Photoshop tutorial: create a Photoshop action to add texture overlays

guest post by Adrian, at Five Star Studios
wedding photographer, Mackay, Queensland in Australia

 

Neil’s post on applying a texture to the background, made me think of the things I do to give photos ‘that special look’ and when I told Neil about it, he kindly invited me to write an article on this topic – adding texture layers to photos. This can be easily applied via an action, outlined step by step further down.

The post by Neil was a texture ‘replacement’ background as opposed to laying a texture on the image itself, a big difference, and that involves a lot of ‘cutting’ out, brushing, etc, which just simply cannot be done via an action unless a lot of  ‘Stops’  – read a message (messages on what to do can be built within actions) – and then continue.   It’s just not practical with some images.

Remember, we are laying a texture over the image, as opposed to using a texture for replacing the background, so before we start, you need to have some images that you have found or even shot yourself.

Images like rusted metal, old painted peeling doors/walls, rocks, absolutely limitless.

Google ‘textures/patterns’ and there are 1000’s of free images to source.

Also, give them names you can relate to, makes it easier rather than eg: Image1.jpg, Image2.jpg, etc.

The textures we are going to use will first need to be made into Patterns and the beauty of this method also is you only have to build just the one action, but you can apply countless different numbers of texture variations over the image/s by merely changing the ‘Pattern’ itself on the ‘Pattern Adjustment Layer’ built into the action.

Learn more inside…

{ 5 comments }

photographers – inspiration; overcoming fears & maintaining momentum

It was high time that I updated my bio photo on my websites and profile photos. I wanted something casual, yet with a certain gravity. While at WPPI last week in Las Vegas, I was surrounded by photographers. I asked … well, prodded and pushed my friend Annie Sullivan to take a series of photos in various locations inside the MGM. This is the photo I settled on. We have other photos that are equally good, and less serious, but this one really says “I’m the one who knocks…” So this is now going across my websites.

Annie was hesitant to take on the task of shooting new bio photos for me. Apparently I can be intimidating. But it’s often a high pressure event to take another photographers’ photos – you feel like you’re being scrutinized. She admitted to being scared witless at the start of it, and then again when I posted this photo. As she told me afterwards, “I have confidence in myself as a human, it’s my work I struggle with. If I’m honest, I’m just afraid people will be like “she needs to go work in a toll booth.””

This ties in with a regular theme with photographers, experienced and less experienced – fear of failure holding you back. Getting out of your own safety zone, and trying the new and unexpected – these are tough hurdles to overcome.

However, in the inspiring words of Eleanor Roosevelt: We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face … we must do that which we think we cannot.

It really is as simple as that – systematically attempting things which we would rather not because they are too difficult. Or scary. Or too much like hard work. Then, in addition to that, we need the energy to maintain momentum. This is why personal photography projects & goals are so good to have – things we do for fun to inspire us, and make us reach further.

Learn more inside…

{ 17 comments }

destination wedding photographer

podcast interview w/ Wedding Photographers Unite!

Looking at previous podcasts I’ve participated in, it would seem that the opportunity to sound off in some podcast comes around about once a year. This time I get to chat with Neil Urban and Andy Buscemi who hosts the Wedding Photographers Unite podcast. And I do have opinions!

We touch on various topics, including how the wedding photography business has changed over the years. Neil Urban questioned me a week or so later about a comment I made in the podcast that the days where a wedding photographer could sustain a family just with a wedding photography studio, is waning. I do think that more and more photographers will diversify in future, instead of specializing. Have a listen to the podcast, and let us know what your thoughts are.

{ 2 comments }

promotion – special offer: iDrive – an affordable online backup system

It is tough for me to summon up sympathy for someone who wails on FB that their hard drive has failed. My advice is always simple – go to your back-up! It’s so obvious.

Hard drives fail. You need to rigorously take that into account, or else you will lose your photos … and potentially your business. It can be that devastating.

Even more devastating is complete loss of everything, with no chance of even having a hard-drive that could be rescued. Fire, hurricanes and tornadoes – all of these things can obliterate your office and home, leaving you nothing … unless you have everything backed up online. For example, as described in this article – photography workflow and back-up plans for disaster – the photographer pretty much lost everything in Hurricane Sandy, but he was okay in that all his data was backed up to the cloud. He didn’t lose his files!

There are a number of options which are easy to use, and inexpensive. Which means at this point it would be inexplicable foolishness to not have an online back-up for your images.

 

special offer

iDrive is one such service available – and there is a special discount for followers of the Tangents blog!

1TB of Cloud Backup + 1TB of Cloud Sync space for only $14.88 for the first year, for followers of the Tangents blog, via this discount page. (For transparency: it is an affiliate link.) The regular price of $59.50 for 1TB for one year, is discounted by 75% if you sign up through that link.

Learn more inside…

{ 0 comments }

photography tip: available light portraits – finding that sweet spot of light

A regular theme on Tangents, is using interesting found light sources while shooting portraits on location. For example: using sunlight reflected off a traffic sign.

With this straight-forward portrait of Irene, a photographer friend in New York, I want to show a neat little trick here – helping your subject understand exactly where you want them to stand.

Here we had random reflections of glass structures in Manhattan, giving random spots of lights.  I wanted to use one of these spots of lights here as naturally found light for Irene, and another splash of light to give a high-light behind her, as I framed her against it.

