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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mom's Magazine cover photo shoot - one light

This photo was shot vertical and edited like a magazine cover.  Lots of skin work in PS.  I am just learning how to do this kinda stuff so don't be too hard on me.  It takes a lot of tedious work and time in PS to get it just right and sometimes I feel like I just don't have the patience.  However, things are picking up and getting quicker and I always get excited to play around more once I compare my results to what I had originally.

Here I have posted the original photograph (with small LR edits) along with its PS twin.  See if you can spot all the differences.  I bet my mother would not be too happy with people looking at her before and after pics in detail but she will never know because she doesn't use the computer.  I also don't think she will sue me for obvious reasons... (I hope!)... but ya never know ;)

I took this photo in the middle of the day with the sun beating down hard and harsh from a clear blue sky.  As you can see in the setup shot, my wife Christal is holding a translucent fabric to block the harsh sunlight over my mothers head.  The sun would have been beating down camera left along her hair blowing out any detail.  Unfortunately I deleted the ambient light picture I meant to post along with this series to show you.  Anyways, long story short, the shadows were even more harsh, and her hair was highlighted out and there was too much contrast to get a properly exposed photograph.  I still wanted a strong lit photo like the sun would provide but needed to knock down my shutter speed in order to synch my flash.  The shade from the fabric let's me open up about three stops and reduces contrast.  

My flash was set high and equipped with CTO warming gel and shot with no umbrella or diffusing device as you can see.  It was camera right and set at 1/2 power.  It easily overpowered what was left of the ambient light filling all of its shadows and took the lead role as my main light source creating its own shadows.  This way I was able to recreate the sun without it being too harsh as I described above.  This was good because it keeps the natural feel of an afternoon bright sunny day photograph.  Sure I could have knocked down the flash, and filled it in gently and got a nice glamour style lighting but it would have taken away from what we would like to remember of one of our first warm days this spring.

TECH INFO: 1/200th sec @ F8.0 ISO 100.  24-70mm lens @ 70mm.

PS INFO: after post edit adjusting blacks and a few other very minor things in LR I imported this pic into PS CS3.  I initially removed some blemishes and lines in the face with the patch tool.  Keep in mind I would always use a different layer and use the opacity slider to adjust once complete.  I then desaturated and dodged the teeth and eye whites and saturated the lips and eyes slightly.  I then went into the liquify module and 'squeezed' in the nose and 'bloated' the eyes and lips.  I 'nudged' the sides of the face in ever so slightly as well.  Finally, I went a bit crazy (as they do with magazine covers) on the skin tone.  I applied a blur and erased the blur over the eyes mouth eyebrows and hair around the face.  I then added some selective blur with a soft brush around the outside of the photo with hopes of re-creating some F2.8 style blur that I was unable to achieve in camera because of the lighting.  The blur is still a bit unnatural but adds some artistic qualities.  Wish I had a tilt/shift!  That was pretty much it... oh yeah, I also added a bit of unsharp mask as well.  It seems to really sharpen up images a bit better than LR.  Of course all of these edits are easy to get carried away with especially when you are me.  So always back them off with the opacity and try and under do it.  I personally do it until I start to notice the effect and than back it off some.  This seems like it takes a lot of practice.

Thats all...


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