Photoshop Secrets… ( How I processed my photos ) Blog by Special Request

   Tom Huynh | Not Just B+W Photographer


Photoshop Secrets… ( How I processed my photos ) Blog by Special Request

I’ve got emails from a few people asking me how I process my photos in Photoshop to create the look that I have on my portfolio.

Here’s the secret.

Most of my works are done in the studio these days with studio lighting. I have a lot of control over how my subject is lit. I also works with a great makeup artist on occasions to enhance the look of my models. Even with the makeup and hair styling, I still use a combination of Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3, Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture, and a plugin from On One Software call Photo Frames to give my photos my trademark look.

Let’s use this image of Vanessa for example.

This image was taken with a high key background. I used a white seamless background, and make sure that the background is about 4 stops brighter than the foreground. I placed the model 4-5 feet to prevent the background light from bleeding into the foreground causing havoc with the model. I placed a softbox right above me pointing at the model at angle about 45 degrees. I kick my flash intensity to half and close my aperture to bring the exposure of the model down to almost a silhouette.

I connected my camera and upload all of the photos into Adobe Lightroom. ( I just switched from Aperture to Lightroom because my Aperture Library is 400GB in size )The first step of my work flow is to skim through all these images. I am looking for usable images so I can flag the image as Pick or Reject. If I find an image that I like, I flag it Pick. Once I flagged all Pick images, I proceed with minor contrast / level adjustment right in Lightroom. When I reached a certain level of contrast that I like, I right click on the image to bring me a menu to allow me to edit in Photoshop CS3.

In Photoshop CS3, I spend about 5 minutes on each image. I start with the Healing Tool. If you don’t know how to use this tool, just remember that it is a variation of the Clone tool. I use the healing tool to edit blemishes that my makeup artist can’t cover with makeups. I haven’t met a girl who have perfect skin yet. I fix bags under the eyes, pigeon feet near the eyes, zits, mole, scratches, booger, anything that I can clean up. Once I am satisfied with the result of the Healing Tool, I created a copy of the master layer that I worked on. I use Surface Blur tool to smooth image. I set the level of Blur that I want, and then I apply the filter. Once the filter is applied, I set the filter Opcacity Level to soften the image but yet looks non-Photoshoppish. I then merge the layers together to save room. My last step is to create the border around the image. I bought this plugin from a company call On One Software call Photoframe. It used to be owned by Extensis. Photoframe came with a lot of photographic frames, but I like this one a lot, so I use it on all of my photos.

Lightroom or Aperture are non destructive Photo Management programs. What this means is that when I work in Lightroom or Aperture with Photoshop CS3, it does not affect my original file. It created a Virtual Copy or Version of the file to be edited. This is a big advantage because I can always go back to compare a before and after image. It also takes up a lot of space in your hard drive. I have a 500GB hard drive and it’s running out of space.

I want to use Photoshop to slightly enhance my photos and not overpower it. I want it to still be recognizable as an image that I would take.

My original image and my Photoshopped image are very close together. I don’t spend a lot of time in Photoshop. If I have to spend an hour on a photo, I would rather reshoot.

Hope this answer your question.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me. It might be another topic in a future Blog

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This entry was posted on September 15, 2007 by in Photography.
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