Originally Posted by nmeunier
Dave Hill has no manipulation process but mixes tons of different pictures perfectly lite.
You MUST have pictures with low contrast and many subtle gradation.
That's why he uses a lot of flashes and spend hours to adjust them.
Most photographers shoot things a little flatter. It's very common because it simply works better. You don't want blown highlights, blocked up shadows, etc. The slightly softer images with good overall lighting gives you a better starting point. I've looked at the David Hill stuff. It's not one thing or another. He did light things correctly from the start from what I can tell. They look flat as you're viewing unadjusted images, but that doesn't mean the lighting lacks direction. They look like a lot of composite work followed by additional time getting the shadow levels and color palette to work. It's a lot of work.
For the OP, you're not paying attention to lighting at all here. Obviously the david hill stuff has a surreal quality, but you need to pay better attention to how lighting actually works. This just looks terrible. If you want to match a look, you should consider it in how the initial lighting, then refine it in post. Trying to do it all in post is inherently more difficult, and you just have a mish mosh of highlights and shadows here that make absolutely no sense. You need to start over, and spend some time paying attention to lighting rather than approaching it like you would a photoshop filter. It's not an effect. It's a style. The post work portion of what is done is actually easily dissected in many of the photos on his site. By that I mean you can look at them and determine most of what was done in post.