Author: Arjen Roos

Werk aan de muur

For a couple of years I have been selling some of my work using the website (Dutch). Besides Dutch they also have a website in French en German.

Please take a look at the materials on which you can order my work.

On my shop page you can find the work I am selling.
Since werkaandemuur isn’t selling to most other countries I have no English links. As I understand custom orders to other countries are a sometimes a possibility if you contact them.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Creative Liberties in Your Photo Editing via Fstoppers

One of the biggest hurdles I got over in my journey as a photographer was following too many rules. There are two very different areas in photography you can spend a lot of time studying: the technical end consisting of your gear, exposure, aperture, lighting, and of course the trusty (or dreaded) histogram, and the artistic side where you focus on the look and feel you want to express. You think about the style you want to emulate or portray. Regardless of which side you focus on, you can really get lost making sure you have followed every suggestion correctly.

If this becomes too important you may not even realize you are taking some technically perfect but lackluster photos. This is where the creative editing comes in. You need to hit mute on the technical and artistic rules you are used to, and explore what outside the box techniques might interest you.

Photos that look the same don’t stand out. That statement may sound obvious, but photo sharing sites are filled with jaw-dropping shots that look similar enough to have all been taken by the same photographer. In the words of comedian-turned-musician Steve Martin, if you want to be noticed you must "be so good they can’t ignore you."

I would offer a comparison of this concept of "good" from photography to basketball. There are a lot of people really good at shooting three pointers. The best outside shooter you can think of from your area is probably not even one fourth as good as an average college player. This relativeness takes another huge leap when talking about shot accuracy of an NBA player. Now don’t get me wrong, I get there is a big difference between the two, but stay with me. If you decide tomorrow that you really love basketball and want to be the best like you see on TV, it’s probably not very realistic if you plan on taking the traditional path to get there. Namely years and years of practice, some unteachable height, and a lot of experience. Just like the photographers with insane travel budgets, time to capture exactly what they want, and thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of gear.

The only way it might happen in basketball is if you excel at shooting all your threes as a hook shot. Obviously you’d need some basic dribbling building blocks and a stage to showcase the amazing sky three on. But something this crazy might just work. This may sound ridiculous but it’s this drastic outside the box approach that is the point. Find a way to be different with your photography. At least being different will separate you from the crowd. Or in the basketball case, might get you swatted into the crowd.

Find a Way to Do Your Own Thing and Create Something Fresh

The first time I really decided to break things was with a long exposure shot of Niagara Falls taken on a very drab day. Since the original capture was kind of terrible, I had little concern for ruining anything. 

My main goal in editing the image was to focus all the attention on the edges and ripples in the water. Sometimes the best way to bring out highlights can simply be to darken the shadows. I also threw in a pretty flat gradient adjustment right at the horizon darkening the exposure on the sky.

Learning to See in Monochrome

The header image for this article is titled "Learning to See in Monochrome." It was still one of the first times I went completely off script with editing and was very happy with the results. Sunsets can be very unremarkable when the color is taken away. The trick is finding the light and featuring it. Did I need to completely change the sky? Probably not. But that is part of the freedom that is therapeutic. It’s 100 percent up to you what to do with it because you’ve released the tether of rules and expectations.

If It Isn’t Working, Erase It

In one of my favorite edits I have ever played with I ended up completely blacking out the sky and drawing my own motion blurred clouds behind the light post. I also added a few feet of water to the left to give the dock some breathing room from the edge of the composition. In the end, following suite of my previous creations, it received the dramatic title of "Tomorrow’s Whisper."

Enhance the Mood and Create Your Vision

One of my most fruitful single day of capturing shots was when I was without my trusty Canon 6D and was using our third body, the older Canon T3i. This cropped sensor meant my only wide angle, a Tamron 10-24mm would let me take advantage of the lens’ full 10mm of wideness. Even though the lens fit fine on our full-frame cameras, it would show the inerts of the lens anywhere beyond 14 or 15mm. This shot of the French Castle had a great leading line that swooped right to the castle. Nothing was too great about the original shot. The mid afternoon flat blue sky would have just made this another OK shot, but the contrast and heavily light sculpted final product stands out.

