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Julia Kuzmenko McKim Photography Tutorials

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With Julia Kuzmenko McKim and Aleksey Dovgulya
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About Julia Kuzmenko McKim

Julia is a Los Angeles based internationally published Beauty & Fashion photographer, digital artist, retoucher and educator. An International College of Professional Photography (Melbourne, Australia) graduate. Retouching Academy founder and Editor-in-Chief.

Popular Articles from Julia Kuzmenko McKim

The Ultimate Guide To The Frequency Separation Technique

Chances are you have already learned what Frequency Separation (FS) technique is, as it became mainstream in the past few years. However, many FS technique users actually know very little theory behind it, thus have little control over its implementation. I've set out to research and collect all the important and useful information about it, so we can together learn how to become better at it.

Shooting With Color Gels

There are times when I find myself shooting the same stuff or using the same lighting setup over and over again. Repetition helps to improve and fine-tune my skills, but sometimes it just feels boring and degrading, let alone useless for my portfolio.

But as much as I dislike feeling stuck and repeating myself, I now realize how such times in fact help me to become a better artist and shooter. It's usually the desire to entertain myself and experiment that leads me to new personal artistic discoveries. It's when I'm bored and want to "spice it up", I start searching for new lighting ideas, tricks and techniques.

The Ultimate Guide to the Dodge & Burn Technique - Part 1: The Fundamentals

Dodge & Burn (D&B) is a technique that came to us from the darkroom days when luminosity values in a photo could be only manipulated by the duration of the exposure of the light sensitive photographic paper. And while there’s so much that have already been published about it, I hope we can still shed some light on the aspects of it that are usually not mentioned in retouching tutorials.

How To "Read" Light In Photography - Part 1

One of the first very important skills I acquired in my Australian Photography course was the ability to breakdown lighting and determine approximate camera settings in images taken by other photographers. If you understand how the direction of light and its degree of diffusion are controlled and how they affect images, it should be easy for you to train yourself to "read" lighting in the images you see in magazines, on billboards and in your favorite photographers’ portfolios.

The Ultimate Guide to the Dodge & Burn Technique – Part 2: Setting Up For A Good Start

This is the second part of The Ultimate Guide to the Dodge & Burn Technique. Check out Part 1, where I covered the fundamentals of light and shadow rendering in painting here.

So, now that we understand that the shadows and highlights are what makes our 2-dimensional pictures appear to have more volume and dimensions, let's move on to the technical side of the Dodge & Burn implementation in retouching.

Secrets to Crafting Top-Quality Beauty Portraits: Posing & Framing

This is yet another article of the Secrets to Crafting Top-Quality Beauty Portraits series. If you haven't read the first three, you can find them here: on compositing, on shooting Beauty portraits on location and in studio.

Today I would like to talk about framing, posing and directing your models when shooting Beauty portraits. While lighting and compositing are very important parts of creating a striking image, the model's pose, facial expression and her body language can make or break it.

Shooting With Mixed Studio Lighting

When we talk about on-location mixed lighting we usually mean shooting with light sources of different nature, such as natural ambient light and artificial, or shooting with lights of different color temperatures (tungsten, fluorescent, flash, etc.).

There are dozens of cool effects that one can achieve when mixing ambient light with controlled lighting, but today I would like to talk about mixing lights in studio - impulse (i.e. strobe or flash) and continuous. I love this technique and hope my article inspires you to try it out too.

Preparing Yourself And Your Model For A Beauty Shoot

A few years ago when I was still new to the world of beauty photography and digital photo retouching, I prided myself on the ability to "fix it later in Photoshop." I would welcome retouching challenges as I was still learning, but things changed forever after I started working with professional teams and shooting for commercial clients.

There are a few unarguable reasons for getting it right in camera.

Choose Your Clients Wisely

When this post is published I will be on my way to Moscow, Russia somewhere above the North Atlantic Ocean. I have a couple of shoots booked with my regular clients there, and my relationships with those clients are so great and long-lasting that they inspired me to write this article.