Wednesday
Apr
2015
01

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Regina Pagles!

by Brad Moore  |  44 Comments

Hi! My name is Regina Pagles and I am a portrait photographer residing in the rural community of Springdale, Utah (Pop. 450), just outside of Zion National Park. I have a small studio where I have been taking portraits of friends and family since I discovered studio lighting in 2010.

I have combined the techniques learned from my biggest inspirations, Peter Hurley (expression), Sue Bryce (posing), Don Giannatti (lighting) and Scott Kelby (post processing) to develop and hone my own style. In the spirit of ‘paying it forward,’ I would like to share with you what I have learned and the techniques I use, in honor of those that have inspired me and who have offered their knowledge so graciously.

I will take you through my post processing workflow, using a recent image of one of my favorite subjects, model Yolanda Damon Harris.

Straight out of the camera, you can see the image doesn’t look too good…

I begin by making initial adjustments in Lightroom and the image starts to improve.

The first Lightroom adjustments are correcting White Balance, Exposure, Highlights, Shadows and Blacks.

Next in LR:

  • Add a little Sharpening. Amount = 60, Radius = 0.6 
  • Correct the table perspective. Under Lens Corrections, I adjust the Horizontal slider to +11. This distorts the entire image a little, but I’m ok with that.

Under Camera Calibration, I make these adjustments:

  • Change Profile to Camera Neutral
  • Under Red Primary, Hue = +8, Saturation = -10
  • Under Green Primary, Hue = 0, Saturation = -5
  • Under Blue Primary, Hue = +10, Saturation = -35

The red, green and blue primary adjustments are image specific, but generally very close to these settings for the majority of my images.

All finished in Lightroom, now onto Photoshop.

First thing I do is mask the subject.

Next, I add the ‘Oliphant’ layer.

Explanation:
I photographed just the Oliphant backdrop at a darker exposure and place it in the document as a separate layer. I then mask the subject. The original texture of the Oliphant background is retained, but just darker. I made a large 5000 px soft feathered brush and added noise to it. Then, I put the Oliphant backdrop layer in it’s own group and add a white mask to the group. I paint with black, using the large brush I made, right over the subject. Now I have a vignette, no banding and the hair blends seamlessly in to the background. Plus, the background is the darker shade I prefer and the texture is the original. Yay!

Next, I mask the table and correct the saturation in the yellow and reds.

Now on to the subject…

  • Add a Selective Color Adjustment layer for the skin, Red = +12.
  • Use Healing Brush to fix skin blemishes.
  • Apply a skin retouching technique learned from Calvin Hollywood, who learned it from retoucher Natalia Taffarel. I have it set up as an action, and I don’t remember exactly what the steps are… sorry! Calvin explains the technique in his ‘Calvinize’ DVD. Not a deal breaker if you don’t use this technique, especially if the face is so small in the image, like they are in mine.
  • Double check for any skin inconsistencies and add add’l healing, if necessary.
  • Even out the eyebrows and eyelashes, (only on females) using a 1 or 2px hard brush.
  • Use Viveza plugin by Nik to subtly darken the highlights of the face, if necessary.

  • Add very subtle contrast, only to the subject, with Nik’s Color Efex Pro v.4 ‘Tonal Contrast’ filter.*

  • Brighten eyes using Dodge & Burn.

I then make some image specific adjustments, such as removing the string on the cross in this image.

A few more minor tweaks to skin healing and I’m done.

Now, I just save and duplicate the image, then resize the copy to 2048px wide, which I read is best for Facebook.

Last of the adjustments, I will use Nik’s Sharpener Pro v.3 and apply only to the subject, avoiding the edges.

I convert the profile to sRGB and use Save for Web, 75 quality.

*I am SO disappointed with the Version 4 of Nik’s Tonal Contrast filter. I used to LOVE v.2, but v.4 is just awful. I use it still, out of habit and denial that such a wonderful filter could turn so bad.

Older behind the scenes shot (pre Oliphant backdrop and reversed main light position).

Black foamcore on left is not in use, it’s just resting against the only available wall space.

Here are the Photoshop layers:

Lighting diagram:

I hope that this information will provide some insight into how I post process and light my images. Granted, posing plays a huge role, but I will have to save that topic for another post! Thank you for reading and I’ll see you next time :)

Image samples:

You can see more of Regina’s work at ReginaPaglesPhotography.com, and follow her on Flickr, Facebook, and Instagram.

