Posts By Brad Moore

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That’s A Photoshopped Photo, No?
When I started photography in 2005 and was proudly starting to share my work with the world – that was a common reaction to my photos.

Most of the people enjoyed my work, but I would get this comment:

“This must have been Photoshopped.”

Indeed it was, for example:

The Carrousel in Louvre Paris

This is a photo of the Carrousel at the Louvre. I added some clouds and a sepia look, but kept some of reds as natural colors.

I went under the Eiffel tower and we had a very nice sky, with a wide angle lens, I got this shot. Loved the sky that end of afternoon

This is an HDR shot of the Eiffel Tower where I added some magenta in the sky to make it more dramatic.

This is the Pont Neuf Bridge in Paris with a nice sky.

Here is a photo of the Pont Neuf in Paris. I changed the sky and did a lot of dodge and burn on it, love the photo. I’m selling this photo to one of the biggest network galleries in the world – it has 85 physical galleries. The gallery really liked it despite the “Photoshop effect.”

I always felt a little guilty changing skies, or adding too much dodge and burn. I felt like I violated some kind of sacred oath that photographers had signed to not use any of these tricks on their photos.

When somebody tells me, “You used Photoshop!” I hear, “You are just good with software, but you are not actually a real photographer.”

Then one day I started using an ND filter and doing long exposure which lead to this kind of photo:

Notre Dame Paris longue Pause

The magenta came mostly from the use of the filter. The stretchy clouds and the silky water came from the long exposure. So this time the drama did not come from software but from a dark piece of glass that you screw onto the camera.

I wondered, “Is using an accessory to create an effect more legitimate than using software?

Then I started using an 85mm f/1.4 lens that gave a very shallow depth of field and a superb bokeh to my photos.

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This is a portrait of me taken by a friend. Do you notice how the bokeh in the background is a special effect which was created by a lens? This is not something natural that you can observe with your eyes.

I came to the conclusion then, that no matter what you use to create your image, whether it is in-camera, in-software, or with the use of a filter or a lens, what matters is the emotional impact that the photo creates. Do my photos tell a story? Do people like it? Would they like to have it in their homes or offices?

In the end, for me, these are the questions that matter.

I also realize that sometimes people react to saturation, like some people used to react in the early 80’s when color television came out. I remember at home the brand new color TV seemed fake to me, I was only used to black and white.

Sometimes nature gives you very strong sunsets with amazing colors. When you manage to match them using Lightroom or Photoshop to the feeling you experienced at the time, they might feel fake, but to me they are a representation of what I was seeing.

For example:

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This is a beautiful sunset in Clearwater, Florida. I spent quite some time in Lightroom tweaking this photo until I felt like it was as saturated as my eyes remembered.

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A horse close to Chantilly France, looking straight into the sun, my eyes were almost blind, I corrected the color until I got the same impression.

What confused me even more – is black and white photography. I remember talking to the owners of Yellow Korner and they seemed to have a lot of admiration for black and white as being a noble photographic art.

So I started studying Ansel Adams’ workflow from his book, the camera, the negatives and the prints and realize how much he really controlled and retouched his photos using the zone system with a very complex printing process. I also saw some old black and whites from famous photographers who spent dozens of hours retouching them, much more then what we do today. This was mainly due to tools that were hard to use at the time. Try taking out a negative and skin spot with a needle!

Here are a few photos I took recently in Yosemite as homage to the work of Ansel Adams. I’m a big fan of his work.

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Then one day it hit me: When you do black and white, you are participating in an art form that has been here for decades and has been established as a form of fine art.

Even though I felt satisfied that the emotional impact was all I cared about, and that I would be creative with my photos, whether or not people enjoyed them, I still felt guilty when someone asked me if I used Photoshop or not.

One photographer fascinates me for his image and his success and that is Peter Lik.

He does beautiful photos that are very saturated, beautifully printed and, per what I have read, he is the biggest seller of fine art on the planet in recent years. I know some people love him and some people hate him (they are probably jealous.☺)

I get a lot of inspiration looking at his photos and I like to listen to what people say when they see his photos at his galleries. He has galleries all over the place New York, Vegas and I have spent quite some time there for inspiration and eavesdropping.

The public at his galleries usually don’t say “These are Photoshopped!” but more like “What a beautiful tree, or island or beach.” etc…

I’m sure Peter’s work takes a lot of Photoshop work, but that is not the response that he is getting.

