Tag Archives: model

Link Roundup 09-01-2010

Finally starting to clear out my feed reader and catching up on these link posts. I have about 10 or 15 more in the hopper, but I’ll save them for another day.

Photoshop Technique: Digital Airbrush

[tweetmeme]Airbrushing is (or was) a process typically used to remove minor imperfections in portrait, model, and fashion photography (among other uses in photography). I’ll be presenting a digital airbrush technique in Photoshop intended to slightly smooth out skin textures in close up portraits. Sharp lenses and good lighting can produce very detailed captures, including all the small wrinkles and pores. Sometimes you just want to smooth out all those little things.

I’ve also created a Photoshop action to speed up the process described below. All you have to do is open up the original image and run it. The action stops at the filter dialogs and allows you to adjust them before proceeding. At the end of the action, you’re all set up and ready to start airbrushing.

DOWNLOAD THE DIGITAL AIRBRUSH PHOTOSHOP ACTION

I should also mention that I learned this technique from at least one or two other sites out there (can’t find the source for the life of me right now). I’m definitely not the originator — I’m just passing along my own interpretation of the process.

So here’s the image I’ll be working with… a very close-up and well-lit portrait. What you see immediately below is the final image after applying this airbrush technique. I’d show you the before image, but you wouldn’t be able to see much of a difference at this size.

Amazing Portrait of Merunisha Peel

A couple of things to remember before I get into it: don’t go overboard with the processing, experiment with the numbers to suit your image, and what I’m showing here is not the only way to do it. So let’s get started.

1. ORIGINAL IMAGE

This is a crop of the original image after being processed in ACR for exposure, contrast, white balance, etc. The crop is a 50% zoom so we can see more of the image while retaining some of the important details. Take note of the small skin wrinkles and pores — these are the things we’re going to smooth out a bit.

2. DUPLICATE BACKGROUND

When you open it up into Photoshop, duplicate the background layer. We need to do this because we’re going to apply some destructive modifications to the top layer, and we’ll be applying a layer mask later on. Essentially, we’re going to make a “new skin” that can be airbrushed over the existing image.

3. SMOOTH IT OUT

Now it’s time to make that skin into plastic. Apply the “Dust & Scratches” filter (Filter >> Noise >> Dust & Scratches…). Start with a 5px radius and adjust until you get something almost cartoon-looking. You want to get rid of the small details while maintaining the bigger details.

4. ADD BLUR

After smoothing out the little things, we want to add some blur to soften up the bigger things. Apply a “Gaussian Blur” filter (Filter >> Blur >> Gaussian Blur…). Again, start with a 5px radius and adjust until you lose that cartoon look. You want to soften the hard edges while maintaining some amount of contrast in the larger details.

5. ADD NOISE

This one is nearly impossible to see even at a 50% zoom — it’s very subtle. Apply a small amount of the “Noise” filter (Filter >> Noise >> Add Noise…). Start around 0.7px with a uniform monochromatic noise and adjust until you can barely see it at 100% zoom. You want to break up the plastic look just a tiny bit with some texture.

6. MASK IT

Now that you’ve completely destroyed the working layer, mask it all out. Add a layer mask and fill it in black (Layer >> Layer Mask >> Hide All). Now your image should look like the original because we’ve masked out the modified layer.

7. AIRBRUSH TIME!

Grab your brush tool, soften up the edges, set the color to white, put the opacity to around 10 or 20%, and select the layer mask we just created. Adjust your brush size to suit your needs and start painting in some of the fake skin. The key here is to do a little bit at a time while varying your brush size and edge hardness. Paint over the areas where you want to remove small details. You want to brush in a little more fake skin than you need — we’ll fix it in just a second.

The image above shows the mask applied to the image. You can see that we’ve removed most of the skin texture while keeping the details in the eye.

The image above shows the mask for the entire image. You can see that I focused mostly on the areas… in focus. I also made it a point to avoid the eyes, mouth, and hair. We don’t want to soften up these areas.

8. BACK TO REALITY

At this point, you probably have something slightly resembling a plastic doll. No biggie — we can fix it. Simply adjust the opacity of the modified layer until you bring back some of the original skin texture. I ended up with an opacity of 70%, but you’ll need to judge and adjust your own image based on how heavy you modified the skin during the airbrushing.

