Contest Entry: Sean Armenta Deconstructs A Beauty Shot

We knew there were going to be a lot of last minute contest videos submitted but never would we have thought this many of you would have waited until the last minute. I want to thank everyone for participating but I'll give no sympathy to those who lost lots of sleep this weekend trying to meet deadlines since you had 90 days to do this! Sean Armenta's BTS video is the latest of the last minute entries, and in it he shows how you can create clean and professional beauty shots just like you seen the pages of women's magazines such as Elle, Vogue, and Glamour. All of this was also done with just one light which should help those of you on a budget. Check out Sean's website as well since he has some amazing photos in his portfolio!

Sean Armenta | One Light Beauty Setup from Sean Armenta on Vimeo.

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Levy Moroshan's picture

Very cool. Love the fact that Sean strives to get the image as close to perfect in camera. I agree with that. I hear photographers way to often say "I'll take care of it in post". :)

Would love to see some Photoshop advanced techniques from this guy. Seems to be pretty good !

Best vid!

Yeah, that was just top notch material right there. Fantastic job Sean.

That was Awesome!

I thought the Golden Rule of Photography was:
"... perfect in camera ..."

I agree with Simon, would love to see a BTS just on the Photoshop work he did.

This was really informative Patrick... Thank you so much!!

most helpful yet. love the simplicity of the shoot and the detailed set up help

Sean Armenta's picture

thanks guys -

yes i am very nitpicky about image quality in the capture stage - anyone who has been on set with me especially makeup and hair people can attest to that. in reality though, it's really just taking a few extra steps and a little bit of time when you are doing your test shots that make a world of difference. if the hairstylist can take 2 seconds to spray some strays down, that saves me time in post from having to fix that. same with makeup - it takes a makeup artist 5 seconds to fix a lip line. again, time saved in post.

i will definitely be doing a basic post production workflow video - will probably break it up into steps and have some for a specific purpose, such as beauty retouching. it's just that for this contest entry i didn't want you guys to sit through more than 10 mins of me droning on and on.

Brilliant entry - really love how each step was explained in detail and also how the setup wasn't overly expensive with a fantastic outcome - awesome!

Clear, Informative, Excellent Result! - but please slow down on the Photoshop stuff!!!

Lovely video, and well presented thanks for sharing. I'm couldn't tell from the video, but it looked like you were either using a third party PS plugin, or even another program for retouching, please could you tell us more?

Sean Armenta's picture

thanks stu - yes i do use imagenomic's portraiture and noiseware plugins as an integral part of my post production workflow. a more in-depth retouching video is in the works which will outline this in a step by step manner.

Awesome video, straight to the point, very informative.
Outstanding job, mr. Armenta.

I enjoyed this one a lot. Curious about one thing though, why did you shoot at f/16 when you metered at f/16.7 ?

Sean Armenta's picture

foo - any meter reading you take will be for a middle gray, whether you use your in-camera meter or a handheld incident meter. you have to take into account what value you are exposing for, in this case, i was exposing for fair skin, which of course, is a lighter value than a middle gray. therefore, you have to deviate from the reading the meter gives you in order to arrive at the "correct" exposure.

Kristopher Armstead's picture

First off... thanks for the inspiration, and the great video. I do a lot of beauty photography, and fashion work. I'm trying to get my skills up to where yours are!

My question for you is this... When doing skin smoothing... Do you worry about the loss in detail in the client/model's skin when or if the picture is enlarged for print? You see, I used to smooth skin on clients as well, BUT... the more I researched the methods of the top retouchers in industry, the more I see them using dodge and burn techniques to create flawless skin as opposed to the healing brush, and patch tool, and clone stamp. I was wondering what your thoughts were on this, and if you've ran into any issues using the third party plugins like Portraiture 2 and such.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Sean Armenta's picture

hi Kris,

no not at all. portraiture 2 when used properly, will yield the same results if not better at a fraction of the time it would take you to do it "manually" using in-program photoshop techniques. the image must be properly "prepped" using simple tools such as the clone stamp and healing brush before running the plugin. i have no loss of skin texture, in fact all the natural skin texture is retained and can even be enhanced. i shoot a lot of beauty so obviously retaining skin texture is of the utmost importance to me. i will try to upload a full res version so you can see the amount of skin texture present in the final retouched image.

love ur vid brotha, it's one of the best ive seen prolly the best every helpful. Yoh the man sean.

Btw, It's Jig fellow PINOYGRAPHER!!!

great video - more more !!! Would like to see what you did in pshop - amazin work

This was fantastic! Looking forward to the post production tuts Sean!

Wow! you have always been an inspiration to me and just simply amazing..proud of you Sean!

Sean, that was really enjoyable to watch as well as very informative. Great video.

LOVE this BTS video. His lighting is so clean and beautiful. Hope it wins. Totally loving my beauty dish at the moment, now to make a reflector.

Jeremy Hohertz's picture

I agree, I am very interested in seeing a BTS of your post work!

This is the best tutorial video i have ever seen. 5 of 5.

Best video i've seen so far. Vary helpful and informative!

Sean, thumbs up for this awesome video. Very informative and to the point. As said above, would be VERY inspiring and beneficial to have a step by step of how you post processed the RAW file in PS. Great entry. Thank you so much!

Wow, I'm blown away. Clear, informative and professional. Definitely one of my favourite bts video so far.

miha zero's picture

Sean, most amazing video. I`m amateur photographer and was always wondering about how you get some things done, and you answered about 95% of those with your video. BTW what is that song you used as background? I have been humming it for past half an hour non stop.

Awesome BTS and tutorial! I think my favorite so far. I'm really impressed by what you can do with one light. Thanks very much for sharing. :D