Wednesday, August 31, 2016

From portrait to fashion with these simple steps

This blog post is about some slight changes you can make to take your images from a 'portrait' look to a more fashion and beauty look. I'm using shots from my recent shoot with Modern Muse model Lane Griffith. I thought this would be the best shoot to illustrate the point since makeup was done by the model herself and  there was no team of people behind these particular images. I'm going to go through four steps that I myself use to change up a shoot. Nothing technical has been changed in these images. They were all shot with one Neewer 300w strobe, a small 30 inch octagon umbrella softlight to the model's left and up about 6 1/2 feet. (If you watch the model's eyes, you'll notice the catch lights are all in the same position.) The only changes made will be the ones discussed. The background is just white seamless paper. Oh, and I used my 55-200 lens. (Because I'm always asked about what lenses I use.)


Let's say you've already done the shoot, and are not sure what to do with the images you have. A fast and easy fix is cropping the image. Cropping can remove distracting hair and clothes, and give you a different perspective of an image. In the example below, the first picture looks more like a school portrait. With cropping, your image is changed to a beauty portrait.


Duh, right? Making simple changes to your model's poses can change the mood of your photo. To take it a step further, sometimes changing your own position will make a world of difference. Take the pictures below. Same exact set-up, except I turned the light away from her a little.( by little, I literally only rotated the light towards her right about an inch.) This was done to feather the light across her face as opposed to having it shine directly on her face. Same hair and makeup, even same garment. For this picture, I changed my position from where I was shooting her slightly, and in my opinion it's whole different type of image. One on the left is the image after the posing and position change, and the image on the right is cropped for a tighter shot. Same picture, but two different ways you can edit it.


It's strange, at least to me, how different hair can make a person look. When I shoot a model for the first time, before the shoot is over, I almost always pull their hair back off their face. It's a dramatic difference in some photos, and you've done nothing save put a ponytail in her hair. For the pictures below, I wet Lane's hair and put three braids in it. (any one who knows me, knows I'm all about braids.) I also pulled her further from the background to darken it a little. This brought her a little closer to the light source, as you can tell by the catch lights in her eyes. So, by adding a little lip gloss and changing her hair, the image went from a portrait look, to an edgier kind of look. Her posing also has a fashion feel to it. 

Add a prop

Listen, I'm telling you guys to add a, A, prop. Just one, or maybe two. Don't go slapping stuff in your photoshoots and telling people Adrienne told you to do it. I'm saying, put your model in a cowboy hat and maybe have a saddle on set. I'm not saying have her in a cowboy hat, on a bale of hay with a saddled horse and lassos hanging every where. Don't do that, that sounds not only expensive, but I can't imagine it smells great either. What I'm saying is, adding a little something to your images can make a world of difference. I am a natural hoarder, (this is not a good thing and if you tell my husband I admitted to it, I will deny until I die), so I have all manner of stuff tucked away in corners at my house. When I am coming up with concepts I regularly pull from the things I have laying around. In the below images, I re-purposed a pair of goggles my son swears he can never find when it's time to go swimming and a pair of sunglasses I found wandering around Party City. I put Lane back closer to the background and shot the images as beauty images, closely cropped from the shoulders up. I also removed the modifier from the light so that I can get a harsher 'sunlight' type of light. The light is still off to her left and about six and a half feet up. She is about four or five feet away from the light and only about a foot away from the background, if that. My living room is hella small, so she could be a little closer to the background.  As you can see the addition of the goggles and sunglasses gave the images a fun and funky mood. 

I included the before and after for the above image down at the end so you can see how dark the background was. I lightened it up in camera raw. Having a second light behind the model would have made the background completely white, thus saving me a step, but for the purposes of this post, I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible. As always feel free to send me any questions.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Batteling the bulge using frequency separation

Hi guys, this isn't a super long post at all. I was going through and editing images from a commercial shoot and a blog post idea came to me. Nothing particularly complicated or even awe-inspiring, just an easy fix for a problem a lot of us as photographers have. Unsightly bulges is what I'm talking about. I mean, real talk, unless you're photographing food or just flowers, you're running into this problem. The hardest bulges to edit are the ones forward facing, am I right? Any one can liquefy a belly, or tuck in arms and legs when it's from the side. But when a client is front facing, getting rid of a bulge is a little trickier. The bulge is caused by the difference between the lit and shadowed areas. The stomach protrudes so it catches the light and cast the area under it in shadow. By removing that shadow, you, in essence, 'remove' the bulge.

Recently, I've been working with frequency separation, and as with everything, the more I use it, the better I get at it. There are mucho articles and videos on the best way to use frequency separation. It's very useful and I've found it reduces the time it takes me to edit, as well as the number of layers I use to edit. This post isn't about how to do it, as I've said it's been covered ad nauseam. I will link you to the tutorial that finally convinced me to give it a try, because prior to this guy, it seemed like way too much work to me. You can find a tutorial as well as an easy action you can download to save yourself some time on FX-Ray,'s website.

In the action it's separated into low frequency which I use to edit color differences and high frequency which I use to edit detail, like skin, blemishes, wrinkles and such. The layer we are working with is the low frequency as in the pic below.

Once you're on the low frequency layer, go to your paint brush layer and select the mixer brush tool.

Below is a pic of the settings I use for my brush.

To use the brush, select the color area to sample. The shadowed area is what you want to get rid of, so select the area above it to sample. As with everything, be careful of your sampling areas because you want to make sure the area you paint matches the area around it. In the below example, I haven't done anything to the picture save brushed away the shadow on her lower stomach. Getting rid of that dark area 'flattens' out the small bulge that was there and now her stomach appears flat. The same thing can be accomplished using the healing brush, but when you're working with textured garments too much healing removes that texture. That's the biggest benefit I've found with using frequency separation, not having to sacrifice texture.

Another example. Nothing has been done to the image save removing the shadows on the stomach area. As you can see, the bulge is noticeably smaller in the pic on the left. 

A super fast fix for a problem that plagues the lot of us. As with everything, personal preference changes with every person and this doesn't work on everything. I have found it useful, and it works for me. Hopefully you get some use out of it.  Feel free to leave me questions in the comments. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Shop TRob lookbook

A while ago I got the opportunity to do a lookbook for a new boutique opened by my friend and makeup artist Tina Roberts. I loved these images, and the looks. Here are some of my favorite images from that shoot. Model is Monique Bringham from Modern Muse Models.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Beauty shoot with Monique

I love hair photoshoots. It's fun trying to figure out ways to make the hair move, and though hard work to edit, I still enjoy it. Ever since I met Monique and started working with her, I knew eventually I would try and tackle the mass amounts of awesome hair she has. It was a challenge moving her hair, as it was heavy and long. Thanks for putting up with me and our many takes MOnique. :) Makeup was done by one of my fav makeup artists, Sherry Restifo. Here are a few of my fav shots from the shoot. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Oishi for Coco Magazine

It's been at least a year since my last blog post. But with a one year old....well, we'll see. :) For this particular blog I wanted to share with you my newest editorial entitled, 'Oishi' that was submitted to Coco Magazine. It was a different shoot for myself, with a lot of moving parts. There was a lot more photoshopping than I normally do for shoots, so it was a challenge, but turned out to be fun.

Model: Marissa Nguyen @chopstick_and_stilettos
Makeup: Haley Triforo @trifiro_art
Styling/Concept: Janelle LaFond, @jmistyling