Archive for the ‘Shutterbug’ Category

Portrait – Post Process

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Hi All,

Promised in shutterbug to go through some of the Post Process (PP) work on recent portrait.
This is a fairly “standard” set of portrait touch up work with the exclusion of skin smoothing which I haven’t done here.
Please keep in mind that there are lots of ways to do this, this is just the way I do it.

Original Image

EXIF etc..
Canon 350D, Sigma 50mm
1/1000 sec, f1.4 (Av mode), ISO 100
Flash off camera on 2ft bracket mounted on camera right, zoomed to 105mm. High Speed Sync (Camera normal 1/200 sec). 1/2 Cut CTO (Orange) gel.

First step I duplicate the layer and switch it off, there by preserving the layer.

Then I duplicate the layer again and use a partial soft light blend, this helps gently boost the saturation and contrast. I think this step is the single easiest and most effective step (in a subtle way).

Now next step is to move into the face and most particularly the eyes which are the key to any portrait.


We have already done the duplication of lay with soft light blend now lets sharpen the eyes.
Use a soft lasso to copy the eyes to a new layer then use the unsharp mask to sharpen to a point you like (be careful not to much.) You can also adjust the effect by controlling the overall opacity of this new layer.

Now lets touch up the whites of the eye.
New layer, with soft white brush, in soft light blending mode gently paint the whites in, adjust the opacity to get desired effect.

Now lets help the color of the eyes, create a saturation layer and mask, only highlight the iris and boost the saturation.

Now lets do the same trick for the whites of the eyes to the teeth.

Now lets just help the background blur a touch.
Select with soft lasso, copy to a new layer and then big Gaussian blur.

Then adjust the levels / curve if needed. (Not in this image.)
Add a watermark and job done.
This is what the Layers look like.

An this is the final image.

However you will notice that the effects are very very subtle, and may not be easily noticeable in these Low Res files. I believe that this level of subtlety should be your aim for effective PP.

Any comments, questions, critique always welcome etc

= = = = EDIT = = = =
I have been asked about the camera bracket used, here it is.

It allows the flash to be about 2 foot off to camera left, not a massive amount but when close abotu 45 degrees, much better option than just on top of camera and still works with a changing dynamic subject.
This is triggered by cable and not my STE-2 (Infrared) controler as cable is 100% relaible. Also you can see the Orange Gel on the flash.

Richard B.
Check out latest underwater exploits :-


Drip, Drip, Drip

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Hi All,

Wanted to do these for ages and have tried before with no luck, however think I have nailed it this time.

This was first attempt :-

However this was not the effect I was after, this was shot into a shallow (1 inch) Pyrex dish and this is the water drop bouncing back, what I wanted was the classic crown :-

Settings :-
Manual Mode
Shutter 200 sec fastest standard sync, the motion is stopped by flash.
Aperture f5.6 (to give some DOF over crown and variations in impact point.
Lens 100mm Macro, manual focus.
Camera on tripod, motor drive and cable release.
One flash camera left, another one camera right on eTTL metering. Controlled by STE-2 controller on camera. Red gel on left strobe and blue gel on right and color bias controlled via ratio function on controller.
A bit (but not much) of PP saturation and sharpen tweak.

This is how it really looked :

The bottle is a 1 litre water bottle with a PIN hole, tried a small bradawl and made to big a hole.
The height of this is controlled with a piece of string.
The target is a white chopping board with a white background from the back of a tea tray.

Overall I shot 633 images, got 20 okay results and then these are the best, about a 1% success rate !.

p.s. Please humor me and click on the subscribe link on the RHS.

Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


Miniature / Small world

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Another in the shutterbug series, “Miniature / Small world”.
Following a friends “certified photoshop free” I thought I’d be brave and bare all!
These are all straight out of camera, not even a watermark, so DON’T steal.

“Out the toy box”
16mm, 1/13sec, F5.6, Av
Manual Focus (measured)
Tripod (yes inside the box)
Off camera flash top right.

16mm, 1/5sec, F5.6, Av
Off camera flash top center, to help texture.

50mm, f5.6, 2/5sec, Av
Total -2/3 ev.
Flash low left.

“Back Step”
50mm, f5.6, 2/5sec, Av
Total -1/3 ev.
Flash high right -1ev.

“Long grass”
100mm Macro, f2.8, 2.5 sec, Av
Flash top right

50mm, f5.6, 25sec, Av, ISO 200.
(it was dark hence 25s & ISO200).
Flash low right.

As always, comments, abuse and questions welcome.

Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


Things that go BUMP in the night

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

As part of the on going shutterbug this months topic was “Things that go BUMP in the night”. My attempt for this month, loosely based on the famous scene in the Psycho movie.

100mm Macro, f2.8, 1/400 sec, ISO 100
Flash low left parallel with shower head, eTTL power.
Bit of a tweak on curves and grayscale conversion in Photoshop.

See below for more details on this one.

10mm, 1/15 sec, f6, ISO 100
One flash against back wall, red gel. One flash above camera no gel. eTTL balance 2:1on red flash.
Triggered with timer.
Simple PP, gray scale conversion with mask to allow red through.

100mm Macro, f5.6, 1/640sec, ISO-100
Simple PP, gray scale conversion with mask to allow red through.

Okay more detail as promised :-

First EXIF data :-
10mm, 1/3 sec, f5, ISO 100
One flash out of door camera left, snoot, 105mm zoom, red gel.
One flash above camera no gel, 24mm zoom.
Controlled in eTTL with STE-2 controller and balance 2:1 on red flash.
Triggered with cable release.
Simple PP, gray scale conversion with mask to allow red through.

This is the lay out, flash power was then balanced to control the ratio.

This is shot looking through the door, camera and flash in the shower cubicle.

This is the red flash, there is a foot long 3 inch neoprene tube on the flash head which turns it into a spot light, hence the small red not a mass scattering

Things I’d change :-
  Use a model, much simpler and makes chimping the LCD easier.
  Use a flat, ironed sheet not shower curtain. Give much better shadows.
  Have a purpose built set with more room (if only!). Really struggled with lack of space, particularly with the one in the shower. The further the flash to object distance the better the shadows.

If anybody whats to know anything, leave a comment or drop me an email.

Richard B.

Check out latest underwater exploits :-


Night time

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

As part of a photo project with freinds “Shutterbug Dubai” shot a few slow night shots.
Hope you like.

Canon 350D (Santa PLEASE help !)
Sigma 10-20mm
Av Mode, f22 min, about 13 sec.
-1/3 EV
ISO 100
Normal WB

Canon 350D (Santa PLEASE help !)
Canon 28-300 IS L
Av Mode, f22 min, about 8 sec.
-1/3 EV
ISO 100
Custom manual WB, shot the "white" off the track sides then tweaked in camera.

There has been some photoshop in these but not much by my standards ;-)
A sort of manual HDR composite.

These are Shiek Zhaid Road, Marina area in Dubai.

Richard B.