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Lance Nicoll
New Orleans, LA

Articles written by Lance Nicoll

Dramatic Beauty Tutorial Part 2: Preparing Your Image for Retouching Using Lightroom and Camera Raw

In Part 1 of our Dramatic Beauty Portrait Tutorial, we looked at the lighting setup, gear breakdown, and shooting of our dramatic beauty shoot. In Part 2 of the tutorial we will now look at two different ways of exporting and preparing your image for retouching. The first method involves creating versions in Lightroom and exporting directly to Photoshop. The other method utilizes Adobe Camera Raw and the ability to make variations within Photoshop. I will also discuss the overall goal of our pre-edit stage.

Dramatic Beauty Portrait Tutorial Part 1: Complete Lighting Setup and Gear List

This is Part 1 in what will be an 8 part series for a dramatic beauty portrait. In the series of tutorials, we will go through everything from the gear used, to the lighting setups, and all the way through the complete retouching process. In Part 1, I will breakdown my gear list used for the shoot and I will thoroughly go through my lighting setup. In this video tutorial not only will you see the gear and setup, but also a behind the scenes look as me and my team go through hair, makeup, and shooting. The complete series of videos will be available here on Fstoppers and on my YouTube Channel.

Start to Finish Fashion Editorial Retouching: Part 2

In Part 1 of the "Start to Finish Fashion Editorial Retouching" tutorial, we looked at how to clean up a white background, how to liquefy clothing to achieve a better fit, and how to clone and heal out distracting elements in our editorial image. In Part 2 we will look at how to go about the more common and essential retouching steps including: skin retouching using dodge and burn, color toning, sharpening, and value adjustments. In this video, I take you through each step and give you insight into the "why" as well as the "how" of editorial retouching.

Finding Your Way To Professional Photography: 5 Things I Learned From Sitting Down with John Schell

I was originally going to call this article "five things I learned from coffee with John Schell" but in typical Schell fashion, our meet up involved Pho which doesn't mix too well with coffee. The former Fstoppers writer and current Los Angeles-based photographer has had one of the quickest rises to popularity that I've seen in photography in quite some time. His identifiable style and consistent stream of quality work have made him an extremely identifiable brand that has grown a 20,000 plus Instagram following in a fairly short amount of time. Here are five things I learned about Schell, his work, and his journey to photography.

5 Lighting Setups For Shooting in Direct Sunlight

Shooting in harsh sunlight is always a challenge. Recently I shot a test while out on a trip in Los Angeles. Due to scheduling we had to start shooting around 4 p.m., so we were dealing with hard sunlight. In this post we will look at five different setups you can use to shoot in and manipulate these less than ideal lighting conditions. In a previous post, I showed how to quickly scrim hard lighting. In this quick tutorial we will look five different ways to light while in the same environment and conditions in order to alter the look of our image.

Start to Finish Fashion Editorial Retouching: Part 1

Post-Production and Retouching is just as much an integral part of creating a great image or series of images as pre-production and the actual shoot, especially when you are shooting for a client and not just for yourself. Each genre of imagery, advertising, beauty, fashion, etc. has a slightly different set of rules and parameters when it comes to retouching. In this tutorial we will look at the complete start to finish of a fashion editorial image. Last week I posted the complete gear list for this exact shoot. This week we will look at the first part of retouching, including cleaning up our white seamless and correcting distractions in our image.

Editorial Fashion Shoot: A Complete Gear List

I will soon be releasing a start-to-finish retouching tutorial video here at Fstoppers on my most recent fashion editorial photoshoot. But before I do, I wanted to start warming our readers up with a complete gear list. In this article, I share with you everything I used on my shoot, the breakdown of costs, and where to find all the gear and extras: from the Profoto Strobe all the way down to the gaffer tape.

5 Final Steps Before Completing Any Retouch

Having a process is one of the most essential keys to success in art, design, and photography. In this tutorial we will look at what to do after we have completed all of the major changes to our portrait retouch. In the beginning of our retouching we will commonly address larger issues like blemishes, distractions, tone smoothing, dodging and burning, and color corrections. But, after completing the major steps of our retouch, what are the finalizing steps in our process? Let's take a look at the five final steps you should follow before completing any portrait retouch.