9. BEFORE & AFTER

As you can see from this split image, the final adjustment is not very harsh. The intent was to smooth out the very small wrinkles and skin pores visible in on the face.

And for those of you viewing this on the site, you can mouse over the image below to see an after and before effect. RSS and email readers will need to visit the site to see it (there’s a JavaScript mouseover making it all happen).

I don’t use this technique very often, but it’s a good one to know. Useful for close up portraits, but that’s about it. And don’t abuse it — soft and subtle is the key here. A bit of skin texture is actually a good thing!

Link Roundup 03-31-2010

I’m trying something new with the link roundups, so bear with me while I get it all figured out. This post is testing the Postalicious plugin — it basically taps into my Delicious stream and generates a link roundup based on a set of parameters. I bookmark a lot of stuff anyway, but since separating out my Twitter accounts, I’ve been much more active (and collecting many more bookmarks).

Like I said, I’m still figuring out how I want to do all this. If it goes as I hope, I’ll be sharing fewer links more often with less work.

Best Studio Lighting Tutorials?

So… it pains me to admit it, but I’ve turned a new page today. I finally learned something about artificial lighting (studio lighting to be exact).

I know… *gasp* say it isn’t so!

But don’t worry, I’m no expert quite yet. All I basically learned was that you set your camera to ISO100, f/8, and 1/200-1/250 seconds, then tune your exposure with the power settings on the lights (at least that’s the “norm” for this particular studio). Maybe not Earth-shattering for those familiar with lighting, but this is all new for me (and maybe some of you).

I’ve got a model shoot coming up next weekend for Green Man T-Shirts and I spent about an hour at DK3 Studios yesterday with Dave King learning how to work his equipment. (Cool dude, by the way. And an awesome/affordable studio here in San Diego).

I’m still blown away by how simple this stuff can be if you switch the camera over to manual and follow a few basic rules… maybe I’ll post more about this after the photo shoot next weekend, but right now I’m looking for advice.

Assuming that the technical side of the equipment is not the issue, I’m still up against lighting techniques for photographing models (upper body shots, portraits, etc.).

SO HERE’S MY QUESTION TO YOU:

What are the best studio/model/portrait lighting techniques that you’ve encountered?

I’m looking for links to articles, resources, ebooks, blogs, etc. Here are a few that I’ve gathered myself…

I’m sure there are many more out there, so feel free to share in the comments. If we get enough, I’ll post them in an article next week so others can check it out.

16 Examples of Extraordinary Model Portraits

My near-future adventure into the world of photographing models has my gears turning, and I’ve been looking for examples of extraordinary model portraits. A lot of stuff I found out there is somewhat generic with lighting and pose — and maybe because that’s what works for the client. But as an art photographer, I felt a little empty with that kind of stuff. So I went in search of some extraordinary model photography.

What I found was that I’m most attracted to the portraits that stand out from the rest. The really unique stuff. I also found that the unique qualities can come from either the models themselves or the photographers. And when you combine a unique and talented model with a unique and talented photographer, you get magic.

The following selection of photos come from a mix of professional and amateur photographers. The models in the shots might also be a mix of professionals, amateurs, friends, and even the photographer taking the photo. Do note: a couple of the photos below are quite informal and the subject is not a model, but I included them because they are good examples of what could be done in a formal portrait situation.

You can also see my Flickr Gallery here.

Day One Hundred Forty One
Creative Commons License photo credit: Dustin Diaz

So
Creative Commons License photo credit: Luc D

First time with a Hasselblad
Creative Commons License photo credit: Carlo Nicora

20090427_aurum_0090
Creative Commons License photo credit: checkmezov

Andreas Tilliander Makes His Move
Creative Commons License photo credit: Aeioux

Her Tangible Dream •.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Felipe Morin

Jesús Hidalgo10
Creative Commons License photo credit: Esther Marí

mallard pinup
Creative Commons License photo credit: MadMannequin

{ you're the only one !! }
Creative Commons License photo credit: graphistolage

Coleção Geometologia - Neandro Ferreira
Creative Commons License photo credit: André-Batista

PORTRAIT OF A FRIEND
Creative Commons License photo credit: Akbar Simonse


Creative Commons License photo credit: Carolina Parragué

The third eye
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tywak

Collab5 (Picture II)
Creative Commons License photo credit: TNT Photo

Oriol Lopez Sanchez 01 © studio.es
Creative Commons License photo credit: Vincent Boiteau

Let The Curtain Come Down
Creative Commons License photo credit: Gabriela Camerotti

Do you have any good examples of model portraits or other posed portraits? Feel free to drop your photos into the comments below. And if you have any favorites from fellow photographers, leave a link so we can check it out!

