Archive for November, 2015
A Model with Real Curves (Nude Photos)
Eva Forte is another model I recently worked with. I selected her because she’s a bit older than the usual 20-something women I’ve been photographing. As Eva says, she has “real curves.” I enjoyed working with Eva because she’s down-to-earth and practical (must be her Hungarian heritage.) She doesn’t try to be something she’s not! She comfortable in her skin and isn’t trying to prove how “cool” she is.
Right from the beginning, I had no thoughts of retouching her features and skin to make her look like anyone other than Eva. I like her scars, stretch marks and curves just as they are because she likes them. When something didn’t look quite right, it was usually my fault because I hadn’t more carefully considered the light or angle.
All these photos were made with a Canon 5D MkII and a Canon 24-105/4L IS. The lighting was from two Canon 580EX II SpeedLites in an Impact Luxbanx 36″ strip light. For horizontal poses, the light was suspended about 24″ above the model while, for vertical poses, the light was on a stand about 24″ to one side or the other.
One of the cool things I found for this shoot was a LumoPro Double Flash Bracket Speedring. It was a bit pricey since Midwest Photo charged nearly 30% for S&H but it allowed me to attach two flashes to one strip light. That way, I could set both lights to 1/2 power to speed up recharging and still get full power. I had originally planned to use a 2nd light hair light but decided to forego that in keeping with the KISS principle.
Test Strips in Lightroom
Test strips are a basic darkroom technique for adjusting the lightness/darkness of a photo without wasting time, chemicals and expensive paper. The concept is to divide the print into several pieces (strips) and expose each strip at different values. The print is then be developed and the different strips compared to find the one with the desired exposure. The final print is then be printed with the settings used for the best strip.
In the digital age, it’s much easier to print both color and B&W. However, the problem of getting the right luminosity remains the same but, now, with the added issue of color management for color images. This post describes how to create “test strips” (in reality, test patches) in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom so you can make one print with multiple patches and select the desired settings before printing a final version. This technique can also be used when printing through a commercial printer such as Walmart, CVS, Costco or other vendors.
First, open the file to be printed in LR and, with the Crop Tool, select an appropriate Aspect Ratio. I typically use 2×3 or 4×3 because that lets me to fit 4 to 6 patches onto an 8.5×11 inch sheet of paper. LR doesn’t have a way to crop to an exact pixel dimension so keep the final print size in mind. For example, if your file is 5000 pixels wide and you plan to print at 16″ wide, your 2″x3″ patch should cover ~20% of the width )3″x5=15″.) Although LR uses an excellent resampling algorithm, there’s no sense in pushing things too far.
Next, select a color and/or exposure critical area of the image and press Return to crop. That will create a small patch of the image. Don’t make changes to this patch, keep it “as is” as a baseline.
Press Control (Command) + apostrophe (‘) to create a Virtual Copy. This is exactly what it sounds like, a copy that simply exists in LR. Apply any changes you want to this VC (increase/decrease exposure, +/- contrast, +/- Saturation, etc. Create 3 to 5 VCs, making changes as desired to each. When done, Select all VCs and go to the Print Module.
In the Print Module, select a template such as 2×2 Cells or create your own template like I did for 6 x 2×3. At this point, the 8.5″ x 11″ sheet (assuming that’s what you have selected) will be populated with the selected VCs. Now, print per usual and examine the small patches for the best luminosity and color. Remember to keep careful notes of what changes you make to each VC so you can replicate the settings in the final print.
B&W Nude Triptych Project (Nude Photos)
I recently worked with an outstanding model. Nymph (Gwen) trained as a ballet dancer and has the long, lean, lithe lines of a ballerina. What I appreciated most was her intelligence that made it easy for her to understand and anticipate what I was trying to accomplish. With most studio shoots, I hope for 35% keepers and about 10-15 final images but, with Gwen, my keeper rate shot up to over 65% and I’m sure my final images will be over 30-35. That alone illustrates the value of hiring a professional model versus relying on amateurs.
My B&W Art Nude Triptych Project is progressing nicely and I hope to start printing in early 2016. Prints will be available as loose prints on Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster in 16″ and 24″ sizes. Custom prints on 24″ Canvas and Canvas Satin will be available as Special Order. The images can be mixed and matched as you like, e.g. head, torso, legs or all of one kind. I can only accept PayPal. Contact me for price and availability.