post-processing an image – that summery feeling

A hot rod show & hot girls dressed in 50’s retro outfits .. it all just has to look good! Well, not necessarily. Sometimes the way you feel something should look, just isn’t quite there in the actual setting. At a hot rod show today in Brooklyn, though there were the usual awesome cars (and girls), but the show was held under an expressway. Just not quite the right setting to easily get images with sparkle. But parked around the area were some vintage cars, so along with Jill (one of the models), I used some of these cars for a few images.

But even here the images I got just didn’t quite looked like I envisaged. I wanted a lazy, but sexy and summery feel to the photos. Less about the car itself, than the mood. So the photographs needed some sweetening in Photoshop …

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Photoshop action – selective sharpening (download)

Jim McGuinness, a regular follower of the Tangents blog, has made available a tutorial on how to do selective sharpening in Photoshop. Even better, he has made it available as a downloadable action as well.

You can download the action and the instructions on how to use it, from here.
Right-click & save-as, 2 of the files files:
– the action as either Windows / Mac compressed file
– the instruction as a PDF

Expand / uncompress the sitx file. You’ll get a Photoshop icon.
Drag your image onto the icon, and photoshop will run it.

I’ll let Jim follow up for any questions that may crop up.

[ Jim McGuinness is an Adelaide based wedding and family portrait photographer ]


directional light with off-camera bounce flash (model – Ulorin Vex)

During the same afternoon that I had the opportunity to photograph Ulorin Vex, I took several other sequences of images of her in other costume. Here we worked in the foyer area of the Hotel Monaco in San Francisco. (If only all other hotels had such a diversity of immediately photogenic areas!)  With this image, I wanted a near-symmetrical image, with just Ulorin Vex’s posture slightly breaking the symmetry up. Just enough to make a stunning subject even more eye-catching.

A little more about the train-of-thought to getting to this image …

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personal work – Manhattan cityscapes

It’s been a long cold winter without much chance to roam around and explore with a camera. The past weekend it seemed like the weather was finally relenting and becoming warmer. Taking to the streets to shoot for myself a bit with no purpose in mind, I ended up with three images that I liked – all deserted New York city scenes. Or in the case of the image above, nearly deserted.

It felt good to let my thoughts roam for a while, getting some exercise and listening to music … looking for anything that visually appealed to me in the camera’s viewfinder.

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a kid’s studio portrait

January 5, 2011

children’s studio portrait – lighting setup and post-processing

The lighting setup was very simple. Mostly because there wasn’t much space in the area where I set up my home-studio in my dining room area.  But also, because a complicated lighting setup wasn’t necessary. Just two lights. One light on my subject – this adorable little girl; the other light on my background.

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Two fantastic entries to the recent Photoshop contest came from Marcia Gold, who runs a post-processing and retouching service. She said she entered just for fun, and didn’t want to be eligible for the prize. I am taking the liberty of showing her two images here anyway, since they are outstanding takes of the original image …

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Photoshop contest winner

September 9, 2010

I’m happy to announce the winner of the Photoshop contest from last week.  The winning entry was submitted by Hanssel Galeano, and he will receive the $50 B&H voucher for this effort.

Before I let Hanssel explain his process in editing the image,
here is the original again for comparison …

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Photoshop contest

September 2, 2010

updated Sept 09, 2010: The contest is now closed.
Here is the winning entry, as well as another notable entry.
Thank you to everyone who entered!

One of the images I took during the recent photo session with the Modern Gypsies, was this photo above. With all his antics, I had asked him to jump against the wall as if he was going to scale it. It looks pretty cool … but the mundane urban background pulls this potentially surreal image back to normality. A little bit anyway.

Then I imagined it as him scaling an impossibly high wall, rising up from an unseen area below. Pretty cool idea. However, this needs a defter hand and a more incisive understanding of Photoshop from here on than I have. Here is how far I got with my attempt at what I was envisioning …

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Photoshop Tips – retouching for portraits

When retouching portrait photographs, I have a certain look that I (currently) like – a slightly ‘polished’ look, but still natural. Definitely not ‘plastic’.  With a few steps in Photoshop, and a few steps that I may or may not add, I can easily get to the styling in post-processing that I want.  Some of the steps are specific, but others are added depending on taste or ‘feel’.  Some of the steps involve Photoshop plug-ins which are essential for me …

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reducing the blue color cast in white clothing

Often when working in the shade, or anywhere we need Cloudy or Shade white balance, we’ll often see a blue tint in the white clothing.  I suspect this might be due to detergents being used which give a blue-ish tint to white clothing to make them appear cleaner.  Or perhaps this is from UV light when we’re working in cloudy conditions or in the shade.  However it might be, we will often get that blue tone in white clothing, as in this photo below …

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