I got a request for a tutorial for “Be More Heroic” so here it is! I think my editing for this photo more than any other really shows my tendancy to just throw adjustment layers on and play with them untill I’m happy…
I started by compositing 3 shots of myself, the first was the general pose with the remote in my right hand, then I switched hands so I had a shot of that hand w/o the remote, and then I fliped the cape back so it looked more like it was blowing in the wind. Then I expanded the frame, croped and ended up with this.
The first thing I did was to add a general curve layer to the whole thing to give a bit more contrast and such
Then I did another curve layer, masking out myself, the cape and the rock
Next was another curve layer that was just on my clothing so I could brighten it and bring out the purples. Here’s that curve layer and what it looked like at this point
Next of course I had to work on my hands and face and brighten the up.
Then I added yet another curve layer to for just the cape. I wanted to bring out some texture in it since it was so pure red. So I used some “S” color curves since I knew they wouldn’t be able to affect the color of the bright red too much
Next was ANOTHER curve layer (If you’re wondering I had started out seeing if I could edit something with only curve…) mainly so I could bring the bottom of it up a wee-bit.
Next I decided I wanted to have the red of the cape stand out more, so I desaturarted it. To do this I first made a hue/saturation layer and put everything except red at -100 saturation. Then I made another hue/saturation and completely desaturated the reds, and then masked out the cape, this way I could get rid of the reds in my shirt. I wasn’t entirely fond of cape being the only thing in color so I reduced the opacity of each of the Hue/saturation layers to about 50%, ending up with this
Next I decided to use a vibrance layer to play with saturation a bit more. I love using vibrance layers and playing with putting the saturation and vibrance sliders in opposing positions, it always ends up bringing out certain colors in a way I don’t think I’d be able to do otherwise. After I got it set how I wanted it I slightly masked out the cape (black brush at about 20% going over it untill I masked it just enough) to bring back some of it’s color.
In order to draw more attention to the face I used to brightness/contrast layers masked with gradients. This is a technique I find useful to subltly draw attention to important areas.
Lately I’ve been playing around with solid color fill layers and blending modes so I decided to use one to make the sky a bit more interesting. Here’s how I ended up setting it, masking out the cape so it could maintain it’s magnificent red.
And here’s what the color fill did!
I then decided to fiddle with a color balance layer for the heck of it
And then one final curve layer to top it all off…
And here’s the final result!
Any questions or requests for other tutorials can be made on my formspring!
Ok, so I don’t know how much of a “tutorial” this will be so much as a conglameration of tips and tricks. I decided I’d divide this into 3 “types” of light I generally use: No light, back light, and harsh light.
No Light- I think there’s a tendance for people to thing that since photography is basically capturing light they need direct light. But the problem with direct light is that it causes harsh shadows which are really not your friend. So the best solution is to find a nice area where the sun won’t get you! I’m fortunate enough that many of my locations are surrounded by mountains so that by 3 o’clock they are completely in shadow and I don’t have to worry about how the light falls or shadows or anything.
But since there’s only a limited number of things you can do in shadows, there are other ways to work without direct sun light.
Clouds can basically be your best friends. They block out just enough sunlight to avoid any harsh shadows, but you still have plenty of light to take photos, and they look pretty cool too! I’ve found this especially helpful lately for taking photos on top of mountains.
And if you’re not lucky enough to have mountains or clouds around, there’re these amazing times of day called “golden hour”, sunset/sunrise and “magic hour”, right before the sun comes up (I’ve never been able to get up that early…) and right after it goes down. Golden hour give a very nice golden light without any agressive shadows and magic hour works pretty much the same as shade does. The tricky part about these though is that light can change pretty quickly, but they give you a pretty awesome colored sky!
Back light- Back lighting is basically any time that your subject is directly between the camera and a light source. I absolutely love working with back lighting, which I think has some relation to my love for thule… The problem with backlighting is that you still have harsh direct light, but since the subject is completely in shadow becasue the light’s behind them, you don’t have to worry about weird shadows on on them. This basically ends up making you have to chose between two extremes. You can expose your photo so that your subject is completely visible but this will mean that your background will most likely be completely over exposed/clipped (more on that later)
Or you can expose your photo so that the background looks decent, but you’re going to end up with your subject as mostly a silhouette. I especially like to use the thule for these becasue the light shining through it helps make a nice outline and it reflects some of the light onto the body.
One thing I’ve leared with this photos is that light actually moves much faster than you think. With the above photo I could scroll through all the photos and see the shadows moving. After quite a few of these I realized that it’s a very good idea to do expansion photos before taking photos of the subject. They usually take a lot less time to get than trying to get the subject just right (in a self portrait at least), and personally usually the time I stop working on perfecting the subject is when the light has changed too much.
