Joe McNally’s 30 Year Retrospective Exhibition

I’ve lost count of how many times I have featured Joe McNally or his work; he’s certainly a major name in photography and has been some time. As a photojournalist for the last thirty years he has produced a gargantuan body of work and some incredible portraiture.

There is currently an exhibition at the Monroe Gallery of Photography in Santa Fe, New Mexico and it is displaying some of his greatest images over the last three decades. Unfortunately it is a little far for me to go, but if you’re close it looks well worth your time.


Through a Glass Darkly: A photo series by Nick Turpin

There’s something about staring out of windows on a rainy night, particularly in cities; it almost forces one to become reflective. Whatever the reason for this is, the consequent moments are private and often quite solemn and quiet. As a result, some might say that Nick Turpin’s photo series is invasive, but I do not agree. That is, I do not agree that it is more invasive than the brand of street photographer that we’re all more familiar with.

Through a Glass Darkly is a very simple project yet intriguing. I don’t even believe it is a voyeuristic intrigue, but rather a kind of dark and moody glimpse in to a commonality between many commuters. The windows foggy with condensation, the reflections of lights in London and the surrounding darkness frame Delphian images.

Nick’s Website

Nick’s Flickr

Nick’s Twitter

Commercial Retouching for L’Oréal Garnier

Please note, Andreas Brueckl’s upload of this video is currently private. I will change the link back to his video as soon as he returns it to public setting.

Very few types of portraiture avoid going through retouching. The fashion and beauty industries and the photographers that shoot for them are regularly under fire for the editing that takes place, particularly in advertising. A great number of the points raised are formed on valid grounds; the skin tone and texture, the eyes, the hair colour and sometimes even the facial and body shapes of the models are altered and it would be unrealistic to hold one’s self to post-production standards.

There is one related area of retouching that I haven’t seen any where near the same levels of criticism for and it’s arguably more influential: video advertising. I personally do not have a problem with retouching with the exception of drastic alterations to body shapes. One type of retouching I hadn’t given much thought to is the post-production efforts that go in to TV commercials for beauty and fashion products. The above video is courtesy of Andreas Brueckl and it shows how much effort goes in to colour grading in video.

Andreas admits that he doesn’t show much of the beauty and skin retouching that goes on but looking at the before and after shows that there was certainly work done in that area.

Andreas Brueckl has done some fantastic post-production on videos and his portfolio can be seen by clicking here.

Using Strip Softboxes for Dramatic Portrait Lighting

Photographer Andrea Belluso recently teamed up with Profoto demonstrate the uses of strip softboxes. The aim was to create a dramatic portrait of a pilot in a darkened hangar in front of a glider.

The image is perfectly composed and the lighting on the subject and the aircraft is superb leading to a very crisp and engaging shot.

It’s an interesting shoot and exemplifies just how powerful strip lights and strip softboxes can be in the creation of low key images.

Andrea Belluso’s portfolio


Luke Daniel – Tattoos from South African Prisons

Photographer Luke Daniel recently produced a new series of portraits called Tjappies van die Point which is prison slang for ‘tattoos from South African prisons’.

Unlike previous prison and criminal related portrait series featured on Acufocal – like The REFLECT Project – this series has no focus on remorse. It is, however, morbidly interesting. The collection of images depicts South African ex-convicts out of prison, although most had been sent back to prison by the time the project had been completed. Each prisoner is covered in tattoos given through any means necessary whilst incarcerated.

To arrange and complete a project like this would not only be difficult to do, but has inherent risks. This is exemplified by one of the subjects being sent back to prison for murder between the time the pictures were taken and the time they were published. Luke Daniel describes finding these sort of subjects as ‘going down a rabbit hole.’

Luke Daniel Photography

Wedding and Runway Photography by Mike Colón

If you’re prone to jealousy, this isn’t going to be an enjoyable video. Highly commended photographer Mike Colón discusses his career while shooting a wedding in Tuscany and it’s hard not to envy his life. Mike travels the world shooting fashion, runway and weddings and it’s easy to see why Nikon named him ‘Legend Behind the Lens’ at such a young age.

