More BW Candidates
Over the weekend, I was at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo, CA on my annual trip to see what has changed out there. Usually, the answer is – “Nothing ever changes in Campo.” This time, there were big changes that surprised me. The museum has been cleaning up the depot area (visitors center) and, in general, spiffing up. This is good for the museum but detracted from the gritty, “boneyard” look of the past.
Nevertheless, I had several photos in mind for a BW conversion so I pressed on in my quest. The photo above was something I had seen last year and thought about for a year before trying it again. Even then, the original was far from perfect. It wasn’t even acceptable SOOC (straight out of camera.)
The initial BW conversion was done with a Lightroom preset (Blue-Hi Contrast.) I was never a fan of presets in the early days of the digital darkroom but I’m now liking the subtlety of the newer presets.
The lower left corner under the square beam was blown out white. I cloned part of the upper right corner and and patched it over the blown area. It came out fairly well if I say so myself. Let me know what you think.
Photoshop Elements $3 Webinar
On Wednesday, May 4, I’ll present a new $3 Webinar Series. This time, I’ll cover Basic Workflow in Photoshop Elements. A basic workflow is something every serious digital photographer should know. This is the process of turning good photos into great photos. In a basic workflow, the photo is cropped to focus the viewer’s eye, levels and color balance are corrected to add “POP” and sharpening is applied to create intensity.
To participate, please register at the Photography Webinars and Photoshoots Meetup Group site.
Old Guyz Rule! (Except When They Don’t)
Did a shoot this past weekend that definitely took me outside my comfort zone. Anyone here ever heard of steampunk? As one of the models explained to me, “It’s how people in the 1800s might have imagined the 21st century.” Yeah, OK, is this a hint that she thinks I was around in the 1800s?
For my newbie readers, this is a good example of why I like to shoot in Manual Mode. In this shoot, I wanted a dark, edgy look with enough depth of field (DoF) to keep everything sharp. Had I relied on the auto exposure (AE) meter, the image would have been brighter, not in keeping with the dark, post-Apocalyptic theme. More
Why Manual Flash is Sometimes Easier
This past weekend, I photographed Celestina, Pinup Model, Makeup Artist (MUA) and Hair Stylist. This was the third time I’ve photographed her and I should have the lighting down pat by now. Yet, I still managed to make rookie errors that ruined many images and will require a reshoot. BTW, notice the cool NBA blouse. That’s Natonal Bowling Association, not basketball.
First, the excuses. We only had two hours so I was rushed. Celestina was delayed getting there so now we only had 90 minutes. I tried two poses which required moving the backdrop and wasted more time. And, the biggie: I took a shortcut and let E-TTL handle the intricacies of a four-flash set-up. This isn’t to say E-TTL couldn’t have handled it but it takes a lot more smarts on my. I would have been better off manually setting each flash instead of letting E-TTL try to figure out what I wanted.
Here’s a finished photo of Celestina striking a pinup pose. I wanted a white background in the tradition of true pinups. The BG isn’t pure white as I wanted but it’s better than the original (after the jump.) My first thought was to mask Celestina and drop in a white BG. I immediately realized that was a dumb idea because of the fine hairs where I was backlighting her beautiful red hair. More
Easy-Peasy, Lemon Squeezy
Learning Phooshop and Photoshop Elements isn’t rocket science but it’s not quite like falling off a log either. There are definite steps you need to master before you can advance to more complex techniques. Today’s Video MMT tackles the Dodge, Burn and Sponge Tools, a trio of useful but klutzy tools that require a delicate touch. A lot of people say the Dodge and Burn Tools in PSE are lame but it’s really a matter of what you’re trying to do. The power of PS and PSE lies in the fact that there are many ways to do the same thing and which tool you use depends on the photo, what you’re trying to accomplish and your skill level.
Like many MMT and VMMT ideas, this was triggered by a student question after a recent Wild Animal Park Photoshoot Workshop. After the workshop, he e-mailed a photo (left, below) and asked for my critique.
I quickly hit it with Topaz Labs Adjust 3 (center, above) and explained how I toned down the bright highlights and pumped up the saturation of the meerkat to increase contrast from the background. He then wanted to know how to do the same in PSE so I edited the 3rd photo (right, above) using just tools in PSE. Today’s VMMT explains how I did that.
Fixing Critter Eyes (both 2 & 4 legged)
I was planning to produce several more Photoshop Elements videos but couldn’t come up with a topic or theme. So, I’m recycling a video that, according to my logs, was very popular when it was first uploaded.
Everyone has taken photos of Fido or Fluffy with weird green or white eyes. This is the animal form of red-eye. This technique can be used to recreate a more realistic result than that nasty old Red Eye Removal Tool in PSE. For anyone who has never tried the Red Eye Removal Tool, you’re not missing anything. It simply replaces the red with another color. Unless you’re very precise or very lucky, the new color will not match the real eye color.
Using this method, you’ll actually replace the eye with a good eye from another photo.
Video Monday Morning Tip, 3-29-10
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Female Assistant Needed – Friday 7/30
I need a female assistant (read as “slave labor“) to hold reflectors, position & adjust flashes, keep track of equipment and otherwise help me during a beach shoot. The shoot will be early morning and/or late afternoon, Friday, 7/30 at Oceanside Harbor. The model is Tylor, the young lady I photographed a few weeks ago but this time we’re doing an Ava Gardner look on the rocks at Oceanside Harbor. I need a female since you might need to brush back her hair, adjust her bathing suit straps or otherwise work very close to her. Shoot me an e-mail ASAP if you can help.