The Green Man Shoot is Coming Along!

Just wanted to give a quick update on my previous post where I asked you Southern California folks help out with the model shoot I was asked to do for a local San Diego company: Green Man T-Shirts. When I posted it, I was hoping to have a good response, but maybe the “no pay” thing was a turn-off.

I did get one response from a fellow by the name of Michael Walborn and he’s actually a perfect match for this event! Be sure to check out his ModelMayhem profile and his Flickr photos. Not only does he have experience in the studio and photographing models, but he has experience in the same studio that we’ll be using! This is awesome news and I’m really looking forward to learning the ropes with him.

Definitely check out Michael’s stuff — I owe him a big “thank you” for jumping in to help me out with this thing. I also owe Oscar Medina a “thank you” for referring him to my previous post. You see, Oscar is my local San Diego printer and Michael is a fellow customer/contact of his — we both also have photos listed on two of Oscar’s other websites: San Diego Artists and Artist Direct.

THOUGHTS ON WORKING FOR “FREE”

As I said, maybe I didn’t get a huge response on the call for photographers because I was asking people to basically work for free. The word “free” has become a bad word among photographers in recent years, mainly because of the various professional photographers and photography blogs preaching that you shouldn’t give anything away for free as a photographer. If you do, you’re devaluing the marketplace and doing a disservice to yourself and your fellow photographers. While most of these discussions have been aimed at licensing of existing photos (which I generally agree with), the idea of not working for free for any reason whatsoever seems to have attached itself by association. This is a bad outlook to have if you ask me.

I’m not going to preach on this topic of working for free under the right circumstances, mostly because other have made much better arguments than I ever could (see the articles from David Hobby and Chase Jarvis).

DAVID HOBBY: FOUR REASONS TO CONSIDER WORKING FOR FREE

CHASE JARVIS: WILL WORK FOR FREE?

For this Green Man T-Shirt thing, it’s a no-brainer on my part. The company is a local startup, they’re “green”, they donate 25% of their proceeds to charity, they’re enthusiastic, I’m in a position to learn a great deal from this experience, and I need to get out and shoot more often. I have everything to gain from this except for a few dollars (which I wouldn’t be able to charge anyway because of my inexperience). And the only reason I can do this is because Michael has agreed to help out.

I can’t speak for Michael, but I would guess (and this is only a guess) that he’s also interested in gaining more experience, adding to his portfolio, helping out a local company, and having a good time. Whatever his motives, I’m very grateful that he jumped in and offered his time and experience (and I’m going to repay him by providing whatever exposure I can).

So next time you have an opportunity to “work for free” as a photographer, maybe think twice about it before dismissing the idea. In the long run, you just might gain more than you sacrificed. The end of our story with Green Man T-Shirts here in San Diego has yet to play out, but I’m very enthusiastic about what could come of it. I’ll update you guys after our session this March.

What say you? Is working for “free” a bad thing? Would you ever consider doing it yourself? And under what circumstances?

Seeking San Diego Photographer With Studio Experience

I got an interesting email today from (Dave Urban) the co-owner of a company called “Green Man T-Shirts” here in San Diego. He’s renting a local studio and he wants me to photograph a bunch of models wearing their organic t-shirts. Pretty cool! Except for the fact that studios, artificial lights, and posed portraits are all forms of Kryptonite to me.

As much as I would love to do it myself, I simply can’t. But I figure that some of you might want to take the lead instead! I’ll still attend and take a few shots (and maybe learn something about studio equipment), but I can’t be the one running the session and providing the primary images. So here are the basics — if you’re interested, contact me and tell me a little bit about your studio experience.

  • WHEN: March, 2010 [updated... had put 2009 here before]. Date TBD, but it will be a Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
  • WHERE: dk3 Studios in Mira Mesa.
  • BUDGET: Pizza, beer, and loud music. This is not a paid shoot, and the models are also local volunteers.

And here’s more of the details for the shoot.

