Starting with an already great image definitely opens up a world of possibilities with editing. You, as the photographer/artist, can take the edit in nearly any direction.
Edit 1 – the matte look (first image below these steps)
Used the following InFusion Lightroom Presets:
- Clicked on One Click Color Base 100%
- Clicked on Highlight Helpers 2
- Clicked on Jenna’s Candy Shop 3
- Clicked on Surrounded 1
- Clicked on High Definition 2
- Clicked on Lighten Up 1
- Clicked on Define 1
Edit 2 – the vivid color pop look (2nd image – just above steps)
Used the following InFusion Lightroom Presets and finished off with one Illuminate preset to infuse light:
- Clicked on One Click Color Base 75%
- Clicked on Sleepover 2
- Clicked on Rosy Wash (Illuminate)
- Finished using Exact-o-Sharp on the eyes
So, we’d love to know – which look do you prefer? I prefer the vivid color pop for this image, but it is always fun to try different artistic looks and to find our style!
If you love the workflow presets (InFusion) and the look of a wash of light and toning (illuminate) as we showed here, we have the bundled package at the buy now button below.
Thank you to Lindsay Gutierrez of L&L Photography for the use of this amazing image.
How can you overcome the obstacle of people who just want digital images? You can sell framed portraits for a more profitable business.
“I just want the digital images.”
How often as a professional photographer in the digital age do we hear that from a customer? Handing over a digital image left me feeling empty. When I sold my first large custom framed portrait to a client, I knew that was the direction I wanted for my business. It has at times been a painful learning experience, however, every year I am closer to bridging the gap between what clients request and what fulfills me as an artist.
“I don’t know why I want digital images….I just want them.”
It did not take long to realize that when I asked clients what their plans were for the digital files that they didn’t generally have a reason why they wanted them. And although I disliked the old time photography studios’ practice of printing out “proofs” that were tossed out if not purchased, essentially the digital images are viewed by clients the same as those proofs. By packaging the digital images with framed wall pieces, I have added value to the digital images. More importantly it established a purpose to the images for my client. All while adding to the profit of my business.
“My favorite image greets me every time I walk in my front door.”
For every viewing appointment, I use my software package (Preevu) to design wall pieces. This software allows me to size the images, insert matting and select the molding that best compliments the image. In addition, I can virtually hang the wall pieces in sample rooms. I start every viewing appointment showcasing these beautiful wall galleries. By showing the client what a 24×30 looks like paired with two 20×20 pieces for example, the client starts out excited about their images and visualizes them hanging in their home. Adjusting my sales presentations to start with wall pieces, I have noticed that clients appreciate larger pieces and begin adjusting their budgets to accommodate wall portraits.
“I love my framed pieces more every day.”
Clients end up treasuring these framed pieces. I suggest to my clients to take the time to write a personal note and attach it to the back of the framed image. As a child grows, seeing the image everyday throughout their childhood, it begins to absorb memories. How more precious are those memories when years later a hand written note is opened.
“I was just at my friend’s home (office) and saw the beautiful wall pieces you did for them. Can you do something for me?”
My business gets referrals from clients wanting wall pieces. Many have had pictures done by other photographers, but haven’t done anything with the digital images and they want something designed specifically for them. Now I spend time making money doing what I love. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Amy Harnish is a fine art newborn photographer located in Fishers, Indiana. Her studio is located in the historic Eller House. Amy a graduate of Indiana University’s Herron school of art specializes in designing custom wall portraits for her clients. Visit her website or Facebook page to view more of her work.
The Best Ways to Improve your Online Photography Portfolio in 2014
This is the year. The year you’ll turn that business corner and get your online portfolio noticed. These essential steps will help you set your foundations, highlight your work so that your personal artistry shines through, and help your photography reach the right eyes.
1. Make A Plan
For the seasoned professional, it might be time to revisit your photography business and analyze what has worked or not worked for you in the past. Where some elements might need to be updated or entirely cut, new photography business tools and strategies can take their place. 2014 should be about trying to keep up with the dizzying pace of technological advances, finding new tools that can help your bottom line, and giving your business a Web. 2.0 makeover.
If you don’t already have a photography portfolio website, that should be the starting point of your new plan. Then ask yourself, is your website helping you achieve your business and marketing goals? Revisit your online presence. Enlist friends or colleagues to give you an audit. And change platforms if you’re not happy with the way things look. Perhaps switch from doing it all yourself to using a custom portfolio website builder. The best ones out there will offer you everything you need – from search engine optimization (SEO) and responsive web design to e-commerce capabilities and stunning photo galleries.