Harsh Light- Ok, now that I’ve bashed it, I do have to say that harsh light can be an alright thing. Harsh light is ok if it’s being used purposefully for a desired effect. Personally I realy like it for concepts dealing with light as a subject, such as this old one where i wanted to create a contrast between light and shadow, something that would have been impossible in the other lighting conditions I’ve mentioned. The main problems with this though are that you’re angles have to be determined by the light (for this one I actually started shooting from off to the right and ended up having to move in order to get the shadows and light right where i wanted them) and you’re going to have a horible time with cliping.
Cliping- Ok so this is something I learned about relatively recently. Basically clipping is when areas of the photo are either so over exposed that the sensor is overloaded and the data that is recorded for that area is just a giant splotch of white (such as the body in the photo above) or when the photo is so under exposed that the sensor records no data resulting in a splotch of pure black (such as the sheet/tail thing). Most cameras can show you which areas are being cliped in the histogram mode in playback. On my camera the blacks will flash whte and the whites will flash black, but things will be different on different cameras. The problem that usually arises with back lighting and harsh light is that cliping is inevitable, no matter how you expose it either the black or the whites or both are going to be cliped. In this case it is usually better to under expose than to over expose. Black shadows are expected and can usually be salvaged, but a pure white chest with no detail just looks strange. One solution to this, though I have yet to try it, is to expose separately for the subject and for the background and then combine the two later. Also, though I have yet to try it as well, this is where HDR can be helpful. Oh and reflector can be used to try and remove harsh shadows, though I’ve never used them either.
Really for me at least the secret to natural lighting is to avoid direct light at all costs unless it is being used with a purpose. Usually you can tell if something’s under or over exposed from the lcd but I highly recomend checking for cliping if your camera lets you. But really the best way to learn is through going out and experimenting!
So this is how I generally go about combining 2 or more photos of the same subject to come up with a composite of the two (not “expansion” but I intend to make a tutorial on that soon).
As far as taking the actual photos it is best to have the camera on a tripod and make sure the model doesn’t move except where needed, or if it is a self portrait and you’ll be going back and forth to the camera that you have a point of reference for where to be for all the photos (mark your spot with a leaf, or rock, or what ever you can find) and that you remember your pose (if you’re on the ground remembering things like where sticks are poking you etc. is helpful, if you’re standing remember feet positions etc.) The point is to try and make sure everything is the same in all the photos except for the element that needs to be added.
For this tutorial I’ll be using one of my “Icarus” photos. Because I use a sheet for the “wings” I have to take separate shots for each arm. Because I was on a stump body placement was easy, I just had to remember foot placement and try and be consistent with my arms.
So here’s the photo I started with of the right wing
Then I opened the photo of the left wing and drug it in. Since the camera didn’t move between shots I don’t have to try and line up the environment. If I had moved the camera for some reason after draging I would put the second layer into transform mode (Ctrl+T), reduce the opacity of the layer (in the layers pallete) to about %50, and try to line the two up.
With the layers in place over eachother I added a layer mask to the second layer (layer 1) so that I could remove and add parts of the second photo.
Then using a black brush (In a layer mask black “masks” the photo, thus erasing it and white is areas that are “un-masked” so the layer it’s attached to shows through, shades of grey are inbetween so they will be partially masked) I masked away the area of the second layer that was covering the right wing in the photo below. The red areas in the photo are areas that are masked (when a layer mask is selected, if you press the “" key it will show masking in shades of red.)
Next, to get the wing shap I masked and un-masked areas. On the right I un-masked (white) the second layer so that it would show through effectively covering up the wing in the photo below and on the left I masked (black) the layer so it would disappear, showing the layer below. For these I used a medium hardness brush just to rough it out (to control this open up the brush settings box by right clicking with a brush) Note: the balck and white in the photo below were just painted on to demonstrate. Unless you have the layer mask selected you will just simply be painting on top of your photo.
Here’s what it looked like afterwards. (please ignore the sliver of an image on the top of the next photos. I think it’s because I used MS paint for the screen shots…)
Next I feathered the brush (%0 hardness) and went with the edge of the brush along the areas where I didn’t want any hard edges (the bottoms of the wings) remebering to use white on the right and black on the left. The I took the opacity of the brush down to %20 and started fading the wings.
I kept working at this making multiple passes to remove more and more in various areas until I was satisfied. (I also ended up adding in images of each of my feet w/o my sandals on, I didn’t want them in the photo but the top of the stump was too sharp to be completely barefoot so I alternated feet to relieve pressure. For these I first selected each of the feet with the rectangular marquee tool and then right clicked and chose “layer via copy” and then drug in those layers so I wouldn’t have to deal with a whole photo just for the feet. I then repeated the same process of masking out certain parts so I just had what I needed.)
