Category Archives Photoshop

Above: our crew at Help-Portrait on Saturday. From LtoR: Pete Collins, Me, Matt Kloskowski, RC Concepcion, and Erik Bernskiold. Photo on laptop by Scott Krebs. 

On Saturday morning a group of us from Kelby Media Group (including Matt, Pete, RC and Erik Bernskiold [our buddy visiting this week from Sweden]) and were very fortunate to be a part of the wonderful Help-Portrait movement founded by our friend and entertainment photographer Jeremy Cowart, and once again it was a very special day for everybody involved.

Above: Here’s the main shooting room, with four shooting bays set-up side-by-side.

This year, RC organized our local Help-Portrait event, which consisted of photographers and assistants, make-up artists and hair stylists, IT wizards, and Photoshop retouchers, who call came together to make portraits for moms and their kids living at Operation PAR, a women’s drug abuse treatment center in Pinellas County, Florida. The women and their children live in a ‘village’ operated by the center, and for most of them this was their first and only portraits of them with their children (or even just photos of the kids by themselves).

Above: Here’s one of their first stops—make up. 

RC was out front coordinating the shooting, and Matt, Pete, Erik and I were in a separate room doing all the retouching and outputting 8×10″ finished prints right on the spot, and thanks to RC’s excellent planning and execution, the whole thing worked amazingly well.

Above: RC did an amazing job organizing our local Help-Portrait shoot, and here he is telling us how the workflow is set up, and just generally picking on Erik for being an industrial spy from Volvo.

Honestly, the retouching job itself was fairly easy, and we were in a completely separate room, and we had Christmas music playing all day, and it was actually a lot of fun to be a room with all these guys in the “retouching zone” but we needed to keep things light because every time you open a photo of a mom and her children in Photoshop, your heart breaks a little for them.

Above: Our buddy Erik Bernskiold (more affectionately known as “Erin Brockovich” or just “Brocky” during our retouching day), was in town this week and he volunteered to be one of the retouchers. We took him in this week like he was one of our own, even though we knew he was just here secretly spying for IKEA. 

I have to take my hat off to Jeremy for being behind of all this, because until you experience what this does for people yourself, you’ll never realize what it means to these people who are struggling in such a difficult chapter of their lives.

Above: Matt Kloskowski was just a few workstations down from me, and all day long Matt and I would sing our own versions of Christmas songs where we kept substituting Swedish phrases, Erik’s name, and some really lame Swedish jokes just to mess with Erik.

Ours is just one story in many of thousands around the world that Jeremy and Help-Portrait touched that day and I’m just so happy that we got to be a small part of it. Anyway, here are a few more behind-the-scenes shots from our day.

Above: That’s me at my workstation before the retouching zone got ramped up to full speed.

If you took part in a Help-Portrait shoot, and you’ve posted your images or stories from your day, I encourage you to post them here as a comment. Thanks to Jeremy (and locally to Dr. Michael Sheehan from PAR) for giving us a way to do something we love and get to give something back in such a meaningful way. For more info on Help-Portrait, follow this link. 

You know how Discovery Channel is always doing things like Shark Week? Well, we’re totally ripping them off this week by doing “Photoshop Retouching Week” (we even snagged the shark).

Each night this week at 6:00 pm EST we’ll be doing live FREE online seminars on portrait retouching with Photoshop to give you an idea of the kind of stuff we do every day at NAPP (the National Assn. of Photoshop Professionals). Plus, we’ll have deals and giveaways and other fun stuff.

Last night we kicked it off with Matt Kloskowski and Pete Collins doing some retouching techniques for Wedding Photographers. Tonight at 6:00 pm it’s Corey Barker and Professional Make Up Artist Shelley Giard showing how to apply “Digital Make-up” in Photoshop (some really amazing stuff here—stuff you won’t see anywhere else).

It’s live, tonight at 6:00 pm EST right here.  Hope you can join us!