Another beneficial element to include in your plan is customer appreciation. Treat your customers like gold. Who were your Top 10 clients last year? Send them a note asking for a little shout out – even something as simple as a Like on Facebook, or forwarding your newsletter to a friend can go a long way. Word of mouth is a priceless tool and social media is how many people communicate most these days.
When is the last time you reached out to former clients and asked them about a new shoot? A little nudge might be all they need. Make contact via email, a social post, or comment and see where it takes you. In 2014 think really hard about email marketing best practices and how you can start communicating with your audience via email.
If you’re someone newer to the industry, it might be time you narrow things down and really find your niche. Targeted marketing has a much higher return, and there are many tools available to help you pinpoint and reach the right market.
What is your niche? This may difficult to nail down for some, but it is an important decision to make. You might need to talk this one out. Have lunch with a friend to discuss it. Write it all down and extract your image. Then blog about it – become the “thought leader” in your niche area and it can pay off enormously. And let your work backup your message.
2. Get Organized
For many photographers, this is the biggest hurdle. With so much work to select from, how do you decide which photographs to showcase? If you work with multiple media, how do you categorize it all?
Again, enlist someone to help you go over it all – a friend, colleague, partner, your mom. Someone you trust who will give you honest advice and keep you focused. Then take the stress out of how to make it all look professional online by using a portfolio service. There are many to choose from and something for every budget. These sites help you optimize everything, from SEO to how to sell your work. And with options like commission free online photo proofing, customers can review and order the photos they want directly on your website. Quickly, easily and efficiently.
3. Get Your SEO In Order
People can’t hire you if they can’t find you and SEO can help. Don’t be turned off or intimidated by the phrase. An online portfolio website can make it all foolproof.
For best results, use a system that doesn’t use Flash. Unlike Flash based portfolios, HTML based sites enable you to create a best-practices optimized website, including search engine friendly URLs, unique meta tags, and crawl-able content. Using unique content that is properly placed on the page and leverages strategically chosen keywords, you can drive traffic to specific pages and build inbound links to more than just your homepage.
And make sure that once you get a prospective client to your website, there is a clear goal for them to achieve. Whether it is signing up for your newsletter, completing your contact form, or buying a print, your website should have clear calls to action that help visitors navigate your site and complete a goal.
If you are like most photographers and the majority of your business is local, then the time is now to embrace Google+. Local search engine rankings are crucial to a local business, and a well optimized Google+ business page is where you need to start.
3. Get Social
If you use Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr or any other social networking site – USE THEM. Make it a habit to go online on a regular basis to stay up to date and talk about any promotions or special events you have going on. But also make comments and engage where your clients are. An anniversary note on a client’s wedding image could result in a pregnancy shoot. Commenting is a great way to get your name out there and help drive traffic to your site.
Review sites like Yelp and Google+ offer a wealth of knowledge to consumers and, in turn, consumers rely heavily on the reviews and comments they provide. Get in there, engage, review a photographer friend’s work or compliment a stranger’s image. These sites often let you create a rich user profile and in one click you could be attracting your next gig.
As customers rely on web searches almost exclusively these days, a strong online presence is the best – and sometimes the easiest – way to get noticed. One quick Google search will tell you that! It’s time to embrace your inner techie and begin wearing two hats – professional photographer, and Internet marketer.
Julian Dormon is the founder of BigBlackBag, specializing in professionally designed, artistic portfolio websites perfect for photographers, artists, and other creative professionals. He’s an amateur photographer and professional entrepreneur with a passion for all things beautiful.
If editing your photos has become a time consuming chore, we are here to help.
There are a number of ways that Photoshop CS and CC users can speed up their editing.
- Start in Lightroom – Use Lightroom to organize, sort and cull your files – and ideally to fix exposure and white balance if necessary. Of course you could edit your photos from beginning to end there, using our Lightroom Presets. But if you prefer the control of Photoshop, then consider starting in LR beforehand.
- Once in Photoshop Use Actions to Speed Up Your Workflow – Of course we sell actions, so you might be thinking, “obviously you would say that.” Actions record a series of steps and play them back, so whether it is MCP actions or ones that you record on your own, if you do the same processes over and over to keep your edits consistent, they will save you time.
- Use Shortcut Keys While Editing – learn some of the most important shortcut keys. We have a guide you can print out for free that lists built in shortcuts. Additionally you can assign actions to the F (function) keys on your keyboard. Pick your favorite actions or even ones that can help. Our keyboard is filled with them – from mix and match actions in Fusion to the Little Helpers (like the Group Everything, Flatten, and Convert to sRGB) in MCP Inspire Photoshop actions.
