To get picked for the N.A.P.P. (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) Editor’s Choice last week for my photograph of ‘Claire’ was a real boost but to receive it again this week for the image of ‘Leah’ feels fantastic and if anything is really encouraging that the direction of my work is following the right path.
I’m sure I talk for most when I say that it’s always a good feeling to get praise and positive feedback for the work we produce from those around us but to get it from our ‘Peers’ is extra special.
To finish off this week here’s some photos and a brief overview of the recent Photo Shoot with the incredibly talented Harry Cambridge; Singer, Entertainer and Luther Vandross impersonator:
As always I was working with my buddy Neal and we went through two lighting set ups; the white seamless and the grey background.
For this shoot, the grey background was one of the White Walls in the studio turned to grey simply by the the distance the lighting and Harry were positioned away from it.
Going into the shoot I knew that I would be adding a background in this particular series of photos so all I needed was a clean background with good contrast between the subject ie Harry and the wall itself.
Set Up for the White seamless shots consisted of a roll of White seamless and the PVC reflective panels for the floor with the lighting being two Profoto 1000′s for the background and flooring and Harry being lit by a Profoto 5000 into large Softbox on a boom above and to the front:
The set up for the ‘grey background’ shots consisted of two Profoto 500′s in strip boxes to the rear of Harry to add rim light and a Profoto 500 and Beauty Dish with Honeycomb Grid fitted on a boom to the front and above. On a few of the shots to add a little extra fill, a Nikon SB800 Speedlight was bounced off a Silver Lastolite Tri Grip Reflector on the floor in front of Harry:
To give you an idea of the post production involved to get the final edited image here’s a comparison of an ‘out of camera’ image and a ‘Final Edit’ …
You can see from the comparison that aside from the background being added in, everything else is as it was ‘out of camera’ albeit enhanced using a number of techniques in Photoshop.
Finally, as if being a Singer, Entertainer and Luther Vandross Impersonator wasn’t enough, Harry is also a Firefighter so we just had to grab some shots of him in his unform:
Right, that’s all from me so have a great weekend and I’ll catch up with you in a couple of days.
Today I thought I’d share a technique with you that I now use on every single picture that I edit, 100% of the time.
It’s a technique that I was reminded of by Scott Kelby during his recent trip to London and it’s for checking for those pesky dust and oil spots in your photographs that come from off of your camera’s sensor.
Until recently I used to go to the 1-1 view in Lightroom and look around for these marks but there would always seem to be one or two that escaped capture. However with this technique it’s a totally different story…the specs of dust and oil may just as well be waving White flags in surrender
With just 4 simple steps the technique couldn’t be simpler:
Step 1: Duplicate the background layer Always work on a copy of your image just in case you go wrong somewhere along the line and save what you’ve done. You can duplicate the main image (Background Layer) by:
Click, Drag & Release the Background Layer over the ‘New Layer’ icon at the bottom of the Layer Panel, or
Press CMD (Mac) or CTRL (PC) + J
Step 2: Invert the image Invert the image to get this ‘X Ray’ looking view by:
CMD (Mac) or CTRL (PC) + I, or
Go to IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS > INVERT
Step 3: Remove the dust spots etc… Inverting the image can make any dust / sensor marks stand out so that you can see them clearer. All that needs to be done then is to remove them by using your tool of choice e.g. The Spot Removal Tool
Step 4: Invert the image Now that you’ve removed all the visible dust / sensor marks you just need to Invert the image back to it’s original state by again pressing CMD (Mac) or CTRL (PC) + I and you’re done, leaving you to carry on with any other editing:
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And that is all there is to it. Of course the easiest way to not have dust spots on your sensor is to to keep your sensor as clean as possible but as we all know that is easier said than done; especially when working on location.
