Photoshop Friday: Adding a Border

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Hi and welcome back.

This is a simple technique that I use all the time.  The Actor headshot requires you to add borders to images and names to the bottom of your headshot so the casting director knows right away who you are.

Adding borders is simple.  Here is how I do it:

Here is my image ready to be cropped.  As I need to make an 8×10 final image, I crop my image to a specific size first: Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.58.27 AM

Here I chose the Crop tool and set my parameters to Width 7.5 and Height 9 inches.  I chose this size at it allows me to add my border perfectly for an 8×10:Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.58.32 AM

I set my crop and then hit ok: Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.59.00 AM

Here is my image cropped and ready for my white border: Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.59.06 AM

To add the border, go to Image>Canvas Size and click to get the size box up:

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.59.18 AM

Here I choose my width to be 8 inches and height to be 9.5 inches.  The height gives me a continuous border that is the same size on all four sides.

Where it says Anchor, keep all the arrows pointing out from the center, which is my image.

On the bottom of the box where is says Canvas Extension Color, I chose white but you can choose black or gray as well:Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.59.34 AM

Here is the image with the continuous border:Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 7.59.48 AM

Now I go back to Image>Canvas Size, click again, and then change Height to 10 and Anchor to showing all the bottom and right and left sides.  This allows me to change my height on the bottom only: Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 8.00.18 AM

Here is my image in the 8×10 format with a 1″ border on the bottom and 1/2″ on three sides: Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 8.00.25 AM

Now I go to the Text box and set my font, set my text size, and then color to add the name on the lower right corner of the image:Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 8.00.36 AM

Here is the final ready to be saved as and delivered to the client:Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 8.01.25 AM

Here are the before and after’s:

_DSC8708_web

_DSC8708_8x10_web

You can add a border to any image and set the bottom a bit thicker so that you can add a name or title or anything else you need.

I supply my actors with both images so they can use them for castings and in their book if needed.

That’s it for today.  Till next time, happy bordering!

Change Your Lighting Look By Turning Lights On or Off

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Hi and welcome back.

One of the simplest ways to change the look of an image is to just turn lights on or off.

The High Key style actor headshot went out of fashion a few years ago in my marketplace; however, I still do shoot it if the client wants it.  I prefer darker backgrounds, so the best way to quickly and efficiently do two looks with your client is to just turn the backlights off.

In this BTS shot, we can see the High Key headshot look all setup and shoot ready.

Key: SB910, Photoflex Shoot Through Umbrella

Fill: California Sunbounce Micro Mini, silver side

Back: 2 SB800’s with Large Rogue Flashbenders acting as flags

_DSC8829

So with my setup ready to go, I shot the High Key look:

_DSC8852 _DSC8865

Then, I went to a completely different look, more out of the actor high key to the model mid key look: just by turning my back lights off.

_DSC8874

Looking for a quick and efficient way to add looks for your client?  Just turn some lights off; it’s as simple as that!

That’s it for now.  Till next time, happy lighting!

Getting Creative without Breaking the Bank

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Hi and welcome back.

Last Saturday I ran a workshop at Theia Studios in North Andover, MA, just outside Boston.

It went great!  I taught the Headshot with speed lights only.

One of the looks we did really showcases how you can get creative on a slim budget, of course, that is only after spending your inheritance to get to this point with cameras, lenses, lights, soft boxes, reflectors, etc, etc, etc…  As this IS photography after all!

But once you reach that point, you can get creative easily and without spending a lot of cash.

For this shot, I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and purchased a roll of purple sports underwrap:

Dicks Sporting Goods

I simply wrapped the model like a Mummy and shot the look.  For about $6.00 and $20.00 for Sephora Lipstick, which the model already owned, we got a super creative look and had a bunch of fun.

Here is a straight-out-of-camera raw to jpeg proof:

_DSC9033

Here’s how I shot it.

Key: SB910, Bowens 60 x 90 softbox with Interfit S-Mount Ring for speedlights

Reflector: California Sunbounce Micro Mini, silver side up

Back: 2 SB800’s with Large Rogue Flashbenders as flags

_DSC9044

Then, after we set the lights and exposure and shot the look we wanted, I had Amanda, our model, have fun with her facial expressions!  She just rocked it and knocked it out of the park!

_DSC9070 _DSC9072

I wanted to take the traditional beauty shot on white to another level, and for only a few bucks, we shot an awesome and fun look.

Well that’s it for now.  Till next time, stay creative!!

 

 

Natural Light; Natural Beauty; No Photoshop

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Hi and welcome back.

I’m heading to Boston this weekend to teach The Headshot using all small flashes, but recently I’ve become addicted to natural light, natural beauty, and NO Photoshop.