Do Some Experiments and Have Fun

No matter what kind of photography you specialize in, there are norms you’ve probably been following or styles you strive to replicate. Find ways to still create for your aesthetic, but maybe from a completely different angle. Flank it. Shoot the hook shot.

In the below shot titled "Equal and Opposite" there was a conscious decision to make the water a light source to accentuate its glass-like surface from the long exposure.

My first "Toronto Skyline" barely had Toronto visible at all but it was my first stark high-contrast horizon.

Don’t Go out of Town and Come Back With the Exact Same Photo Everyone Gets

After filling a memory card walking the streets of Chicago I needed a way to show off some of what I had captured in a way that stood out against the thousands of active,and talented photographers based there. This photo titled "Now More Than Ever" was a decent capture. But until the edit focused on the visual tension between the street level graffiti and the shiny corporate Trump Tower, the photo wasn’t post worthy to me.

Shadows Are Your Friends

Finding interesting shadows has been near the top of great things to photograph forever. The HDR craze of 2008 threatened to remove them from popular photography all together, but logic and good taste prevailed. This building I saw during my self-guided tour stood out because of the harsh sunlight it was catching just above a completely shaded section. The light had a very common chart looking upward slope leading to the photo’s title "Trending Upward."

The last photo I’m sharing was actually a do-over of a previous favorite. Buffalo City Hall has a tall obelisk called McKinley Monument right in front of it. Lining up this monument with the picturesque art deco city hall behind it is a classic shot. My creative freedom on the edit led me to brighten the foreground and really make it the main subject of the shot. In case you are not tired of my titles yet, this one is called "Seeing Things My Way."

Now that I feel less restricted, I use the same approach on other less experimental work too. I really think practicing with outside-the-box editing can help you find ways to stand out from the vast sea of talented photographers out there today.

Have you done some experimenting with edits or something else off of the beaten path? I’d love to hear about it. Up the same alley, be sure to check out the article "The Art of Overcoming a Creative Block as a Photographer" by Fred van Leeuwen. I think any form of breaking up the monotony helps you grow as an artist. Outside the comfort zone is where the magic happens.

Check out some more photos below that threw out the rulebook.

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23 favoriete fotografielocaties in Nederland van lezers via Photofacts RSS

Vlieland. Foto’s: Tanja den Hollander

13. Nationaal Park De Groote Peel

Roos Kampen wandelt en fotografeert veel in

Nationaal Park De Groote Peel

. Dit ligt in Noord-Brabant en Limburg. Het is een restant van een ondoordringbaar moerasgebied, afgegraven vanwege turfwinning en daardoor toegankelijk geworden.

Je kunt er je hart ophalen als natuurliefhebber! Je wandelt over knuppelbruggetjes, door open en uitgestrekte heidevelden, zandruggen, berken en open vlaktes met pijpenstrootjes, afgewisseld door grote en kleine vennen met unieke vergezichten!

Neem je waterdichte wandelschoenen en je camera mee en ontdek de Peel en de bijzondere flora en fauna.

Vele soorten vogels kun je er zien: blauwborsten, roodborsttapuiten, geelgorsjes, geoorde futen, dodaars, roerdompen, grauwe ganzen, winter- en zomertalingen, bruine kiekendieven, waterrallen, nachtzwaluwen, kol- en rietganzen, klapeksters, maar ook trekvogels zoals de kraanvogel zijn er te zien.

Verder zijn er ook nog veel andere vele dieren, zoals onder andere das, hermelijn, ree, bunzing, wild zwijn, gladde slang, heikikker, levendbarende hagedis en vele insecten en planten te zien.

Zoals op de fotocompilatie van Roos Kampen te zien is kun je met heel veel geluk ook een zeearend spotten in de Peel!

