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Posts tagged ‘editing’

Introductions – Laura Macky

Laura Macky and I haven’t known each other for long, but during that time she has become a great friend.  Now we do the Monochrome Madness Challenge together and that has been great too. Emails are always going backwards and forwards.  I know you know her, but I thought you might like to get to know her a little better.  You might say I thought it was time to do one of my introductions posts on her.

cockpit2-webMost of you are aware of her monochrome work.  She picks some great images to do in black and white.  She has a great eye for photographs and it is a joy to look at her work and see what she does.

I asked Laura why she takes photos.

I take photos because my original hobby of being a pianist went by the wayside when I developed nerve damage in my hands and had problems with my right leg which made it hard to pedal the piano.  I missed expressing myself artistically, so I thought perhaps taking pictures might be a good outlet.  I started about four years ago on my first DSLR but in the last year I’ve been more serious about it.  After all, in order to express a myriad of human emotions through the lens of a camera, it takes technical and artistic effort which I’m enjoying trying to improve upon.  I love a challenge!

organ-webPhotographing architecture is something I have a real passion for and I think Laura does too.  I like the way she sees things,  the angles she chooses to photograph things.  It is great seeing all her architectural images.

I asked Laura about inspiration.

One inspiration is my drive to always be better.  I’m that way in general and I try to translate that into developing my skills in photography.  It’s also inspiring when I make a connection with someone else through one of my images in that they are seeing and feeling the same thing I do.  Lastly, there is a lot inspiration gained from the incredible images I see every day here on Word Press. I look at them and wonder how they process their images and try to pay attention to how they see things.  That really helps to open my mind a lot more creatively.

lighthouse3-printLandscape and the natural environment are not something that I am very good at doing, I don’t think, I do love seeing other people photographing this.  I find a lot of inspiration in seeing what other people do, and Laura is no different here.  I love seeing how she photographs the landscape, but also how she processes it.  That is important to me as well.

I asked about her gear and if there was anything special about the way she worked.

I usually try to think of the emotion I feel when I see something through the lens and then I try to convey and enhance that in post processing.  I’m a huge fan of Nik Efex plugins, so I usually use those to fine tune my images.  As for gear, I have a Nikon D7100, three filters, and a few lenses.  I love my little 35mm 1.8 lens and my wide angle as well as my telephoto.

moon2-webI loved seeing the moon images as well.  You know know that it is something I want to do more of, so I was really happy when I was going through her blog and seeing some images with the moon in it.  They are great.

I want to thank Laura for letting me do my introduction post on her.  I would love it if you could visit her blog, Laura Macky, and see how wonderful her work is.  I have a gallery of images for you to look at now. Please enjoy.  I have you have had a great break.

Taking Action

Recently I have been thinking about doing more portraits, though not so much the fine art ones, but more just normal portraits.  I still love the idea of doing portraits of teenagers as they are finishing school and moving onto the next part of their lives.  I have discussed this before, the idea of doing them here, and how the whole concept of Senior Portraits wouldn’t work in Australia.  I am still thinking of names, but I did get to take some lovely photos of a friends daughter last weekend.

LeanneCole-alannah-1883She is a gorgeous girl, but has issues about her body (what teenage girl doesn’t?), so we did more head shots, which I think she was more comfortable about.

I have been looking at lots of portraits lately, and looking at what the photographers do to them.  I have also been hearing a lot about actions. Actions are like recordings of processes in Photoshop that you can then play over and over again.  You just click a button and then things happen before your eyes.  They are quite amazing.

I seem to see actions everywhere at the moment.  You know how when you suddenly become aware of something, how it seems to be all around you, well, that’s what’s happening with actions.

You can find free ones on the internet, and you can also buy them.  I was given some actions by Lara Jade when I did an online course that she was teaching.

LeanneCole-alannah-1883-ljaAfter a couple of clicks, this is what I got.  You can change some things, but it can give you a great overall effect.

Then during the week I was sent a discount coupon for Greater than Gatsby.  They sell actions, and you can end up with some great ones, the following image was done with one of theirs.

LeanneCole-alannah-1883-ggaOf course you have to learn how to use them, and I am sure eventually I will get the hang of it, but it is interesting to see what results you can get with them.

I purchased The Radiance Collection from Greater than Gatsby and it came with 110 actions.  I have only played with a few of them so far, but I was really impressed with what you got.

LeanneCole-alannah-1815-2This image I did myself.  I tried some things I had learned from Lara’s workshop.  I don’t mind this at all.  My next step is recording my own actions.  I have tried it a couple of times, and some things have worked and some haven’t, but I think I just need to practice more.

I think I am going to like actions, though I think it could be something that I need to work out how to do myself.  I hope my friends daughter likes what I have done to her images.

Here is a gallery for you.  The first image of each pose is the original with hardly any editing, and then the actions applied to them.

Changing the Feeling

We are still experiencing our heatwave here.  Today it is predicted to be 44ºC, and we have already reached 40.  My poor cat Tiddles just doesn’t know what to do.  We keep trying to cool him down, and I think he appreciates what we are doing.

