I have found that most skin retouching tutorials on the web are overdoing it. I know that many people like the skin looking totally flawless, plastic and artificial. That look is commonly seen in magazines and adverts now days, but most clients want a result that looks real.
If you, like myself, want a more natural looking result, instead of the totally smooth but obviously fake effect, where you can’t tell if the skin has been retouched…this is for you.
Here’s an easy, visual, Photoshop tutorial that will take you step by step through the process of evening out the colour and texture of the naked skin as well as some slimming and toning….all with a natural looking result, leaving the water drops on the model intact.
If you don’t have photoshop allready or would like to upgrade…visit: www.adobe.com/products/photoshop they have free trial versions as well
www.photoshop.com check out for more tutorials, info and tips
I think the photos are pretty self explanatory, however you are more than welcome to post questions if there’s something unclear.
A drawing tablet (also called a graphics pad ordigitizing tablet) is recommended for precision and ease of work. I use Wacom
Duplicate your background layer
Choose Liquify under the filters menu
I chose the warp tool and started pulling in the belly a bit
Masking the arm before retouching the double chin
I used again warp tool to pull in the duble chin
removed the mask
and started to reduce the underarm fat
then the clone stamp to further slim the waistline
I used the healing brush to fix the foilage in the background, leaving the area closest to the skin untouched. Of course this is much easier if the background is white or in one colour….then it is easier to do it all in liquify
then the dodgetool to brighten up the shadows made by the belly
then picked the brush tool and copied the colour around the areas that I would like to brush in. Keep updating the colour to blend in as much as possible, in every new area that you are woring on
you need to use a soft brush and with low opacity, it’s better to use a low opacity and paint over many times. I was careful to only brush a bit on the areas without water drops
I copied the layer and continued to brush in a more even skintone
be careful not to overdo this part
changed the opacity to se where the water drops had been, then picked the eraser and erased over each drop. Be careful not to erase outside the waterdrop
flattend the imaged, saved it and done!
If you only look at the right photo it looks natural, but if you look at the left you see the difference. Very useful for non commercial portraiture…in particlar for pregnant women that want to look natural with the big belly, but most often prefere not to show their extra chilos on their legs, arms, butt etc.
if you can show that you can do this to your photos to future clients, you might find it easier to find nude models…people in general tend to be vain and want to look as good as possible when they have their photos done
I did a fairly quick job just to show what is possible. It is far from perfectyly done and if I would have done it for a client I would have spent more time making it look perfect….but still natural,
I am now 7 months pregnant and feeling great
These photos were taken 1 month ago at 28 weeks, at my sisters summerhouse at Bohus Malmön, Sweden.
Check out other photos I have taken of Pregnant Women
or go to my site
2 x Q-Flash Trio Strobes with wireless control and coloured gels
Canon 5D Mark II and canon lens f/4 L IS 24-105 mm
Unfortunately the shot was not planned and I had left my Manfrotto tripod at home. Instead I propped it up on a table with various supports I could find lying around….like some books a sock and a toy.
I desaturated the photos in Lightroom and then gently retouched the photos in Photoshop….like I always do with the pregnancy shots.
Tip when mixing natural light with strobe light:
When mixing natural light with strobe light, I always always try to make the light look natural and not like I have used a flash. Use low effect, gels and diffusers and position the strobe so it doesn’t create strange shadows that goes against the natural light source. Se photo caption for more details
Soft romantic colours and materials of Danish designers.
Shot on a cold, grey and totally overcast October day against a withering castel garden.
One hand held warm light (Coloured Gel infront of the strobe…I used a mix of a soft pink and a yellow light creating almost a salmon colour effect) through the foilage creates the feeling of a distant sun.
I am at 6:00 O’clock and the model at the centre of the clock facing me or on a slight angle, the strobelight was held at 10:00 or 2:00 O’clock, pointing towards the model through some foilage.
Canon 5D Mark II
Tokina Macro Lens 100 f 2.8
I used a very short depth of field, ranging from 2.8 to 4.0, making the background blurry and creating a softer romantic look
QFlash Trio (QF8)
Qflash Pilot (Wireless Control)
Quantum Turbo SC Power Pack
I used the Quantums standard light shaper with gels that I cut out from sheets myself. They have filter and gel packs that they sell but often I find them to strong when I want a soft natural effect.