- Take Out Annoying Pop-Up Messages Inside of Actions - yep, we really said that. When you first get a Photoshop action set, having pop-up directions helps for the more complex actions, especially ones where you need to paint on a photo with the black mask to activate the results. After you get used to using them, the directions that we build in can be super annoying and even slow you down with a few extra clicks.
Watch this video now to learn how to assign F key shortcuts to your actions and see how you can remove directions and pop-ups:
This demo uses MCP Inspire, but the same methods apply to all of our action sets. Note: These two options are perks of full Photoshop and cannot be done in Elements.
There are definitely other ways you can edit faster too. Share some of your tips for speeding up your workflow in the comments below.
I recently saw a photographer post a “before and after” photo of a beautiful woman that was so drastically Photoshopped she looked like she had a dozen surgeries to make her 40lbs thinner. The photographer was fishing for critique from colleagues on whether her editing skills looked natural and proportionate. I couldn’t believe the comments I read. Photographers were praising the image on the natural editing and how much the woman would love the images. This woman’s body was so far from her natural shape she was unrecognizable!
My question is this, “Why do many photographers feel the need to distort shapely women to look like someone they are not?”
There is a misconception that in order to photograph and please women who aren’t super model skinny, the photographer must present their clients with liquefied images. Most women who aren’t stick thin don’t hire photographers to make them look 50 pounds less. They hire you to help them look their absolute best.
When doing portraits you should focus on creating a photo that shows who the subject’s personality, dreams, hopes, fears and love. The minute you change the way a woman’s body naturally looks, you are sending the message that she is not beautiful as she is. As photographers, we can encourage women with any body shape to embrace themselves and feel beautiful just by how we interact with them during the session and by the photos we deliver. By combining posing techniques with simple editing, you won’t literally change your subject’s weight or shape, but can masterfully control the angles, lighting, and proportions to create images she will love.
I’m not saying that it is wrong to Photoshop women’s images, as I personally spend a lot of time editing; however, I absolutely do not change her body to look like a different woman. I use editing to correct things that I didn’t catch in camera, such as clothing and underwear puckering, distractions, lens distortions, hair wisps, lighting flaws that overly enhanced imperfections, and blemishes that eventually heal. It is my goal that when she sees her photos she will say, “That is me, and I am beautiful.”
Photographing Jodi Friedman of MCP Actions
Last summer I had the chance to do a My Beauty Campaign Beauty Session for MCP Actions owner Jodi (you can read her story here). She was nervous to be in front of the camera and just like every single woman alive, she was self conscious of her beautiful body. It was such an honor to see her work through her insecurities before, during, and after her Beauty Session and to read about what her experience meant to her. I have included some of her images from her session to illustrate the techniques. I honestly feel that Jodi’s pictures are much more than a photo of her body. You can really see her personality and how beautiful Jodi is as a whole. That should always be your #1 goal when photographing any woman.
Keep reading for 10 tips on flattering posing, posing different body types together, and editing.
When I photograph a woman, I always remind her that I will not make her beautiful, but that she already is! I only imply that I will bring her beauty into focus and allow her to recognize the beautiful woman that she is today.
Posing Curvy Women: 10 Techniques for Flattering Images
Technique 1: Give Her Body Shape
You can give her body flattering shape by either the way she faces and angles her body and by using her arms to enhance her curves and direct the eye. You can also strategically use the surroundings to cover parts of her midsection or hips to either break up solid colored outfits, or to keep the focus on her face and not her body.
Technique 2: Drop the Front Shoulder and Release Arm
This is one of the best techniques you can use on any woman and it is so flattering! Just lower that front shoulder! Every woman wants to avoid the notorious double chin and this is achieved by elongating the neck and pulling the chin forward. If you direct her by saying “now pull your shoulders down towards the ground,” instead of “lengthen your neck up” you usually avoid her lifting her chin and eyes up awkwardly.
Techniques 3: Shoot Directly at or Above Eye Level
I have found that across the board, most women’s favorite part of herself is her eyes. These tightly framed beauty shots are usually the favorites of their portfolio because of the focus on the eyes. You can get away with shooting below eye level on slender women, but it is just not as flattering on women who carry more weight. When you shoot slightly above her eye level, it slims her chin and jawline. Just be sure to not have her put her chin too far down because it will make her forehead appear larger than it really is. These tight head shots are also the most flattering through 85mm lenses or more. I usually shoot these on my 70-200mm 2.8 zoomed all the way to 200mm. I think this because I can get a very tight shot of her face without invading her space by shooting a foot away from her. I am out of her “bubble” and she can be more natural.
