Another week, another quick tutorial. This week I am going to show you how to turn skin pale in Photoshop. The image I will be using to showcase this is one of my older edits. It is a dark art image, but this effect could be used the same on any image, for example a fashion image. This is a trick I learnt a few years ago from watching Calvin Hollywood’s tutorial dvd Calvinize. Be sure to check his work out as it is awesome! In this tutorial I will be using different percentages of opacity, but it is the same technique.
By now if you have ever seen any of my images you will know I am a big fan of contrast! I Like to crank that shizzle up to 11! haha
So this weeks article is going to be short and straight to the point (hooray I hear you shout!)
I am going to show you two quick ways to add contrast to your image, that give two different results! When I say quick, I dont mean fiddling around with curves. I literally mean a couple of clicks and we are done!
At the moment the UK has a movement of dark art and conceptual artists growing from a love of movies and Photoshop. Their work is creeping its way on to more commercial mainstream sites like Behance, and starting to make an impact, amongst the more straight cut photography. One pioneer of this movement is Matt Seff Barnes!
Matt is a self taught digital artist, and the founder of the Dark Realm Collective – a group that he formed. The Dark Realm Collective enables him not only to marry his love of digital art and the macabre, but also afford him the opportunity to work with some of his influences from the digital art world. Matt’s artistic inspiration comes from many mediums, one of which film which is probably his greatest source for ideas and inspiration. Most of his work is created using photographic material, taking stock photography and twisting it into something dark and edgy.
When it comes to creating images that stand out, one thing is super important. Preparation! As it would take too long to go over everything I do to prep on one article, I will focus on one of the key elements, mood boards! Now without any hard evidence to back me up, I’m pretty sure that the old master painters used to mood board in their own way. They would do a moodboard with sketches of various parts, and use it as a reference when they painted the piece as a whole.
I have a friend who is a painter, and he too mood boards in his own way when creating his works of art. He cuts out reference images from magazines, or prints them out from photos he has seen online. As he is creating his final painting, he has them pinned to a board to reference as he paints. Cool eh?
Whether you like it or not, as photographers we are all artists! So why not act like artists and put the prep in beforehand. This includes sketches, writing out lists, creating background stories and building mood boards. I started creating mood boards on the advice of another photographer, the mood board king as I like to call him, Dean Samed. Dean created a Photoshop master class, and in it laid out the importance of creating mood boards, and I have been converted ever since.
A question I get asked often is, ‘where do you find the great locations to shoot at?’ Or ‘how do you find the cool looking location images you use in your composites?’
Well the answer is easy. I get out of the studio and I explore!!!! I recently purchased a compact Sony A5000 camera especially for my little adventures. My main shooting camera, I felt is too heavy and cumbersome for my location scouts. I needed something small, easy to carry and something that still shoots in RAW.
This weekend I went to visit my Grandparents in the coastal town of Scarborough in the UK. Scarborough is a town on the North sea, in North Yorkshire. It was founded in the Viking times, and has had a colourful history. With its castle sat proudly on the limestone cliff, it was the UK’s first seaside destination. I’ve been coming to (my Grandparents) Scarborough for over 25 years, it holds many precious memories. Tales I like to tell my son as we walk along the beachfront. I would claim to know every street in Scarborough or so I thought.
I recently organised and executed a cover shoot for Uk alternative magazine Twisted Edge. It features the usual alternative lifestyle elements such as girls with tattoos, rock bands, movie reviews and various Uk alt photographers. Having read many alt magazines, I knew I wanted the images for this feature to stand out, and buck the raw, gritty aesthetic that has become synonomus with Uk alt photography.
Taking inspiration from one of my favourite non photographer artists, Dan dos Santos, I planned to do some hyper-real, stylised portraits. The models would look like they just stepped out of a graphic novel or computer game.
To achieve this painterly style, you have to mix a few different techniques together. There isn’t one global technique, apart from maybe some dodgy oil painting filter (Which I advise you not to use……ever…ever), that can create this look. It is a mix of doge and burn, painting in colour, and choosing the right colours. Not only that, it also depends on your subject, costume and the overall tone of the image. What I will do today is focus on the dodge and burn, which is the key element…..but also mention the other factors around it, to put it into context. I will also leave you a speed edit above from the same set, to show you the full editing process from beginning to end.
One day whilst I was sprinting my heart out on the running machine at the gym, an image popped into my head. The scene was a tribal/witch doctor lady, surrounded by wolves. I wrote it down on a scrap of paper when I got home, and threw it into my ideas folder. It was around 6 months later, after finishing some client work, that I thought it was time to create some personal images and flex the old Photoshop muscles. The first piece of paper I picked up was the witch doctor idea. Knowing it would make a cool image, and challenge me, this is the project I would choose.
By now, if you have read my previous posts (which you all should have done, tut tut), you will know that I am inspired greatly by the cinema. I have loved movies since I was a little boy. I would sit for hours on end, watching, and re-watching my favourite movies. If I had to tell you guys right now what it was that sucked me in, time, and time again, it would be one thing. The stories.
As most of us know by now, you can have a movie with the best special FX in the world, but if it is attached to a plot-less, or weak story, the film will suck! How many times recently have you been to the cinema, and exited underwhelmed. Yeah the movie might be visual eye candy, but without its heart, a well written story, it is nothing but another shallow excuse to make money.
As photographers we are all storytellers at the core, but unlike cinema, we only have one image to convey a story. This is something I strive to do in my own work, for each image to be a story, with its own tale to tell. Well there is one photographer in particular, who has this skill down to a fine art (excuse the pun :P)
In 2013, when the photography world was still quite new to me, I remember browsing on Flickr. I was clicking through the photos, when I stumbled onto an image that looked like a still from a movie. It had a young man, cradling a dog in his arms, as he walked away from what looked like a burning building. I stared at the image on my screen, trying to deconstruct it in my head. How had this guy created such a seamless, and cinematic image? There was so much story to tell in this one lone image, that I couldn’t take my eyes from it. Eventually I moved my mouse cursor to the name written at the top, Ryan J Weiss (Fcebook, Flickr), and clicked to see his photo stream.
Not very long ago I got to visit my buddy Joseph Parry. We drank (quite a lot of beer), we ate (lots of chocolate brownies) and we took photos. Like any normal person, when they go visit a friend I brought with me a cowboy outfit. Wait! What, that’s not normal!!?? Well welcome to my world.
Anyway, I got Joseph to don the cowboy outfit, which suited his manly yet strangely conditioned soft beard, and we set up to shoot a portrait. As part of the setup Joseph had recently bought a Gravity Backdrop which we were going to use as the background. For me, this was the first time using an actual hand printed, textured, background and I was stunned by how awesome it made the images look straight from camera (and of course you can fake it, but it is no longer out of camera). It gave us a great base to work from, the result of said shoot being the image below.
Today we are going to have a debate! And the subject is TFP, something which I have a had a fair few debates on already in Photography groups on Facebook. Now I’m pretty sure you all by now you know what TFP means and what it entails, if you don’t, you are either very lucky, or very unfortunate……or you have been stranded on a desert island from birth, catching fish with your shoelaces and drinking your own urine. If you are said, bearded castaway then let me explain :