Desaturation and filters in Lightroom and skin retouching in Photoshop
If you are a beginner or a full blown pro, there are always new things to learn and inspiration to soak up. There are many great photo blogs, websites and videos where you can learn and get inspired all for free. To make it easy for you I have listed a selection of some of the best and most popular photo blogs.
Check it out:
I will have to start with The Manfrotto School of Xcellence
A complete photo school with:
Joe McNally, Drew Gardner, Bill Frakes and myself; Ami Elsius just to mention a few of many contributing tutors.
You can learn and get inspired from us from live (or archived) webinars, still or video tutorials and blog entries. It’s a well of varied and precious information…for all levels of photographers.
Of course you have Joe McNally’s own blow which is one of the most popular photo blogs in the world…fantastic resource for flash/strobe users. Joe is the Author of 3 best sellers: A guide to digital photography, The hot shoe Diaries and The moment it clicks.
Do it yourself tips for the handy person. A great site for economical and useful photo solutions.
I haven’t swashbuckled with pirates, nor have I swam the English Channel. I haven’t even been to Antarctica. But I have travelled to many far away places, created a lot of still and moving pictures for myself and others. And I’ve made it my life’s goal to be as creative as possible towards everything I endeavor.
Top Photographer Chase Jarvis…a very creative and inspiring person who generously shares his experiences and tips.
I really like how he’s written his Bio:
On a deserted island, I’d go insane without photography, film, music, my wife Kate and our family pets. Storytelling, creative innovation, and visual voodoo – no matter the medium – make my heart go thump thump; and sharing all this online with the world, plus as much of my professional experience I can muster, makes my soul sing. I’m fond of crows, and love that they’ll fly toward anything shiny. I can find humor in anything.
I have won a boatload of awards for my work, and I’m grateful for every single one of them, but I’ve always been unsure of whether I earned them or whether the jury was rigged. I was transparent long before it was hip to be so, and I believe deeply in teamwork, community, and collaboration. Let’s be friends. Better yet, let’s swim the English Channel.
David and Libby Nightingale’s blog
A beautiful and highly popular blog with great tutorials (some free and others cost) and stunning photos.
A site that mainly focuses on landscape photography, with a special section just for tutorials.
Heaps of different camera reviews collected in one place.
Great and big variety of practical tutorials. There’s also a gear guide and a buy guide.
How did I do that?
Photoshop genius? A spirit? Awesome light setting skills? Smoke?
Sometimes you just need to be in the right place in the right time…and keep your eyes open and have your camera handy.
Fact is I was just at the right place at the right time. The reflections are actually 100% natural. A late afternoon at my mums place, the sun, filtered through leaves shining in to the living room through a small gap in the window where the marquise didn’t reach. The rays played with the hand blown glass and bounced off the small stone pebbles that covered the bottom. I was there, I moved the bowl back and forth, but it was just in that position that you saw the magic and I could hardly believe what I saw; It looked like smoke dancing on the wall, but it was still and motionless.
I had it printed and framed and now it hangs in my mums house, on the wall right opposite where the glas bowl is. My mum took a couple of photos of the result and sent me….I like it and am tempted to do one like that for myself as well.
I will show you how you can take interesting, living and classy business portraits in small and crowded offices on a tight schedule.
You rarely get the time you would like for a business portrait and often you are asked to take the photos on location, where the majority of the staff/owners/directors/consultants are based.
Below you will find company portraits that I took for First Swedish Research and for Intermezzon, in Sweden earlier on this month.
Intermezzon (Intermezzon is considered one of the world’s leaders in practical measurable skills training.) had together with an advertising agency come up with the guidelines for the photo shoot. Working with performance management and being considered as one of the world’s leaders in their field, they wanted their portraits to stand out, to be warm and welcoming, crisp and personal.
We used their conference room and attached a middle tone grey fabric over the whiteboard. As they preferred a black background I didn’t shine any lights on the background and moved the chair, which I got everyone to sit on for the shoot, further from the fabric.