Technique 4: Chin Towards Camera, Hips Farther Away
This is a simple technique to visually slim her mid-section and hips. Whatever is furthest away from the camera will appear smaller. By having her bring her face closer to the camera and pushing her hips away, she will look proportionate and the focus will be on her face (while also utilizing the previous techniques). Be sure to have her slightly lower her chin while her jaw is still pulled towards you. She will feel strange leaning so far forward, but her neck and jaw will look amazing, her midsection and hips will look flattering. In the images below, her face was at least a foot closer to my lens than her hips were creating this lovely slimming effect.
Posing Different Sized Bodies Together
Techniques 5: Flattering the Mom in Family Photos
When posing the Mom in family photos it is very natural for her to hold her children, but you can use this to balance the composition. Simply place the children in front of mom to de-emphasize certain areas. Also be sure to use the previous techniques and she will absolutely love her family photos. This same technique applies when using the surroundings to either cover parts of her lower body or midsection, to keep the focus of the attention on her face.
Technique 6: Smaller Body Type Faces the Camera, Larger Turn Away From Camera
When posing a smaller framed woman next to a woman who is larger, you can balance out the different body sizes by having the smaller framed woman turn more towards the camera, and the larger woman turn toward the side looking over her shoulder. Just be sure to have the same amount of body shown on each woman even if one needs to be completely profile and the other mostly facing the camera. You can also utilize the smaller framed woman’s arms to add even more. This will balance out the composition and both women will love the image.
Editing the Natural Way
Technique 7. Fix Clothing Puckering
Many women wear spanks or a belt which can cause unusual bulges at the tightest point that are not her natural body shape. This is one of the only times I change her body shape. Natural body curves are not lumpy like the image on the left. So I even it out. Now changing her body would be to bring the bulges into the smallest point on the belt. She would look much slimmer if you did this. Instead, I loosen the belt to make a smooth transition. I usually find these problem areas from bra straps on their back below the shoulder blades, waistlines from pants or spanks, or her biceps because her arm is pressed against her body making it look larger than it really is. After working with her, you will know her body shape…just be sure to not change her beautiful body!
Technique 8: Editing Skin
I personally smooth skin on every photo because with the incredible glass in lenses today, we get lovely crisp images…but crisp skin is not a women’s friend. Sharpening during post-processing also adds even more harshness to the skin. So when I edit, I have a strict rule that I will not remove any permanent features. However, if a marking on her face will eventually heal or fade or the redness will go away, I will speed up the process by cloning or using the healing brush. The goal is for the viewer to focus on her eyes and smile, and not a last minute zit.
You can edit skin manually in Photoshop or using tools like MCP’s Magic Skin actions or even MCP Newborn Necessities actions (yes they are not just for newborns).
Technique 9: Look for Short Lighting and Other Flattering Lighting Patterns
Whether you shoot in natural light or use flash, watch the way light falls on your subject. You can use lighting to mold the face and body as well as utilize shadows to slim and flatter your model. In the example below, look how the light is flattering her face. Also notice how the light source is above eye level casting the shadows from the top of her head to the bottom. To see if you have your lighting right, always look to see if there is a slight shadow under the nose. If there is no shadow, either raise your light source, or have her bring her chin down. Always utilize the light on the most flattering side of her body.
Technique 10: Stop Photographing a Body Type – and Simply Photograph a Woman!
So often we can get so caught up on what type of woman we are photographing and not who we are photographing. Every woman has an incredible story, personality and love for life that you need to discover. The most beautiful photos are ones that show who she is and what makes her beautiful. Her body is only an extension of who she is and should not be the main focus. Find her. Find her Beauty.
As stated earlier, it is not our job to make women look like someone they are not. However it is our job to be sure we photograph her best self. Unfortunately there are times that we forgot to have her pull her arm away from her body and it appears larger than it really is, or her clothes are puckering strangely, or camera distortion made her look out of proportion. If you pose your subject correctly, you should have less editing. Please be aware that the more you change your subject, the harder you are making it for her to accept and love the body that she has. All women are perfect because of who they are, not because of how much we can edit. Remember the vulnerability she feels when she is in your care. You have such a valuable opportunity to build her self esteem and grow her confidence in herself.
Mandi Nuttall is the founder and creator of My Beauty Campaign where photographers are uplifting women all over the world. Learn more about how you can make a true difference in women’s lives by joining the movement and becoming an My Beauty Campaign Photographer. Use the discount code MCP for 65% off the photographer’s MBC Kit. Expires April 5th