Top 20 Acufocal Portraits of the Day from August 2015

BTS American Made & a DIY ‘Smoke Machine’

It has been a while since I have seen an interesting BTS video of a photoshoot, but here’s a quick one.

American based photographer Caleb Kuhl recently orchestrated a very ‘American’ themed shoot out in the dusty plains near Los Angeles. The shoot has a great feel to it; bright and low natural light with golden tones throughout. It has a bit of a Levi Jeans campaign vibe to it, but what makes it really stand out is the way in which Caleb generates some atmospheric smoke and haze to his images.

While Caleb and models pose and shoot, a friend of his drifts a pickup truck around, kicking up a large sandstorm. It’s surprisingly effective given the volume of the plumes of dust and next to know financial burden to achieve it and it’s certainly an idea I’d be keen to try.

One word of warning, however, is much like the ‘Colour Run’ and similar festivals in which people throw coloured dust and paint mix at each other, dust can find its way in to your camera and wreak havoc.

Portraits of the Himba Tribe by Jimmy Nelson

Portraiture of tribes has started to get bad press of late and it irritates me. I often see people referring to it as ‘middle class white person photography’ or words to that effect. Although I understand the motivation behind that comment, it’s unfairly derogatory.

In general, people are interested in disparate cultures far removed from their own. This interest is increased tenfold when that person is a photographer. We live to capture beauty and interesting subjects and particularly when the beauty or interest is rarely seen in the way you’re capturing it.

I first come across the Himba Tribe in a completely different discipline to photography and I have written a paper about them. However, seeing them in the way that Jimmy Nelson has captured them is fascinating but most importantly to me, it’s honest.

I am a real admirer of Jimmy Nelson’s work and to see an article I wrote on him in 2013, click here.

Jeffery Salter on Illuminating Portraiture

Jeffery Salter’s photography has always struck me as ‘high end’. It has a crisp, bright and polished feel to it and I think this is down to three primary reasons; firstly he has mastered a lighting style which separates his subject from the background which is complemented by number two: he uses a medium format camera which offers a different feel to the depth of the image. Finally, his images have strong and simple composition. These three elements combine to fantastic effect.

Old Photograph Restoration

How to Style Hair in Photoshop

Hair can often be the source of some annoyance in photography. Many photographers starting out will not be able to afford to pay a stylist, stray hairs can be a nightmare individually remove and particularly messy hair can make composites or cutting the model out stressful enough to change the colour of your hair. I have posted some tutorials on cutting out hair carefully and correctly, but here’s a slightly different tutorial.

It has been a while since I last featured Phlearn, so it is long overdue! In this video, Aaron shows you how to shape and style hair using the liquify tool. For those of you unfamiliar with the liquify tool in Photoshop, I implore you to do some research; it can can be used in so many creative ways particularly in portraiture.

As always, I recommend you browse Phlearn‘s awesome library of tutorials as there’s much information to be had!

Studio Lights Vs Flash Guns in On Location Portraiture

Whenever you see the behind the scenes videos of high end portrait shoots, there is inevitably a wealth of studio lighting and light modifiers. That said, I have seen very impressive images shot only with speedlights. A question I had when I was first learning about artificial lighting was “why is a studio light  better than a flash gun with the same modifier on it?” I always suspected it was control and that’s exactly what it is.

However, theory and practice are sometimes quite hard to marry up in photography and videos like this make understanding the differences a lot easier.

Michael the Mentor has a great Youtube channel with a lot of information. This video shows hows the images change depending on the lighting and modifiers and exactly where studio lights and speedlights excel.

Before & After Fine Art Retouching

Different Light Modifiers and their Results

Studio lighting can be a confusing beast for those looking to dip their toe in it for the first time. Flash guns and flash modifiers always seem to be rather linear.

Although this video doesn’t go through a great many light modifiers (beauty dishes, grids etc.) it is a nice introduction to the most common modifiers and what they can do. So if you’re interested in learning the basic applications of light modifiers in a studio setting, this video could be of use to you.

Interview: Jen Brook (Model & Writer)