The heat itself is uncomfortable, and annoying, but the worse thing about it is how terrifying it also is.  When we have really hot days like this, it means thunder storms, which mean lightning, and then fires.  There have already been lots of fires in Victoria, and with the worse day for winds predicted to be tomorrow.  I have a massive park across the road from me that goes along the Yarra River, so we are also on high fire alert.  It has never been a problem before, but you just never know.

The hardest part, and perhaps the scariest is that they are saying these are the same conditions that lead to the worse fire storms in Australian history, the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 where almost 180 people lost their lives, and thousands and thousands of acres were damaged, and whole communities destroyed.  No one wants to ever see that happen again.

I know people think we are being whinges, that the temperatures are not that high, but we are all living on the edge of our seats, it is a scary time to be in the state right now.

Now on another note, before the temperature gets too hot and I can’t work on my computer anymore, I thought I would work on another image and see what I could do with it.

I did an image a couple of years ago and I was curious about what I would do with a similar image.

sccity-hpm6608-5

I have always liked this image, but over time my processing has changed and I know a lot more about Photoshop now.  I didn’t want to just repeat the image, but thought if I took another one it would be interesting to see what I would do.

city-20140111-6464

This image was taken on the weekend, I showed it to you on Sunday and I decided that I would use this image.

LeanneCole-city-20140111-6464-2The most obvious problem with the image was the sky, so I tried to find a sky that I could add to it that would help with the mood of the image.  I have added lots of textures to the image to help give it an aged feeling.  I think I was trying to go for the feeling of abandon.

There are problems with it, but I know the more I do these, the better I will get at doing them.  I need to start collecting some different sorts of photos now, I think. Things that I can add to images like this that will help with that feeling.

I am going to put the images into a gallery now so you can see them a bit better.  Take care everyone.

Emotion Coming Through

On Saturday when I taught my class I got some many fantastic photos of my model and so I have prepared two more for you today.

LeanneCole-thea-20131116-1449I do love this table, it is quite amazing.  I also love this pose, though I do wish her eyes were different.  I love the feeling of the image, is she just lying there because she is feeling depressed, or is there more too it.  I did tell her to pretend she was dead, as though she had been poisoned.  I think the image could convey many things.

I know a few people have asked me how I edit my images.   I don’t want to do a tutorial on it, but I am looking into software that I could do a screencast of it and then make it go faster for you, so you don’t see everything, but you get an idea of how one of my images comes together.  I don’t know much about this kind of software, but if I find out I might try it.  Though would prefer it to be free, so if anyone knows anything about software, screencasts for Windows, I’m all ears.

LeanneCole-thea-20131116-1561I was trying something different with this image.  I told her to pretend she was terrified sitting in the corner, and then I worked on making the image darker.  I wanted to convey a scared girl trying to hid in the corner at night.  The original image was so white, so it took a bit of effort to get it like this. I am not sure the scared part really came out.

I am really happy with where my images are going.  I do feel like I am growing as an artist and the work feels more like my own, rather than me imitating what others have done.

The weather has been horrible here, but we are finally seeing some better weather.  I really want to get out and some preparing images for the compositing, so this week looks like the first time I can do that.  So fingers crossed it holds and I can get on with it.

As I did the other day, the before and the after shots, one after the other.

Weekend Wanderings – Portrait Class

I know this isn’t strictly something you expect for these weekends, but doing a photography class is something you can do everywhere on the weekends.  Yesterday I taught a class at Living & Learning Nillumbik in Eltham.  I have started teaching quite a few classes there, and if you would like to take a class that is taught by me, then check out the link.

Yesterday’s class was on portraiture.  We had the gorgeous Emelia come and be our model.  She was great and allowed us to boss her around and tell her where to stand and what to do, as you do.  I was not able to take images of her as I would have if she were modelling for me, but I managed to get some shots as well, so I thought I would show some today.

Emelia 1We tried many different things, and she was so patient,  The only time her smile left her face was when we asked her not to smile.  Look at those eyes, I did a little bit of stuff to them to make them stand out.

Emelia 2I was trying to show the class how to edit a photo quickly and what do you think happened?  My comment crashed.  Of course.  So if any of them look at this they can see how the image would have turned out.

Editing seems to be something more and more people are asking about and could be something that I might have to start incorporating into the end of my classes.  Though it will only work if my computer doesn’t crash.

Emelia 4

I think this was my favourite shot.  Though I realised after I finished it, there was something I forgot, so I added a texture.

Emelia 4-1I liked the image before, but I love this one even more.  I really like what I have done to these images.

Here is a gallery with all the images I did.

I was unsure about teaching a few months ago, but I am really starting to enjoy it.  I get so much support from the people at Living & Learning Nillumbik.  My next class in next month on the 25th of June, sports and event photography, should be fun too.  I need to plan my classes for next semester now.  We are also thinking about running some short courses, maybe some full day workshops, the ideas are endless.

So if you love photography, think about a course you can do, great way to meet like minded people.

Quick Edit with Some Gradient – Tutorial

Babushka Christmas Window

Here is the edited image of today’s tutorial.  I decided to try something different.  Recently I was told to try doing some screencasts of my tutorials, so you have one today.  I don’t think it is very good, but it is a start.  I hope you can follow it.

