Tag Archives: photoshop

Instagram Photoshop Actions

8 Sep

I-Phoneography has exploded with Instagram. It’s one of those phenomena that is both cool and scary at the same time. It’s cool because you can take a quasi-good photo with a handheld device that fits in your pocket, and then use an app to make that quasi-good photo look amazing. All with the touch of a button. So simple, even a monkey could do it. It’s really cool to browse the Instagram photos and see all the neat and beautiful photos people and monkeys are creating with this new tool.

What’s scary about it, is that as a photographer, I sometimes wonder what use will people have for me if they can make these awesome photos themselves? I’m sure this same question was asked with the advent of digital cameras in place of film cameras, which I, being of a digital generation, have grown up with. So, I am also going to embrace the iPhone and its easy apps, mainly because I enjoy the resulting images, but also because there is no sense in resisting the inevitable. And even though most photographers no longer use film as part of their core professional gear, there are a lot of photographers that still use film on a regular basis, because there really is something about film that you just can’t create with a digital camera. And I’m one of them.

So, I believe that photographers are safe, and that there is a certain amount of strength in the acceptance of and curiosity about i-Phoneography. Plus it really doesn’t matter how much I or any other photographer resist it. It’s here to stay. And something cooler and better is most certainly soon to follow. That’s just how the human race and technology work.

My hours and hours spent bent over a computer in Photoshop will not be in vain! In fact, I recently discovered some great Photoshop actions, created by Daniel Box, that you can use to make ANY photo Instagram-my. These Instagram Actions will transform your crappy photos into works of art, just like the iPhone!! See below for example of crappy photo turned cool. I used a webcam on my computer to snap this silly photo. My favorite action is Nashville. What’s yours?


Tutorial: Eva and Blackbird

14 Aug

This is a quick explanation of my process to create this photo. If you are not familiar with Photoshop layers, selection tools, and filters, it will be a bit difficult to follow, as I do not explain in detail all of the actions I used. An intermediate user who is familiar with Photoshop tools will find this a challenge, but simple enough to follow. An advanced user won’t even bother to read this, as they should already know the general idea of how I created this composite.

1. I started with the photo of Eva and a photo of the blackbird. When I was searching for a photo of the blackbird, I made sure its leg positioning and body positioning would make sense in the photo with Eva.I used the photo of Eva as the original layer, and then went to the photo of the bird and selected the blackbird using the pen tool. I feathered the selection by 1 pixel, then copied the selection to a separate layer on top of the original blackbird photo. I used the lasso tool to select all of the tiny details, hairs and feathers of the bird, then copied that layer on top of the blackbird selection layer. I then used the eraser on that layer to clean it up. This is a time-consuming process; if you want it to be perfect you should spend the majority of your time on this selection. Selection techniques vary, but I like to use the pen tool. Try your hand at magnetic lasso, lasso, etc. There are even ways to use the color channels to make a selection. I will not get into that, as it could be an entire tutorial on its own. Merge the bird selection and feather layers, but leave the original photo as the background.

2. Next I dragged the bird onto the photo of Eva. You may need to resize the bird in order to scale it properly. Use the shift key to maintain the dimensions of the bird, otherwise it will appear skewed and thus, AMATEUR. I positioned the bird over her hand, and made sure the legs aligned with her fingers. I had to use the transform tools to get the bird’s feet to appear wrapped around her hand. This is in the Edit>Transform menu. Also, I used the Liquify filter to nudge the feet and get them perfect. This is in the Filters>Liquify. Use the Smudge Tool under the Liquify filter in this instance, although this is a powerful filter and can be used in a variety of situations. Again, the Liquify filter is a tutorial on its own.

3. The layers are still separate at this point. I burned Eva’s fingers under the bird to give the appearance of shadow, so it looks like it’s really there. Everything casts a shadow. VERY IMPORTANT thing to remember when compositing. Many a Photoshop fumble has been made with the failure to give things shadows. Also, I used the dodge tool to lighten up the bird, so that the lighting on the bird and Eva was about the same. Try to look at the photo as a whole and make sure the lighting matches. This is key in making the composite blend and look natural.

4. Next I adjusted the color of the bird. The original photo of the bird had a very warm tint, with gold in the highlights. I used the Adjust menu to lower the saturation and then used the color balance to bring some more blue into the bird, until the blacks and highlights of the bird matched the blacks and highlights of Eva.

5. You can add a Photo Filter to warm it up or cool it down and further bind the composite together. Also, adjusting color, saturation and hue on the whole photo helps to blend it. Use your own judgment and preferences to adjust color on the entire photo.

And that’s it. Pretty simple. This process may take a few hours, because there is a lot of precision work involved in the selection.

Blackbird Photos

6 Aug

Here are the first set of photos from the shoot with Blackbird. All are lit with a softbox from the ceiling coming directly down. Key is an umbrella strobe camera right and forward. Fill is umbrella from left. I also lit the back wall to eliminate harsh shadows. This is a version of Rembrandt lighting style. In post process I added brush strokes to give the impression of an old Victorian-era oil painting.

Carey Hinrichs

Sierra Dawn

Eva Hinckley

New Photoshop Painting Technique

26 Jul

I just learned a new Photoshop technique where you literally paint on the photo with these cool watercolor brushes. It adds a lot of amazing texture and gives me yet another tool in my Photoshop arsenal. The possibilities are endless! Below is an example of how I have spent most of the last few hours 🙂 Actually, this is what I spend most of my time doing – learning new photography and Photoshop techniques so that I can improve my craft. I consider learning to be a part of my job, and I truly believe that everyone should. Our ability and willingness to learn can be one of our greatest assets in life.

This photo is from the same shoot that I used to create the stop motion. The lighting was simple – just a large shoot through umbrella camera right and modeling lamp camera left for fill.