Here is a pic I pulled from the archive that totally exemplifies that look.

Stacey worked for me a while back at a workshop and we shot in late afternoon sun.  This time of day, also known as the Golden Hour, is best shot right before, during, and right after sunset.

This shot was taken just as the sun dipped below the houses to camera left.  The light bouncing off of the sand, as we were on the beach, coupled with the cool background, produced a simple shot without any external modifiers.

When I shoot this kind of look, I choose these settings:

Aperture Priority between f/4 and f/5.6

ISO boosted to give me a good working shutter speed.  I have no issues going to ISO 1200 or more to get a shutter of at least 1/125 so everything is sharp.

Also, I’m into natural beauty.  This image had a contrast adjustment in Capture One and that is it.  NO PHOTOSHOP at all.

_DSC7853

While speed lights and strobes are awesome, why pay for and lug all that gear when natural light does the job every time!

That’s it for today.  If you are coming to Boston, I can’t wait to meet you!

Till next time, keep it natural!

This Saturday’s Boston Workshop at Theia Studios is a Shooting Workshop

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Hi and welcome back.

If you are attending the Headshot Workshop at Theia Studios this Saturday, it is a shooting workshop.

Bring your camera, batteries, clean cards, lenses, and everything you need to shoot.  I supply the lights, modifiers, and radio triggers.  After I set the look, you get to shoot frames and learn how to do the look.

I live by this little mantra:

Tell me and I forget

Teach me and I remember

Involve me and I learn

Our model is Amanda:

I’ll teach and you’ll shoot with speed lights these looks:

Corporate

Beauty

Actor

Model

Creative

Gels

Glamour

40’s Hollywood Glamour

This is a fun and interactive event where you get to shoot and learn.  Don’t forget your camera kit and shoot, shoot, shoot this Saturday.

I hope to see you there with your cameras!

The Upcoming Boston Workshop and Photoshop Friday

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Hi and welcome back.

I want to touch on and upcoming workshop on July 16 at Theia Studios, Boston, MA.

I’m heading to Theia Studios with my popular Headshot Workshop.  I’ll be teaching and you’ll be shooting multiple headshot looks with just speed lights and a few simple modifiers.

This is an awesome workshop that helps you to learn how to shoot the headshot in a studio or on location with just speedlghts and simple, readily available gear.

Here is a link and description, I hope to see you there!!

Theia Studios registration link: Theia Studios Headshot Workshop

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 8.33.38 AM

I have to repost my Photoshop Friday article as I’m running out of time!

For today, I want to show you how to add a copyright to your images.  And then once you get that, you can create an action to run in the Scripts Manager or just add it per image.  I do it per image on delivered and retouched images as it is fast and simple.

First, pull a web-sized image into PS.  This shot has gone through the scripts manager as a batch conversion and is ready for the internet.

On the left of the PS palette, is the T.  You can choose it here or just type the letter T to place your text:

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.18.30 AM

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.18.53 AM

Once you have that chosen, the box along the top will come up and show your choices.

First: choose your script, I like Zapfino

Second: choose your type style, I choose regular but there are other choices

Third: choose type size, this will differ depending on your Font, just test on your image

Fourth: select your justification, although you’ll change this location to taste

Fifth: choose color.  For dark images choose white, for bright images choose blackScreen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.19.10 AM

Below my text box is on the image and active: Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.19.28 AM

For MAC users, use the Alt/Option key and the letter G to get the Copyright symbol up in the text box.  For you PC users, you’re on your own!  Sorry.  Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.19.49 AM

Then type in your text.  I like the cursive style, so Zapfino works well for me: Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.22.35 AM

Once done, click the text box on the layers palette and your are all set.  Once you’ve gone through the motions, set yourself up with an action and let PS do the work for you.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.20.12 AM

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 9.20.25 AM

That’s it for now.  Go back a few posts on the page and you’ll find tutorials on how to create an action and batch edit your images to make your photographic life easier.

That’s it for today.  Till next time, happy Photoshopping!

Location Lighting with the New Interfit S1 Monolight

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Hi and welcome back.

I love shooting with a one light solution.  First, there is only a small amount of gear to travel with and you can get great results by learning how to see and use the light around you to light effectively.  You don’t need more that one or two lights to really get amazing results.  But you should master one light before heading to two, three, four, or more.

Last Sunday I shot Despina.  She came from Danbury, so we met on location in Derby, which is about half way in between Danbury and Milford.  So I need a location lighting kit that would be consistent, lightweight, and give me great light.

I chose to shoot with the new Interfit S1.  I did a review of this light a while back.  If you are interested, here is a link:

Interfit Blog Post

I shoot with a single battery powered strobe and a reflector.  Here I used my California Sunbounce Micro Mini with the grip head to attach the reflector to a lightstand.  The CS system is pricey, but worth it!  I’ve owned mine for about 9 years and love it.