P.S. We’ll be rebroadcasting all the classes this week free exclusively for NAPP members on the NAPP member site.

It’s here! It’s finally here!

If you’ve been a faithful reader of this blog for the past five years, you probably remember back when it was called my “Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide,”but last year I dropped the Gonzo because, honestly, I really have no idea what Gonzo actually means. However, I know what Awesome means, and that’s exactly what’s in this year’s edition (Yay—-wild cheers ensue!).

I think what makes it extra awesome is that I purposely avoided choosing any really expensive gear for the guide, and instead, I really tried to focus on choosing great value-for-the-money gear. Anyway, the Gonzo is out, the Awesome is totally in, and this year’s guide is packed with some really cool stuff that we absolutely, positively don’t need on any level, but we desperately want nevertheless because that is, after all, half the fun!

The Rules:

These are my self-imposed guidelines for which products make it into the guide. It’s just two rules actually. To be listed here, they have to be: (1) Products that I use myself, and that I absolutely love, and now can’t live without.(2) If a product makes the guide, it has to be one I would recommend to a close friend without hesitation.

With that being said, we’re ready to take the wraps off these year’s Gear Guide picks. Here we go:

ExpoImaging Rogue Universal Gels

I hate cutting gels. I hate messing with gels. That’s why I love these precut, super-easy-to-use, and clearly marked gels for hot shoe flash. Very cleverly and simply designed.

Price: $29.95

www.expoimaging.com

ExpoImaging Rogue Grid

If you use hot shoe flash, these little metal grids let you focus the light in a concentrated beam, and like their gels, they are cleverly designed and simple to use. The stacking grid design provides 16°, 25°, and 45° spot lighting control. I use the 25° grid.

Price: $49.95

www.expoimaging.com

Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4 Complete Edition

Version 3 of this Photoshop plug-in was my go-to plug-in for effects. I literally use it every single day, and I love it. My one complaint was you couldn’t stack effects—you had to relaunch it every time you wanted to add an effect. Version 4 lets you stack ’em high, but that’s only part of what they added to this major update. They made the best even better! This is many top pros’ secret weapon.

Price: $199.95

www.niksoftware.com

onOne Software Perfect Photo Suite 6

onOne has taken all of their amazing apps and tied them together into a suite of very powerful, flexible, and easy-to-use tools that you can access from Photoshop, Lightroom, or as standalone apps. Amazing stuff. The Suite includes Perfect Portrait 1, Perfect Layers 2, Perfect Effects 3, Perfect Mask 5, Perfect Resize 7, FocalPoint 2, and PhotoFrame 4. (Disclaimer: I’m totally biased, as I helped with the development of the Perfect Layers part of this suite.)

Price: $299.95

www.ononesoftware.com

Topaz Detail 2

If you really want that high-contrast, total compression look for your images, this plug-in (which Calvin Hollywood turned me on to) is really fantastic—and really affordable. I also like Topaz Adjust 4, which kind of a does a similar thing, only different. Luckily, you can download free, fully working demo versions of both and find out which one suits you.

Price: $39.99

www.topazlabs.com

Lumodi 14? Soft White Beauty Dish for Hot Shoe Flash

The beauty dish might be the hottest lighting accessory right now. It gives you a really nice, punchy light that’s not as soft as a softbox, but not nearly as hard as a bare reflector. Plus, it’s fairly inexpensive (as light modifiers go). I use the Elinchrom Softlight 80° 17? White Reflector beauty dish on my studio strobes, and I recommended it back in my “4th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide.” This time I’m recommending a beauty dish made by a company called Lumodi. They make a lightweight 14? version for hot shoe flash.

Price: $65.00

www.lumodi.com

Gossen DIGISKY

I’ve owned a few different light meters, but this is my favorite. It’s simple to use, and if you have Elinchrom lights, it has built-in Skyport support that triggers your strobes to make getting a reading even easier (though you don’t at all need Elinchrom lights to use it). Plus, it’s the best-looking meter out there (and looks matter to us).

