Spring 2017 – Portfolio Development

It’s time.  I’ve completed each and every requirement for Portfolio Development, actually more than the stated requirements.   I should be prepared, actually over prepared, but I’m not. The objective of Portfolio Development is to produce a portfolio of 15 – 20 new images of a specific genre e.g. product, food, sports, fine art, beauty, etc.  It must be all new work consistent in terms of style, lighting, etc.  yet not repetitive.  Tall task, no?

I agonized all winter break about what genre to choose.  I recently completed Product Photography last semester and surprisingly ended up kinda’ liking it  😉, but knew I didn’t want of portfolio of cosmetics or shiny electronics.  Food was absolutely out (the hardest thing I’ve ever shot).  I was seriously tempted by beauty or fashion because I’ve done some good IMO beauty/fashion shots; it would be a beautiful book.  Plus it lends itself nicely to my strengths, Photoshop retouching skills.  But it is the genre that requires the largest team:  models, makeup artists, hair stylists, wardrobe, studio lighting, etc.  Too much coordination! Too much drama!

I decided on environmental portraits.  Environmental portraits portray a person in their natural environment. Different from traditional portraits shot in a studio, environmental portraits capture the character of the subject and give insight into their daily life making for a more personal image, telling some kind of story about who the subject is.  Environmental portraits are shot in the subject’s home, workplace or places they enjoy spending their time.  Not necessarily as glamorous as beauty and fashion, but no glam squad required.  😀

Then the panic set in, where am I going to get 15 – 20 willing subjects in interesting backgrounds?

Here are my first three images:

  1.  My mechanic at Modesti’s Car Center in Culver City on Jefferson.  I’ve been going there for over 20 years (yikes!).  I always tease them saying that I drive past a zillion auto repair shops to get there from Torrance.  🙂
  2. Suzuki Takuma, owner and chef of Takuma Santa Monica on Wilshire.  Takuma is our go to place for girl’s night out, bachelorette parties, and birthday parties.
  3. Freddy Carrillo, a friend and frequent model, on the tennis court.

mechanicStudent Show 2017 Takuma_facebookFreddy Pop

Sherlock Holmes

Oh my, election 2016, Really?  Really?  Just how far back do we have to reach to make American great again?!  Hopefully, not pre Civil Rights legislation.

I’m diverting my attention from the election results by writing this post.  This assignment was about collaboration.  I was paired with a graphic design student and given the task of designing a book cover.  We chose The Book of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle from a list of 6 classic novels.

Believe it or not I’ve never read a Sherlock Holmes novel or seen a Sherlock Holmes film.  God bless YouTube.

If all collaboration projects ran this smoothly the world would be a different place.  We met and shot her husband as author and Sherlock Holmes at the historic fire station across from Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles.  I was responsible for the photography and printing.  She chose the location, model, wardrobe and did all the design and layout.  It was wonderful and so easy working with an uber talented graphic designer.  She gave my images real life and I made a new friend.

The shoot was broken up by security because we did not have a permit, but that did not dampen our spirits. We got the cover shot in front of the red door as we were begrudgingly packing up and leaving.

Adding Diffused Glow in Photoshop

Let’s add some diffused glow to this portrait.  Just in case it’s on the final.

Disclaimer:  I am by no means a PS guru, expert, teacher or anything of the sort.  I’m a student trying to learn the concepts motivated by my Photoshop final next week.  These posts are study aids to get me through this exam.

Diffused glow is filter to improve overall skin tone and complexion without retouching.  I have to remember to use it on metal and light bulbs.

To add diffused glow to portrait:

  1. Complete all retouching first
  2. Then do Stamp Visible of SOCE, (Shift, Option, Command E) to create merged layer without losing file structure
  3. Select white as foreground layer
  4. Select color of shadows as background layer using I – eyedropper
  5. On merged layer go to Filter->Distort->Diffused Glow
  6. Diffused Glow Dialog Box will open up. Settings graininess = 0, glow = 7, clear = 16 (to start)
  7. Add layer mask to duplicate layer. Mask to your desired effect.

Here’s the before image:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 5.36.33 PM

Here’s the Diffused Glow dialog box:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 5.38.59 PM.png

Here’s the final image after the adjusted mask:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 5.36.33 PM

I chose to go pretty faint, but you can adjust the glow to your style.

Removing Shadows in PS

Next topic is Matching Color and/or Removing Shadows using the Info Palette and Curves.

Disclaimer:  I am by no means a PS guru, expert, teacher or anything of the sort.  I’m a student trying to learn the concepts motivated by my Photoshop final next week.  These posts are study aids to get me through this exam.

I love this picture I took of the very handsome John Robinson in Venice, CA.  But he’s too close to the wall casting this ridiculous dark shadow.  My bad!  Here’s the before image:

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 12.53.44 PM

To remove the shadow and match the wall color I did the following:

  1. Command J to duplicate background layer.
  2. P, Use pen tool to path out shadow. Double click ‘work path’  to name & save the path.  Convert path to selection and feather it.
  3. I, Use Color Sampler Tool (3rd down of Color Picker tool or eye dropper).  In tools options bar of color Sample Tool choose 3×3 average.
  4. Window->Open to open Info palette.
  5. Drop 2 points in shadow and 2 points on non-shadow wall.
  6. Add Curves Adjustment Layer. Make sure Info Palette and Curves adjustment palette are visible.  You will need both.
  7. Take finger icon from curves adjustment palette and put it on point #1. This indicates where it lies on the curve.
  8. Go to Red Channel in the Curves Dialog Box (not channels panel 🙂 ) and change the value to the numerical value in the Info Palette for point #2 by dragging the curve up or down.  You’ll see the values change.
  9. Go to Green Channel in the Curves Dialog Box (not channels panel :-)) and change the value to the numerical value in the Info Palette for point #2 by dragging the curve up or down.  You’ll see the values change.
  10. Go to Blue Channel in the Curves Dialog Box (not channels panel :-)) and change the value to the numerical value in the Info Palette for point #2 by dragging the curve up or down.  You’ll see the values change.
  11. The shadow area should now match the wall, you may need to add a blank layer above the Curves layer and heal and/or clone to do touch ups
  12. Shift, command, option, E merges layers without flattening them. Helpful for a safety layer and do some tidying up with perhaps a bit of delicate cloning.  (Reminder to myself)

Here’s the workspace and file structure:

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 1.23.29 PM

And after a bit of tidying up the shadow is hardly visible.  🙂

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 1.35.21 PM