Met de zoomfunctie, 20 maal optische zoom van de eenvoudige camera Nikon Coolpix heeft ze hem toch nog aardig weten vast te leggen. Een heldere hemel en het zonlicht van een late namiddag hebben een handje geholpen.

Het gebied is in het broedseizoen van 15 maart tot 15 juli gedeeltelijk voor publiek gesloten en ook van 15 oktober tot 30 november voor de rust van de trekvogels. Er zijn nog voldoende paden toegankelijk.

Zie voor informatie hierover de


van de Pelen van Staatsbosbeheer! De natuur in het zuiden van het land is sowieso de moeite waard, zet de Groote Peel ook maar op de to do-lijst!

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Take Your Landscape Photography Editing to the Next Level with the Perspective Warp Tool via Fstoppers

Photoshop offers so many different tools that achieving one simple task can be done in numerous ways. Finding the method that works best for you and the one that matches the result you have in mind is important. Greg Benz is back with a new tutorial and shows us how he uses the Perspective Warp tool to enhance his landscape photography.

From Liquify to the Transform tool or even the Puppet Warp, Photoshop has quite a few shape and size modification tools available. Knowing the difference between them all is important as each has its own set of pros and cons. In the video above, Benz explains how he uses the Perspective Warp tool in his landscape work although it was initially designed for architecture photography.

Before getting into the how, he also goes over the why, comparing the result to what you could get out of the simple and easy to use Free Transform tool. As you’ll see, the result at the end is quite astonishing. It’s such a small difference but it dramatically changes the image. The technique can be used creatively to push the result as far as you’d like, but it could also just be a way to correct any perspective issue.

Benz is the creator of Lumenzia and the owner of a very educational blog and YouTube channel. If you liked the video above, be sure to follow his work for more interesting content. If you’d like the full written rundown of the technique shown in this tutorial, be sure to head over to Greg Benz’s last blog article.

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NASA makes their entire media library publicly accessible and copyright free via -DIY Photography and Studio Lighting

NASA makes their entire media library publicly accessible and copyright free

No matter if you enjoy taking or just watching images of space, NASA has a treat for you. They have made their entire collection of images, sounds, and video available and publicly searchable online. It’s 140,000 photos and other resources available for you to see, or even download and use it any way you like.

You can type in the term you want to search for and browse through the database of stunning images of outer space. Additionally, there are also images of astronauts, rocket launches, events at NASA and other interesting stuff. What’s also interesting is that almost every image comes with the EXIF data, which could be useful for astrophotography enthusiasts.

When you browse through the gallery, you can choose to see images, videos or audio. Another cool feature I noticed is that you can narrow down the results by the year. Of course, I used some of my time today to browse through the gallery, and here are some of the space photos you can find:

What I love about NASA is that they make interesting content for average Internet users. They make us feel closer and more familiar with their work and with the secrets of the outer space. For instance, they recently launched a GIPHY account full of awesome animated gifs. It’s also great that photography is an important part of their missions, and so it was even before “pics or it didn’t happen” became the rule. The vast media library they have now published is available to everyone, free of charge and free of copyright. Therefore, you can take a peek at the fascinating mysteries of space, check out what it’s like inside NASA’s premises, or download the images to make something awesome from them. Either way, you’ll enjoy it.

[via SLR Lounge]

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Save Your Empty Food Box for This Great Lighting Effect via Fstoppers

If you’re into that film noir look à la "Double Indemnity" (and who isn’t?), this is the tutorial for you. Using only an off-camera flash, a food box, and some tape, you can create this moody and cool lighting effect. 

I may have a slight obsession with film noir. It’s just so undeniably mysterious, the atmosphere so inscrutably cool. A lot of what gave film noir its moody look was the lighting, which constantly played on harsh, angular shadows. Perhaps no setup is more reminiscent of that than the "light filtering through Venetian blinds" look. Seriously, find me one film noir that doesn’t use it. In this video, the Academy of Photography will teach you how to recreate that using nothing more than an off-camera speedlight and a biscuit box. By cutting slats into the end of the box and fitting it over the flash, you’re projecting the pattern you’ve cut using the light (which means you can experiment with other patterns as well). While the tutorial uses a biscuit box, unfortunately, I only had a waffle box available. I’m happy to report that it worked just as well, however. It also gave me an excuse to make some waffles. 

