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.
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.
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.
So I've been posting more and more of the Actions I've been making and using lately, and this afternoon is no different. While today's Action creates a subtle effect, and may not be something everyone likes, I am posting about it because it's a process I use pretty frequently. Sure, it's not for every image, but sometimes it just does the trick. Let's review what it's all about.
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.
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.
Photographer Nick Saglimbeni recently shot an image of Jhené Aiko for a Humane Society campaign to save the shark population. The goal of the image was to photograph Jhené in the ocean at night (or at least make it look that way). To create this shot, Nick decided to use a pool and strobes to create a similar look.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Every portrait session with a new subject could bring new challenges. Some people are more comfortable in front of a camera than others, while some just take a little time to open up. I've put together a list of tips that may help you along the way during your portrait sessions.
Keeping a fair amount of texture seems to be an issue for a lot of photographers and retouchers. No matter what technique they use to clean the skin of a model, I often hear people trying to find a solution to get a more natural and visible texture. Here is one for you!
I admit it freely: I didn't used to pay attention or care about portrait lighting patterns. In fact, when a photographer would mention them around me, I would cover my ears and say "La la la la la" as loudly as possible while hurriedly trying to leave the room. There was a time where dismissing the standards was my usual, as was my tendency, but eventually I realized I was missing out on fundamentals that I could easily have built on and expanded rather than ignored. Just starting out? Don't make my mistakes.