Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Taking advantage of Photoshop

I think it's only fair that I share a before and after example from photoshop. In this portrait I shot Cindy. Cindy has got to be one of the funnest people I've ever taken a portrait for! She's extremely photogenic, has a great smile, and was just comfortable in front of the camera.

I'll let you view for yourselves and see if you can spot all the photoshop enhancements. One of my favorite tools in photoshop is curves. If you haven't played with curves at all, I recommend you play around with it. I believe there is no right or wrong way to play with curves, or photoshop for example. To me, photoshop is an artists' tool. Anyway, if you're working on a pc, curves can be found by clicking "Image", "Adjustments", and "Curves". Or just by pressing ctrl-m. In the above portrait of Cindy I used curves to adjust levels and add contrast. Of course I cloned out the reflector my assistant Lindsay was holding. You can see it poking into the frame on the original image. I used the healing brush tool and the clone tool to take care of some stray hairs and a couple unwanted items in the background. Also I created a separate levels layer and brightened her eyes, teeth and hair. To be honest, their are so many little photoshop tricks used in this shot that to explain them all will make this blog even more boring than it already is. So if there are any questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Shooting in the shade

This is titled "Shooting in the shade", what I mean by that is shooting in low sunlight. There is a difference between shooting in a shaded area surrounded by sunlight and shooting in an area that is completely in the shade. i.e. shooting in alley-ways, in front of big buildings, or right before the sun rises in the morning. (you get the idea, right?) Both of these shots were shot on May 12, 2007 at about 6:45pm. The exposures used were both about f5.6 @ 60th and at ISO 400. Both shots I had my assistant, Lindsay. Lindsay's main job is to help eliminate shadows by using a 42" Pink/Silver reflector (my choice for fill light when shooting outdoors). I try to refrain from using a fill flash, in my opinion it just doesn't look natural. In the shot to the right I have the subject posed with her left heel resting on her right foot. That gives a nice sassy pop to here legs and hips. I always enjoy having the subject hang their hands or thumb on their pocket or belt loop. Sometimes resting the hand on a hip doesn't quite do it. Then I had her tilt her head just a touch and a little blue steel, and there you go. The shot to the left I had Lindsay hold the reflector only about 2 ft. away. I had the subject, Katie, pose herself. It is always so fun to find someone to shoot that reacts well to the camera. I loved shooting Katie because she has a New York model look to her, and she poses like one.
In photoshop I adjusted to levels and color to my liking, and there you go! If there are any questions or any requests for future posts, please let me know.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Portrait in Black

This Portrait was shot at f11 @ 125th and ISO 200 (My standard setting in the studio). I began with the main light about 5ft off of her left shoulder, and the fill light way back about 8-10ft away.
There is also a back light set on a minimal setting about 3ft high and about 4ft behind her. That helps separate her from the black void. Also, there is a hair light up above her about 3ft set on a minimal setting. She is posed with her right foot away from me and her left foot pointed to my left. I had her twist at the waist and stretched her right shoulder forward just a touch, and a little tilt of the head and a little bit of blue steel... and there you go.
In photoshop I began with adjusting the levels to my liking, a little diffused glow to give that "dreamy" look, and a touch of vignette to help complete the black/dark look, and that's it.
I will try to add photos to my blog as I shoot them and explain how it was shot in the future. But for now I'll just add some photos that were shot over the course of last year.