His portfolio has a wealth of incredible portraiture and is as diverse as any photographer could hope for; there’s images from brides and impoverished children to MMA fighters and Jiu Jitsu championships. As is to be expected, it is well worth following him on Instagram too as he is active on social media.

Mike’s portfolio

Mike’s Instagram

BTS of a Portrait Shoot with a Hot Rod

Some photo shoots are irritatingly cool. Is Jeroen Nieuwhuis’s shoot one of those? – let’s assess the facts. An eerie dilapidated and abandoned location – check. An incredibly appealing rare car – check. A bearded model that is simultaneously rugged and sartorially elegant – check. At least he isn’t wearing wayfarers and smoking a cigar. Oh, stop it!

There is some great continuity and harmony to the elements of this shoot and the final images – which you can see in high res on Jeroen’s website here – show fitting post-production. I recommend browsing his portfolio as it is filled with a similar level of quality.

How a Photographer’s Generosity Launched Chris Pratt’s Career

For those of you who cannot watch the video for whatever reason, the story is this:

Chris Pratt moved to Los Angeles to become an actor and was living in his car. He knew he needed headshots done to sent out and a chance encounter with a photographer provided him with 2 rolls of film, filled with headshots of him. What’s more, the photographer did it for free.

This kind gesture to a young struggling actor was part of the reason he landed the role on Everwood and so begun his journey into the A list.

So as much as you may hear ‘don’t do anything for free’ from fellow photographers, sometimes a small gesture can have a huge impact.

BTS of Autumnal Fashion Editorial for The Voice of Louisville

As we enter in to the Autumn/Winter season I’ve seen an influx of BTS videos of fashion shoots proudly showing off new collections. This shoot by Clay Cook for The Voice of Louisville caught my eye though. There’s an appeal to autumn and spring fashion shoots for me. With summer shoots there’s a more obvious motif; the vibrant colours, the blue skies and the sense of fun and freedom. With autumn shoots there seems to be a larger range of images and there aren’t ties to perfect weather. Perhaps it is personal preference with the tones and clothing but whether you agree or not, this fashion editorial makes for good viewing.

A Wedding Shoot on Location in New York

Wedding shoots can appear very similar at times as there is such a strong theme persistent through them all. That said, there is still plenty of room for innovation and with New York at your disposal you aren’t impoverished  location-wise.

In this video Brian Marcus takes a couple around New York capturing them in a number of stunning locations with a very portable Profoto lighting set up.

Brian Marcus’s Portfolio


BTS of Annie Leibovitz’s Autumn/Winter 14/15 Shoot for Moncler

Annie Leibovitz is one of the biggest names in photography these days and I have featured her shoots before. They are often elaborate and rarely boring.

This behind the scenes video shows Annie’s shoot for Moncler’s Autumn/Winter 14/15 collection and there is huge disparity between the locations. The campaign aims to show that Moncler’s jacket can be worn anywhere in the world and during any season and their creative use of locations demonstrate that well. In particular, using the desert as a cold location rather than hot was very effective and creative.

For more of Annie Leibovitz’s work click here.

How to Match Skin Tones in Photoshop

Matching skin tones (or even the colour of clothing as the light hits it differently) is paramount for a professional looking final image. I have always used hue and saturation adjustment layers to achieve this but regularly-featured Michael Woloszynowicz’s new video offers an effective alternative.

In this tutorial, Michael uses selective colour to bridge the gap between the desired skin tone and the tones that do not match. What separates this technique from the others – and why I will now be using this instead – is the use of ‘info’. Michael adjusts the colour values of the targeted skin to match the red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow values of the preferred area. Although it’s not infallible, this technique alleviates the problem of the retoucher’s eye getting it slightly wrong. Anyone who has edited for more than an hour in one sitting will know that your perceptions of what looks correct can be quite far out and you will return to the image later to fix it.

Check out Michael’s Facebook page and website.