Monday, May 29, 2017

Working on a tan in Photoshop

Now that I am living and photographing in Florida, I'm also having to deal with many outdoor subjects in situations I didn't have to face much when photographing up north. Down  here I'll be doing a lot more of my outdoor work around pools and beaches. On a recent lifestyle shoot with one model, I photographed her in a pool. Looking at the shot later in Photoshop, I decided that her skin looked a little too light and also not tan enough. Enhancing a tan in Photoshop is not very difficult. There are many ways of doing it. I have a fairly simple solution I thought might be of interest. So here it is.

Above is the original image. I used the Quick Selection tool to make a select just the model's skin. The selection edges don't have to be perfect. Next, create a separate layer from the selection by pressing CTRL-J.

The skin layer should look like above image. We will use two adjustment layers to enhance both the color and darkness of the tan. These will be placed just above the skin layer. The first adjustment layer is Brightness/Contrast. Click on the small down-arrow at the bottom of the adjustment layer so that is will be only applied to the skin layer below it, and not to the over all image. You can adjust this layer to suit the about of darkness you want. I used a -41 on the brightness and +19 pm the contrast.  

Next add a Color Balance adjustment layer below the Brightness/Contrast layer so that both are being applied only to the skin layer below them. Enhance the tan color by increasing the Cyan/Red and Magenta/Green Midtones.  I used a +32 and +4 as shown below. 

The Layers menu below shows how I had the layers laid out. The little down-arrow on the left indicates that the adjustment layers will only act upon the skin layer immediately below them. You want to keep both of the adjustment layers active at the same time and adjust them in unison. Note also that I painted out some of the effect form some areas that were already a bit dark by painting with a soft black brush on the Brightness/Contrast layer.

The photo below is the completed image with a darker, even tan covering the model. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Over Manhattan with a Leica M10 and 24mm Summilux lens

No sooner had I moved to Florida than I had to return to New York to cover a few assignments. One of the more interesting assignments was to teach a Leica Akadamie Workshop on night photography from a helicopter over Manhattan. After a hands-on afternoon course on the techniques of photographing from a moving helicopter with the doors off and the wind blowing, the whole class went aloft just after sunset to capture the city as the lights were coming on.

We lucked out with the sun breaking through the clouds at sunset to add some color to the sky. Participants were able to use the latest in Leica equipment on the flight, in addition to  carrying another camera of their own.

I wanted to try out the new Leica M10 and fit it with a fast f/1.4 aperture 24mm Summilux lens, definitely my favorite lens for this type of photography. The fast aperture keeps my ISO down and shutter speed high enough to freeze the motion from a handheld shot in a vibrating helicopter at night.

Below are some of the photos I took with my one camera/one lens outfit.

We may be doing a Leica Workshop like this again, both in New York and some other spots around the US. So stay tuned to Leica if you are interested in attending. The workshops have a tendency to sell out quickly.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Experimenting in Florida with the Fuji X-T2 and 18-135mm lens

In case you're wondering where I've been with new postings, I spent the past couple of weeks moving studio and residence from New York City to Florida. Turned out to be a much more daunting task than I could have imagined. Nonetheless, I have finally settled in -- somewhat -- and had a bit of time to pick up a camera to take some photos of the local flora.

I used only the Fuji X-T2 and my favorite do-it-all lens, the Fuji 18-135mm zoom. I did add some post-processing technique to most of the images to give them a distinctive look. Hopefully, I won't be offline so long again, although I am heading back north tomorrow to shoot a couple of assignements and also teach an aerial photography workshop for Leica. Next week, I'll be back in Florida attempting to re-establish a semblance of my normal shooting schedule.

Banana leaves softened in Photoshop. 

For this variation I created the feel of a platinum photograph, also adding the sunburst from my MCP Actions Sunshine Overlays.

For this photo, I removed the background and substituted another one I had in my files. 

Simple as it looks, this photo was one of the more complex. I duplicated the layer in Photoshop, softened it with a heavy Gaussian blur, changed the layer to "Multiply", and the lowered the layer's opacity. 

Substituted a black background at the bottom of this image and increased the contrast considerably. 

Another platinum photograph effect I did in Photoshop.

This is an Acros image converted to infrared, which is why the sky is darkened and the green leaves brightened to white.