Tuesday
Mar
2015
31

Travel Photographers: This Webcast on my Dubai trip is for you!

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

Hi Gang: If you’re into travel photography (or just want to learn some interesting things about one of the most amazing places on this planet), then you’re invited to join us for a FREE travel photography Webcast this Thursday night at 7pm called “Unpacking Dubai.”

RC and Brad (who were both in Dubai this month) will be joining me, plus we’ll be giving away some goodies, including a big beautiful print from my trip. We’ll be taking your questions live on the air, and sharing everything from photography tips and techniques to the post processing side of it all. Here’s the details:

Who: Me, Brad and RC
What: A Free Webcast called “Unpacking Dubai” (for travel photographers)
Where: At this link (register for the free webcast now)
When: This Thursday, April 2nd at 7:00 pm New York Time (link to World Time Zone converter)
Why: Because we love travel photography and sharing cool techniques

I’ve got lots of fun stuff to share and some really helpful photo tips, so I hope you can join me (it’s Free) at 7:00 pm ET Thursday (mark your calendar). Also, can you help me spread the word? :) [NOTE: If you can't make the live broadcast, we'll start free re-broadcasts the following day.] 

In the meantime, don’t forget these three things:

(a) Tomorrow is “The Grid” with Peter Hurley as our in-studio guest live at 4pm ET
(b) Follow me on the Periscope App for lots of live behind-the-scenes fun
(c) If you’re into Lightroom, come and learn lots of new stuff at lightroomkillertips.com

Best,

-Scott

Monday
Mar
2015
30

Twitter’s Periscope App is Simply Awesome!!!

by Scott Kelby  |  5 Comments

Greetings from Holland (well, greetings from 33,000 feet above Holland — I’m on my way back from speaking at the Professional Imaging show in Nijkerk – awesome experience — more on that coming soon).

OK, let’s talk about Periscope, a FREE app from Twitter (for IOS only at this point), that lets you broadcast live from anywhere you have a connection to the Internet and people can chat with you live (type questions), and visually experience exactly what you’re seeing. It is one of the most fun social media experiences I’ve had. As my buddy Frank Doorhof says, “It’s addictive!”

Beside the educational uses (which are pretty mind-blowing by themselves), what I love about it is the immediacy — you decide to share what you’re doing/seeing, etc. and bam — it’s live, and people who have Periscope (or are following you on it), can see it right now.

For example, while I’ve been at this photography expo in The Netherlands, I’ve been able to give a virtual tour of the show floor, and people could ask me questions to ask to various vendors about their products while I’m standing there right in front of the booth, and the whole thing is live — as it happens.

Last night I was shooting on location a night shot of Amsterdam (along with Terry White and Frank), and you’re right there with me during the live shoot — people were asking questions about settings, and lenses, and making comments as we went — it was just so much fun (and it was really chilly and windy as well). While we’re taping, a couple comes up and says, “Hey, are you using that new Periscope App?”  Small world. :)

To become a part of this new social media revolution (and it’s been a while since somebody’s come out with something as cool as this), here’s all you have to do:

STEP ONE: Download the free App Periscope from the App Store (IOS phones only)

STEP TWO: Log in with your regular Twitter Account, and then you’ll have the option of following your friends on Twitter who are already on Periscope.

STEP THREE: Click the center icon at the bottom of your screen to start a broadcast. Now just say what you’re looking at (Here’s my cat; photo shoot on an abandoned rail road track; here’s a dead tree stump, whatever…) and while you’re doing that, it will establish a video link (you’ll be amazed at the quality of the audio and video – better than FaceTime IMHO). Then, when you’re ready to broadcast, hit the red “Start Broadcast” button and you’re live! Start talking, and watch people from all over the world start watching and sharing your experience live!

