Hotel and Travel Photography tutorial, part 1

March 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Lessons, News, Travel & Adventures

 

 

 

 

Hotel and Travel Photography tutorial, part 1, 

Where and how you can work, potential clients, identifying and developing your style

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Dance Photography

March 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Lessons, News

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Shooting dancers in action takes precision. You need to anticipate the peak of the movement and then press the trigger just a little before the peak, to be able to capture it. Your trigger finger needs to be quicker then your eye. You need to imagine the movement before it is done and always press a little before the ”perfect shot”. If you press exactly when you think it looks the best…you have already missed the shot. The same principles goes for any type of action shots

 

To freeze movements you will need to use fast speeds and not a too shallow depth of field. Good lighting helps a lot…with high speed strobes or ambient light.

 

Good luck!

 

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet,  Photo: Ami Elsius

Copenhagen Opera House, Royal Ballet, Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Retouching Skin

September 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Lessons, News

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

www.wacom.com

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,

 

Good Luck!

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnant Self Portraits

November 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Lessons, News

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

http://www.behance.net/gallery/Pregnant-Beauties/2704215

or go to my site

http://www.amielsius.com/love/pregnant

Equipment used:

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

 

Using natural light from the window and a strobe light with bare bulb on low effect to the right

 

 

Using natural light from the window and a strobe light on low effect to the right and a second strobe light low on the left hand side with a cold filter/gel

 

Using natural light from the window and a strobe light low on the lright hand side with a cold filter/gel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Light of Autumn

November 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, Lessons, News

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.

http://www.qtm.com

Desaturation and filters in Lightroom and skin retouching in Photoshop

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

Photo: Ami Elsius

 

 

 

 

Great photo blogs!

December 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Lessons

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.

 

http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/

Check it out:

 

http://manfrottoschoolofxcellence.com/

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.

 

 

http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/

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.

 

 

http://www.diyphotography.net/

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.

http://www.chasejarvis.com

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.

 

http://www.chromasia.com/training/

David and Libby Nightingale’s blog

A beautiful and highly popular blog with great tutorials (some free and others cost) and stunning photos.

 

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/

A site that mainly focuses on landscape photography, with a special section just for tutorials.

 

 

http://www.1001noisycameras.com/

Heaps of different camera reviews collected in one place.

 

http://www.popphoto.com/how-to

Great and big variety of  practical tutorials. There’s also a gear guide and a buy guide.

 

 

 

Magic reflections

December 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Lessons, News

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.

 

Business portraits

November 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Lessons

 

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.

 

 

 

I use an on-camera flash, a Quantum Q flash trio with a small softbox attached on an extendible arm /flip grip attached to the camera. I use a Hensel light to bounche off the roof, pointing away from the model and another Q flash Trio light that I have pointed in to a sun fire reflector to the right of the model.

 

Behind the model is a frosted glass wall. Behind it I have put another Hensel light with a warm tinted filter on. As the tinted glass have a bluish green tone I wanted to neutralize it a bit and not make it so cold. I pointed the light away to not create a small point of strong light and a halo effect on the models.

 

 

 

In this shot I used the office light that was there, together with a sunfire reflector and a Micro Pro LED light from Litepanels with an orange filter. Behind the frosted glass I used a neutral Hensel light. Had I used a stronger ligtht you wouldn't be able to see the screen. Photo has not been retouched

This is what it looked like with a wider angle and without my lights. Big difference!

 

Another image-photo that's not yet been retouched. Just to show how a narrow angle and lights can make a huge difference. Check out the photo below

This is what it normally looks like

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Going PRO with AMI ELSIUS; Workshop in Taormina 11-13/11 2011

September 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Lessons, News

Click to download the full brochure with clickable links.   http://www.amielsius.com/images/GoingPROwithAMI_ELSIUS.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pimp your snapshots

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Lessons



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?

 

 

 

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