This will thankfully be a quick little technique on how to fix an issue that can be incredibly infuriating. This discolouration issue I’m referring to arrises when you’re using the dodge and burn retouching technique and the frustrating part is that it only presents itself once you’ve finished doing all the retouching.
Colour grading tends to specifically refer to the colouring of video and in photography, we often refer to this as colour toning, but whatever you’re happier calling it, this process of making a conscious decision to apply a specific colour-look to an image in post-production is an incredibly powerful tool.
I know it’s extremely trendy right now to say that ‘one light is all you need’, and although in certain situations this is true, a of the time extra lights will likely look better, or at the very least make your life easier.
Now before you rush to the comments section to proclaim the purity and simplicity of a black and white headshot being lit by a single light as being the very essence of great photography, I’ll just add that I agree. Sometimes, complicated lighting and over-lit portraits can certainly get in the way of a subject but conversely, a more visually interesting shot can also be achieved with the addition of more lights to draw in and engage a viewer.
Like many things in life, there’s no right or wrong way to learn photographic lighting… but I do believe there are easy ways and hard ways to not only understand it, but more importantly get better at it.
I think every creative discipline evolves, but photography sees more significant jumps in its evolution due to it being so uniquely tied to technology. Every frame we capture is taken with a camera and that camera technology is evolving on a daily basis. Every frame we then have to develop is primarily produced through software and that too evolves on a daily basis. The tools that we use to create our work are constantly changing but I feel that the way we learn some of the techniques associated with these tools do not.
I treat my camera like I treat a car, it has one core job and that’s what I use it for with very little interest or need for the peripheral add-ons and shiny new features that may also be part of that product. A car gets you from point A to B and everything else is fairly superfluous, sure there are often quality-of-life features but when it comes down to it, we buy a car for transport not seat warmers and illuminated mirrors in the sun visor. A camera, like a car, is a tool.
Shiny skin in photos is becoming more and more popular all the time and whether it’s for sports, beachwear or even regular fashion, that metallic skin sheen is being seen everywhere. Long gone are the days where we’re desperately trying to matt-down skin to avoid the shine, now makeup artists are regularly being asked to produce the ‘dewy’ skin look.
Chances are, most of you arriving here are aware of the backstory to this article, but just in case, I’ll quickly catch you up.
A few weeks ago I announced a community competition on my Facebook page; all you had to do to enter was to submit a ‘before’ photo (the raw) and an ‘after’ photo (the final fully retouched photo). There would be two winners; one chosen by a populous vote and one chosen by myself. The winners would then receive their entries fully retouched by myself.
If you can look beyond the painfully obvious click bait nature of the title for a moment, I promise you that the following 5 things need to become a mandatory part of your pre-upload checklist.
Remember you only get one chance to impress with your shots and I know we all get very excited to share an image as soon as we’ve taken it, but just take a few moments to check these 5 things are done before you do so and I promise you’ll thank yourself later.
I’ve used diffusion filters for years but rarely for their intended purpose. If you don’t know or haven’t heard of them, then diffusion filters are transparent glass or plastic sheets that go in front of the lens and they diffuse the light as it enters the camera. The resulting images taken with a diffusion filter have an appearance of reduced contrast that ultimately looks hazy offering a slightly dream-like effect.
Whether you’re aware of the correct terminology or not, you have likely experienced this colour contamination happening in your photographs already.
Put simply, colour contamination is when one colour is affected by the presence of another colour in close proximity. So for example, if you’re photographing two friends side by side, one of them is wearing a white t-shirt and the other one is wearing a red t-shirt, the white t-shirt will likely take on a pinkish tone due to the fact that it’s receiving bounced light from the red t-shirt close by.