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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)

Before and After Heavy Commercial Retouching

The Cordaid Campaign and the Power of Portraits

Recreating the Taylor Swift Cover Shot

Peter Hurley on Illuminating the Face on Location

I have featured Peter Hurley’s videos and tips before and I am sure I will do it again in the future. He is a superb portrait photographer and a confident orator which makes listening to his advice nice and straightforward. Peter is also — as an aside — a master of marketing himself and his work which is something I am consistently in awe of.

This video tutorial shows a few photoshoots on location and Peter talks through the lighting set up, the camera settings and how manipulating the holy trinity (ISO, aperture and shutter speed) can affect the resulting images. It’s a nice tutorial, albeit the advice is probably of most use to newer photographers. Unfortunately for those newer photographers, a lot of the equipment used in the shoot is high-end and therefore expensive. Fear not, however, as most of the lighting arrangements in these shoots could be somewhat replicated with speed lights, umbrellas or softboxes and reflectors.

My primary motivation for sharing and writing about this video is not the technical tips offered. It is Peter’s direction of the shoots. If there is anything new and veteran photographers alike can take away from watching behind-the-scenes footage of Peter, it is how he orchestrates his shoots. He immediately builds rapport with the model and puts them at ease which has almost endless benefits. He encourages the model’s creativity with poses and ideas and creates and back and forth with them by showing them the successful images. It is very difficult to strike the fine balance between over-directing and stifling the model and under-directing to the point where the shoot’s merits are largely at the mercy of the model’s talent. Peter seems to walk the line between the two almost flawlessly.

It may not be the shortest of videos in an age of instant gratification, but there is a lot to be taken away from observing a highly successful and proficient portrait photographer behind the scenes and well worth your time.

The Making of: Vogue Japan’s Special Edition by Mario Testino

I featured Mario Testino at the end of March this year with his brilliant behind-the-scenes video of how he created Vogue China‘s special edition images. Now it’s time to travel east across Asia for his ‘making of’ video of Vogue Japan‘s special edition images.

It’s rare that a photographer of Testino’s calibre would give such a comprehensive insight in to his work flow for such an important project. However, even more surprising still, Testino gives a comprehensive insight in to his creative process; from research and conception to communication with  the editors and then finally the execution.

There is something very pleasing about how Testino begins such an important shoot: he roams the relevant location to drink in the culture and buries his face in books to develop an early concept. All the while, he is snapping away with a small point and shoot camera with the intention of using the images as a medium for communicating his ideas with Vogue’s editors.

The results of his shoots are exceptional and are certainly an advert for the importance of preparation.