Price: $449.99

www.gossen-photo.de

Tether Tools

If the photographer on your holiday list shoots tethered, she needs to have some Tether Tools gear. I use their laptop stand (Tether Table Aero), the two-drive holder (Aero XDC Duo) that attaches to the stand, and a handy strap (SecureStrap) that holds my laptop in place. I really love their stuff, and so will the photographer on your gift list.

Tether Table Aero: $175.95–199.95 (stand not included)

Aero XDC Duo: $54.95

SecureStrap: $17.95

www.tethertools.com

Westcott 7′ Parabolic Umbrella

This may be the best value in the entire gift guide this year. The Westcott 7′ Parabolic Umbrella is so huge and creates such beautiful light that, either way, the photographer you buy it for will think you spent a lot more for it than you did. The megapixel race is over. Now, whoever dies with the biggest softbox/umbrella wins.

Price: $99.90

www.fjwestcott.com

Olloclip

The Olloclip is quick-connect camera lens system for the iPhone. If you buy this for the iPhone-carrying photographer in your life, you will be his hero because this small, slide-on set of lenses is nothing short of brilliant, and it lets you create images with your iPhone you’d never imagine could be done: wide-angle, fisheye, and macro. And the price is right.

Price: $69.95

www.olloclip.com

The Joe McNally Ezybox Hotshoe

This is my go-to softbox when shooting hot shoe off-camera flash. It’s like the regular Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe softbox except that the interior is white instead of silver, so it provides a softer look. First disclaimer: Joe’s a personal friend. Second disclaimer: That’s not why I included it.

Price: $256.00

www.lastolite.com

Think Tank Photo AirStream Rolling Camera Bag

I so love this camera bag. I also have their Airport International Rolling Camera Bag, and it’s great, as well, but it’s not small enough to fit in smaller regional aircraft—but this puppy is. It holds an amazing about of gear for something so small. Love it!

Price: $299.75

www.thinktankphoto.com

The Latest Books from Matt and RC. And Me.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our own books, because they make really great gifts. Matt Kloskowski’s new book, Photoshop Compositing Secrets, is—I truly believe—the best book ever written on the topic. Period. People are losing their minds over this book. RC Concepcion’s book, The HDR Book, focuses on postprocessing in Photoshop, and it’s been a megahit. I have two new books out: Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. and my Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop. My company produced all these books (just so you know), but I asked a random reviewer (my wife) what she thought, and she said, “My husband’s books are awesome. Buy both.” It doesn’t get any more unbiased than that.

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It.: $44.99

Photoshop Compositing Secrets: $49.99

The HDR Book: $44.99

Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop: $49.99

www.kelbytraining.com or Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com

Hoodman HoodLoupe 3.0 with the Cinema Strap

If the photographer on your list shoots digital video with his DSLR, he’ll love this strap-on loupe that makes shooting DSLR video so much easier. If this is for a loved one, you might go ahead and spring for the Cinema Kit Pro instead, but they both work really well.

HoodLoupe 3.0: $79.99

Cinema Strap: $19.99

Cinema Kit Pro: $189.99

Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop: $49.99

www.hoodmanusa.com

Tiffen Variable Neutral Density Filter

If your photographer is into long exposure black-and-white images (and it’s a decent bet that she is), then slap one of these puppies on your gift list, and she’ll be shooting at the seaside at 2 p.m. It provides 2 to 8 stops of light control.

Price: $239.99

www.tiffen.com

Westcott Magic Slipper

This adapter lets you use just about any softbox that Westcott makes (and there are plenty!) with your hot shoe flash. This opens up a whole new world of light modifiers for off-camera flash, and the photographer on your gift list will love you for it.

Price: $229.90

www.fjwestcott.com

Paul C. Buff Vagabond Mini Lithium

At 240 bucks, this is one of the more expensive things on this year’s list, but it’s a much cheaper portable battery pack for studio lights than just about anything else out there, so it’s still a great value. It lets you plug regular studio lights into the standard 120VAC plugs right on the top. I’ve used it on location and it works surprisingly well (for the small size and small price).