Imagine the model in the centre of a circle, the backdrop at 12 o’clock and I the photographer at 6 o’clock. At 10 o’clock and at 2 o’clock I put lights (quantum Q-flash Trio) with a warm tinted gel to back light the sides of the models.
At 6 o’clock right next to me, I placed a Hensel 3000 light with a silver reflector, just a little higher than their heads and pointing at their faces at the same time as bouncing light on a sun fire reflector I placed on the lap of the models. This way I got the nice light in their eyes and added warmth.
I used a concealer under the eyes and around the nose as well as some matt bronzing powder on the models to add a bit of a healthy sun kissed look instead of the pale wintry look, which is otherwise common in Sweden at this time of the year.
I also put bronzing powder on the hands that were used in the photos.
The combination of make up and lights made their eyes clear and sparkly and the skin nice and even. I haven’t done any retouching to these photos at all.
To pull someone out of a busy deadline or a crucial discusion for a photo shoot is not always popular and it can take a bit of wit to change the energy and facial expression from busy concentrated, even pissed off, to a relaxed spontaneous and welcoming look. A good tip is to get the model to remember and talk about something that makes them smile; could be a holiday, something naughty they did as a child, get them to talk about their children if they have any; anything to move their thoughts away from their mood.
I normally get my models involved in the shoot and show them what it look’s like on the back of the camera (or on my computer if I shoot tethered). I get them to move and try different angles, poses and expressions and show them what it looks like. That way they feel part of the process, in control of the result and relax easier. Remember that people in general are vain and want to look their best…if you can show them a photo where they look good it gives them more confidence to continue and experiment with different expressions and poses…till you get it right.
These photos are to be used for their new website. The idea is to have 3 photos with 3 different expressions of each person so that when you move your mouse over the image or click on it will change expression….I like that concept.
Here I have picked one photo of each person. It’s just to give you an idée of how you can vary and personalise headshots….and don’t be afraid to use hands in head shots. Just remember to shoot while they move their hands as it easily can look stiff and frozen other wise.
This next shoot I did for FSR (First Swedish Research), an FX Trading company that despite the crisis does really well and has been awarded Super Company of the year for the last 2 years.
My youngest sister Cecilia (above) works at FSR as a trader and also helped to organize this shoot. We have worked together many times before; with her in front of the camera as a model or a stylist and me as a photographer or make up artist. She changed career a couple of years ago, but still does some modelling on the side.
A part from portraits they wanted a bunch of image-shots for their website as well. It was decided in the last minute, not well organized and with a small, not the best-looking and very crowded office to use.
As my sister and I got very organized and the people at FSR were very helpful and understanding with the mess we made, we still managed to take 9 different types of image-photos and 25 portraits in just 7 hours.
Here are 6 of the 25 portraits…just to give you an idea. Also theese are totally un-retouched.
I used 4 different lights and the frosted glass wall that’s behind them. I will show you how I set it all up.
Don’t let small and crowded places scare you. Try to look at the place in small sections and see what angles you can be useful and remember that the smallar the place and the whiter the roof and walls, the more the light bounces. Use lights on low effect when you want to show something on a computer or TV. Hope you have found some inspiration for future business portraits.
Click to download the full brochure with clickable links. http://www.amielsius.com/images/GoingPROwithAMI_ELSIUS.pdf
Random, crappy snapshots can be pimped through a polaroid application. It will add an aged and dreamy feel to the images and you will notice that all of a sudden, photos that you never thought would go together makes nice albums and series. There are photos and cameras with built in functions, but if you need to convert your files there are many programs that can help you with that.
I downloaded this really cute and probably the most authentic Polaroid feel application you will find….. for free at http://www.polaroid.net
Here are some of my random snap shots that I never dreamt of putting on my website…but looking at them like this, I start to warm to them. What do you think?
Make up for photographers
Something that many amateur photographers miss, is that make up can make or break a photo. The skill of the make up artist is of course important however, the right direction and communication is crucial to manifest your vision and get the result you want.
There are some things that you as a photographer should know about light and make up. How different types of lotions, oils, foundations and powders give totally different results in different lights and angles and on different types of skin.