[via ISO 1200]

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Using Household Items to Create Stunning Foreground Bokeh via -DIY Photography and Studio Lighting

We all love to spend money on the latest and greatest photo gear, whether it be a $120 reflector with a hole in it (I’m just jealous I didn’t market this myself haha 😉 ), or a $500 tube with LED’s inside! We love to spend money on our passion. But sometimes, you can create some fantastic looking shots for next to no money at all. I present to you, the wonders of the humble cling film!

With some simple household items you can get some really interesting and creative looks.

The Look

The principles of the technique are that you place the cling film in front of the camera at such a distance as to create bokeh in the foreground of the shot. In my opinion this creates a really interesting look because the effect is twofold, firstly the bokeh in the foreground always looks interesting but you’re also creating a lot of interest in your image for your viewers eyes to be drawn to. This is always a goal of mine when creating images; ‘how can I hold my viewers attention a fraction of second longer?’ If your viewers eyes have to work a little harder to absorb a photo then you’ve caught them.

The cling film produces the bokeh by catching the carefully placed lights that you’ve positioned either side of the model pointing back to camera. Another key point here is that you’ll need a fairly fast lens, this is a lens that has an aperture of around f2.8 or wider. In these setups I used a cheap 85mm prime lens that you can pick up for around $150/$200. Having this fast lens is crucial to getting the look to work and if you don’t already have a ‘nifty-fifty’ or fast 85mm prime then I highly recommend you get one as it can open up a lot of different creative opportunities.

I’ll also add that although the actual items to make the look cost next to nothing, this setup does assume you have a few bits of photographic kit already at your disposal.

What you will need:

The Basic Setup

  • 2 lights
  • 1 hard light modifier (grid/snoot/barndoors)
  • 1 soft light modifier (softbox/umbrella)
  • 1 sheet of perspex/glass
  • Clingfilm

This basic setup of the technique is the bare-bones of the look. If you just want to test it out or only have two lights at your disposal then this is the setup for you.

The Full Setup (What I used to create the shots in this article)

  • 4 lights
  • 2 hard light modifier (grid/snoot/barndoors)
  • 1 Beauty dish (22″ Silver)
  • 1 Small softbox (90cmx90cm)
  • Coloured Gels
  • 1 sheet of perspex/glass

If you have four lights and a little more time then you can try the more advanced version of the setup. This is the setup that I used to create the shots you see in this article.

The Setup

The Key-Light

Let’s first look at the lighting setup involved. There are a couple of key factors to bear in mind with this setup not least of all the model placement in relation to your background and key light. The key light that lights the model in this setup actually lights the background as well so making sure your model is close enough to whatever she has behind her will ensure a nicely lit background too. As a guide, try to place your model halfway between your backdrop and key light. According to the inverse square law of light this will mean that your backdrop will receive half as much light as your subject resulting in a natural drop off and slightly darker background.

Place the model midway between the key light and background

The Fill-Light

Now that we have our key light and subject in place let’s place are fill light. I simply placed a small softbox on the floor at the base of the key light stand and angled it up at my subject. I added a gel to my softbox but it’s up to you as to whether you’d like to do that or not. You can see how I attach the gel to my softbox in one of my ‘Quick Tips‘ pages section of my website. I class this fill-light as a ‘subjective’ light meaning that the exposure is dependant on your personal taste but as a guide I would never have it more powerful than my key light.

Attaching a gel to a softbox needn’t be a massive pain. Check the ‘Quick Tips’ page of my site for more info.

The Foreground Element

Once we’re happy with our model lighting it’s now time to get our foreground element in place. This is the object that creates that foreground bokeh. For this setup I used glass but you could also use perspex just as easily. This next section comes with a word of warning. If you’re going to use a large sheet of glass like I did then please be very careful not only for your own safety but for the safety of your model too.

