GALLERY BEFORE + AFTER BLOG

Jul 21, 2010

EXTRACTING COLORS NOT VISIBLE TO THE EYE

For light coats like blonde or white, you must underexpose. In this case, I really underexposed. The second photo is carefully tweeked to bring out all those rich colors that didn't look present to the untrained eye. This step took a few hours to naturally and gently enhance hidden colors. I guess this process is like a slow stew - it takes time to bring out all the natural flavor or in this case colors.

Nikon's D3 chip's high quality makes this possible. It is not possible to bring out color from low or medium quality camera chips. High quality chips hold more color information, even the ones that are not obvious to the eye. I use Photoshop to explore and extract out the colors I see possible. This is why the Nikon D3 body (no lens) cost $5000 and it is well worth it.



Jun 28, 2010

COLOR SHIFT

Every photographer has their own signature digital color shift profiles. Mine are determined by the elements of photo. The model's skin color, clothing, the foreground and background are the factors I am speaking of. It is difficult to say in one blanket statement what my color shift profile is because it is different for each photo. The only general thing I can say is I know I have found the correct customized color shift profile when the photo pops. Watch carefully, there are 2 photos in each slideshow. Can you see the color pop in the second photo?







Jun 27, 2010

MINNIE MOUSE

When I am on location at the client's home it is common for me to look through the closet to select the outfits for the photo session. I found a red and white polka dot dress and a pair of mouse ears. We even had her hair professional styled at Infinity Salon. She is 10 months old. Watch carefully, there are 3 photos in the slideshow.

  • Photo 1: The original photos are slightly underexposed to capture the details. This way I can decide during the digital retouching stage how much detail I want to show in certain areas.
  • Photo 2: The exposure is corrected and the colors are shifted.
  • Photo 3: If you look closely
    • Mommy's arm is retouched out.
    • The missing background on the left is reconstructed.
    • Some of the flying hair is retouched out and/or reduced.
    • Slight bags under the eyes are lightened and blended to give a more natural and smooth look.
All these little details make a big difference in the resulting photo. Remember that my photos can be printed to 30x40, so you will see a bigger difference when the photos are viewed at a bigger size.

Jun 21, 2010

INVOKING THE INNER MODEL

The model is a good friend of mine who I meet at my 9 to 5 job a few years ago. Our mutual passion for photography brought us close. She tells me that she enjoys taking photos but doesn't like her photo taken because she considers herself not photogenic. I told her she would think differently about her photogenic-ness after a professional took her portrait. Here I am to prove my point.

Watch carefully, there are 3 photos in the slideshow. Can you tell the difference?



She suggests (all the time) I put before and after photos for discussion purposes. Well, I am using your photos I took yesterday as an example and here is a new section dedicated to sharing the digital retouching process.
  • Photo 1: The original photos are slightly underexposed to capture the details. This way I can decide during the digital retouching stage how much detail I want to show in certain areas.
  • Photo 2: The exposure is corrected (depending on what works for the specific photo) and the colors are shifted.
  • Photo 3: If you look closely
    • The fly away strand of hair on the right side is gone
    • Right side near the neck and shoulder, there is a small gap in the hair that has been filled in
    • The skin on the right jaw (below the cheek) is reduced for slimming results
    • Bags under the eyes are dramatically reduced
    • The background details are lightened so the model stand out in the photo more
All these little details make a big difference in the resulting photo. Remember that my photos can be printed to 30x40, so you will see a bigger difference when the photos are viewed at a bigger size.

Note: Skin work or skin resurfacing is necessary for people over 10 years old. In most children and pet photography, this step may not be necessary. So what to do you think about the digital retouching process?

I only take adult photos when the headshots are necessary component of the web design service I provide. DularLifestyle.com is a great example of a taking the headshot and making it the focal point of the web design.

Natural makeup by www.MariOkumura.com

BODY + HAIR CONTOURING

There are many tricks and techniques to create a photograph that is the best version of you. Body and hair contouring is the ultimate option to enhance your best parts and minimize a few less desirable ones. Remember the lens captures everything and exaggerates certain features depending on the angle or pose. To be more specific, what the human eye sees and what the lens sees are slightly different due to the optics of the lens. The area closest to the lens appears larger in the photo. It is important to keep this in mind when posing the model.

Watch carefully, there are 2 photos in the slideshow.



Did you notice the...
  • Bags under the eyes are dramatically reduced.
  • Hair is digitally sculpted to make her face slimmer.
  • The jaw line on the both sides are contoured to slim the face.
  • Width of the right shoulder is reduced to make her slimmer.
  • There is a small gap in the hair (left side near the neck) that has been filled in.
This is one of the best angles for the model. For round faces it is flattering to have model turn about 40 degree away from the camera. This gives the illusion of a oval shaped face. Her hair is very pretty in this photo but because the the wind has blown the hair away from the face, it adds a few pounds. By bringing the hair in towards the face and reducing the volume of the hair, she instantly looks slimmer. The right shoulder was also slimmed down. All the little details contribute to the resulting photo where she looks much slimmer. Don't you think?

Every photo has different digital enhancement needs. Proportion is very important to create slimming and flattering results. Remember the camera adds 10 lbs so I use angles, and digital contouring to shave off at least the added 10 lbs and at least another 10 lbs. For natural results like this it takes hours to achieve.

It is very common to use a combination of the angle/pose and digital contouring to give the best results. The resulting image is closer to the what the human eyes sees (the model is not as heavy as represented in the first photo). Remember the camera and Photoshop is a tool and it is up to the photographer to use them wisely and appropriately.

Natural makeup by www.MariOkumura.com

Jun 13, 2010

A SUPERMODEL IS BORN

This is her very first photo session. At 38 months she knows how to work the camera. She required very little direction and is a natural infront of the camera. She is 38 months old. Watch carefully, there are 3 photos in the slideshow.

  • Photo 1: The original photos are slightly underexposed to capture the details. This way I can decide during the digital retouching stage how much detail I want to show in certain areas.
  • Photo 2: The exposure is corrected, colors are shifted, and the background is recropped.
  • Photo 3: If you look closely
    • The missing background on the left is reconstructed.
    • Some of the flying hair is retouched out and/or reduced.
    • Slight bags under the eyes are lightened and blended to give a more natural and smooth look.
All these little details make a big difference in the resulting photo. Remember that my photos can be printed to 30x40, so you will see a bigger difference when the photos are viewed at a bigger size.

Jun 12, 2010

BELLA BELLA

One of her favorite thing to do is to hang out at the playground. With children we need to be in an environment he/she is comfortable with to get the great candid expressions. The challenge of using the playground as the backdrop is the background can get busy. I framed to photo to keep the background as simple as possible and yet show where she is. She is 34 months old. Watch carefully, there are 3 photos in the slideshow.

  • Photo 1: The original photos are slightly underexposed to capture the details. This way I can decide during the digital retouching stage how much detail I want to show in certain areas.
  • Photo 2: The exposure is corrected and the colors are shifted.
  • Photo 3: If you look closely
    • The red pole is removed. Now the pole doesn't take the attention away from the cute expression.
    • Lollipop color is enhanced.
    • Slight bags under the eyes are lightened and blended to give a more natural and smooth look.
All these little details make a big difference in the resulting photo. Remember that my photos can be printed to 30x40, so you will see a bigger difference when the photos are viewed at a bigger size.

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