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.
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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.
This is the third part of The Ultimate Guide to the Dodge & Burn Technique. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 where we talked about the fundamentals and tools. Today we finally get to one of the actual setup variations for the Dodge & Burn technique in Photoshop. But before we begin, I'd like to share a few words of caution with you.
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.
Almost a year ago I posted The Ultimate Guide To The Frequency Separation Technique article and soon after that I created our Retouching Academy community group for retouchers and photographers who retouch their own work. We have been seeing a lot of before & after images posted there by artists of all levels from complete beginners to seasoned pros.
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.
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.
About 5 years ago, when I was still in my Photography college in Australia, our teachers would regularly introduce us to the new and noteworthy Australian photographers' and digital artists' work. Among others there was one artist, whose work really grabbed my attention and I have been watching her growth and success ever since.
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.
Anyone who is interested in portrait, fashion or/and beauty retouching knows how wonderful the Dodge & Burn technique is for skin retouching. We have talked about various methods and the fundamental knowledge of light and shadow rendering in 2-dimensional art before, and I would like to offer you yet another important piece of the D&B puzzle - the brush settings in Photoshop, which will help you achieve greater results when using this technique.
We all have cameras and know how to operate them. But how well do you understand the image forming principles? Modern technologies spoil us and we are often not required to possess any knowledge about the process behind the functions of a device. However, such knowledge can lead you to fun experiments like the one I am going to share with you today.
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.
My photographer-friend from Moscow Aleksey Dovgulya is visiting me in Los Angeles right now. We went to the same high school, but only met in 2008 after I got into photography. While I was studying in Australia Aleksey built an impressive list of commercial clients in Russia. In the past few years he has photographed for major brands such as Rolls-Royce, Renault, BMW, Schwartzkopf & Henkel, Benetton, Vogue, Christian Louboutin, and the list goes on and on.
I would like to wrap up my Secrets to Crafting Top-Quality Beauty Portraits series in a quick roundup on the most common mistakes I have been noticing beginner Beauty photographers make.
I will sure talk more about Beauty photography in the future, but I'd like to summarize a few things at this point.