Friday, December 21, 2007

Creating an Antique Look using Adobe RAW Conversions

Here is a technique for creating an Antique look using the RAW conversion settings in any of the Adobe apps from the Canon Blogger (link).

Adobe Photoshop CS2 settings

White Balance
Temperature: 12500
Tint: +35

Exposure: +0.75
Shadows: 11
Brightness: +57
Contrast: +25
Saturation: -71

Tone Curve: Linear

Amount: -100
Midpoint: 0

Monday, December 17, 2007

Nude Photography

Ok -- if you see a pattern here, you're probably right. The majority of my work (to date) has been nudes. Almost entirely nudes of women. I believe that appreciation of the naked human form is a healthy thing -- after all, if we can't accept who we are as human beings, what can we accept? I often wonder whether our casual disregard for life in general is in fact a reflection of the disdain that we have for our own form. However I try not to be militant about it -- each must find his or her own comfort level.

In the meanwhile, here's a nude that doesn't reveal that much:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lightroom and Zenfolio

Those using Lightroom and storing their photos on Zenfolio (as I do) will rejoice. Jeffrey Friedl has made a plugin to export from Lightroom directly to Zenfolio which can be found here.

Mahria and the Apple

I've been recently contemplating the process that I use with people. Why do I call what I do photography as art as opposed to photography in some other vein? Is it simply that I do not accept money for a photoshoot? I think it goes beyond -- I really hope that the product of the photo session is the result of a collaborative effort and not just me dictating the terms. I like it when models tell me when something won't work or doesn't feel natural to them. I like it when something goes beyond what I was envisioning.

Enough philosophy for today. Here's an image from a recent shoot:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tip: Photoshop Skin Smoothing

I can't remember where I got this technique from but it's pretty simple. To get smoother skin, duplicate your base layer and apply a Gaussian blur to the duplicated layer. Then change the opacity of the duplicated layer show that the base image mostly shows through. This will result in an image that is soft overall. Using your erase (or use a layer mask), delete areas that should be sharp (like eyes, hair and edges). This will result in some flattening of highlights but it's quick and dirty. For an fuller technique, check out the book Skin

Here's an example

ps. This is one of favorite models Marla Singer -- I picked a bad photo to emphasize the effect.

pps. I don't use this a lot -- I'm not a big fan of plasticky skin but on occasion it has its uses.

Tip: Selecting Luminosity Highlights and Blending

This tip comes from Swift Photography:

To add pop to your images you can use the highlights of your image as a separate layer that you blend with your image. You start by selecting the highlights -- either using command-option-tilde or command clicking on the composite channel in the channels (RGB channel). This creates a selection where the light areas are most selected and the dark areas are least selected. Then copy the selection into a new layer (command-j) and blend the layer into the original background using one of the light blending modes. As an effect, it works similar to how the clarity slider works in Adobe ACR or Lightroom but this gives you a bit more flexibility. You can then merge the layer onto a duplicate of your base layer and then blend that down to the base layer using another mode like luminosity to minimize the colour shift.

Here's an example using just the technique:

Why blog?

I suppose every blog has an introductory post that asks the question: why?

This is really for myself and if anything I find is helpful to anyone else, wonderful. But I'm starting to lose track of the photography sites and tips/tricks that I've been amassing so now is the time to start the gathering process -- hence this blog.

The blog will focus mostly on photography -- in particular, my photography but also any good sites for information that I come across. At some point, I may actually challenge myself to post an image an day but for now, I'll settle for images along the way.

Here's a starting image: