Friday, January 28, 2011

make it fabulous!

wow, i can't believe a whole week has gone by since my last post!  i have been meaning to post more frequently, but time just keeps slipping away from me!

however, i have my 2nd Make It Fabulous post ready to share with you today...and hopefully some of what i share will help you out!

this image was shot in my tiny little apartment, using the light from the window, and a black blanket as a backdrop...

I used a 50mm prime lens, at f1.4, 1/80 and ISO 800 (it was actually quite dark b/c it was late afternoon, that is why i used a higher ISO)

After opening the image in Camera Raw, this is what I adjusted:
Bump up contrast to +40
Bump up clarity to +15
Bump up vibrance to +5

Adjust curves to “Strong contrast”

Then, open in Photoshop.

To get rid of that bluish spot at the top, I Used the Clone Stamp Tool at 100% opacity and sampled a spot that was completely black (alt + click on the area you want to sample) 
and then I brush over the bluish spot and turn it black.


Just crop it – I personally like how it looks cropped better anyway.  
 There was just too much black at top and bottom before. 

I already knew I wanted this in black and white, so I then I go to Image>Adustments>Black and White.  Then I adjust the reds to 10% and yellows to 75% -- this darkens the reds a bit and lightens the yellows, making his skintone more even and less splotchy in black and white.

TRA Boring Sepia at 25%

Flatten, sharpen and save!

Friday, January 21, 2011

make it fabulous!

I've been wanting to describe how I edit for a while...for any of you out there who wonder how I get to my final product...there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes once I stop shooting and you go home from your session.

I'm usually so excited to see the images that I browse through them on the LCD screen on my camera before I even make it home! Then once I'm home, I upload them to my hard drive and then I select my favorite images to edit.

I don't always get it exactly right IN CAMERA, so thankfully I have an amazing tool for post-processing called Photoshop CS5. :) I also shoot in RAW which allows me a bit more wiggle room as well.

So, every Friday I am going to post a "Make It Fabulous" image from start to finish to show you how I edit. I am NOT a photoshop expert, however, I have learned a lot in the past few years and would love to be help any of you if I can! I learned a TON from all of the friendly photogs out there who take the time to share their knowledge online...and I hope that I can give back, even just a little bit!

So, here's how I took this underexposed (but still beautiful!) image to it's final edit:

1. In Camera Raw I adjust a few of the sliders...

exposure: +0.50
fill light: 10
blacks: 5
brightness: +45
contrast: +50
clarity: +15
vibrance: +12

I also warmed up the temperature a little bit.

2. Next, I open the image in Photoshop. I usually adjust my levels first. Go to the Image menu, then choose Adjustments, then Levels. Here I just very slightly lightened the midtones and darkened the the shadows.

3. I use a lot of Totally Rad Actions so from now on I will just refer to them as TRA + the name of the action.  TRA Yin/Yang -- Yin=lighter, Yang=darker. I used Yin with a soft brush on a very low opacity (about 10) under her eyes and then even lower at about 2 over her entire face and neck. Then I used Yang at about 25% opacity to darken the grass/weeds around her so that she would pop out a bit more as the focus in the image.

4. TRA ProRetouch -- I try really hard not to make people look like they have plastic skin or alien-sharp I use pro-retouch sparingly. I put it on about 10% opacity and used it to smooth out her skin and then used the eye bump to highlight ONLY the highlighted areas in the iris of her eye...I think this gives the eyes just enough light to make them sparkle!

5. I'm done! Sharpen and save!!! At this point I will usually convert to black and white when I'm editing a, here's the black and white + a hint of sepia...

Are there any shooting or editing tips you'd like to hear about?  I will do my best to answer any and all questions you have!  Or at least point you in the right direction!

xoxo!  Happy Friday!

Monday, January 17, 2011

i need music to edit

When I'm editing photos, I always listen to music.  I mostly listen to my playlist from my personal blog...but I also really enjoy all of the FREE dowloadable playlists from Urban Outfitters. 

Music helps energize me and also keeps my creative juices flowing...I think it can also break up the monotony of resizing proofs and uploading galleries. 

I'd love to find out what sort of music gets you moving!  And if you have a minute and are curious, go check out my playlist and the free ones from 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

an 80th birthday + a family reunion

I love this family.  Kristie is one of my dearest friends, and when she told me she was helping to plan her grandmother's 80th birthday party/reunion and wanted me to photograph everyone, I was super excited!  Her brothers had me laughing the entire time...and it was so fun to see the whole gang together!  Here is a peek of our afternoon session together:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011