For my sheet of glass I simply removed it from a large picture frame I had. If you’re going to do the same then take extra care because framing glass doesn’t have sanded edges for handling so its incredibly sharp. The sheet I had was about 23″/60cmm square so it doesn’t need to be huge and you could probably get away with it being smaller if you just wanted to test it first.

For my piece of glass I simply removed the glass that was in a large picture frame. Be careful though as this type of glass is often extremely sharp and fragile. If you can find some good quality perspex then that is definitely safer and a lot easier to work with.

Big sheets of glass can be very dangerous indeed so I would strongly recommend going down the perspex or acrylic route if possible. The quality of acrylics now is so high that there will be very negligible difference in the clarity over glass especially when you consider this will be in the foreground and completely out of focus. Perspex is also a lot easier to store so you can reuse it many times for other projects as well.

Once you have your glass/perspex it’s now time to place it in the scene correctly. In the setup you’ll actually see that I placed mine behind the key light and fill light and between them and the camera. The benefits of this are twofold in that not only does no unwanted light from the key and fill light fall onto the glass and cling film but it actually brings the cling film further away from your model and thereby increasing the bokeh effect. It’s up to you as to how you want to support it but I simply used a few stands and clamps to support it off the ground and high enough to shoot through.

The cling film

Attaching the cling film to the glass is thankfully very easy (finally something easy to look forward to). I simply tore off selection of strips and placed them in arcs around the glass and around where I was going to be shooting through. You want to place the Clingfilm roughly and not completely flat because the bunches, creases, bubbles and pockets are actually the features of the Clingfilm that the light will catch on and create the bokeh. Experiment with different looks and shapes of Clingfilm later on but for now we just need a rough idea of where the Clingfilm will be on the glass so that we can place our final lights correctly.

Cling film is very cheap and can be bought in nearly every supermarket and other food shops.

The Bokeh Lights

The last major step in this setup is going to be placing the bokeh producing lights. For my setup I used two lights placed either side of the model with grids attached to them. I personally didn’t want the lights to light the edge of the model in any way so that’s why I put them beside her rather than behind her. I also used grids on my lights to channel the light exactly where I wanted it. The only job of these lights is to create boken on the Clingfilm, I don’t want that light bouncing around or even flaring into my lens so the control of the grids provided that. You could just as easily use snoots or barn doors here too as they all control the light without modifying it too much. A key point to make here is that these bokeh lights really need to be hard lights so you have to use modifiers like grids and snoots etc, if you use a soft light modifier like a softbox then it becomes increasingly difficult to create the bokeh. This is down to the fact that hard light modifiers create strong specularity in highlights resulting in the bokeh when photographed out of focus. I actually originally tried this technique with two gridded strip softboxes and although the light is directional it simply doesn’t create enough specularity and in turn produces very little in the way of bokeh.

Using hard light modifiers like grids, snoots and barn doors on the back lights are essential to achieving the bokeh effect.

Getting Creative

Once you have everything in place for the setup, it’s now time to get creative. I played around a lot with changing the coloured gels on the bokeh lights to get different effects.

All the hard work has now been done so it’s time to get creative with the look and start playing with a few ideas. One thing to consider playing with is coloured gels on the bokeh back lights. I started out with no gels to begin with, that produces a very clean look but then I played with two of the same coloured gels on the lights and then different colours on each.

Playing around with different cling film placement on the glass is going to be your next step. Cling film allows for you to play around with the shape and look of the bokeh as many times as you like.

The other major creative factor you have to play with is of course the actual cling film placement on the glass. Thankfully cling film allows you to move, remove and adjust it as many times as you like. Play with different shapes, holes, bubbles, torn edges and even leaving sections hanging loose. These will all create different looks with the bokeh and the way in which they catch the light.

The Results

Two Different Coloured Gels

The shots below show the setup with two different coloured gels on the back lights.