I shoot most of my headshots with a 2×3 softbox too.

Here is my current location strobe light gear list:

Interfit S1

Bowens Lumiair 2×3 softbox

Matthews C-Stand

Pocket Wizards Radio Triggers

California Sunbounce Micro Mini with grip head

Manfrotto 1052 BAC lightstand for the reflector

Here is a BTS shot.  We worked at an abandoned factory in Derby, CT.  I chose to use the shade on this bright sunny day and the red and green background to contrast her blue denim jumper and that awesome mane of red-brown hair.

_DSC8815

I also love and use a great deal the over/under or clamshell style of light for these shots.  It is simple to setup and execute for beautiful, well-lit images.  You can see the Interfit S1 battery powered strobe on the C-Stand.  I shot 212 frames at a low power level and the battery and light performed flawlessly.  I got excellent recycle time and didn’t miss a shot.

You can also see the reflector under the light.  I prefer the silver side of the unit, but adjust between silver or white depending on the amount of fill I want.  Here I used silver.

Here is a proof image straight-out-of-the-camera:

_DSC8812

Lighting this was is simple, quick, effective, and allows you to get great shots ever time.

That’s it for now.  Till next time, happy location lighting!

Happy Fourth of July Weekend: A Primer on Shooting Fireworks and Two Upcoming Lighting Workshops

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Hi and welcome back!

Happy Fourth of July weekend.  It’s going to be a beauty, so if you are heading out to shoot some fireworks, here is a quick primer:

Firs a little known fact, the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 2, July 4 is the date it went out to the printer!

Here are a few tips on shooting fireworks this weekend:

  • Get to your location early
  • Use a tripod and cable release
  • Base Exposure: 4 seconds @ f/8, ISO 100 or 200, WB Auto or Incandescent
  • Get set up early to shoot.
  • Wait till the first discharge of fireworks to focus and shoot and then just keep shooting till you get what you want, adjusting shutter speed as you go.
  • I’ve found that the fireworks are so bright you should be able to focus with Auto, but you can also set your focus on the first blast and then preset the focus to that point
  • Shoot during the first rounds of explosions for best results.  Multiple firework discharges can add a lot of smoke to your images.  Shoot right away and then wait for a spell for sky to clear
  • Black card trick: Set exposure to 30 seconds and cover the lens with a black card, this allows multiple bursts of fireworks to register on just one frame
  • Have Fun!!!

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 6.52.38 AM

Now on to the upcoming workshops.

First, on July 9, I’m running a Beauty Headshot Workshop at Studio 52 North in Middletown, CT:

Location: Studio 52 North, Middletown, CT

Date: July 9

Time: 11-2

Cost: $160.00, use paypal link above or call with ATM/CC card info: 203-540-8821

We’ll be shooting my favorite look for the headshot: Beauty.

As a new Interfit Photographic sponsored photographer, we’ll be shooting all Strobe Lights, using the new Interfit S1 monolight and related Interfit modifiers.

If you are interested in theses lights, I have a 10% off coupon code redeemable at the Interfit website for any Interfit gear: harrington10

Interfit Photographic

After brief instruction on the gear and look, we’ll shoot these 4 looks with the possibility of going to a 5th look if there is time:

Beauty on White with 2 Lights

Beauty on gray/blue paper, 2-3 lights

Beauty with colored gels, 3 lights

Creative beauty using sports tape for a really cool creative look

If there is time: Beauty using only grids: 10, 20, and 40º grids with 4 lights

Here are samples:

The second workshop is in Boston on July 16 at Theia Studios.

I’m heading back to Boston for the first time in about 3 years.  The last time I taught there I was with E.P. Levine, which sadly went out of business in late 2015.

But I’ve been invited to teach my Headshot Workshop at this new studio:

Theia-Studios in North Andover, MA

Registration link: Theia Studios

Date: July 16, 2016

Time: 11-4

Cost: $159.00

This is a very popular workshop where I teach multiple headshot looks using a few speed lights and simple, commercially available modifiers, including:

Shoot Through Umbrella

Rogue Flashbenders

Bowens 20×30 softbox

Interfit Collapsible Beauty Dish

Interfit S-Mount Speedlight Bracket

Bring your camera as you’ll get to shoot these looks with a professional model:

Corporate

Actor

Model

Creative Light

Beauty

Dark Beauty

Gelled light

Don’t miss out on this great, fun, and interactive event.

Bring your camera and lens kit; I supply all the gear and radio triggers for you to shoot with.

Till then, happy lighting!