Price: $239.95

www.paulcbuff.com

Well, there ya have it folks—this year’s ideas to fill your holiday gear dreams. Shop early. Shop often. ;-)

Hapyy Holidays everyone!

Dear Adobe:

As president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) I represent more than 70,000 Photoshop users around the world. However as I’m writing this open letter to you today, I would say that most of our 70,000 members have no idea about the upgrade policy changes you just announced, or about how these changes will affect them.

From the information I’ve gathered, it appears to me that this new upgrade policy for the next version of Adobe Photoshop and the Creative Suite (presumably called CS6) will leave a significant number of your customers with no affordable upgrade path to Photoshop CS6 or the Creative Suite.

It’s my understanding that when the next version of Photoshop and the Creative Suite is released, if you do not already own Photoshop version CS5 or CS5.5 (or the 5 or 5.5 Creative Suite):

(a) You will not be eligible to upgrade to Photoshop CS6 (or the CS6 Creative Suite). Instead the only way to get Photoshop CS6 at that point will be to repurchase the entire product again at its full price (presumably $699 US). If you’re a CS4 Creative Suite User, you’ll have to buy the entire suite all over again to move to CS6.

(b) For Photoshop CS4, or CS3 users, their only real option is to pay to upgrade now to CS5.5 (though you are offering a 20% upgrade discount upgrade until the end of the year), and then to pay again to upgrade when Photoshop CS6 is released, or sign up for your new monthly subscription plan.

While I understand that Adobe needs to make business decisions based on how it sees market conditions, I feel the timing of this new pricing structure is patently unfair to your customers (and our members). Here’s why: You didn’t tell us up front. You didn’t tell us until nearly the end of the product’s life cycle, and now you’re making us buy CS5.5 for just a few months on the chance that we might want to buy CS6 at a discount when it’s released. Otherwise, we have to pay the full price as if we were never Adobe customers at all.

Those users who didn’t upgrade to CS5 or 5.5, either couldn’t afford the upgrade, or couldn’t justify the upgrade, or they would already be on CS5 or 5.5. But now you’re kind of holding us hostage—–you’re making us buy something we don’t need now, just so we will still have the option to get something that we may want (CS6) when it is released without buying it all over again from scratch. You’re playing hardball with your customers—either upgrade twice or you’re out. That’s not the Adobe we know.

I have always felt that Adobe was very customer centric, and that their decisions were based on what’s best for their customers, but in this particular instance I can’t see how cutting off CS4 and CS3 users, and making them either pay two upgrades in a row, or pay the full retail price to get CS6, benefits anybody but Adobe.

With that said, here’s my plea to Adobe:
If you really want to be fair to your customers, at the very least don’t start this policy yet. Start it with Photoshop CS7. Make CS6 your new upgrade pricing transition version, and tell everybody now, up front—–at the start of the product’s life cycle, that everybody will need to upgrade to CS6 at some point because the next version (CS7) won’t support older users. That way, we’re not spending money just to spend more money again. Adobe, you can still have what you want—-you can still get everybody on the current version, but it gives us time to save, time to plan, and anybody still left behind at that point will have had more than fair warning.

Another option I feel would be very fair to Adobe customers would be to offer a tiered upgrade which rewards your best customers (customers who upgraded to CS5 or 5.5) by giving them the best upgrade deal, but then offer CS4 users a reasonable upgrade path (they would pay more for their upgrade, but they’re getting all the features added in CS5.5 as well, so that’s fair) and then why not even offer an upgrade path to CS6 for your CS3 users? They would certainly wind up paying the most in upgrade fees, but at least it wouldn’t be the full $699 (or even more if they’re on the CS3 suite). This tiered approach gives everybody an opportunity to stay on as an Adobe customer, but still gives your best customers preferential upgrade pricing.