  • The studio is 1128 square feet and comes equipped with a bunch of monolights, modifiers, backdrops, a 16×16 cyc wall, and a changing room for the models. We’ll have it for 8 hours.
  • 8 models will arrive at 11am and local media (newspaper, TV, etc) will be invited to attend the event between 12pm and 2pm. By 3:30pm, we’ll be wrapping things up and get out of there by 5pm.
  • Photographer will retain copyright of all images taken, and the usage license for Green Man T-Shirts will dictate that credit must be given to the photographer.
  • Dave will also be putting together a video of the event, but I don’t know who will be shooting it. So if there are any cinematographers out there, drop me a line.

Since this is not a paid shoot, I don’t think Dave is expecting a Chase-Jarvis-type to show up and work his magic. But I do think the photographer in charge needs to have a good handle on studio lighting and working with models — you’ll have a bunch of people there relying on you to make it happen.

With the number of models and the size of the studio, I think 2 additional photographers would be a good number. Like I said, I’ll be there to take a few shots, help out with the setups, and grab some “behind the scenes” photos with my trusty rangefinder. So if you think you fit the job and you’re in the general San Diego area (LA folks are welcome too if you want to drive down) contact me and tell me a little bit about your experience.

And here’s how Dave ended his email to me: “I want the shoot to be fun, relaxed, and have a party type atmosphere to it. If things go well, and I see no reason why they shouldn’t, this will be an annual event. Each year I anticipate it would grow, and it could turn into a regular, paying gig for you. But this first year, with so many variables involved and never having done this myself, I’m keeping it on a smaller scale with volunteers and lots of enthusiasm.

Sounds like a good time and a great opportunity to gain a little more experience in the studio. So who’s up for it?

Link Roundup 09-06-2008

  • September Challenge
    PhotoChallenge.org
    It’s still not to late to join in the September Challenge. Each week will be a different type of portrait to shoot.
  • 5 Useful Upgrades In Photoshop Lightroom 2.0
    digital Photography School
    If you haven’t upgraded to Lightroom 2.0 yet, here are five good reasons to do so. This latest release has a lot to offer, and it has a lot of photographers talking about it.
  • debate 2008: digital vs. film quality
    Pro Photo Life
    Our pal Jim Talkington got himself into a whole lot of extra work when he compared a film and digital photo of the same scene. All the film gurus came out of the woodwork and Jim plans to redo his experiment with their suggestions. I’m looking forward to this…
  • Breaking the Rules of Photography
    Beyond Megapixels
    It’s good to know the “rules” of photography. But sometimes it’s best to break those rules.
  • The Mysterious Model Release Demystified
    Hyperphocal
    Want to learn more about model releases? This articles covers everything from why to when you need on and what a good model release should include.
  • Composing an Action Sequence Shot
    DIYPhotography.net
    A good little tutorial for composite processing action sequence shots.
  • Are the Masses Unhappy With Adobe?
    PhotoWalkPro
    Jeff comes across a neat website where Adobe users complain about the products. In this post, he recaps the top 10 complaints for Photoshop and Lightroom.

Abused and Ignored

Abused and Ignored

Brian Auer | 03/08/2008 | Venice Beach, CA | 75mm * f/2.5 * 1/8000s * ISO200
[Print Pricing] [Contact for Signed Prints] [See it at Flickr]

I found this beautiful lady in Venice Beach. She didn’t say much, but I think she was into me. Don’t let her distant stare fool you, she had quite the personality. Underneath of her “I’m sexy and I know it” facade, she’s screaming for attention. Because she is, after all… abused and ignored.

Abused and Ignored Post-Processing

  1. Unprocessed RAW
    There you have it, straight out of the camera.
  2. Processed RAW
    Minimal processing for white balance and exposure (using the “Auto” setting in ACR).
  3. Color Curves
    I used the technique from my “Redscale Process” described some weeks ago. After adjusting the curves, the blend mode was set to “color”.
  4. Color Fill
    Again, from the mentioned Photoshop technique. Opacity set to 20% and blend mode to “color”.
  5. Luminosity Curves
    Added some contrast to make it a little more punchy. Blend mode was set to “luminosity” to preserve previous color adjustments.

Now if I could figure out how to create the same effect in ACR I’d be pretty clever.

Link Roundup 03-15-2008

WAY too many good things out there this week! Here’s a sample: