Ben Long

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Ben Long is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. He has written extensively on products for creative types for Macworld magazine, among myriad other publications, and has authored several books related to photography.
  • Features: Written by Ben Long on May 16, 2011
    In the first part of this series, I introduced histograms: handy graphs generated by cameras and image-editing software that you can use to analyze a photo's exposure. Part 2 of this series will concentrate on using histograms as a tool for shooting better photographs.
  • Features: Written by Ben Long on May 9, 2011
    Digital photography has many advantages over film, but perhaps the most significant is the in-camera histogram. This simple tool lets you immediately spot potential exposure problems as you shoot. Once you're done shooting, the histogram in your image-editing software shows you what's wrong with an image and how to adjust tone and color. The histogram scares a lot of people because it looks like it has something to do with math. While there are a lot of numbers behind it, the histogram is actually easy to understand. Why Should I Bother?
  • Features: Written by Ben Long on March 28, 2011
    Pros: Fantasic new tools for global adjustments; nik's uPoint technology for selective adjustments; update provides some much-needed features like a histogram, and the ability to apply borders Cons: I didn't find any, and I looked hard for downsides. Rating: 10 out of 10
  • Features: Written by Ben Long on February 7, 2011
    While Facebook, Flickr, email, and other online sources are great ways to show and share photos, at some point you'll probably want to make a print of an image. (For one thing, an archival print is still the most durable way to preserve photos.) Whether you print it yourself using a desktop photo printer, or send your images to an online service, you're going to have to size your image and choose a resolution.
  • Features: Written by Ben Long on August 26, 2010
    If you've even dabbled in digital photography, you probably know that digital cameras fall into two main categories: point and shoots, and SLRs. Typically, point and shoots are smaller than SLRs, with lenses that don't come off, and you preview your shot through an LCD on the back of the camera. SLRs have removable lenses and, via a system of mirrors and prisms, you see your shot through the same lens that exposes the sensor. Also, SLRs have bigger image sensors, which can yield better image quality and less image noise.
  • Features: Written by Ben Long on August 4, 2010
    Pros: Speedier than previous versions; huge range of presets; some editing tools are unique Cons: Expensive; duplicates some functionality built into Photoshop, especially CS5 Rating: 90 out of 100
  • Features: Written by Ben Long on May 12, 2010
    Pros: Content-Aware Fill, new Refine Edge, and Mini Bridge are stand-out features; Puppet Warp will be great for many users; a huge number of tweaks, improvements, and additions. Cons: Bridge still sluggish; installer won't migrate your old settings and preferences. Rating: 90 out of 100
  • Features: Written by Ben Long on April 29, 2010
    Pros: Interface elements are simple and very powerful; great software; excellent overall design Cons: Heavy; pen doesn't touch precisely where the cursor is Score: 9 out of 10
  • Features: Written by Ben Long on March 22, 2010
    Pros: Great price; very good interfaces. Adjust offers nice adaptive control; Detail is a very capable, simple sharpener; Simplify offers better natural media effects than Photoshop's built-in filters. Cons: It's easy to overdo it with Adjust and Detail. A user comfortable with Photoshop's masking and color and tone correction tools won't find anything especially compelling in Adjust. Score: 8.5/10
  • Features: Written by Ben Long on March 8, 2010
    I'm always surprised when I meet someone who doesn't use a pressure-sensitive tablet while editing photographs. If your edits are confined to global adjustments that can be easily applied using a slider, a tablet isn't so necessary. But if you perform localized edits -- dust removal or cloning; masking of tone or color adjustments; or any type of dodge or burn effects -- then a tablet can greatly ease your post-production life.

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