To flip from the front camera to the back camera, just double-tap the screen. To end your broadcast, swipe down. You’ll see comments appear on screen while you’re taping, and you’ll see how many are currently watching your broadcast live, and you’ll see little “hearts” float in on the screen when people like what they’re seeing — they’ll tap the screen to send you love. :)

That’s it. It’s just so simple. Try it once, and you’ll be hooked.
I’m on my flight now, but I’ll be doing a live broadcast when I land in Atlanta near 3:00 pm today, and if you want to come and experience it (you can just watch or chat for this first one, but you’ll surely want to do your own after seeing one — my wife Kalebra did her first one yesterday called “Coffee with Maggie” the wonderdog, and it was really cute). Also, when you do a broadcast, it can send a tweet right then to your followers on Twitter that says you’re LIVE right now, and inviting them to come and join.

While you’re in the App, I hope you’ll follow me…
and Frank Doorhof, and Glyn Dewis, and Kalebra Kelby, and Terry White, and Brad Moore and RC Concepcion and Ajna Adams (our Duchess of Social Media at Kelby One who turned us all onto Periscope — she’s runs our KelbyOne periscope account, too!).

The way Twitter has designed this, and it’s hook into regular Twitter is just so clever and so simple, I think it’s going to revolutionize the way we communicate via social media. Once you try it, you’ll see what I mean, and we’re just at the tip of the iceberg of what can be done with Periscope.

Hope to see you live on Periscope once I land in Atlanta (and clear US Customs).

Best,

-Scott
Writing blog posts in a chair in the sky….. 

Friday
Mar
2015
27

“Howdy” From Holland!

by Scott Kelby  |  8 Comments

Hi gang: Greetings from here in The Netherlands
Got here yesterday and spent the day with my buddy, fashion photographer, lighting wizard, and awesome instructor, Frank Doorhof (that’s a copy of the Czech translation of Frank’s bestselling “Mastering The Model Shoot” I saw displayed when touring Frank’s cool new studios in a town outside Amsterdam).

We went to go shooting yesterday, but by the time I took my “jetlag avoidance nap” the rain had moved in, so we didn’t get any shooting done, but today we’ve got permission for what could potentially be a cool indoor shoot, and if I get anything I’ll post it over on my Facebook page.  (we did visit a town today called Urk that was really just adorable! Wish it hadn’t been chilly, rainy and gray — I can’t imagine how awesome it would be warm, bright and sunny!).

In other news…
We’re planning a free live travel photography Webcast next Thursday evening about my trip to Dubai (along with RC who was leaving Dubai as I was just arriving, and Brad Moore who was along with me on the trip).  We’ll be talking about travel photography, along with shooting tips (including tips on night photography), and post processing stuff, and we’ll be doing some awesome giveaways — a fun night all around and I hope you can join us.

I’ll have all the details here on Monday for you, including a link where you can sign up for the free Webinar.

Well, wish me luck today — hoping to get what could be a pretty cool shot (fingers crossed). Hope you all have a very awesome weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday.

Best,

-Scott
Diggin’ the Dutch

Thursday
Mar
2015
26

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  28 Comments

Moose Peterson’s Safari Adventure
Moose goes on safari! With a career studying and photographing wildlife for over three decades, Moose has his first African safari and you’ve got a front row seat. Join Moose as he encounters the wide array of wildlife that calls the Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa home. Moose shares his take on the gear he brought along with his tips and techniques for capturing images that help tell the story of your trip.

KelbyOne Live
Want to learn from Scott Kelby or Joel Grimes live in person? Check out these seminar tour dates to see if they’re coming to a city near you!

Shoot Like A Pro: Reloaded with Scott Kelby
Apr 13 – Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 15 – Los Angeles, CA

The Photographers Creative Revolution Tour with Joel Grimes
Mar 27 – Minneapolis, MN
Apr 17 – New York, NY
Apr 22 – San Antonio, TX
Apr 24 – Houston, TX

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of these events!

Last Week’s Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
- Tim James

If that’s you, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
Mar
2015
25

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Tom Bol!

by Brad Moore  |  5 Comments

NEW FRONTIERS

All photographers have familiar subject matter. Maybe you are wedding photographer, a sports shooter or a headshot specialist. You cover similar events and subjects year after year. The natural progression is you start asking yourself, ‘is there a different way to photograph this familiar subject?’ Sometimes unique perspectives or new locations prompt spikes in creativity and original ideas. Sometimes new lighting or post processing creates fresh looks. And other times new gear comes along that lets you realize new possibilities.