In the end here’s what ended up being masked, so the red parts are where the second layer (layer 1) is covered up letting the first photo to show through.
This was a pretty simple one to show the general process. If I were working with 3 or more different images each one above the ”background” image would get a layer mask and I would basically be going back and forth between the diferent layers blocking or revealing certain parts of each. In that case it’s important to remember that if say Layer 3 were un-masked in the top right corner, what ever you did to Layer 2 in that area wouldn’t show up because it can’t bee seen through Layer 3. So it’s just a matter of figuring out what’s blocking what and what needs to be seen through.
So I kinda have a stalker now. I recieved a text earlier this evening saying “hey sexy” from a number I didn’t know, but I saw it was a Montana number. So I asked who it was, figuring it was a friend who’s number I’d lost or something. Nope. You know what, I’m just going to copy down how this conversation went.
Me- Errrrm, who is this….?
-Corey (great I have no idea what gender you are and I know no one named Corey!), I have been creeping on your flickr, a little embarrassing, but I think you’re reeeaaaallllyy hot. (ok, so, see that? that right there? that is not ok.)
Corey- Sorry if I freaked you out :( definitely not my intenion :(
Me- I mean, I’m a little bit creeped out. I’m still trying to figure out who you are… (seriously do I know you?!?!)
Corey- I’ve seen you around campus (oh great, we go to the same school) and in the liberal arts building (you know where I have class? not good.), and I just wanted to make sure that you are the same person as on flickr I really liked the somehting preditorial series :) (Oh you mean the series that I’m naked in? yeah, that is sooooo beyond not ok.)
Me- Ok, that really doesn’t help the whole creeped out thing…. How did you get my number?…
C- Sorry I creeped you out, if you want i’ll stop texting you :(
Me- I’m sory but I don’t generally text people I don’t know. But seriously where did you get my number? I’m super curious. (a.k.a yes, stop texting me, you’re creepy. but first I need to know how you got my number so this doesn’t happen again!)
C- I found it myspace… (you mean that dead social networking site? ok, you really went that far to find my number? That just took the whole creepy thing to a new level.)
Me- I really put my number on Myspace? That needs to be fixed. (seriously why don’t I just delete it? It’s not like I even use it. Evidently my last status up date was from christmas 2009 when I wrote Feliz Navidad.)
C- So are you ok with me talking to you? (ummmm no. You stalked my Myspace, that’s about as creepy as it gets)
Me- where is my number on Myspace? I can’t find it! (as far as I’ve found, my number is not on myspace. Which means you found my number some way so creepy that you thought myspace was a good cover up.
C- It was from a while back. (which means either you’ve been stalking me since 2009 or you’re lying.)
And I haven’t texted back. Oh and after a google search the number is a land line in a town about 6 hours away. Not sure how that works.
Seriously, if you want to be my friend add me on facebook or say hi to me in the hall or something. Do not stalk me on-line and call me sexy.
I actually have a photo for today, just haven’t had time to upload. I’ve been writing two papers for a classes tomorrow (last minute of course.) I seriously have written 4 pages explaining the importance of word choice in translating a 5 word phrase correctly in Don Quixote and somehow feel I could write more if I really felt like it.
Why did I not mind this ridiculous task? One of my sources, a scan of the original text http://quijote.bne.es/libro.html, has music in the background. It played the same 3 minute song on loop for at least 3 hours and I didn’t mind at all. I found it relaxing. I also found that by clicking a button on the left you can pretty much play a whole CD, all of early 17th century Spanish music. I want to buy this CD. Something is wrong with me…
“When you look at things differently, stories emerge. There is beauty in the everyday. And when people learn to look for it, they´ll find inspiration in the least likely places. That´s when the narrative happens. At that moment, it´s not about projects or works or deadlines. Suddenly, you discover the gift of seeing.
/Cade Martin”—Cade Martin Photography (via beataryden)
So I spent about 3 hours wandering around the forest yesterday and came back with pretty much nothing. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any ideas, I had lots of them, I just didn’t feel like doing any of them for some reason. It was wierd. I don’t know what it is, there are so many photos I have ideas for, just not the motivation to actually do them. I did however make the Q&A video (soooo awkward!) last night but it’s not uploading so I have to figure that out.
So for now, because I don’t want to just completely dissappear for a day, I figured I’d put this old photo up here. This is day 18 “And when I am tired, I will take refuge in the nature of Life and Death.” I just was looking at some of my first photos and was kinda surprised at the editing on this one.