I know, Business is business…
I understand that Adobe is not in business to be our friend or our buddy. Adobe is a public corporation with a responsibility to its employees, partners and shareholders to continually generate and grow profits. We don’t buy Adobe products because we think they’re our friend—we buy Adobe products because you make amazing products and tools for creative people like us. You have the right to charge $5,000 for the Creative Suite if you want, and likewise we have to make decisions based on what’s right for us and our business.

I also know that the clearest message you can send any company is not to buy their product and I am not suggesting in any way that we intentionally don’t buy Adobe products, but I am afraid for many people, including many of the Photoshop users I represent, that will be the case. Photoshop CS4 will wind up being their last version of Photoshop ever, and I for one would hate to see that happen. I think that would be a lose/lose for everybody.

Adobe, it’s not too late
You can still fix this. You can stand by your customers and make CS6 the “Transition upgrade”—-the one where going into it from the start ,everybody will know that after CS6 there will be a new upgrade policy. That way you don’t leave anybody behind that wants to stay with you. Nobody can say you pulled a fast one on them at the last minute, or didn’t give them reasonable notice about the next upgrade. You never go wrong by doing the right thing.

Thanks for listening, Adobe.

All my best,

-Scott Kelby
President, The National Association of Photoshop Professionals

Join RC Concepcion and me in this free online Webinar, where I’ll be Lighting, Shooting, and Retouching LIVE online and taking your questions, all based on my brand new book (from Peachpit Press) called, “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it!” (The book inspired by the live tour).

Here’s all the details:

When: Today  at 3:00 pm EDT (Online time zone converter here: link)

Where: Right at this link: http://kelbytraining.com/webcast

Cost: It’s Free! Just register at that link above then be there at 3:00 pm today!

Plus, we’ll have special offers on the book and other goodies, and we’ll do a giveaway or two, and I promise to make it fun, informative, and I’ll share lots of tips and techniques with everybody live.

I hope you can make it (and I hope you’ll pass the word on to your friends so they can join us, too!).

See you this afternoon, live! :-)

Yesterday, in my post about my first football shoot of the year (link), I mentioned that if some of the players wind up in the shade, that I remove the blue tint that appears over anything white (like their jerseys, helmet, the stripes on the ball, and so on) in Lightroom (or Camera Raw). Anyway, I had a few questions about it, so I thought I post a quick tutorial. Here goes:

Above: Here’s a great illustration of the problem: when the team winds up on a part of the field that’s covered in shadows (as seen here), their white jerseys (and anything white for that matter) get a deep blue tint over them. However, you can see from the photo, that in a few seconds part of the team will be running in the daylight in front of them, which puts part of the image in shade, and part in daylight, which creates the double-white balance problem).

STEP ONE: In Camera Raw (shown here) or in Lightroom’s Develop Module, get the Adjustment Brush, then over in the Adjustment Brush panel on the right side, lower the Saturation amount a bit (as seen here), and set everything else to zero. Now, with the Auto Mask checkbox turned on, start painting over the white parts of the player’s jersey’s (here’s I’m painting over #67’s jersey and pants, and you can see the blue is going away as I paint.

STEP TWO: Continue painting over anything that’s tinted blue (here I painted over all three players in white, but to finish this off, I’d have to paint over the “5” on #5’s jersey as well. Now go and compare that with the image at the top of this post and you’ll really see the difference.

STEP THREE: Of course, since they’re in the shade, the whole image is really dark, so you might want to increase the Fill Light quite a bit, and the Exposure a little bit (as seen here), so the players aren’t “in the dark..”

(Above: Here’s the typical type of shot you’d have to apply this technique to—where part of the action is in daylight [one white balance] and part is in shade [they look too blue]. If they all stayed in the shade, you could just change the overall white balance, but for some reason you can’t get these guys to stay put. ;-)  ).

That’s all there is to it. Hope that helps.

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