I will post an other article on how to get your vision across, direct teams and understand and interpret the vision of your clients…for now I will stick to make up and light
Tide line means the contrast on the neck or jaw line as a result of badly applied foundation in a contrasting colour to the skin tone.
Make up offers endless creative possibilities. Get out and get inspired! (or stay in and flick through a magazine, a book , watch a film or browse the internet)
Yes that’s right, it’s useful even for photographers to have a beauty bag with the most important items. It can easily happen that your make up artist or stylist has forgot something. It’s not fun if chipped black nail polish, a shiny forehead or a badly fitted dress should ruin your shot…when it easily can be avoided. *Chicken fillets means silicon shaped as chicken fillets, to fill out a bra or top if needed. Mainly used for catalogue photos where you use skinny flat-breasted models for clothes that are made for curvier women.
Only apply body lotion or oil to your model if you can do it in a non-sexual way. You want to use the same approach as you would when putting sun block on your child: effective, even non sexual and totally comfortable with his/her nudity. Make sure to bend fingers and legs, arms and feet to get the make up, oil or lotion also in the creases of the elbows, knuckles, knees and heals.
To apply powder on the face, light brush strokes (tap the brush first to get rid of excess) in an outward motion from the eyebrow centre. This is to avoid brushing agains the small hairs on the face.
Highlighter is best applied to the collarbones, neck and shoulders…any part that you want to stand out a bit extra and reflect some more light
Here I have used 3 different light set ups and 3 different types of make up. The photos on the right are taken with the light from the left and the photos on the left are taken with the light shining straight on to the top of the hand. Here you can easily see the difference between different make ups in different lights and with the light comming from different angles. Remember that different body parts respond different as well; ex. a oil might look good on the legs but terrible on the face. Power might work wonders on a shiny forhead but look like a joke on a hairy chest. Highlighter on the collarbones might look stunning but applied to the nose you the model might look like Rudolfs sister.
If you don’t have a big space to turn in to a photo studio…it’s ok; hardly any photographer starts out with a big professional fully kitted studio. Actually, it can be beneficial to no have all the gear and facilities from the beginning…you get to improvise, be inventive and learn to adapt your lights, set up and poses to the present conditions.
Here’s an example of a simple studio set up taken in a home environment. Silvia, a dance teacher and performer showed up at my home in Milan (I haven’t got my own photo studio here yet) desperate to get some photos for her Burlesque classes that were about to start soon. As I was busy with other things I could only give her an hour, I had to find an easy light solution that would do the trick.
I decided to use my Quuantum trio flashes with battery packs and wireless control. http://www.qtm.com/ They are small, easy to place, powerful and fast…with numerous light shaping possibilities. I have had them for less then a year and I just keep appreciating them more and more and finding new ways to use them all the time. I worked with the standard round diffuser with filters (one red and one blue) on two flash heads and a small square soft box on a third flash.
If you have other flashes you could buy gels and attach them on to your flash to get the same effect.
I used the Manfrotto Event Kit ( DIY03KIT) but in a slightly different way from what it is intended. I added a Manfrotto heavy duty flex arm ( 237 HD ) to the reflector holder (which can hold up to a 122cm diameter reflector) , which is included in the event kit; to add some hight. I used a sunfire reflector from Lastolite
The left flash was supplied with a deep blue filter (part of the quuntum filter kit) and clamped on to a chair with the Manfrotto spring clamp with flash shoe ( 175F ) pointing at the reflector.The spring clamp has become a favourite; it’s ideal for photographing small spaces and interiors where a normal light support would be in the way. You can clamp in on to curtain rods, tables, doors, trees, windows etc.
The middle light is fitted on to an Manfrotto 233B bracket with the 026 swivel that can rotate and move the flash unit away up to 45 cm, which in turn is fitted on a Manfrotto black alu air cushioned mini compact stand (can be bought separate or in a 3 pack).
I used the quuantum foldable softbox for the midle light, without any coloured filters or gels.
For my third light I used my Gitzo ocean traveller with a mounted Manfrotto project/monitor holder 183, which I fitted a red light to. I pointed it through the frosted glass which made the light more pink in the tone.
I moved the middle light from right to the left depending on the pose of the model, making sure that it was always pointing at her face.