I realized then, that as long as you retouch your photos to what people are used to seeing, you can get away with a lot. But when your skies start having a blue that the public is not used to seeing or too much magenta in my case, they react as if your photos are computer generated. But, if you managed to make fabulous color correction, within what the general public is capable of believing, you have created a whole different impact.

So that’s my game these days, to retouch my photos in such a way that they look dramatic (and hopefully nice), but the color has to remain within the realm of experience of the human race ☺

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This photo has quite a bit of dodge and burn, but I tried to keep it to an “acceptable to the human experience” range.

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I shot this from a helicopter at 8000 ISO.

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A sunrise in Paris just a few days ago.

All of this being said, next month I might go back to some super HDR like this:

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I just completed a full course on Landscape Photography that you can find right here.

I’m giving a super discount, for a limited time, to all of Scott’s readers by using the code: KelbySR at check out.

This is by far the training course I’m the proudest of, 48 videos with lots of live and examples from start to finish.

How do you like to retouch your photos? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading!
– Serge

You can see more of Serge’s work at SergeRamelliPhotos.com, learn from him at PhotoSerge.com, and follow him on Instagram, 500pxYouTube, Facebook, Twitter. You can also see Serge live in person at Photoshop World in Las Vegas July 19-21!

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Adobe Lightroom CC In-Depth: Unlocking the Power of the Adjustment Brush with Scott Kelby
In this class, Scott unlocks the power of local Adjustments in Lightroom and how to go way beyond simple Dodging and Burning to open a whole new world of editing. You’ll learn the most important shortcuts; techniques; brush settings; how to tweak the Adjustment brush so it works optimally, plus you’ll learn how to use the related tools, like the Graduated Filter, the Spot Removal Tool, and the Radial Tool (among others), plus you’ll lots of shortcuts, workarounds, and creative ideas to help really make the most of this amazing tool. If you’ve always wanted to take this genie out of its bottle and take your editing skills in Lightroom up a big notch, then this is the class for you.

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Adobe Lightroom CC In-Depth: Protecting Your Photo Library & Backing Up Your Lightroom Catalog with Scott Kelby
Your Lightroom Library of images is more than just thumbnails, it’s more than just your catalog, it’s more than just your images — it’s all of this, and Scott takes you through the process of having a solid system in place to back up your photos — that’s first and foremost. Then how to back up your Lightroom Library so if your library should become corrupt or you were to lose your computer (it crashes, gets stolen, you pour a Diet Coke into your keyboard, etc.), you can get back up and running fast. Lots of solid info here that will help you sleep better at night knowing that you are fully backed up and prepared for any problems that might come your catalogs, or images, way.

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Creative Studio Lighting: Constant, Strobe Mix “Dress on Fire’
Light gives you such control in the studio. You have the control to flatter your subject, set the mood, and even create ‘special effects’. When I first began photography I spent years trying to master traditional lighting including my desire to really understand the direction of light, quality of light, and how to flatter my subject. Eventually, however, I wanted to get a bit  more creative and advanced.

Seeking to take my lighting up a notch, I start to research advanced tutorials or creative lighting and I really didn’t find very much.

This is why I’ve spent the last several months to create my brand new ebook, The Creative Studio Lighting Guide with 30 creative studio setups. Whether you have one light, 4 lights, or unusual modifiers, it is going to help introduce you to entirely new worlds in the studio.

For this article I’d like to share one of the lighting setups you can find in this guide, and how mixing constant light and studio strobes can create stunning results. This setup is in the sample section of the guide that has 5 completely free creative lighting tutorials to get you started on your path to creativity in the studio!

Lighting Gear Used:

  • 2 Profoto D1 Air 500 Watt
  • Light 1 –  Profoto Softlight Reflector (beauty dish) + Grid
  • Light 2 –  Profoto zoom reflector with barn doors + gels (modeling light only)

Other Gear Used:

  • Rosco gel kit
  • Avenger D600 mini boom arm

Distance of Subject to Background:

  • Not Applicable

 

SETUP

Light 1:

  • Distance from subject: 32 inches
  • Distance off center: 9 inches
  • Height above eye level: 12 inches
  • Power (Fstops): F/9

Light 2:

  • Distance from subject: 52 inches
  • Distance off center: 20 inches
  • Height above floor: 24 inches
  • Power (Fstops): F/3.5

Camera Gear & Settings:

  • Camera: Canon 5D III
  • Lens: Canon 24-70mm 2.8 II at 24mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4 sec
  • Aperture: F/9
  • WB: Flash

Diagram

The goal of this studio lighting setup is to infuse energy and motion into the frame by mixing one constant light, one studio strobe and a long exposure. The end result will help this dress and the scene to come to life, making the dress appear as if on fire!

