Recently, while on a speaking engagement in St. Louis, I had some time to chat up several glass manufacturer reps at the conference and ended up testing several lenses, including a side-by-side comparison of the new Sigma 135 f/1.8 Art and the manually focusing Zeiss 135 f/2 Milvus (read that here if you missed it). I also snagged a new 85mm option from Tamron, the 85 f/1.8 Di VC USD, and spent a couple of hours with it. How did it go? Well, let's just see.
Articles written by Nino Batista
It's been a good while since I've bothered reviewing any gear, so when presented with a bevy of manufacturer booths at a conference I was speaking at in St. Louis recently, I decided it was time to once again test some equipment and babble about it a little. In this case, I pitted the brand new Sigma 135 f/1.8 Art against the year-old Zeiss 135 f/2 Milvus, because why not.
I have been asked countless times over the past few years about how I go about culling and selecting portrait shots from a shoot. Frankly, I have had so much trouble trying to organize my thoughts on the matter into a cohesive tutorial, I opted to simply never do one. Until quite literally this morning. My approach was to click record and improvise whatever popped into my head. So, as the catchphrase says, "Here goes nothing!"
If you've been shooting any type of portraiture for a significant amount of time, you will likely find yourself working with a handful of subjects (or perhaps even just one) on a recurring basis. Most of us have been there, or are there right now. Perhaps you have one specific model that you've worked with for years (your "muse" as it were), or maybe you go in phases with a different select model for a few months before moving on to another. But is this practice a good idea or not?
I'm back today with another utility Action for you all to download, for free, and see how it works for you. It deals with luminosity mask level control of what I often call the Big Three of image control: highlights, mids, and shadows. It's the most common use of luminosity masks, so, why not streamline it into an Action?
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.
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.