I’ve been photographing adventure sports for almost 30 years, and I have watched how trends, techniques and styles have all evolved over time. Just when you think you have seen it all, photographers figure out new techniques and perspectives and things become fresh again. Right now the adventure sports genre is experiencing the ‘drone revolution.’ Video and still photographers have a new tool that permits exciting new ways to photograph climbing and kayaking. And combine that with athletes climbing cliffs and paddling off waterfalls that were thought to be impossible, and adventure sports photography is looking good right now.

My own evolution came with a phone call from my friends at Elinchrom. I have shot with Elinchrom lights for as long as I can remember, and nothing makes me happier than hauling my Rangers and Quadras into the woods to light up a rock climber on a cliff. But this time Elinchrom had a new light for me to try out…the Elinchrom ELC Pro HD 1000s. These lights are 1000 watt AC units…and so much more. What knocked me off my seat was the spec that said “these lights can shoot 20 flashes per second.” After crawling back into my chair, I fell off again when I realized, “these lights can recycle as fast as your Nikon D4 can shoot.” If the specs were true I could finally realize a shot I had imagined for years; creating a sequence shot with every frame lit by flash.

To test out the lights I headed to Salida, Colorado to photograph pro skateboarder Shea Donavan. Shea has a huge half pipe skate ramp in his backyard, and he spends hours each day perfecting amazing aerials on his board. Shea and his dad Bill are always up for skating shoots; we set up the lights for cross lighting Shea when he caught air off the ramp, and waited for twilight for optimal conditions. But we didn’t anticipate one thing; the blinding power and speed of the ELC 1000s.

On the first pass Shea catch huge air. I started shooting at 10 FPS, and the ELCs were popping off every frame…and completely blinding Shea. Halfway through the jump he grabbed his board and prepared for a hard landing. Time seemed suspended for a moment, but somehow Shea landed on the ramp in control (but not on his board!). Lesson learned, we repositioned the lights, and on the next jumps, Shea knew what to expect and hit some amazing tricks well out of the half pipe. I was amazed to see every frame was perfectly lit. Instead of only having one frame illuminated per pass, I now had 10 shots to choose just the right shot from the jump. Bill Donavan and Dangerous Circus Pictures created a video of the shoot.

After seeing these amazing lights crank off hundreds of lightning fast shots, I knew I had the tool for my sequence shot. I had one challenge. Since I often shoot away from AC power, I needed a generator that could power two ELC 1000s strobes and keep up with the fast recycling time. I found that my 2000 watt Honda generator worked great, and better yet, it only weighs about 45 pounds. For my flash sequence photo, I hired a pro BMX biker, Chance, for the shoot. I told Chance well in advance to start with easy jumps since the lights might be a little distracting. But on this shoot we shot in brighter conditions with the lights at about 500 watts. And sometimes you just get lucky; dramatic clouds starting rolling in creating the perfect background for the shoot. I underexposed the background about 1.5 stops from what the flash exposure was on my biker. To help project the lights into the scene, I added sports reflectors to the heads.

Chance started with simple jumps, and then progressed into backflips and more advanced tricks. Each pass I was shooting my D4 at 10 FPS, and every frame was lit perfectly. What really amazed me was the consistency of flash throughout each sequence. We also shot a short video behind the scenes of this shoot:

http://vimeo.com/104026963

I later seamed up the individual sequence shots into one frame in Photoshop using layers and brushing in the rider into the shot.

I continued to experiment with new sequence techniques using these lights. The ELC 1000s also have a terrific stroboscopic mode. Instead of combining multiple frames from a sequence, you keep your shutter open for long periods of time while a moving subject is flashed moving across the frame. The end result is one frame with your subject in multiple positions. I experimented with karate competitors and dancers for some interesting effects.

I don’t think many photographers are ever satisfied with their work. I know I’m not. I create some images I feel are successful, and I may be complacent for a few days. But then I get restless, and feel the urge to create something bigger, better and more creative. I want to explore new frontiers. This year new technology, the Elinchrom ELC 1000s, have allowed me to explore new frontiers in my photography. But I’m starting to feel restless again. Perhaps this video best explains why I became a photographer, and why I just have to keep on shooting.

You can see more of Tom’s work at TomBolPhoto.com, follow him on Facebook and Twitter, and check out his classes on KelbyOne.

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