That extra Pa Zazz in Photoshop

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by mattlaudergallery, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. Hi all,

    After looking at alot of website of wedding / portrait
    photographers. I have come to notice that alot appear to have been
    tweeked in photoshop to give them an enhanced look about them,
    either with burning / masking etc.

    I like the work of and he even
    has a photoshop tutorial disk available which confirms for me that
    dispite his obvious skill behind the lens, he is also adding an
    extra element to his work. Any ideas on how or what techniques are
    being used here.

    I have searched high and low on the internet and it appears to be a
    secret, with portrait tutorials only really covering layer methods
    with blurs etc.

  2. jem


    You've picked one of the best known wedding photographers in Australia and one of the most awarded. Perhaps if you want to narrow it down to a particular image or two you want to know about people could help you more easily. He's also been fully digital for a lot longer than most, I believe, and consequently has yers of experience at it.

    I can't think of a pro photographer in Oz NOT using PS to add an element to their work (with varying degrees of success!). But the portrait/wedding market is particularily saturated with heavily 'mood enhanced' work. Most of it is quite easy to achieve, but there's lots of different techniques for different looks. Maybe you should ID your favourite looks.
  3. I looked at that gallery and I could not see evidence of extensive retouching. Some of them had skin smoothing, that's all. Care to provide an example?

    P.S. Frankly, I have seen much better wedding portfolios with bigger pictures so I do not understand why he had to make them so small.
  4. Hi Matt:

    I'm not sure what technique you are talking about but one I use often is the Gaussian Blur effect. It can be found here:

    Its a relatively simple technique that can give a romantic look to your photographs. I use it on my some of my flower images:
  5. Matt,

    You have been fooled. The site your taking about is all about photography, excellent photography. It's not not about Photoshop.

    The Photoshop tutorial disk is about page layout and web design.

    What we have here is a person skilled in both communication and photography. No amount of Photoshop is going to give an average photog the kind of pictures you've seen that website.
  6. Thanks for the quick replies, there is no doubt at all that this guy has incredible skill. I was interested in the PS techniques is he using on his his work.

    Because his site is designed in Flash, I cannot send a link, but the type of images I am referring to are in the wedding section and are located from the left. 4 across and 3 down. 8 across and 5 down and 8 across on the top.

    I have come from shooting with a 6 x 17 Fuji, to now a Canon 20D with a 580EX speedlight flash. (studio set up is on the to buy list)My learning curve is once again steep and I really dont want to be a heavy PS manipulator, I am just interested in these fine tuning techniques.

    Thanks Matt
  7. Looking at the photos you listed, it appears that they are not heavily manipulated in photoshop. It looks like the only thing really done in photoshop is tweaking the curves or levels to give better and more dramatic shadowing. Perhaps some skin softening. Most of what is done appears to be good camera technique. Due to the small size and poor quality, it is really hard to tell more.
  8. jem


    It's about both - good photography and good post production.

    The images in question are a combination of techniques - first of all the images are lit to flatter the subject and well shot to start with. Then I would venture that selective blur is applied (probably with andromada varifocus which was all the rage here until lens blur in PS came along - much more natural than Gaussian blur, gives much better out of focus highlights). Then there is the nearly obligiatory vignetting (done with an oval selection, or better yet an adjustment layer and really smooth gradient map). Tonally, there is a a few different effects going on in those images, but I definitely notice an almost bleach bypass approach - achievable many ways (see, both bleach bypass and soft overlay). One of his key techniques is using monochromatic backgrounds (mixture of good shooting and PS technique) to surround rich skintones (try the soft overlay and a layer mask), also toned to go almost bronze at times). Mixed lighting (bathing faces in tungsten light, or late afternoon sun)- getting the subjects into soft light (window light, early evening light) help a lot and are par for the course with Wedding work.

    The biggest skill is working with the people and taking advantage of the locations appropriately - good planning and a good eye. Then good people skills to get the right expressions and moods, followed by a good post production team (Yervant is big business, and pricey - as you can see at the bottom the images are credited to the Yervant team).

    Yervant is also very well known for their slick post production, magazine style approach. I suspect they use Albums Australia to produce the album - I'm told AA is one of the world's best and many of the higher end US wedding photographers get their work finished there as Australia is (oddly) much slicker in the finishing department as far as I've been told. Eg lamda metallic prints are still relatively exotic and expensive in NY but common as pie here....I haven't been to NY in years now, but this is what I've been told).

    The trick with PS is to use it really well and not to fall into the trap of real fakery...but to use it to enhance your work and really improve print quality by developing a set of tools to create the rich, subtle tonalities high end portrait work requires. Of course it all starts with great shooting technique - the key skill being (IMHO) not to take a sharp well exposed picture (billions of people can do that), but to really think in terms of story telling and image creation rather than image capture. The myth of PJ style wedding coverage is just that - the trick is to make it LOOK totally natural while in reality being in complete control of the situation (and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise - but opportunites are created rather than found in most cases).
  9. Even if you are using PS basically as a tool for making corrections like you would to a print in the dark room, you can spend hours on a print even a properly exposed and scanned print. Remember, you can make fine tuned spot adjustments on a photoshop print that you wouldn't get in the darkroom. There are virtually an endless amounts of techniques just for basic photographic correction and touch-up just to be able to at the end of the day, adjust contrast, exposure values and dodging/burning. Truly great depth in PS. It can take you as far as you are able to see.

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