I am going to practice doing this, and hopefully I will get better.  It will be so much easier doing these that the tutorials I was doing, though, I don’t have a problem with the other ones.

This could open some whole new doors for me.  I really want to make this blog work, and if I can’t make money then I am going to have to go out and get a real job.  I can’t believe sometimes that I can do all this stuff, but hardly ever get paid for it, or have people paying me to do some for them.  It is so frustrating.  This is my little rant for the day.  I hope you don’t mind.  I just don’t want to end up a checkout lady at the supermarket or a making coffee in a coffee shop, not that they are bad jobs, I just want to keep doing photography. Okay, end of rant.

Fixing up Angel with her Great Grandmother – Tutorial

Marie from My Little Corner of Rhode Island asked if I could help her with an image. I said, I would, and asked if she would mind if I used it for my tutorial today.  Do I need to say she said yes?

Marie didn’t like the glare that was coming through the window.  When she described it to me I thought it was a massive about of glare, but I am pleased to say that my first thought was, that it wasn’t too bad.

So let’s see what I can do to this image.

I decided to use Photoshop CS6 for this tutorial, I know it best and am more aware of what I can do in it.  I opened the image up on camera raw to do some normal adjustments.  I tried to tone down the highlights and the whites, but if you look closely at the view through the window, you can see that it has burnt out, and there is no way of making it darker.

I’ve been reading up on doing some burning in camera raw and the above image shows my attempt.  Burning is a term that was used for the darkroom, and it refered to giving one part of the image more exposure to the light.  So I wanted to try and do some burning on the view outside the window.  You click on the adjustment brush at the top and then change the sliders on the side.  You go over the area you want to be burned in.  It is quite handy, you only have to go over the area one, and then you can adjust the sliders as much as you want to get the effect you want.

As you can see, the burning, as I suspected did nothing to change the white areas.  It did make the rest darker, which was slightly better.  I then opened the image into Photoshop.

Hopefully, you will notice that the big white bit at the bottom of the window is gone.  I used the patch tool on Content-Aware and used what was in the pane above to replace the large white area.  I think this works a little better.

The next decision was whether or not to get rid of the other white part.

I decided that I need to burn in those other parts so I used the burn took, circled in red.  You have to be careful with this tool, it can make it very patchy.

Next I selected the area, the window with the selection tool, I have circled the tool in the left.  You can see the area that I selected on the right in the window, and I also did a rough outline in red.  I then used the curves adjustment and made it a little darker.  I didn’t want to go too dark, I just wanted the highlights out there to be toned down.  I also thought the bottle on the cupboard right next to Angel’s face was a little distracting, so I darkened it as well.

This next bit might seem a little strange, but I darkened the who image with curves.  Not a lot, just a little bit. I need to start working on other parts of the image now.

I decided to try and get rid of the highlights from Anna’s glasses.  I couldn’t get rid of all of them.  Removing the one on the left seemed funny, so I left it there, but I like that you can see the other eye better now.  To remove the reflections I used the content aware tool, though I tended to use it more like a patch, picking an area and then covering the reflection with that patch.  I might have to do a tutorial on it sometime.

Next I used the lasso tool, circled in red, and drew around the outside of Anna.

I did Shift F6 to select feathering, and made it 300 pixels, and then selected the curves tool again.  I lightened up Anna, so she wouldn’t be so dark.  The feathering stops the curves from only going to the edge of the selection, but it will soften the edge outwards.

I did exactly the same thing with Angel.

I don’t want to go to much further with the lighting now.  I was thinking of making the background darker, but have decided that adding a blur layer may help distract us from the background more.

I added a new layer, then applied the image (you do this under image at the top), went to the filters, selected blur, then Gaussian Blur, I have made the blur quite heavy, but there is always the option of making the layer less opaque, which will tone it down afterwards.  I have added a mask and selected the brush.

I used the brush to take away the blur on Angel and Anna.  Now only the background is blurry, and I also reduced the opacity to 77%.  I have saved this version, because this is probably going to be the best one.  Though, there is one more thing I want to try.  Gradient, not sure it will be any good, but it can’t hurt to try.

I haven’t added a lot, you can see the tool I used, and I circled the opacity at the top so you can see that it was done at 51%.  I didn’t want to make it too strong.  I used the gradient that will go from black to transparent.  Of course, you have to make sure the black is in the front of the colours at the bottom of the tools, or you will get white instead.

I guess the test now is to see if I made a difference.

So the original again.

Now the edited one.

I suppose the only person who can say whether or not it is any good is going to be Marie, so I will have to wait to hear from her to see what she thinks of what I did.  I am happy, and I do think the edited one looks better than the original.

I have never done a tutorial like this before.  It is probably a bit scratchy, I hope you can understand what I have done to it.  If you have any questions, then please ask.  It is quite a complicated process all this.  Pretty normal for me though.

I must thank Marie for allowing me to do this.  Next week, I’ve had a request to do some still life and how I do the backgrounds, like with the lilies.

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