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Color and

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  #1  
Old 01-06-2013, 09:31 AM
ScoobyDoobyDude ScoobyDoobyDude is offline
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Cool Color and Skin Toning Question

Hey everyone,

Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to provide. There is a senior portrait operation in my area that is known for the painterly and luminous qualities of their portraits. The proprietor has a background in watercolor and they have excellent control of lighting, and as I recall, they recently switched from medium format digital to DSLR. They use almost all natural light in their portraits. Needless to say, they start with a good image, which is of course most important. I'm not looking to copy their style, but would like to somewhat deconstruct it so I can apply some of the specific qualities to my own images and, more importantly, hone my skills. Editorial opinions about their style aside [to me, it's obvious the skin has been blurred quite a bit and I know lots of retouchers hate that with such a passion], I'd greatly appreciate insight into how the color and skin might be applied on a large-scale basis. With this studio needing to produce upwards of 50 retouched images per session, I doubt they are doing anything incredibly time-consuming such as manual dodge & burn, contouring, manual high-pass, etc. Here's the link to a few examples—even with different lighting conditions for each one, they all seem to have the same basic toning effects:

http://www.antisdelsphotography.com/..._pictures.html

If I could pull one example for the sake of discussion, it would be Carolina D's image of her, where it looks like she might be adjusting her earring and the horse is in the background.

The closest I have come to emulating this effect is to duplicate the layer, use Diffuse Glow effect with no grain, and use Soft Light for the blend mode on the top layer. I know there's more to it than that though.

Thanks again!

Last edited by ScoobyDoobyDude; 01-06-2013 at 09:44 AM. Reason: corrected title of post
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:27 AM
DarkJamie DarkJamie is offline
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Re: Color and

The only thing I can say to this is, if they're not using NIKsoft or Topaz or the likes, they've got their own softening effect. Everything I saw on there had bright saturated colors, which in my opinion were over done (flashy flesh tones), BUt that's their style. My advice for you is to work your style and keep in mind what actually looks aesthetically good. I suppose some people like punchy saturation, but most portrait studios keep their skin tones natural and soft. As for "softening effects", I am one of those retouchers who is totally against using software plugins to clean up skin, but if that's your bag (or you just don't have time to spot clean), then try Portraiture and see if you get the glows and smoothing you like.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:55 AM
ScoobyDoobyDude ScoobyDoobyDude is offline
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Re: Color and

They very well might be using a plug-in, either that or they have a skin-softening action set up. It's not really the style I want to use for my photos, but I want to know how to do it so that I can get a better idea of what tools to use in a given situation for my own images. For example, if I use a Vibrance adjustment layer on one of my own photos, I don't get color like theirs. I would say it's because they use medium format digital and have wider dynamic range, but I believe they've gone DSLR within the last several years. Any thoughts as to what they might be doing to the color in post-production?
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:40 AM
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oneredpanther oneredpanther is offline
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Re: Color and

Those are all horrible, horrible photographs. Amateur to the point of laughable.

That aside, you can create exactly the same effect in batches using Camera RAW. All they've done is to reduce the Clarity slider (this is the silly softening you see) while increasing the Vibrance, Saturation and Contrast sliders. Paint in/out where you want the changes with the adjustment brush.

I don't believe there's any more to it than that.

Can't help but say though.... dude, really? If you're an aspiring chef at least take your inspiration from Noma rather than McDonalds.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:30 AM
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PaulSnyder PaulSnyder is offline
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Re: Color and

Try not to over think it!

Skin blurring aside (which is a no no), the images are just pretty saturated and contrasty.

As oneredpanther pointed out this same look can be achieved by bumping up the saturation, vibrance, and contrast sliders in camera raw (or if you don't shoot in camera raw, just create an action that applies saturation and brightness/contrast [or curves] adjustment layers].

I'd say play around with those and push your images where you want them to go and see what you come up with. Perhaps you can actually make your images look better.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:43 PM
Casey Johnson Casey Johnson is offline
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Re: Color and

Quote:
Originally Posted by oneredpanther View Post
Those are all horrible, horrible photographs. Amateur to the point of laughable.

That aside, you can create exactly the same effect in batches using Camera RAW. All they've done is to reduce the Clarity slider (this is the silly softening you see) while increasing the Vibrance, Saturation and Contrast sliders. Paint in/out where you want the changes with the adjustment brush.

I don't believe there's any more to it than that.

Can't help but say though.... dude, really? If you're an aspiring chef at least take your inspiration from Noma rather than McDonalds.
I know you have your opinion but I know Sana Antisdel. I don't think she is a horrible photographer. In fact, I love her style. Her post is a little too flashy as you said, but she really is a great photographer. Not to mention she is a senior portrait photographer, which means her style is not chosen by her, but by her clients. If the like it, she will shoot it. And she makes boat loads of money doing it. So we as artists have to decide if we are interested in being the best? Or doing our best for the sake of our families. By the way if you ever meet her, she is a beautiful lady. You'd really like her.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:46 PM
Casey Johnson Casey Johnson is offline
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Re: Color and

By the way I have her action set. She does not use any filters. She bumps the curves, adds saturation using hue/saturation placing the master at 14, and then uses guassian blur set at 15 px and then you can mask out what you don't like. But honestly, she spends like less than a minute on each of her images.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:15 PM
ScoobyDoobyDude ScoobyDoobyDude is offline
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Re: Color and

Thank you everyone for your input. Casey, thank you especially. Sana took my senior photos over ten years ago, and my experience with them was one of the things that inspired me to get into photography in the first place. Like I said, I'm not a senior photographer and don't want to duplicate their style, but I do want to learn more about their process. How did you gain access to their action set?
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:42 PM
Casey Johnson Casey Johnson is offline
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Re: Color and

I bought them. They are pretty straight forward. Almost amateurish. I'm thinking she does have a secret she's not sharing. Which I understand completely. I have photographed using reflectors and tried using her actions but was unsuccessful in mimicking her style. There is a photographer here in Indianapolis that I think is the best. And no one on here agrees. But neither does anyone on model mayhem. The thing I like most about these photographers is that they get it right, right out of camera. There isn't a whole lot of retouching needed. And if you are in the business of photography, you can't afford to spend your time in front of the computer. I've sat behind these photographers and watched them spend no more than 5 min per image and sell each of their files for about $100. I get a lot of people on here who don't like my style but that is what I go for. I spend about 10 min per image if they are ordering it. But my goal is always to make at least $100 per hour. I'd be happy to keep talking to you about photography. I'm way better at it than I am at retouching.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:13 AM
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oneredpanther oneredpanther is offline
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Re: Color and

Quote:
I've sat behind these photographers and watched them spend no more than 5 min per image and sell each of their files for about $100
You need to tell us where to find customers who will pay $100 for images like that. Immediately.
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