Instead of giving your subject incremental instructions – “a little to the left, a little to the left, no, come back” – the simple trick to have your subject turn around so they can see this highlight, and have them move a little until they can see their own shadow in the splash of light …

Learn more inside…

{ 7 comments }

in-camera special effects with gobo projection

I still have this old-school preference for effects done in-camera and effects achieved with interesting lighting, over effects achieved nearly entirely through digital manipulation. Absolutely no disrespect to digital artists who create astonishing work. However, my jaw drops when I look at the sheer scale of the work of a photographer like Gregory Crewdson. Naturally then, my hero is Gregory Heisler, who has a true genius for creating diverse work through amazing lighting. So that would be my inclination – how much can I achieve in-camera to create an image that grabs attention. Of course, having a striking looking model helps a lot.

Still exploring the possibilities of projection effects with the Light Blaster (affiliate), a speedlight based projector, I met up with Viktoria in my studio. The Light Blaster has several effects kits, but I still prefer the stronger and starker outlines of the gobo kit over the various gel kits. With previous experiments in the studio, I used the Light Blaster to project patterns on the background, or into smoke. Working with an idea I saw from my friend Josh Lynn, I projected the pattern onto the wall in the studio, and had Viktoria in the mix there somewhere.

Learn more inside…

{ 7 comments }

tutorials on using your camera – focusing modes

I want to expand the exposure metering tutorials with other basic tutorials on camera settings and photography techniques. It’s been in the works a while now, and here is the tutorial on the focusing modes of your camera. Similar to many of the other tutorial articles on Tangents, I wanted to distill the essential elements, and make it as uncomplicated a topic as I could.

The more I delved into the various AF options and how they work, it became more difficult to generalize it in an accessible but still truthful way. I’d love to hear your feedback.

About the photo above, it was a playful idea based on Milla Jovovich’s character, Leeloo, in Fifth Element. In the one scene she beckons the evil aliens closer with a jiggle of her fingertips. It’s an image that stayed with me – a pivotal scene in this very enjoyable Sci-Fi movie. This is the moment everything tips over into an avalanche of crazy action.

So I posed Anelisa like this during a recent photography workshop, with the express idea of using it in an article on the auto-focus modes. The key idea here is that we don’t allow the camera to decide what we focus on. We have to be deliberate about where the camera should focus.

So check out the tutorial on the focusing modes of your camera.
I’d love to hear your feedback and comments.

Now, the techie details of the photo at the top:

Learn more inside…

{ 6 comments }

wedding photography: posing and lighting – aiming for a consistent style

The two images were taken about half an hour apart, with entire different lighting setups – yet there is a consistent look.

The photo on the left was shot using video light with an Incandescent white balance. A video light is a small light source, so the lighting is usually quite contrasty – so you need to take care with the posing to have your main subject posing into the light. With a bridal couple, I will nearly always favor the bride for the more flattering light. Hence, I will invariably pose the bride in relation to the light – and then add the groom.

The image on the right was shot with a Profoto B1 portable flash (affiliate), and the Profoto RFi 1’×3 soft box (affiliate). (Check the comments in this article – high-speed flash with the Profoto B1 – to see why the narrow 1×3 soft box is a favorite for on-location portraits. The image on the right was shot through one of those elliptical shaped openings you in the divider screen you see on the left.

When posing a couple, I start with one person first, and then add the second person. This makes it easier to assemble the pose. In the examples here, the pose is quite similar, but changed up because my position (and angle) changed.

Now, back to the theme of this article – how it is entirely possible to aim for a consistent style, even though using a variety of lighting – this is a topic we’ve explored before. For example, in the article adapting the use of light & flash photography, I emphasized that I do mix up the lighting types, depending on what is needed; what is practical; and what is the best option. Similarly, in the article where I used the Profoto B1 portable flash at a wedding, I added examples of using available light; video light; and on-camera bounce flash. Again, I base what I use on whether it is necessary, or most practical or the best choice.

Even though I mix up the lighting I am using as the wedding day progresses, I want a coherent style to be apparent. It will count in your favor if your work shows diversity, but there’s a discipline so that it doesn’t look random or hodgepodge.

Let’s look at further examples from Nicole & Brad’s wedding:

Learn more inside…

{ 10 comments }

lingerie photo session in the studio – lighting, light & textures

This photograph of Melanie, one of my favorite models, is one of a sequence where we played with different lights and lighting styles in the studio. I wanted lighting that was both soft and dramatic. Both feminine and bold. The lighting is the same idea – using a big gridded strip-box / soft-box – as I used in a previous photo session with another model, Anita DeBauch.

The final image above, is the result of my first tentative exploring of using texture layers in Photoshop. I wanted to retain her shadow and other detail in the wall, while enhancing the appeal of the image with a texture layer in PS. I felt that the unadorned photo needed an additional element to elevate it.

Learn more inside…

{ 6 comments }

photography book: Direction & Quality of Light

When Direction and Quality of Light was released in March 2013, it felt like an even bigger achievement than my previous two books. Here I share many of the “aha!” moments which took me years to completely grasp – that at the heart of it, every aspect of photographic lighting is dependent on understanding the direction and quality of light.

I do believe this book can make a difference to your photography. I’m that confident about it.

All the more amazing to see that 2 years later, this book is still bouncing up and down at (or near) the top slot on Amazon for Best Sellers in Photography Lighting. When I took this screen capture today, it was in position #1, although this list does fluctuate daily. It really feels good to see that the book is still popular. And it feels good to see that it is up there with the best authors and photographers.

Learn more inside…

{ 30 comments }

1...23456...10...83