Let’s take a look step-by-step at considerations for building this two-light setup filled with movement and drama!

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Step 1:
You’ll want to begin by completely removing all ambient light in the shooting space. Be sure no light is coming through the windows and that overhead lights are turned off. This will affect the look of the final photograph.

Step 2:
Next, you’ll start with your main light. Place a strobe with a beauty dish with a grid as the main light illuminating your subject’s face. The beauty dish will create crisp but glowing light on the face. The grid will focus the light primarily around the subject’s face and torso.

As you can see in this image, by adding the grid the entire lower half of her body is completely in shadow. Since grids focus light and create more rapid fall-off of light, this is going to be perfect for adding the next element of the scene.

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Step 3:
Next, you need to add a second light pointed at the lower half of the subject’s body. For this light you will turn OFF the strobe capabilities and only use the modeling light. Here I have used a zoom reflector with barn doors and a red gel for creative effects. This light will be used to illuminate the dress, and I use the barn doors to make sure this light does not hit the subject’s face. This is one of the benefits of placing gels on barn doors: you can control the spill of light more precisely.

Now that the strobe capabilities are turned off and the ambient light in the room is eliminated, be sure the modeling light of this second light is turned up to its fullest power.

If you take a photograph while shooting at a ‘normal’ studio shutter speed (around 1/200 sec) you will see almost no light added to the bottom of the dress. This is because your exposure does not let in enough ambient light to record the color of the dress. In the next step, we will change this.

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Step 4:
In order to achieve see color/detail on the bottom of the dress, you will need to use a long shutter speed (aka ‘dragging the shutter’) to allow the background light to register in your exposure.

By using a longer shutter speed, in this case 1/4sec or 1/8sec, you leave the shutter open long enough to pick up the light from the modeling light.

With the longer exposure in this image you can see the red illumination registering on the bottom of the dress.

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Step 5:
Now is the time to get creative in this shot. Because of the long exposure, you now have the opportunity to add movement to your scene. In these examples I have thrown the dress in the air to create movement in the frame that registers through the long exposure. The moving fabric combined with the red gel results in a fiery appearance for the dress. Also try zooming your lens in or out, moving your camera left and right, or physically moving your body in and out during the long exposure. Each will produce different creative results.

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Tip:
Once you get all your settings right, you may want to turn off the modeling light on the beauty dish. During the long exposure the constant light from the modeling light may register on the subject’s face and create unwanted motion blur.

One thing to keep in mind for this shoot is that the subject’s wardrobe choice will make an impact on the final image. The subject will need to be wearing a clothing/items to pick up the light from the constant light (modeling light). In this case a shimmery dress is perfect for the effect. You’ll want to avoid dark colors or matte fabrics. Sequins, light colored clothing, or anything that shimmers will best showcase this effect.

Takeaways:

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By combining the constant light of a modeling light, a studio strobe, and a long exposure you can create truly striking and creative studio results. By dragging your shutter you are able to move your camera and/or subject to create interesting blurs and shimmers to your images that open up endless creative opportunities with just two light sources.

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If you’d like to see more from my Creative Studio Lighting Guide, definitely check out the link to download 5 FREE setups or check out the full guide of 30 creative studio setups available at http://learn.lindsayadlerphotography.com/creative-studio-lighting-guide.

You can see more of Lindsay’s work at LindsayAdlerPhotography.com, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also see her live in Las Vegas at Photoshop World from July 18-21!

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Transform Your Home into a Professional Photography Studio, Part 2
Join Rick Sammon for part 2 of his series on how to transform your home into a professional photography studio! Building on his previous class, Rick takes it to the next level by bringing in more advanced accessories, more advanced lighting techniques, and a professional model to show you a whole new set of tips and techniques that are easy to replicate. You’ll be surprised to see that without spending a lot of money or time, you can channel your energy and creativity into getting studio quality results in your own home. In each lesson Rick discusses the gear you’ll need, how to set it up, how to work with your subject, and then shows you how to get the shot.

