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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.

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.

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.

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.

Secrets to Crafting Top-Quality Beauty Portraits: On Location Lighting

I am continuing my series of articles about creating stunning Beauty portraits and I would like to talk about on location lighting today. Please note that not only are we talking about advertising Beauty photography, examples of which you may see in the cosmetics section of a department store, or in fashion magazine ads, but we are also talking about simple female Beauty portraits that many of you are probably often hired to photograph for your female clients locally.

Concepts of Beauty, Biology and Aesthetics For Beauty, Fashion and Portrait Retouching

When I first attempted to retouch the photographs I took in 2006, I had no idea what I needed to do and how. Today there are thousands of video tutorials on the web on how to retouch, but nobody explains what it is that needs to be retouched to make a female face look more youthful, healthy and beautiful. It took me some time to figure out what the common problems that I needed to remove from my subjects' faces and bodies were, and what I had to alter to make them look more attractive.

Getting The Best Out Of Your Raw Files

I have been teaching retouching and photography for a couple of years, and I found that even my advanced students often didn't know some basic tools or techniques. Those gaps in knowledge are to be expected among self-taught photographers and retouchers, of course. However, I have just returned from my trip to Italy where the amazing Italian Photoshop guru and Wacom evangelist Marianna Santoni organized a series of educational events, in which I taught Beauty photography and retouching.

Case Study: How & Why Our Best Clients Choose Us

Before my trip to Russia in August I wrote about what we should keep in mind when choosing our clients. While in Moscow, I photographed my own best clients and I thought it would be very interesting to find out how we, photographers, get chosen too.

Needless to say, there are many factors that influence relationships between creative professionals and those who hire them. But I thought that interviewing my own clients could be a great case study and we all could learn something from their answers.