Portraits

The Why and How of Test Shoots With Models

The Why and How of Test Shoots With Models

My high school enemy is my new best friend. I'm talking about a glorious thing called "tests." In the photo world, a test is a shoot set up for the sake of portfolio-building, experimentation, fun, or all of the above. It's not a paid shoot, but these suckers pay off big time. A test shoot is when you book a model (we'll talk about how) to shoot a concept that you put together. As I'm writing this, I actually have my journal open on my desk in mid-plan for a test that I'll be shooting later this month. Let's talk about a few reasons why testing is so important, how to find models, reach out to agencies, and what you need to do once your model is booked. Dig in!

Five Unusual Beauty Products to Help Speed up Your Retouching

Five Unusual Beauty Products to Help Speed up Your Retouching

Retouching is a great tool, one that can save pictures in some situations. However, there are a couple of things that can be really time-consuming and annoying to correct in post, two of them being flyaway strands and chapped lips. I am sure those two have happened to any of you who shoot portraits, beauty, or fashion. However, no need to fear these anymore! Jordan Liberty gives us his tricks to avoid them.

You May Be a Photographer, but Are You an Artist?

You May Be a Photographer, but Are You an Artist?

New York City born photographer/artist Roger Ballen spent the better part of the last four decades in Johannesburg, South Africa. In that time he has produced a body of work that has been described as a fictionalized visual dialogued between individuals, their architectural space, found objects, and domesticated animals. His approach has been hailed as among the most unusual and exciting developments in contemporary photography.

Finding Models to Work With Before Your Portfolio Exists

Finding Models to Work With Before Your Portfolio Exists

Lately, I've seen a surge of photographers complaining that they just don't know where to begin when getting started with portraiture. Taking that first step can be a daunting feeling, especially considering that you need to convince someone to take a leap of faith and model for you, despite your complete lack of a portrait portfolio. Personally, I never had a problem finding eager models; it came quite easily for me, so I figured now is a good time to share that experience and maybe give some soon-to-be amazing portrait photographers a little extra help in jumping out of the nest.

Top 5 Make Up Artists on Instagram and How They Will Make You a Better Portrait Photogapher

Top 5 Make Up Artists on Instagram and How They Will Make You a Better Portrait Photogapher

Just like ever camera owner is a photographer, every person who owns an abundance of MAC products is a makeup artist. At least that is how it seems on Instagram these days. There are now more makeup artists on social media than ever, and finding the right ones to follow can be tricky. Following the best makeup artists can make a portrait photographer better. If you follow them closely, you can step up your game.

A Quick Photoshop Action for Enhancing Soft Flare Effects

A Quick Photoshop Action for Enhancing Soft Flare Effects

Full disclosure: Creating this Action goes against many things I've stated in the past, including and especially my whole idea that "No Action should create effects for you". That said, with the huge influx of Action requests that I've been receiving, I reasoned this particular one is steeped wholly enough into "procedure" that it could possibly make a decent (and useful) automatic process. As such, let's have a look at my Soft Flare FX Action.

Smart Contrast Action: My Preferred Way To Increase Contrast in Photoshop

Smart Contrast Action: My Preferred Way To Increase Contrast in Photoshop

Nothing could be simpler than increasing contrast of your image in Photoshop, right? But as is my usual, I prefer control over convenience and take my contrast boosting a little more seriously than perhaps I should. In the interest of bringing some convenience back into the matter, I've created an Action for you to try out which showcases my most common contrast boosting method.

My Fave Way To High Pass Sharpen in Photoshop

My Fave Way To High Pass Sharpen in Photoshop

Sharpening your images in post has been discussed time and again in every manner of tutorial under the sun, and everyone has a preferred method that works for them. For me, I found I enjoy the look of a partial sharpen done with the classic high pass filter (and requisite blending mode) along with an appropriate luminosity mask to blend it where I want it. These days I've gone and made an Action for the process that seems to work for about 80% of my images. Let's review it.

My Favorite Black and White Conversion Method in Photoshop

My Favorite Black and White Conversion Method in Photoshop

Black and white photography may well be the ultimate classical expression of the art form, after all it is how photography started. It's still a continually popular aesthetic, even now well into the digital age. However, black and white images, in my opinion, should be simply more than the removal of color. Thankfully many thousands of photographers and designers agree with that, and the usage of black and white conversion methods and approaches is prevalent in the post production world.

Creative Spotlight: Meet the Photographer That Conceals His Subject’s Identities

Creative Spotlight: Meet the Photographer That Conceals His Subject’s Identities

Scrolling through Instagram, I came across a photo that I deemed worthy of a double-tap. Curious, I clicked on the profile to see more from the same photographer. Scrolling through his feed, I started to notice that although every photo included a human subject, there wasn’t a single face in sight. Intrigued, I had to know more and reached out: Meet Noel Alvarenga, the photographer who hides his subject’s faces.

Five Reasons to Shoot Medium Format Film

Five Reasons to Shoot Medium Format Film

Let us venture back in time for a minute. 35mm film was always considered small. In fact, it was developed in the early 1900s as a means to make high-volume shooting and consumer photography possible. If you were a working professional, you were shooting at least medium format (6x4.5-6x19 cm) or even more likely, large format, like 4”x5” or 8x10”. The idea is that the larger the format, the more detail you can see. As we fast forward to digital, full-frame is the ideal format for many working pros in a variety of genres. While full-frame can be expensive and yields incredible image quality, there is something more.

Out Of My Element: The First Time I Ever Shot In Snow

Out Of My Element: The First Time I Ever Shot In Snow

Despite having grown up around photography all my life (thanks, dad) and then starting my own commercial portrait business in 2009, there is one small little thing I'd never done before, silly as it sounds. I have never, ever shot in snow. Born in the Caribbean in 1975, then briefly living in Miami before settling down in Houston in 1979, I have truly never experienced real snow. But all that changed for me recently in Salt Lake City and Albuquerque - in January.