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 3.50.06 PM

Keep Your Mistakes

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Hi and welcome back.

Today we’ll look at keeping your mistakes.

When shooting outside in natural light with a reflector, I pretty much shoot in Aperture Priority and use Exposure Compensation to get the correct exposure.  I like to control my Depth of Field this way and always get great results.

However, you must be aware of your shutter speed.  If you shoot at f/5.6 and the light causes your shutter to be low, like 1/100 and you add 2/3 of a stop of exposure compensation, then your shutter may go to 1/60 which may not be fast enough.  So you need to be aware of that and adjust ISO from 100 to 200 or 400 to get a faster shutter to freeze the action.  Remember, you move, the client moves, the earth moves, so it is necessary to have a shutter speed fast enough to counter all of these movements.

Also, while this is not a RAW versus JPEG argument, always shoot in RAW as you can adjust your exposure up or down by up to 3 stops and save an image.

For today, I shot this natural light headshot of Shaza at Unique on Saturday.  I had left this station to set up another lighting station for the workshop attendees and came back to take a few more frames and didn’t change my exposure back to my original settings for this shot.

So this shot is about 1 stop overexposed:

_DSC8473 1

While I like the look, here is a screenshot of the image in Capture One Pro, my RAW converter.  You can see the clipped highlights.  While I am not concerned about the background, it is the face that is losing detail:

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 6.35.47 AM

But because I shot in RAW, I was able to pull back the exposure almost 1 full stop to correct the image:

_DSC8473

Now the image looks like the others in the set that were correctly exposed.  However, I though to myself, why correct it?  I like the overexposed high key look and as long as I like the image, why not try to keep it.

My solution and the solution I teach to everyone is that if you don’t like an image or have a mistake, swap the image to Black and White.  Black and White has a certain elegance that color lacks.  Without the noise of color in the way, black and white images reveal a beauty that sometimes color cannot.

I simply went to the Presets in Capture One Pro and chose a high contrast black and white conversion and voila, a beautiful high key black and white image that I fell in love with:

_DSC8473 2

By converting to b/w and pushing contrast a bit, I have this beautiful b/w image.

So for today, keep your mistakes.  Don’t immediately delete them as they may be able to be saved and turned into art.

That’s it for today.  Till next time, keep making mistakes!

 

Taming Harsh Sunlight with a Scrim

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Hi and welcome back.

Last Saturday’s workshop at Unique Photo dealt with taming hard sunlight.  As photographers, we need to learn how to use every light source at our disposal.  If we shoot in hard light, then we need to see and use hard light or know how to diffuse it to get the best result for our client.

I like to use my scrim to control hard sunlight.  Some clients have crazy schedules, so shooting at noon on a sunny day is the only time they have.  So we need to understand how to get the shot “in the can” and please our client.

I have the California Sunbounce 4×6 frame and Zebra/White reflector.  Coming in at $334.00, this is not a system for the faint of heart.  As part of a sponsorship with California Sunbounce, I received the frame and textile for free a few years back.

But I wanted to use my CS frame as a scrim, or light diffuser.  When I saw the cost of a 1 stop scrim textile, at $158.00, I cringed.  So I headed to my local Marshall’s and got a Shower Curtain for $5.99 and strung it across the CS frame.

But, just Google DIY Scrims and you’ll come across a bunch of online tutorials on how to build portable scrims of all sizes on-the-cheap using PVC Pipe and fabric from a craft store for anywhere from $20-$50.00 depending on size.  This is the move.  Don’t spend more than you have to!!

Using scrims is easy, simply place the diffusion in between the sun or light source and your subject.

Here is an image from Saturday using the scrim and the Rogue 2-in-1 reflector only:

_DSC8467

And here’s the setup.  As this was only a headshot, I used a piece of white masonite from my local home center as the background.  The sun is directly overhead for a hair and separation light, the scrim is overhead blocking the sun, and the white reflector is directly underneath our model, Shaza:

_DSC8522 _DSC8524

Used in this set up, the CS scrim is unwieldy, so I used my Matthews C-Stands, Avenger Boom arm, and 3 15 pd weight bags to keep it all steady.  A slight breeze picked up during the shoot, so the weight bags kept everything stable.

Here is another shot from the workshop.

_DSC8470

The scrim is one of the most simple yet versatile tools in your kit.  They can be built cheaply and used all over.  You can harness the power of the sun or just shoot a light through it.  Whatever the case, scrims are a great and simple way to control your light.

Many thanks to Shaza Lauren for modeling at the workshop and to Unique Photo for having me in to teach at their annual Camera Show.

Tomorrow, Keep Your Mistakes!!

Till then, happy scrimming!

 

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