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  • Herb Ritts style help

    Hello everyone, I am a photographer and I learned the basics at school but right now I would like to really get my pictures into looking like Vogue shots etc, I've learned some techniques online, it's very hard to look for this online because the tutorials just don't work the same. The result is not the same. Where do these people go to school to learn this?? It's unbelievable.

    Anyway, I really like the style of Herb Ritts and that is what I try to incorporate, right now I am retouching a series of photos that I would like to look like this: http://radiosrq.com/wp-content/uploads/4-Herb-Ritts.jpg or close. Obviously my shots don't have the same light situation but I just can't get them to look anywhere near that. I tried simulating a red filter on photoshop for black and white but apparently you can't do that on a black and white file?? It's strange.

    I opened the Herb Ritts image on photoshop and all the tones are within the 5% for whites and 95% for blacks which is what I always try to do but somehow the end result is nowhere near that. I'd appreciate any help, thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Herb Ritts style help

    Originally posted by blohan View Post
    Obviously my shots don't have the same light situation but I just can't get them to look anywhere near that.
    There is your problem. Apart from that, lowering the red and yellow values in black and white adjustment layer might get you closer.

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    • #3
      Re: Herb Ritts style help

      Originally posted by skoobey View Post
      There is your problem. Apart from that, lowering the red and yellow values in black and white adjustment layer might get you closer.
      I know what you mean but I don't think that's the problem, all of his pictures have that dark gray skin tone and very matte highlights, even if the lighting is different, that's what I want, a fine art look.

      How do I alter those values? I only have the gray channel

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      • #4
        Re: Herb Ritts style help

        You start with a colour image. Then you darken the skin tones by whatever method works best - B&W adjustment layer as already stated may get the job done.

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        • #5
          Re: Herb Ritts style help

          Originally posted by Tony W View Post
          You start with a colour image. Then you darken the skin tones by whatever method works best - B&W adjustment layer as already stated may get the job done.
          and then when do you convert to black and white?

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          • #6
            Re: Herb Ritts style help

            Black and white adjustment layer turns it to black and white

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            • #7
              Re: Herb Ritts style help

              Originally posted by skoobey View Post
              Black and white adjustment layer turns it to black and white
              but I was taught it's not truly black and white that way? That you get better tones if you actually convert to black and white?

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              • #8
                Re: Herb Ritts style help

                You can convert whatever way you like, I gave you a suggestion you can choose not to listen to. It's not the law.

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                • #9
                  Re: Herb Ritts style help

                  Originally posted by skoobey View Post
                  You can convert whatever way you like, I gave you a suggestion you can choose not to listen to. It's not the law.
                  I'm listening, it's just different from what I was taught.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Herb Ritts style help

                    Originally posted by blohan View Post
                    I'm listening, it's just different from what I was taught.
                    There's a million different ways to convert color to B&W, here's a superb tutorial illustrating a number of differing methods:
                    http://mulita.com/blog/?p=1244

                    Here's how Herb's contemporary, Photographer Greg Gorman does his:
                    http://www.blackandwhitedigital.com/...ty/gorman.html

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                    • #11
                      Re: Herb Ritts style help

                      Originally posted by andrewrodney View Post
                      There's a million different ways to convert color to B&W, here's a superb tutorial illustrating a number of differing methods:
                      http://mulita.com/blog/?p=1244

                      Here's how Herb's contemporary, Photographer Greg Gorman does his:
                      http://www.blackandwhitedigital.com/...ty/gorman.html
                      Thank you so much, I'll try it.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Herb Ritts style help

                        Did it occur to you that the subject has real and deep tan to start with? Which brings us back to the subject of skin tone as stated above by Tony W.

                        In addition, this particular picture was shot utilizing hard-light. Soft-light is not meant for BW work, if you shoot using soft light, you will not achieve the required results.

                        Matter of fact, good BW starts with good planing, you don't just take any colored picture to convert it to BW. It is not an afterthought. You have to know ahead of thime that you are shooting for BW even though you are doing it in color. It is all about the Drama & Contrast, hence, HARD LIGHT!
                        Last edited by Aladdin; 02-29-2016, 02:48 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Herb Ritts style help

                          Originally posted by Aladdin View Post
                          Matter of fact, good BW starts with good planing, you don't just take any colored picture to convert it to BW. It is not an afterthought. You have to know ahead of thime that you are shooting for BW even though you are doing it in color. It is all about the Drama & Contrast, hence, HARD LIGHT!
                          Some of the shadows can be tapered down in post. I wouldn't use just hard light, as that can create problems. You have to be careful not to lose detail where you want it, and with really hard lights your acceptable margin of error drops quite a bit.

                          (I still agree with you. I just wanted to add those details.)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Herb Ritts style help

                            Originally posted by Aladdin View Post
                            Did it occur to you that the subject has real and deep tan to start with? Which brings us back to the subject of skin tone as stated above by Tony W.

                            In addition, this particular picture was shot utilizing hard-light. Soft-light is not meant for BW work, if you shoot using soft light, you will not achieve the required results.

                            Matter of fact, good BW starts with good planing, you don't just take any colored picture to convert it to BW. It is not an afterthought. You have to know ahead of thime that you are shooting for BW even though you are doing it in color. It is all about the Drama & Contrast, hence, HARD LIGHT!
                            That is not true, soft-light works perfectly for black and white, as a matter of fact, Herb Ritts shot a lot of soft light too both natural and in the studio like on this picture: http://www.herbritts.com/wp-content/...1-945x1200.jpg

                            The point is to achieve the fine art look, a proper black and white, I have searched extensively the last few days online for it and to no avail.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Herb Ritts style help

                              Originally posted by blohan View Post
                              That is not true, soft-light works perfectly for black and white, as a matter of fact, Herb Ritts shot a lot of soft light too both natural and in the studio like on this picture: http://www.herbritts.com/wp-content/...1-945x1200.jpg

                              The point is to achieve the fine art look, a proper black and white, I have searched extensively the last few days online for it and to no avail.
                              Aladdin gave you accurate advice. The particular image in your post used a harsh light source whether this was direct sunlight to the side low down or studio flash is not too clear. The highlight on the neck hair and cheek on the opposite side from the mainlight may have been the reflection of white wall/surface or additional lighting.

                              The model was either dark skinned or fake tanned and work undertaken either in post for digital or with film possibly shot with a blue filter and further darkened during processing.

                              Soft or hard light irrelevant for either B&W or Colour - the effect is important. A soft light e.g. via or through an umbrella becomes a hard/spot light once moved far enough from the subject.

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