Between all the tools, filters, layers, and even 3D capabilities, Photoshop can be an intimidating program to approach for those new to photo editing. However, Photoshop offers plenty of powerful tools that can transform your images quickly and effectively. Here, we will focus on three different methods for utilizing adjustment layers to create fun and beautiful toning for your images.
My wife couldn’t watch me edit photos of her. She told me that it reminded her of how much older she was getting. As I would work on a picture, she would point out marks she wanted me to remove, or tell me how to handle things that the tiny amount of makeup she wore didn’t cover. For her, even though she had great skin and an athletic body, it was a process she didn’t enjoy watching, but she did love the resulting images. Now, this happened years ago, and it was an excellent lesson for me in terms of thinking about how clients would potentially look at their resulting images. It also created a set of guidelines I now use when retouching, and I wanted to pass those on to you, so you can avoid the same pitfalls I did.
I am well aware that post-production can be intimidating and sometimes even overwhelming. That is exactly how I felt at the beginning, when I first started learning about Photoshop and practicing my skills. On the other hand, it is a great tool for unlocking your creativity and bringing your photography to the next level. After I realized the difference post-production can make, I never looked back, and spent days exploring new ways to improve my work and my skills. Still, all those skills can be futile if you do not think about the post-production process before you even take the photo. That is why the next section is an extremely important step in my creative process.
Over the last two-and-a-half years, we have built a luxury brand in a small market. We are by far the most expensive photography option in our area—I am talking three to ten times more expensive than others. To be honest, we don’t think we are five times better than the other photographers in our town, and we don’t think our end product is five times better than their products either. However, we are able to charge ten times what they are, and still fill our calendar, because of the time we have spent making sure from start to finish that our clients are getting an incredible experience.
Capture One has been around for quite some time, and it’s partnered with Phase One—you know, those super-expensive cameras that probably none of us will ever be able to afford or find a very practical way to use even if we could. They’re great, don’t get me wrong—that’s not where I’m going here. I’m simply saying that it’s a $50,000 camera, so you can expect pretty high-end things from that company. Their editing (and really, originally tethering) program is called Capture One. Now, I haven’t used this for very long, it’s only been about six months, but what I can tell you is that once I saw the difference between Lightroom and Capture One, I just wasn’t satisfied in Lightroom anymore.
Every tool in Photoshop has a single letter you can tap to activate the tool. No multiple keys to remember (“Is it Shift or Alt?”), just tap a single letter on your keyboard, and that tool is ready to use. Many of the shortcuts make perfect sense, such as M for Marquee, C for Crop, T for Type and B for Brush. Others are a bit more of a stretch, such as V for the MoVe tool or W for the Quick Selection tool (since it shares the same slot as the Magic Wand). Some others make no real sense at all, making us feel that Adobe was running out of letters and just assigned them to random tools as there was nothing else available. Learning and remembering these single-letter shortcuts should be easier than trying to recall multi-key shortcuts (more on that later), but it will still take a while.
this isn’t an article that is trying to convince you to outsource your post-production. It’s an article to explain how inefficiency in post-production is costing you serious money, and I am going to show you the process for creating an efficient workflow for yourself. I will say, though, that I am of the strong belief that once you are shooting more than 25 weddings a year, it’s time to send your post-production to someone else. However, most photographers are still shooting under that number, and today I want to show you a process that will work to kick some of your inefficient habits.
Now, in the world of post-production, we tend to see two camps. There’s that of purists, who believe in just delivering images as they were captured, reminiscent of the days of film before we had Photoshop. And then there are those on the other end of the spectrum who believe in using software to shape, alter, and polish their images before presenting to their clients. I’d like to think I live somewhere in the middle, which I am sure many of you can relate to. What I would like to do here is explore how the right amount of post-production can help you and your business stand out.
If you want clients of all shapes and sizes to feel confident working with you, they need to first see that you have an active interest in welcoming them into your studio. It is very intimidating for a plus-size client to reach out to a photographer, no matter how beautiful their work is, if the photographer’s entire portfolio consists of only one body type again and again. What’s more, working with models will help you to become more adept at working with larger bodies before offering your skills to paying clients. When a photographer isn’t comfortable working with people of size, believe me, it really shows, and the results can range from awkward to devastating.
