Picking up new techniques is always good, but using them is so much more fun. I started out with a photo of a lovely model, but the image could use a little help. So lets start out with the Straight out of camera (SOOC) image.
My first order of business is to run my custom set of actions consisting of duplicating the background layer, adding a desaturation layer, a dodge and burn layer and a levels adjustment layer. I always duplicate the background layer and reposition it to the top as a “before and after” layer as well as leaving one at the bottom just because.
Next I wanted to get rid of the harsh shadow on her face. It looked more of a blemish than a shadow and was visually detracting from the rest of the image.
A nice simple, but not a complete retouching of the skin. Now that the canvas is ready, I began to work on the background. I masked out my model and simply layered a solid white fill over the background.
Still a work in progress, but we’re headed in the right direction. I wanted to try something new, putting a newly learned technique to work for me. I added a custom brush to my arsenal, a custom “bokeh” brush. Here’s the custom brush setting I used to create the effect.
By sampling a color already in the image, I added some personality to the background.
Moving right along, let’s look at her eyes. Her eyes are beautiful as it is, but I still want to enhance them slightly. I’ve mentioned before, but I’m begun using a Wacom tablet in my workflow. Using the tablet, I lightly filled in her makeup around her eyes. Next I added a gradient on an overlay layer to brighten her natural eye color. And just because, we added some detail to her eye lashes. All of these adjustments were made on their own blank layers to keep the non-destructive workflow intact.
I use a solid 50% grey layer with an overlay blend mode for dodging and burning. Which leads us to the next adjustment, dodging and burning.
On the home stretch now. Finally, I use a combination of cross processing, high pass filter and a little skin smoothing to polish up the image.
Great, I feel really good about this image… except for one thing. Her nail polish? Do you see it? Not a big deal, but I felt like fixing it up. Just find the right color and brush combination, then stay within the lines.
And that’s it, my final image. If you have any questions about any particular technique, I’ll be happy to share it with you.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Meet and Shoot is a fantastic photo meetup group in Atlanta that offers unique and creative photo shoots for photographers of all skill levels. Back in April 2011, Meet and Shoot offered a Pin-up styled shoot. Some of my favorite personal images are from this particular meetup, but I felt that my post processing was lacking on them. So I decided to revisit some of them, one in particular that I’ll be talking about here.
Shawna is a lovely young lady from South Carolina who came down to model for this shoot. I took a few different looks with Shawna throughout the day, even getting in front of the camera with her.
One of my favorite looks from this shoot was just simply Shawna, with a bit of confidence in her eyes.
While the composition leaves something to be desired, she does a wonderful job in front of the camera. So its up to me to make a more compelling image with my lovely model. I start thinking of what would work well with this image and the patch of brick on the background is what jumps out at me. I did a little google-fu and decided on a different type of brick wall image.
I had to create more of a foreground in order to make it work; as well as create a realistic shadow that she may have cast being as close to the new background as she appears to be. I recently invested in a Wacom Intous 4 tablet and this image was going to make the most of this accessory. After some careful masking, cropping and cloning; I ended up with my final image.
I’m very pleased with how this came out and its still one of my personal favorite images. Not for any one part, but how all of the aspects of the composite fit like puzzle pieces should.
There’s something special about the photography community in Atlanta. You take a group of people, most of whom are introverted, throw them in a room with one thing in common and you get something amazing. Meet and Shoot is one of those amazing things. A spawn of the Atlanta Photographer’s Guild, Meet and Shoot is a group that meets about once a month and offers unique shooting opportunities to photographers who might not else have the chance to capture such scenes. I started out with Meet and Shoot as an attendee, and then being asked by Mr Trent Chau if I would want to be a part of it. As a volunteer with the group, I assist in the setting up and whatever else the other photographers need. Today was a day where there were a dozen photographers and no models and ended with five models and countless great pictures. The photographic community in Atlanta is unique in that there are several creative outlets for artists that would not have the opportunity elsewhere to grow. The first post on this blog isn’t about me or my photography, but about the people who gave me the opportunity to create it in the first place. Thank you to Marc Turnley and the Atlanta Photography Guild; thank you to Julie Hunter and all of her guidance; to Trent Chau for all of the opportunity he’s provided me with Doc Smith and the rest of Meet and Shoot. Go with what you’re good at, surround yourself with people that will push you and make your craft better.