10 Things I Learned From Interviewing Fashion Photographer Matthew Jordan Smith

Matthew Jordan Smith has gained a reputation as one of the industry's top fashion photographers and also as one of the leading photography educators. Those of us who have seen Smith teaching or in interviews have been left with the same impression: he is a photographer and instructor that is forthcoming, sincere, and passionate. My experience in interviewing him proved all of these to be correct. Smith was both very candid and insightful, and here are 10 takeaways from my interview.

Saving A Bad Retouch | Recovering Texture and Tone From an Overdone Retouch

Knowing when to stop is the hardest lesson to learn for those new to retouching. In this tutorial we will look at how to recover lost texture and over smoothed skin tones, even when your file has been flattened. In this image the texture has been over retouched resulting in a significant loss in the skin texture. The transitions between skin tones have also been slightly overdone. Frequency Separation is a term we see in retouching all the time its also a technique I'm working on using less and less and bring in as a last resort. By using frequency separation here we can borrow texture and...

The Complete Guide To Product Photography and Retouching | RGG EDU has released its newest tutorial, "The Complete Guide to Product Photography and Retouching." This in-depth tutorial features over 20 hours of content on shooting and retouching, taught by Tony Roslund. The tutorial is currently available and being sold with a $25-off early-bird discount, this week only. Use the promo code 25OFF to recieve the discount at checkout. RGG brings us a curriculum based approach to teaching photography with 55 Pre-production, 11 Photo Shoot, and 11 Retouching tutorial videos.

Branding and Logo Design for Photographers: Part 2

In Branding and Logo Design for Photographers Part 1, we looked at the initial steps of self-analyzing, market research, and competitive analysis. Now we move into the designing of our photography brand logo with possibly the most important step: identify and separate. The happy medium of fitting in with your genre enough to connect while contrasting from your field enough to stand out is a tenuous balance. Following these steps will help photographers and non-photographers build a strong competitive brand.

Branding and Logo Design for Photographers: Part 1 of 2

Being fiscally successful as a photographer requires more then just taking great pictures. Branding, marketing, and promoting are huge aspects of the business of photography. One of the first steps photographers often take when starting their business is designing a logo, but this can often be a mistake. Before designing a logo, photographers or really any business should carefully develop and create their brand identity. In this post, we will look at the multi-stepped process of developing and designing a photography brand.

Save Big on Photography Gear With Academic Pricing

After 13 years of being involved in academia as either a student or instructor, I stumbled upon possibly the best way to save big on photography gear: educational pricing discounts. For years I have been aware of discounts on software and other items from websites like JourneyEd and Academic Superstore, but it wasn't until very recently that I found some of the biggest brands in lighting — Profoto, Elinchrom, and Broncolor to name a few — offer great discounts for students and teachers.

 Scrim It and Light It - How to Photograph in Hard, Direct Sunlight

Learning to find the perfect light is something that takes time and experience. But what do you do when the perfect light isn't there? Shooting in hard sunlight isn't always the most flattering or ideal situation. Don't settle for less than ideal results, bad light doesn't have to mean bad images. In this tutorial you'll learn how to defeat hard light by scrimming and lighting to completely reset your lighting conditions and take control of your shoot.

How to Create a Super Easy White Backdrop Lighting Setup

Shooting on a clean white backdrop can be one of the more complex in-studio lighting setups around. Properly exposing for full lengths while giving your models room to work can require four or more extra lights and considerable amount of setup time. While taking the time to take care of the details is important for getting the perfect image and saving yourself hours of retouching on the back end, sometimes you just want to get a nice clean background without the hours of prep.

The School Sessions - Photographers Raising Money for Children in Haiti

The School Sessions is a novel idea and concept started by the photography community in an effort to help raise $200,000 on April 12, 2015 for building a school in Mellier, Haiti. The students of this community were greatly affected by the 7.0 earthquake that occurred in 2010. They are asking photographers from all over the world to sign-up and donate their session fee from one or more of their portrait sessions on that day.

How to Build Your Fashion Portfolio on a Budget

Building a quality portfolio can be an expensive endeavor, especially if you don't budget and carefully consider your costs. Putting together professional quality shoots on a budget can be challenging. After experiencing some of the wide variations in cost for things like models, makeup artists, and the other essential pieces of a shoot, I wanted share my experiences and lessons learned the hard way.