Two Gels of the Same Colour

The shots below show the results from a setup where I was using two gels of the same colour.

White Bokeh Light

The images below were taken with no coloured gels on the back lights so just white light was hitting the cling film.

Featured model: Sammie Howe

Points to Consider

So to close out this lighting technique I’ll just mention a few pointers to consider:

  • Always be careful when handling large sheets of glass
  • I shot most of these images at around f1.8 but experiment with different apertures and lenses
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with a variety of different shapes and looks with the cling film
  • Using strobes over speedlights will make life easier as the modelling bulbs of the strobes will give you a pretty good idea of what the bokeh will look like
  • Experiment with a variety of coloured gels and see what works with not only your models styling but also your background
  • It’s probably a good idea to explain to the model what you’re doing and showing them the back of the camera so they can see what you’re trying to achieve. Failing to do so might just make you look crazy 😉

Closing Comments

So there you have it, a setup that although looks a little complicated at the four light end of things, the basic principles can still be achieved with as little as two lights. Remember the point is to create an engaging look to your portraits so make the bokeh a feature rather than the subject itself.

If you have any questions about any of this then definitely let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to answer them as soon as I can. Good luck with the setup and I look forward to seeing your shots 😀

About the Author

Jake Hicks is an editorial and fashion photographer who specializes in keeping the skill in the camera, not just on the screen. For more of his work and tutorials, check out his website. Don’t forget to like his Facebook page, follow him on Flickr, Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to his YouTube channel. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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10 tips to make selections that cut out anything in Photoshop via -DIY Photography and Studio Lighting

10 tips to make selections that cut out anything in Photoshop

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Photoshop’s selection tools seem to evolve and change with every new update. Techniques and technology evolve to make selections a little easier than they were before. At least, that’s the theory, sometimes they just get more frustrating. But, there’s still no one technique that works for everything.

This video from Nathaniel Dodson at Tutvid is a long one. At 37 minutes, you’re not going to be finding any instant fix magic bullets. But, he goes through several different selection methods to explain how they all works, how to use them and what kind of images they work best on.

The techniques Nathaniel describes are going to produce different results on different types of images. A super busy location background will probably require a different technique than a clean white seamless studio backdrop, for example.

  1. 00:35 Start every selection with Quick Selection
  2. 03:35 Use Select and Mask to cut out hair
  3. 08:58 Poly Lasso tool + tips and tricks for straight selections
  4. 12:42 The mighty Pen Tool
  5. 16:54 Using a channel to create a complex selection
  6. 22:54 Calculations for complex selections w/ lots of straight lines
  7. 26:19 Color Range to create selections based on color or tone
  8. 29:09 Quick Mask tools to paint selections FAST
  9. 31:13 What do I do once I have a selection?
  10. 32:26 Defringe your selections and objects for amazing edges

Nathaniel also threw in a little bonus tip that many Photoshop users will very much appreciate.

  • 07:14 Bonus tip: Getting back to the older Refine Edge feature

One of the most commonly used methods is the pen tool. For hard edged shapes, there really isn’t much else that has the power and versatility that the pen tool offers. But, it can be a difficult one to master, and I know a few people who’ve given up completely after just a few attempts. But it really is worth learning. This is one of the methods I use most commonly for making selections.

Channels are also a very powerful tool for making selections, especially when you have channels which contain a lot of contrast. Human skin, for example, shows up extremely dark on the blue colour channel, and brightly on the red colour channel. If you’re shooting against a darker background, red might be the channel to go for. On a lighter background, as demonstrated here, blue might be your best option.

As you can see, though, just like most things in Photoshop, there’s a bunch of different ways to essentially do the same thing. And the reason is because there are so many different types of images from which you might want to cut something out. No single technique will work for everything, so we have multiple options.

For some, the quick selection tool along with Refine Edge covers most of their needs. But, when it doesn’t, it’s handy to have a few more tricks up one’s sleeve.

via -DIY Photography and Studio Lighting