Do you use Photoshop for your portrait photos? Silly me, of course you do. We all do, and that’s fine. But do you draw a line between acceptable and unacceptable amount of retouching? Do you merely emphasize people’s natural beauty, or are you the one who makes them look beautiful? Scott Kelby – photographer, retouchist, the editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, gives a fantastic and inspiring talk on this topic. Why do we retouch people in Photoshop? And do we know what our job as retouchists is?
If you are a retoucher, there is no question about your favorite holiday. Let me guess… Halloween 🙂
Stefan over at the Raw Exchange just shared three quick photoshop tricks to help bring normal photos into scary Halloween composites. (Only instead of a normal photo, stefan is using probably the scariest clown I’ve seen in my life, so if you suffer from clownphobia, you’d wanna skip that one).
I think this is kind of a scary Halloween toolkit, at a very low retouching level. For two of the tutorials, you’d need nothing but a good base photo. (The third one would need a few photos of raw stake).
Also, it’s halloween, so there is some gore and other disgusting things shown on the screen. This is good if you want to get a handle on some scary retouching techniques, but not as good if you are troubled by strong graphical content or blood. Now, without further ado, demonic eyes, White Walkers and gore flesh.
This is one of those announcements that’s going to split the photography world in two. Some will be over the moon that such a tool exists. Others will be infuriated that yet another piece of software is taking the skill away from photography & retouching. A few will also not care one way or the other.
Regardless of your position, PortraitPro Body from Anthropics Technology is here. Described as “the Industry’s first dedicated full body retouching software”, it’s designed to speed up workflow. It also works for both male and female subjects.
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.
Recently, The Try Guys at BuzzFeed were Photoshopped to produce their ideal male body types, as a way to explore how the world of Photoshop and retouching affects men. With such an overwhelming experience and response, especially from women, they started thinking about how the process female subjects, too.
In their new video, they recreate several famous magazine cover shots involving Kim Kardashian, Madonna, and others to see the kind of retouching that goes into producing images of women for magazines and advertising compared to what’s actually even possible in the real world.
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.
I had to shoot in an environment without HSS (Didn’t have my Citi600 with me) and I didn’t have my Hoya ND16 filter with me either. Which meant that I couldn’t effectively overpower the ambient light coming off the stage to get rid of the blue on the model’s skin.
This led me to trying a few solutions, albeit badly until Stefan Kohler hooked me up with this ridiculously simple and awesome solution for fixing colour problems while retaining all of the micro details in contrast etc (which you lose when you use Frequency Separation for low level skin etc).
As technology becomes more and more accessible our clients are becoming increasingly more aware of what is possible with image retouching software like Photoshop. I asked a client of mine about a recent shoot they had with another photographer, their response was painfully honest. “We loved his lighting and ideas but when we got the images back we weren’t happy with his Photoshopping. The skin on the model looked awful. As a photographer you should be able to offer both fantastic photography and great retouching all in one package. We won’t be using him again”. This was an unprovoked response and I made no leading questions about retouching but it does prove to me that from a clients point of view, its about the final image not what you did to get there. In my field clients are expecting to receive a ‘perfect’ image, they are expecting to see flawless skin, tidy hair and sparkling eyes. Some of them may not realise that these images have had any retouching done at all, they may even believe it comes out of the camera like that but they are expecting to see it looking perfect regardless of how it got there.