Just sorting through some images for the portfolio the other day and I realised there was one in particular that I’d been meaning to talk about here on the blog…
This particular shot is one from the very first TipSquirrel Workshop [Link] held at Peterborough Cathedral that I instructed on along with Gavin Hoey; where I had 2, 1 hour segments on location portrait shoots and Gavin teaching a HDR segment.
Ok so first of all let’s take a look at the lighting and then touch on some of the editing that was done in Photoshop…
Now not everyone has big powerful lighting for use on location but most people who have more then average interest in photography do have one or 2 small battery powered strobes. So, with that in mind that is all I limited myself to using during the Workshop…Nikon SB800 Speedlights, but in addition some fairly new modifiers from Lastolite: Two Hotrod Strip Softboxes.
Regular readers of the blog will know that I’m a big fan of using Stripboxes in the studio so seeing that Lastolite introduced this new range of modifiers I just had to give them a go; in fact this workshop was the very first time I’d put them to use…
Ideally I would have had this light on a boom to the front of the model but because of time restraints and also wanting to make this whole shoot repeatable for those attending, I just had it on a straight forward light stand and positioned just out of frame.
Anyway despite it being a bright sunny day, the Speedlights coped just fine allowing me to end up with an image I was happy to then take through and spend some time editing…
Now I’m not going to go into depth covering exactly what was done in Photoshop with this image and there’s a couple of reasons for that i.e. the time it took means there’s quite a few steps involved and also I can’t actually recall everything that I did 🙂
Of course at the start I spent time removing any imperfections, sharpening, enhancing details, whitening the skin, focusing where the main light falls in the picture, adding some fog/mist and so on, and that covers about 80% or so of what was done; the last 20% or so though is where I kind of lose track as it’s here that the main ‘look’ of the picture comes in.
This 80/20 is something that Calvin Hollywood talks about meaning that the remaining 20% of the editing takes about 80% of the entire editing time, oh and incidentally it’s here that I’ve added something into my editing workflow…
I used to have a big hang up about using plug ins and this goes back to a time when I first started out. You see I’d studied and studied to a point that I started to feel quite confident in Photoshop but then at the same time, more and more work was coming in which meant more and more editing. So, to speed up the editing process I started using plug ins but because of the way I was using them i.e. one click fixes I found I was actually doing less techniques in photoshop and instead using the Plugins exclusively and as a consequence began to deskill myself. I actually started to feel a bit of a fraud when people would ask how I’d edited an image and I couldn’t really give an answer…because it was down to the Plugin.
Long story short, I removed every single Plugin I had and took everything back to basics; studying and playing in Photoshop to bring my skill level and confidence back up and this remains the same today as I’m continually studying and playing to keep improving and learning new tips and techniques.
However, it’s been Calvin Hollyowood and Gabor Richter that have recently turned me back on to using Plugins, in particular Nik Color Efex Pro 4 Complete and Topaz Details, but using them correctly i.e. to finish off an image and using them in conjunction with Photoshop and not as a replacement…does that make sense?
I guess what I’m getting here is that if you’re going to use plugins don’t rely 100% on them and race through your editing adding effect after effect and having no real idea as to what you’re doing.
Right, time to go and make sure everything is ready for tomorrow’s Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk in Oxford, but in the meantime, as always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to make use of the comments section below.
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