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Clever clips


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Clever clips

7 Jan 2022 10:20AM   Views : 488 Unique : 280


Relatively early in the first lockdown, I bought myself five KN95/FFP2 masks, with straps that went behind my head, rather than round my ears. They were intended for repeated use, and two packs of five have lasted me most of the time since, supplemented by washable cloth masks. The latter are a much poorer fit, though.

I’ve reached the last KN95, and my local chemist has had no further stocks. Off to eBay…


Some technical stuff. KN95 is actually a Chinese self-certification standard, and the tested, European equivalent is FFP2 – just so you know. Read what you wish into the distinction, and you’ll probably be partly right. But this is a distraction from the point.

My eBay masks arrived, and they’re disappointing, with ear loops: easier to put on, but a much poorer fit. Wearing one with glasses to drive leads to steamed-up glasses. But in another chemist’s today, I found the answer, although it came with a further five masks – but we’re in this for the long haul, I reckon. It’s a little plastic clip, allowing me to attach the two ear loops to each other behind my head. The fit is now excellent.


What on earth has this got to do with photography? (Apart from allowing me to transport models with a higher safety factor for both of us?) The point is that there are sometimes little tricks and techniques that transform things. Sometimes we need the right gadget, but finding it is likely to be far easier if we know what the problem is…

So let’s look at a couple of simple digital examples, to do with colour and sharpness.


Cameras tend to come set to auto white balance, and this usually gives a rather blue result (I don’t know why, but that’s how it goes, in practice). The intellectual bit is understanding that colour is one of the artistic choices in any picture: the ‘gadget’ is the white balance button on older cameras, the right item in the menu (or the right box in the quick access screen) in more modern kit. If you don’t like the colours, change the white balance. ‘Sunny’ works for very many things, but ‘Cloudy’ isn’t a bad thing to try on a cloudy day. Who knew?

How about sharpness? There’s a lot of effort and slider-tweaking goes into making pictures look sharper, but there’s a really easy way to increase apparent sharpness, and that’s to push the contrast up a little. Adjusting Contrast (or Levels) will often sort out a picture that seems a touch fuzzy, because the human eye responds to contrast rather than sharpness.


You can’t fix a shot that is just not in focus, but if a good lens used competently is looking a tad soft, check the contrast. You may be surprised…


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dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
7 Jan 2022 10:22AM
Della modelled patiently, but was obviously concerned that I'd be doing silly things in editing. The top version is straight from the camera, followed by a heavily-sharpened alternative with no colour correction. Then there's my preferred edit, with colour and Levels changes, and finally nice colour turned wiry with far too much sharpening...
mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 36 8 England
7 Jan 2022 4:33PM
And then there's the 'Unsharp Mask'. OB1/ KnO-bi. Useful if you're wearing a hoodie, or a robe with a big hood Smile.
Hate wearing a mask and glasses, I've tried several that claim not to cause fogging. None of them work.Sad
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
7 Jan 2022 4:36PM
The clip makes it rather better, though...

Plus a healthy airflow through the car, of course!

Must do some more writing now...
mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 36 8 England
7 Jan 2022 4:41PM
They have them on Amazon but they look like they have ear loops as well.
20 pks KN95/FFP2 5-Layer Respirator Protective Face Mask, CE certified
Robert51 Avatar
Robert51 14 12 147 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2022 5:05PM
Knowing what you need is one of the hardest things to do John.
You spoke of easy tips which can have a great effect.
Here I have use very quick and easy PS steps using your first image.
Open image and duplicate.
1. Open a curves layer and use the midtone eye dropper on the left side (second one down).
Now click on the white of the eye. Move to a different point of the eye to get required effect.
2. Open a HSL and click on the hand with an arrow on either side. Now click on the red of the cheek.
This will select the red channel now move the lightness slider up (or down) to required level.
Now make an image stamp layer Shift+Alt+Ctrl E.
3. Now fron top menu bar Fliter/Other/High Pass and of the pop up box move the slider up or down till the lines start to glow.
Now change the blend on the layer to soft light. This doesn't make the image too sharp for the subject.

Once you know these they only take seconds and work on most portrait images.

dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
7 Jan 2022 5:46PM
Robert, the secret of many things is that it's easy when you know how!

Anything that involves layers and multiple steps is going to be too much for many newcomers to editing! I'll stand by my one-layer edit, and I'll keep on shooting - we all have different approaches, and my aim was to suggest a way that isn't scary (or not too scary, anyway) for someone who knows nothing at all about editing... I want to persuade people who don't edit at all to try a tiny bit. Some of them, no doubt, will enjoy it, and follow your approach of getting hte very best possible look: others will be well pleased with a simple way to kill the blue tinge in the images they post o Facebook (or get printed at Boots!)
Imageryonly Avatar
Imageryonly Plus
3 203 11 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2022 10:41PM
This may seem slightly of subject, but,as I have said before I like to get it as right as I can in camera.
My business used to be Pet Portraits, and I used this simple trick to get colours correct.
Use a prop, ball etc, that has been colour matched before shooting using a set of Painters Swatches,
which you can get from your local DiY store.
Easy then to get colour correct on screen, specially for printing.
I totally agree with John on the use of white balance, the one thing, I feel, that deserves some time
spent learning on how it affects the end result.

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