It's been a little while so I reasoned some new free Photoshop Actions were in order! As you may recall, I create Actions based on simple processes I find myself doing regularly in my retouching workflow, mostly in the interest of convenience and efficiency. Today, however, I've essentially updated a previous Action I gave away, now dubbed Smart Flare. Let's break down what it does and why.
Articles written by Nino Batista
Short version of the story: I love issuing challenges to the awesome readers of Fstoppers, but I also have this wild schedule of mine that changes at a moment's notice this year. So, without wasting more of your time, I'll just say "my bad" and get right to the Capture One Pro EIP Challenge winner.
Adobe Photoshop is a visual cacophony of tools, tools, and more tools. There is seldom just one way to accomplish the look you are after, and beginners endlessly scour YouTube seeking the end-all answers to their questions only to find 27 different ways to, say, "add contrast." It can all be a bit confusing until you remember one key thing: There is no right and wrong. If you get the result you like, and those viewing your work seem to like it, then you've succeeded. To that end, I wanted to review one (of the dozens of possible) ways I utilize Gradient Maps for my color work in Photoshop.
I'm back with yet another editing contest, but this one has a twist you'll either love or hate. As I was recently in San Francisco teaching alongside Dave Gallagher, CEO of Capture Integration, for our course on CreativeLive, it occurred to me that almost no one (at least) that I knew personally edited solely in Capture One. That is, taking an image to completion using nothing but Capture One, which would mean not using the sacred Adobe Photoshop in any way. Challenge accepted?
Way back when, before traveling and scheduling became a bit crazy for me, I issued a second Retouch Challenge to Fstoppers readers, offering up a raw file from a shot I did of model Anna Truett in St. Louis. After receiving a couple hundred submissions, I have finally (no, really) selected my favorite ten edits. Let's take a look!
If you've seen my quick tutorial videos about the Photoshop actions that I make and use in my workflow before, then you know I am obsessed with detailed control of everything from shadows and highlights to color and texture. Today, I'm reviewing one of my newer actions, high and low contrast boost control, and showing you why I use it.
A few months back, I mentioned that I had been given an exclusive invitation to spy on the Shoot The Centerfold seminar in Miami. This much celebrated glamour photography event features the pinnacle of models and educators in the genre, and goes down twice a year alternating between Miami, FL and freaking Santorini, Greece or some other insanely exotic location.
The iconic AlienBee has been one of the most popular strobe units ever since their debut in 2001, and for good reason. Developed to be the perfect balance of price and quality (which is something that's tricky to pull off in the world of gear) their reputation spread quickly. Sure, you can always spend many, many, many thousands of dollars on studio lights in order attain top quality equipment, but it's never been easy purchasing a strobe rig when more restrained budgets are a concern. Enter Paul C. Buff.
If there is one comment I hear the absolute most at my studio lighting workshops, it's "Nino, I need to learn studio lighting. That stuff is hard. I'm a natural light portrait shooter and that's much easier." This is a statement I could not disagree with more, and here's why.
It's been a long time coming, but today's episode of my weekly web series, The Backyard, finds my co-host Staci and myself reviewing our three favorite edits from (what I dubbed) the Dani Diamond Experiment, posted almost two months ago. I allowed you all to download a raw file I shot of Staci in Miami and let you loose on it to retouch it as you saw fit. The results? Let's take a look.
After receiving almost 300 submissions to my previous raw file challenge (inspired by Dani's post last year), I decided to cap the entries at 200, because why not, and also put out a second raw file and an all new challenge. This time, with a shot of model Anna Truett, shot inside the Union Station Hotel convention area in St. Louis.
Recently I babbled on and on about shadow and highlight recovery using raw data in Capture One Pro, something I still fully endorse and recommend you do in your post production work when recovery is needed or wanted. However, feedback and practical thinking made me create a simple Photoshop Action that sets up one of my more common methods for simple shadow recovery, but in a refined and manual way.
I am calling this the "Dani Diamond Experiment", because he has done this before, and I thought the end results were fascinating. See, Dani's been known to offer a totally unedited raw file of an image he shot as a free download, asking photographers and retouchers to have a go at finalizing the shot however they see fit. Rather than specifically ask anyone to retouch the image in any particular style or use any particular workflow, the idea is to simply offer the raw file with no instructions beyond "Edit it!" and see what happens.
One of my favorite little quips to drop on my workshop attendees is "Did you know that models are, as it turns out, human?", which usually just yields a few chuckles. But the truth is, that is just my lead in and my way of sarcastically reminding model photographers that fashion and glamour models have opinions, preferences, and emotions as much as anyone else. Which is sadly something that seems to be overlooked in the often callus industries of fashion and glamour. To that end, I invited some Texas based pro models to sit down with Staci and I discuss the industry.
Recently, during my annual trek to Las Vegas for WPPI (wherein I arrive in the city of sin and proceed to actively avoid going to the actual expo because I book too many other things), I found myself in the deserts outside of Vegas with a Sony A7RII, a few bits of glorious Zeiss glass, no modifiers or lighting of any kind, and Renee Robyn as my model. Welp, guess it was time to see what Sony's dynamic range claims were truly about then.
Late last year, Playboy magazine announced that starting this month, March 2016, the publication would no longer - simply enough - feature nudity. This announcement was immediately received as shocking, welcomed, amazing, derided or just plain hated, depending on who you asked. Curious as to the impetus behind the format change, I asked Jarmo Pohjaniemi about it when we spoke recently, and have since heard from another Playboy master lensist, Ales Bravnicar, about the matter. Bravnicar and I also discussed his phenomenal career and his upcoming retrospective in an upcoming international Playboy edition.
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.