I have a habit of creating long posts on social media mixed with the images that I create. This can benefit me or hurt me. Who knows... or cares, but I will try to explain my vision and post processing the best I can without boring you all or getting to nerdy.
I am not a big fan of writing. This is a new venture for me. In the past year and a half since I took my first portrait till now I have failed more times then I can count, but when I succeed the feeling is that unexplainable. In this time I devoted myself to education and practice. Organizing portfolio work just to shoot or taking a big cut just to try something new. The last few months of this journey has been nothing short of amazing, in the sense of growing as an artist and trying to share my work to everyone who would take that spilt second to view it. I get many questions asking what I like to photograph. Ill take a second and explain what I do. I photograph mostly portraits, fashion and landscapes. Portraits doesn't mean I only shoot models. I photograph seniors, artists and families. I do offer Boudoir and model development sessions as well. Do I photograph a lot of models yes, but it doesn't mean I won't photograph you if you aren't one. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. It is up to me and my make up artist to have you at your best that day.
I am a sucker for just driving and seeing new places. Landscape photography to me is so relaxing and rewarding. It takes time and dedication to get the images I want because Im at the mercy of mother nature. I don't intend to sell any of these images most time. There are some I do set up for sale. Enough about that lets get to the good stuff!
I have many asking what my process is when taking portraits, how I light my subjects and I get the expressions I need. These questions aren't just from fellow artists or photographers, but from clients and possible clients as well. I see more and more clients asking about the retouching aspect, which is good. Clients should know something about the process because it helps them understand that it's not just a click of a button on a camera and it's done. Now it's the same when it comes to the digital darkroom. Some photographers use one click presets and say they're done. Some process their images manually and they are so good at the craft they know how to be consistent when doing so. I, on the other hand use a multi-facited system to combine artistic processes.
Makeup & Hair: JLP Make up
I do use some presets or actions not only to apply an effect, but to make my workflow faster while keeping the quality high and more consistent throughout the images I give to my clients. With these presets or actions I modify them to the way I like them. In reality I only use them to save time from clicking buttons or sliders the same way, every time to every image.
In the image above. I selected my base setting (preset) to the image. This gets me to the starting point automatically. When shooting portraits. Everything needs to come together perfectly for me from the pose, expression and make up & hair. My make up artist saves me so much time on the computer and make the atmosphere so relaxing and fun. If you have the option to have one whether if your a client, model or artist just starting out. Having a good make up and hair stylist on hand is one of the best things you or I can do.
I have been working with my make up artist Jessica Paseler for a litte while now and I absolutely adore her, her passion and dedication to the art. She doesn't cut corners or has the mentality to leave things the way they are and say "he can photoshop it" She knows as well that If we get it right in camera the better off the image will be. When it comes to skin texture, skin and color values. I love keeping it natural!
The image above is after I applied my base. Again when I retouch any portrait my goal is to keep all skin texture, skin tones and keeping details that make the person who they are. I don't use any blurr technique to wash away the skin imperfections. Honestly I think it's just laziness and in this case if I were to do this technique all the freckles that Kendal has will be lost or look muddy.
With the help of my make up artist, along with my subject having great skin. I just had to do minor work on the skin. I call it my quick clean up.. Some healling and clone brushing was used. Most of it was Dodging and burning (Brightening and darkening certain areas of the skin.). This is my normal approach on all of my portrait work. Can I do this all in one program like Lightroom oh yes. I personally like the extra control I get in Photoshop and take that extra step to deliver a quality product. Now as for High end retouching lets say for. print magazines, websites, customized sessions etc.. I have a completely different approach which one image can take me hours to finish.
After my my quick clean up. I also desaturated the background to make Kendal Pop and started my detail work.
From here I start my color grading and giving the image the unique look I envisioned. As I apply these colors and tones along with boosting contrast. I mask away the areas I felt shouldnt be applied to; for example skin, eyes and hair.
The above image is a continuation of my layers for this image with contains more selective color, brightening areas of the image. This part alone I probably redid this section about 5 or 6 times until I was completely satisfied with the results
Once I finished the colors I started working on the eyes. I never over do the eyes. I like things to be subtle. I have the same feeling when it comes to the highlights and shadows of the skin. To give it a little more pop I added snow. The key with snow is to make it subtle where the viewer doesn't get to distracted away from the subject. From here I double checked everything with the image finally I added some sharpening to the subject and saved it back to Lightroom.
I hope this blog answers most of the questions about my process. I also hope you enjoyed viewing the behind the scenes work that goes Into my images. Some photographers hate this process and want to shoot and be done with it. Which is great because they are out more shooting instead of being behind the computer. Some like the full process. I personally love the whole thing from planning, shooting, processing to delivery. It's a great feeling to imagine something, only then to have it come to life and see it through to the end. It is just a wonderful feeling. Next blog I will be showing off some amazing work I did a little while back with one hell of a team at a beautiful local antique store. Hope you all enjoy. God Bless