at a coffee house or restaurant to ooh and ahh over each others work.