Choosing the right strobe for your needs is not only a question of budget but how you intend to use the strobe. The criteria and features desirable for studio strobes differ from those designed for location use, and vice versa. That said, strobes designed for location use can be used in the studio, and studio strobes can in some cases be used on location. So, if you can only budget for one type of strobe, don’t worry. Keep in mind that every strobe involves a series of compromises, and there is no one strobe that does everything and does it well. That’s why there are portable strobes designed for location work and larger, more powerful strobes intended for studio work. Each has its pluses, minuses and place.
The majority of compositors use Photoshop. Knowing the controls and options will allow you to focus on the artwork instead of stumbling around looking for a filter or tool. Yes, being comfortable and knowing Photoshop well will take some time and effort. But seriously, since when was anything worthwhile easy to do? Shut off Dancing with the Stars and The Voice and instead spend some time playing around in Photoshop. Make yourself better.
When it comes to editing creatives, I want to work in Lightroom so I can quickly apply different styles to my images with a single click. Beyond applying just a preset, you have the ability to add a more creative shift to your images using profiles. Applying a profile is the newest way to shift your corrected image to the next level without requiring you to re-edit—it’s the one-click solution you’ve been waiting for. Here is why I use profiles and how they’ve transformed my editing workflow.
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As in all aspects of running a photography business, success relies on creating an efficient system. Get the images right in camera to reduce the need for post-production. Automate what you can. Use technology to your advantage. And find a system that is based on speed. Do all of these things, and you can easily shrink your post-production to a timeframe that allows you to conduct same-day sales.
When it comes to crafting killer quality of light, it’s all about modifiers. These light-shaping tools come in a variety of shapes, sizes and interior finishes. When attached to the front of strobes, modifiers help control the quality, shape, direction, spread, and amount of contrast, as well as how quickly the light falls off. While some have more versatility than others, there is no one-size-fits-all modifier. Each has its own unique characteristics, and each produces a different set of results.
As a photographer, ask yourself this question: how often do you break down a session into those key elements? Our creative path is usually inspired by other images we see, images that evoke the desired adjective of “beautiful” and also conjure the phrase, “I want to shoot something like this too!” You get all the necessary components together and start photographing. But are you replicating what you saw as your inspiration, or are you returning to the basics of beauty—the definition of the word?
About a year into my boudoir photography business, I was being asked to teach from all over, to host workshops, to speak at events, and so I went with it. I taught my first boudoir workshop in Atlanta, GA in 2015. Here we are almost five years later, and I’ve traveled across the country to speak, teach and inspire. But how did I get here? I’ll tell you one thing—it wasn’t easy. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
What is behind the shutter?
Behind the Shutter is a free online photography training and educational resource created to help both professional and amateur photographers run successful photography businesses – covering lighting, posing, social media, marketing, post-production, pricing, sales and more.
Sal Cincotta created Behind the Shutter to give back to the world of photography. As an up and coming photographer, Sal was struggling to find answers to basic questions. Most of the magazines out there were filled with fluff. Sal needed and wanted to create something that would challenge photographers, something that would educate them.
Sal, an active wedding and portrait photographer in the St Louis metro area, wanted to bring a sense of real world understanding to the magazine and photography education.
Our mission is to create and elevate the photography community by providing relevant and timely education. At Behind the Shutter, we believe that an educated photography community will raise the bar for all photographers around the world.
Photography training and education for the modern photographer
In today’s competitive landscape, quality online photography training and education is priceless to your growth. Unfortunately, most publications contain a ton of fluff. No real meat to their content. Not at Shutter Magazine. We are committed to the photography community and improving professional photography by providing current, insightful, and in-depth educational content.
Training topics include photography lighting techniques, photography off-camera flash tips, photography posing guides, photography business concepts and marketing strategies, Facebook for photographers, boudoir and glamour photography training, high-school senior photography concepts, IPS (In-Person Sales) strategies, family photography, lightroom tutorials, photoshop how-tos, and much, much more.