Ok I have an admission to make…
Last week I mentioned that I was going to write a walk through of the photo shoot showing how I photographed the image above. Now whereas that part was true, what wasn’t was the bit about the ‘location scouting’ because you see the image of ‘Leah’ is a composite. Leah was photographed in a nice warm studio and the grungy location was actually a Royalty Free Image from iStock Photo:
So I thought for this post I’d give you an overview of how the composite was put together concentrating mainly on how Leah, including her shadow etc, was added into the room but first off here’s the lighting set up for the initial shot taken in the studio:
For this shoot I already had the background (location) image so I knew the kind of angle I would have to photograph Leah for it to look realistic. Also as the wall behind Leah was going to be in focus this meant that when I was photographing Leah in the studio I would have to have an Aperture that gave a decent depth of field so I chose to shoot at f/8.0
Had I photographed Leah at anything wider, say f/4.0 for example, then it’s likely that from beyond her face she would have started to fall out of focus and having this with a sharp/in focus wall behind her just wouldn’t have looked right .
So now we have our two images; our photograph of Leah and our ‘location’ image. Opening both images in Photoshop we need to make sure that in the layer stack, the ‘location’ image is above:
To make the composite as realistic as possible it was vital that the real shadow cast by Leah in the studio was included and this is where a bit of ‘Blend Mode Magic’ was called for.
Changing the blend mode of the ‘Location’ (Top) Layer to Overlay did a great job of blending in Leah’s lower half and shadow; however not such a good job on her upper half as you can see in the image below:
So, now Leah’s legs and shadow have blended into the picture time to work on the upper body. To do this I firstly turned off the top (location) layer and then clicked on the layer containing Leah’s studio shot. Then using the Quick Selection Tool made a selection of the top half of Leah:
To make sure all those loose hairs were included in the selection, as I’m using Photoshop CS5 I then made use of the Refine Edge tool:
In the Refine Edge dialogue box the ‘Output’ was set to ‘New Layer’:
Having pressed ‘Ok’ the new layer containing Leah’s upper half was then dragged to the top of the layer stack which then with all layers turned on was mission accomplished…
Ladies and Gentleman…Leah is in the building
Now that Leah has been placed into the room it’s time to start creating the overall feel of the photograph by adding details, altering the colour, adding a vignette and so on. From here on in I’m not going to go through exactly what I did to get the final look of the image as the main purpose of this post was to show a way to create a realistic looking composite; however, that being said I will give you an idea of some of the things I did which first of all started off by ‘adding detail’.
To ‘add detail’ I use a technique that I learned from Photoshop Guru Calvin Hollywood and that he calls the ‘Double Raw Conversion’. To do this I first of all flattened the layers and saved the image as a TIFF and then re-opened it but this time in Camera Raw. To see the ‘Double Raw Conversion’ explained fully by Calvin, watch the short video below:
Having done the ‘Double Raw Conversion’ to add some details into the image I then moved onto working on the colour which in this case meant desaturating slightly. To do this I created a Black & White Conversion using my favourite plug in of all time…’Nik Silver Efex Pro‘ and then once back in Photoshop simply lowered the opacity of the new Black & White layer to around 25%
From here on in it really was a case of playing around to come up with the final look that I was happy with by adding a vignette, adding contrast, playing around with a colour balance adjustment and slightly softening the focus to name a few of the things that I did.
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So there you have it…one way to create a composite image using both Blend modes and the Refine Edge Command in Photoshop.
The thing I love about using Photoshop is that I never stop learning and there’s never really a right or wrong way to do something as we all have our own way of working, so as always if you have any questions or comments about anything in this post then please feel free to make use of the comments section below.
There’s no question that without having been introduced to the N.A.P.P. (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) very shortly after discovering Photoshop I wouldn’t be a Photographer today, so to learn that one of my images from last week was picked as one of their “Editor’s Choice” was a real nice surprise…
Talking of the N.A.P.P if the idea of being taught by ‘the’ best in the world of Photography & Photoshop appeals to you then I’d suggest if you haven’t already then you go check them out [Link]; especially seeing as Scott Kelby‘s the President and names such as Joe McNally, Vincent Versace, Matt Kloskowski, Jeremy Cowart, Eddie Tapp and Jay Maisel to name but a few are amongst the list of Instructor’s.