Photography Retouching

POTM – December

last month was a bit crazy, between the flu, and a few commercial shoots, I did not get many personal shooting done.

i did Put together this image from a previous shoot 


Happy Holidays

Photography Portrait Photography POTM Retouching

POTM – June 2018

Here is my Photo Of The Month for June (POTM).

Nevada as Lup

I chose this image for a number of reasons. I did not get out to do much personal work this month (time seems to fly), but this image was part of a shoot with a friend who is into cosplay. The intent of the shoot was to try something completely different. 

The post processing is a bit different than my usual style, going for more of a graphic novel feel. The shoot was fun, we went up to Mount Tolmie at sunset, but the “magic” happened in the post processing. A lot of time went into creating the appropriate “look”, as well as enhancing the image. We did use on-site lighting (two circular softboxes) to separate the subject (Nevada/Lup), a number of layers and masks in photoshop further emphasized the composition. Colours were enhanced, and contrast was changed in various areas as well.

Advanced Art Computers and Software Retouching

Photo fantasy

A friend asked me for help making a Photoshop collage of her playing on a cosmic pool table (she is into cosplay). It was quite fun, and I got some ideas for images with my own photos.

I have been using Photoshop since the early days. And it is amazing how far it has come. It is a lot easier to do almost anything now. The hard part is unlearning the old way of doing things. This is one of my first images created in Photoshop. I used a number of techniques to learn how to use the program…

one of my first Photoshop experiments

Fast forward to today and I am not sure if I have become better. Maybe less patient, and my style has changed, but the concept may be a bit better…

I used a couple of images from my archives and a lot of manual painting…

This is an early working draft. I still need to correct the shadows, but I like the concept

Art personal Photography Retouching

Having Fun

Sometimes you just need to let go and have fun with an image. Forget about realism, or deep meanings, or whether anyone will like (or purchase) the image.

This image wanted to be worked on. It is not necessarily “finished” yet, but it is kind of fun…

Advanced Lessons Art lessons Photography Retouching

I think I am going to coin a new word; “photoglyptiki”

Art Francis King Park Landscape Photography Photography Retouching

Say it with meaning

I was out in the woods of Francis King Park the other day looking for inspiration. I found a few good images, but I wanted more. I started thinking about something a good friend used to say. “what do you want your image to say?” I started looking for a statement, something with a bigger story than just a pretty scene. I came across this big stump. I guess a storm recently brought  the tree down. I was thinking of things like how this big giant fell, and how the stump still has majesty. I took a shot, moved a bit to the side, then decided to remove some dead branches cluttering the scene. A few tweaks later I got a decent shot. 

But capturing the shot is just the first step. Post processing can bring an image to life. I wanted to emphasize the big stump, so I darkened the background slightly. I also did some burning, dodging and selective sharpening to create contours and shape to various areas. The trick is to change the image enough that it emphasizes what you want to say, yet it doesn’t look manipulated.

Of course, as an artist, I see a number of things I would like to do differently, but that is what makes being an artist so much fun…..

Basic Computers and Software Retouching Web Design

Watermarking your images.

Putting images online is a bit of a double edged sword, on the one hand you can show your work to many people, many more than was possible in the years before things like Facebook, Twitter, etc., on the other hand, re-sharing may make it harder for people to know a photo is yours, and unscrupulous people/companies may even use your photo without compensation or acknowledgment. Watermarking your images is one way to address the downfalls of publishing your images online.

Like everything in Photography, there are a number of opinions on watermarking images. On one hand, watermarking provides some{{1}} protection to your images, on the other hand, watermarks, especially large marks across the main part of the image, can look bad and reduce the appeal of your images. 

I do put watermarks on my online images, but I try to keep them small, relatively discrete, and aesthetically pleasing. Currently I am using a stylized version of my signature with my website listed. Realistically this does not provide much protection, but it will let honest people find me.

So now do you add a watermark to your images? Many programs, such as Lightroom, have a built in watermarking function. You set up a watermark, either text or a small graphic, and when you save the image, you can automatically add the watermark. For other programs, such as Photoshop, Elements, or even GIMP you can manually add a watermark by creating a new layer and importing the graphic, or typing text.

Again, a watermark is no guarantee of protection, and an unscrupulous thief can retouch your photo to eliminate the watermark, but, in my opinion, a watermark can help honest people find you, and, if done with taste, does not hinder the look of your image too much.

[[1]]although with image manipulation programs such as Photoshop, it is not too hard to remove a watermark if you are determined[[1]]

Advanced Advanced Lessons Art lessons Retouching

Digital Retouching

The computer has enabled many fields to advance at a very fast rate, and this includes retouching photographs and digital art.

A good friend and great painter wanted to learn how to use a graphics tablet .

She had an image from an old magazine we decided to use as a learning base. This was a perfect image because it was very simple, but had a lot of elements to experiment with.

A fashion sketch from an old magazine
A fashion sketch from an old magazine

Some of the steps we did included:

  • Dodging and Burning (lighten or darken areas) to create depth in the dress and other areas.
  • Adjusting Hue, Saturation, and Contrast of the overall image
  • Adding images, such as her painting on the wall and masking is so it is behind the woman.
  • Adjusting Hue, Saturation, and Contrast of specific areas in an image
  • Adding an image behind the glass of the door and a reflection on the piano

Since she was already a painter, she understood how something should look. She just needed to learn how the various tools work. At the end of the day this is what she created:

Her retouched version. click for a side by side comparison
Her retouched version. click for a side by side comparison

for reference, this is what I did along side:

Retouched red dress image
My version of retouching the image. click to see all three versions together.
Art Photography Retouching

Bastion Square

Many people who live in Victoria will recognize this location.

Ivy wall at Bastion Square
Ivy wall at Bastion Square

This is an amazing wall, and I am sure it has been photographed many times, however this was a good image for a new (at least to me) technique for “sculpting{{1}}” the image. I wanted to make a “fairy land” type of look, so I increased saturation and created more texture in the leaves. Still some work to be done, but I kind of like it….

[[1]]I like the term sculpting over dodging and burning, because I use selective shading and lightening to create shape, rather than address distractions or fix lighting.[[1]]

Advanced Advanced Lessons lessons Retouching

Advanced Burn and Dodge

In my pursuit of ever more control of my retouching, I have come up with a new way of “sculpting” images.

First I guess I need to explain what I mean by sculpting. Some time ago I wrote a post on basic retouching. Since then I have taken several digital concepts of dodging and burning{{1}}, merged it with the way a painter friend does glazing, and added my own twist.

In essence, I create several copy layers blurred or sharpened to extremes. I mask these layers and set different blend modes. I can then use levels of grey on the layer masks to affect areas of the image. This method is very versatile and non-destructive. meaning it can be tweaked and changed as the image evolves.

[[1]]I was largely inspired by this article[[1]]