21 March 2013

Preparing for Summer


PREPARING FOR SUMMER If you're at all like me the very last place you'll want to be when the weather finally breaks is sat in front of a computer editing! Using what I call the 'down' months is perfect for working on new processing skills, sorting out and backing up work, refreshing websites and blogs, and even finishing off some of last years outstanding projects! Because when Spring finally does break, my computer chair will be the only thing left parked in front of my computer! 

Looking back to last Summer I found a few images I shot to test my new Nikon D800. The initial images where a little flat and hazy and I was still playing around with settings etc. Now that I've launched my new Photoshop Actions I feel so satisfied that I've created a one-stop-tool for all my editing needs that I refuse to use anything other than my own Actions, and why wouldn't I. 

Although I'm a photographer, I didn't started out that way! To begin with I trained as a Fine Art painter. I studied photography in order to support my work and used film and darkroom techniques to explore processing effects. Knowing this about me will help you understand how I approach my processing workflow and use of Textures. Like with painting I want to have the level of control needed to be able to adjust, manipulate or tweak specific areas and zones within my image so working in a 'Layered' format is really important.

To start with I'll scan a composition and know where I want to add in more light or haze, as opposed to where I want to darken add intensity and sharpness. In camera I'll shoot with narrow depths of fields and use structural foregrounds and backgrounds to do this. I may also in processing use Textures to 'lead' the eye and add additional areas of interest. I require this same level of flexibility with my Actions and I knew as I developed them that I wanted to continue to support a processing methodology that allowed gradual development, smaller steps, layered progression. ie, Actions that could be layered together as well as opened up or masked off. 

Actions are like paint brushes, each loaded with a task. From getting the perfect foundation with 6 Workflow Actions to correcting or enhancing specific areas with 17 Rescue Actions. Then adding colour, tints and tones with 23 Creative Actions and 7 Light Fill Actions. Beyond the Lens Photoshop Actions are tools, built from the knowledge and processing skills I've develop to create my own signature style. 

Initially processed in the same way, as these images are very hazy SOOC they only needed the basic of all the Workflow Actions, Pre Process I followed by Rescue Action Intensity to inject a bit of depth back into the image. From there Creative Action St Marie provides a wonderful warm summery color pop mixed with Light Fills, Blossom and Skyfall. Finished with add Definition & Paint on Sharpen. (And, yes the fly in the original image, just above her head, was cloned out too!) The opening image was also processing in the same way with the addition of Creative Action ~ Nottingham to bring a cooler haze to its finish. Final Images have been further processed with Conversion Action 35mm and Creative Action Barbican whilst the last image has been further processed with Creative Action Chinawhite followed with Rescue tints Vintage and Blush.


For more information about my Actions and examples go straight to my website or visit previous blog posts.