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Build a Stunning Website in Minutes with Adobe Portfolio
Did you know you can have a beautiful, professionally-designed online portfolio up and running tonight for free, if you subscribe to any of Adobe’s Creative Cloud plans, including the Photographers Bundle plan? It’s called “Adobe Portfolio” and it’s included in your Creative Cloud subscription and this course, by Scott Kelby, is designed to take you, step-by-step through the simple process of getting your portfolio up and running right away. You’ll be amazed at how full featured Adobe Portfolio is, and how easy it is to pick your template, upload your images, customize your layout, and share it online. It’s way better than you’d think.

Raymond Osborne E-4 Military Police 1985 - 1992 Veterans Portrait Project Pleasanton, California

Mentorship is Invaluable
I’ve known photographers who hold their cards very close to their chest for fear of showing their proverbial hand. I’m not sure why they’re fearful. After all, you can teach someone a technique and they will not produce the exact same picture implementing those techniques. You see the technique may be replicated, the art and vision cannot. That’s solely distinct from one individual photographer to another.

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On the other hand, I’ve met photographers who pass it on freely without any expectation of return. In fact, I’ve been the recipient of such mentorship. That’s why I’d say I fall into the latter group. In my mind, there’s no harm in it. Some may argue that I’m grooming competition that could take food from my table. That’s a valid point, but I’m unafraid. I’m secure enough in my abilities to share with others without fear they’ll overtake me. I am who I am. They are who they are. Besides, I’d be very proud if they became uber-successful. That’s just another form of accomplishment – to have impacted someone’s life so greatly would be an honor. There’s also the old adage that healthy competition brings out the best work in all of us!Pearsall_Image-004 Pearsall_Image-005

To that end, I don’t view it as creating competition. Rather, I’m giving back to my profession. That’s why mentoring others is so important to me, and I do it in many ways. I’m listed as a mentor with the National Press Photographers Association, and I’ve written books and blogs, and I do podcasts, webcasts and public speaking. I talk to middle school, high school and college level students and teach professional photography workshops. Any way I can help, I try.

Over the last 15 years, I’ve developed many fun, unique ways to mentor and teach. I’ve had middle and high school photography student internships, college internships, first assistant opportunities for newly graduated photographers and more. There’s something to be said about improving yourself by cultivating others.

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Most recently I’ve used my program, the Veterans Portrait Project, as a learning tool. With the support of Nikon Professional Services, we provided Nikon DSLR cameras to 66 Raritan High School digital photography students so they could learn how to take studio portraits. For two days, we taught the art of portrait photography, how to communicate with strangers, types of lighting techniques, posing and exposure fundamentals. On the third day, the class culminated with a Veterans Portrait Project event where the students stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me and took portraits of local-area veterans. It was amazing to see how much the young students flourished behind the camera, and in front of our eyes. It was a huge success. Check out some of students’ work. I think you’ll be equally impressed.


At this point, you may be asking what’s the purpose of this post. This is my attempt at inspiring you to take someone under your wing, and be a mentor too. It’s also my round-a-bout way of saying we’re all responsible for the future of photography and we should all be contributing to its success. Whether photography is old-hat to you or you’re new to the game, you’ve got something to offer someone. Let’s be open, ready to share and inspire each other. Let’s flourish in this art together. See you at Photoshop World 2016!

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You can see more of Stacy’s work at StacyPearsall.com, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also see her live at Photoshop World where she’ll be teaching her class Combat From Behind The Camera!

From Flat to Fabulous with Scott Kelby
Take your photos from flat to fabulous with Scott Kelby! If you’ve ever experienced being let down by how a photo can look right out of the camera then this class is for you. Join Scott as he takes you from start to finish through his entire post-processing workflow on a wide variety of photos, with an even wider range of problems. You’ll learn how to use Camera Raw to do the basics, how to use Photoshop’s suite of tools for magically removing unwanted objects from the scene, how to crop, how to convert to black and white, how to do whatever it takes to make your photos look fantastic. Pull up a seat and watch over Scott’s shoulder as he shares his thought process, his tips, and his techniques for dealing with landscapes, portraits, collages, cityscapes, panoramas, and more. By the end of the class you’re sure to be thinking differently about some of those photos you were ready to delete, and you may uncover areas of Photoshop that you’ve never seen before.

In Case You Missed It
Ideally, every photo we take would be perfect: perfect exposure, perfect white balance, no backlighting, no harsh shadows. Of course the reality is that some images need to be fixed, and in this course we will look at ways to deal with common problems. In each lesson Dave will fix a problem image, real-time, step-by-step. Check out Fixing Photographic Problems with Adobe Photoshop with Dave Cross at KelbyOne!

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