How To Take Beautiful Portraits of Women With Or Without Photoshop

Building on last weeks April fools joke, where I riffed on the absurd idea that women actually prefer to look awful in photos and the current anti-Photoshop and no-makeup selfie trend making the rounds on social media – in this week’s article, I am going to share how to use proper lighting, posing and the right lens to make women look gorgeous without Photoshop, and then how I touch up portraits in Photoshop.

But first, we need a before and after (complete with cheesy internet meme).

Before and After professional photographer glamor portrait lighting and photoshop jp danko totonto commercial photographer

Yes, this is the same woman…read on to find out how I went from before to after.

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The Open Source Portrait – Postprocessing (Part 2)

In my previous post I walked through the concept and shoot of my portrait of Mairi. At this point all I’ve got are a bunch of RAW (and jpg) files of the shoot. I know that I forgot to mention it in the last post, but for goodness sake if you can shoot RAW – do it. (It saved my butt with this image, as you’ll see below).

The Open Source Portrait - Postprocessing (Part 2)

Also, you’ll be able to download my RAW file, and JPG output from RawTherapee below.

This is a long post.Seriously, this is the longest post I’ve ever written.I’m walking through many of the things I had previously written tutorials for, and apply them to a process this time so you can see them as part of a workflow.So, here’s a Table of Contents so you can jump to the section you need: [Read more...]

The Open Source Portrait – Equipment & Environment (Part 1)

As promised, I thought it might be fun/helpful to walk through a portrait shooting session from start to finish using only Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS). This is my personal workflow, and hopefully I can do the subject some justice.

When I set goals for a portrait shoot, I set them HIGH!
A Model Idiot.

I’m going to walk through the creation of a portrait of my friend Mairi that I did not too long ago. I had been wanting to shoot with Mairi for a while, and only recently got a chance to sit down and actually do it quickly. For reference, here is one of the final results that I’ll be walking through the process for: [Read more...]

Using a Collapsible Backdrop On Location – Product Review

Portrait on Black Using a Collapsible Disk (by udijw)Some time ago, I was contacted by B&H to do a review on Impact’s Collapsible Background (Black and White 5′ X 7′).

I love using collapsible backdrops on location as they give me some freedom with regards to choosing a background. While I prefer working with existing walls / plants / fences to crate appealing backgrounds, this is not always possible. And this is where the collapsible comes in handy. [Read more...]

Portrait Photography In The Eyes Of 5 Years Olds

Kindergarten Photo Day (by udijw)I had the honor and the pleasure to give a talk at my daughter’s kindergarten on Friday. We recently moved to a new place and once the kindergarten teacher heard I was a photographer, she asked me to come down and talk a bit with the kids about what I do.

Of course I said yes. I also offered to take some portraits of the kids and stuff – just for funzees. I asked the teacher to tell the kids to bring a favorite toy or set of clothes. It was amazing to hear what 5 year-olds think about photography and I am going to share some of this discussion here.

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The Green Bean Hair Light

hair lightReader Jerry Hamby just sent in this great hair light project. It is made from a cheapo 45 ws ebay flash and – believe it or not – a green-bean super value can (the kind you don’t want to eat too much of at one time). Just before sharing his tutorial with you, allow me to extend two small tips:

1. Empty the bean can before using it.

2. Do not empty it alone. 

Now, to the tutorial. [Read more...]

Reflector Card Cheat Sheet

Reflector Card Cheat SheetMy previous cheat sheet dealt with the impact of light position on portraiture. The idea was that you can print this cheat sheet and carry it around for fast consultation and getting fast results.

My next investigation involved a single flash again (this time shot through a shoot though umbrella) and different uses and positions for a 5 in one reflector.

Again I suggest printing the card so you have a quick look when ever you are not sure of what a certain reflector effect may be.

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Portrait Lighting Cheat Sheet Card

Portrait Lighting Cheat Sheet Setting up lighting for a portrait can be quite a complex task. If you, like me, are using small strobes which have mo modeling light it is hard to predict what will be the outcome of each lighting array.

There are however some basic lighting schemes, kind of a starting ground for new portraits. Of course, once you lay out the initial lighting you can change it, move it around and use modifiers to soften or restrict the light.

Wouldn’t it be nice, though if you have a magic card that will show you what will be the final lighting of almost every lighting scheme? I think it can be pretty darn cool.

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