How far is too far when it comes to slimming, smoothing, and altering your subjects in Photoshop? As photographers we decide how far to go every time we edit photos.
My personal Photoshop retouching philosophy is to edit temporary things if a customer wants, such as reducing acne and smoothing out skin, but to leave the permanent ones like freckles, scars, and overall appearance.
To me, liquifying a shirt where the fabric bulges or an arm where a wedding dress dents in because of the angle is acceptable. Changing a person’s facial structure or taking 50 pounds off a person by liquifying the weight into Photoshop oblivion is wrong — it indicates you feel they are imperfect and look better thinner or different. We should not make people look super human. Most of us are not cover models (and even most models get lots of editing help to look how they do on the cover of a magazine).
It is not our job to change people’s appearances. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. Scars, freckles, thin or thick hair, our curves and even our weight define our character. As photographers, we should aim to document life and preserve moments and memories. While we want people to look their best, we should not do it at the expense of their identity.
Here’s a short You Tube clip by BuzzFeed that really helps this hit home. Women were given physical and then digital makeovers. And in the end, they preferred their own imperfect realities (who they actually are) to the “perfect” versions that the photographers and editors created.
Remember this next time time you edit photos. What do you think?
Tools like the the iPad and other tablets give you the ability to e-mail clients, schedule shoots, present and sign releases, check the weather for shoots, proof photos, show clients virtual samples, take payments and much more all one one sleek and professional device! If you’re a photographer with an tablet, here are some iPad apps you need to know about:
What is it? YouProof is an app for the iPad (no android version at this time) designed for in-person proofing.
What’s so great about it? With YouProof, you will not have to waste money on printed proofs or an expensive proofing software program. Using the vivid display and sleek design of an iPad, you can present beautiful, professional proofs to your client for a fraction of the cost.
How much is it? YouProof is available in the Apple App Store and costs $34.99.
What are they? Preveal and Shoot & Sell are wall art display apps.
What’s so great about them? With these apps your iPad becomes your virtual salesroom. The best feature is that you can take an image of your clients’ wall, and show them what their wall displays will look like on their own wall in the proper proportion. These apps are the perfect compliment to YouProof for in-person sales, especially if you don’t have a studio!
How much are they? Preveal retails for $74.99 Shoot & Sell retails for $79.99.
Is there an Android version? Shoot & Sell has an Android version. Preveal does not.
What’s so great about it? With Square, not only can you can accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover & American Express), but you can also organize your products and services for faster checkout and easy reporting. When you sign up, Square send you a free card reader. There is a 2.75% fee per swipe (it’s slightly higher if you enter the card number instead of swiping) and funds are deposited into your account in 1-2 days.
How much is it? Square register is free to download but there is a fee per credit card transaction.
What is it? Photosync is an app for transferring photos wirelessly.
What’s so great about it? PhotoSync allows you to wirelessly transfer photos to and from your computer to your iPad or iPhone via WiFi. This eliminates the need to connect your iPad to your computer and go through iTunes to import photos. This makes using apps like YouProof, Preveal, and Shoot & Sell even more convenient.
How much is it? PhotoSync is available in the Apple App Store and costs $2.99
What is it? Easy Release is an app for creating & signing model releases.
What’s so great about it? Easy Release is the quickest and easiest way to have your clients sign model releases. You can use the releases that come with the app, or you can create your own legal text for the release. You can customize the forms with your own branding and e-mail the signed releases to yourself and your clients.
How much is it? EasyRelease retails for $9.99.
Is there an Android version? Yes.
What’s your favorite professional photography app? Let us know in the comments!
In case you haven’t heard the news, MCP Actions has TWO new sets of Lightroom presets coming out at the end of February: InFusion and Illuminate. We decided to do a fun photo contest on our Facebook Group to celebrate! The TWO entries with the most votes on Tuesday evening (around 7-8pm eastern) will each win the upcoming sets before they are available on our site. Oh, and if you are not a member of the MCP Group, request tojoin now, as we occasionally post special discounts and will do an early release of upcoming products just for members.
To make this work, we need your help. Please vote for your TOP THREE favorite images. You may vote once per day and you must pick exactly three for your vote to go through. Multiple votes from the same IP address in the same day will be deleted (if you see a count go down, that is why). Thank you!
As for the contest rules, participants were asked to take and edit a picture that incorporated “MCP” and to use at least one MCP product. 1, 2, 3 GO VOTE.
My daughters, Ellie and Jenna, and I narrowed it down to these 10 images (which was no easy feat). There were some really creative photos.
Entry 1: Extra, Extra. Read All About It (by Dayna More Photography)
Edit 1: Color Carousel: Used Brilliant Base, Sun-Drenched, Spunky, Georgia Peach, Beaming, Bold Color (masked off denim), Precision Sharp (painted on balloons + eyes)
Edit 2: Color Carousel: Used Brilliant Base, Sweet Dreams, Enchanted Rainforest, Beaming, Bold Color (masked off denim), Magical Matte (painted off the balloons and face) Precision Sharp (painted on balloons + eyes)
Edit 3: Brilliant Base (masked off jeans), White Balance Sliders, Bold Color (painted on balloons), Precision Sharp (painted on balloons + eyes)
Thank you to Niki Foret Norton for letting me share this wonderful Valentine’s Day themed image.
The leaves are finally drifting away, and the cold is setting in. The time for winter landscapes has arrived. Though landscape photography can be a little intimidating because of all the specialized gear that they carry, but never fear. Landscapes can be captured with whatever gear you have. Being mostly a portrait photographer, I mostly work with standard and telephoto lenses, but have found landscape and streetscape photography an easy way to still hone my photography skills while relaxing and not focusing on a client. So during this wonderful time of year, make sure to give yourself the gift of relaxation by trying out a different genre of photography.
Here are my Five Tips for Better Landscape Photography.
#1 – Tripod, Tripod, Tripod
This is the obvious one. When someone paints an image of a landscape photographer in their mind, they see a camera on a tripod. Being a handheld shooter, I had to really learn to work with the constriction caused by the handy device.
I have used many types of tripods over the years and yes, having an extremely nice tripod is great but not necessary if you are just trying it out! For exposures under a minute, you can feel safe with a light tripod unless its an extremely windy. Before I invested in a nicer tripod, I was just using a bargain bin Kodak brand tripod that I picked up at a yard sale. (If you have a light or flimsy Tripod, make sure to weigh it down). I normally tie mine down with my camera bag or slightly bury it in the earth. One of the largest tips I can pass along is frame your shot before attaching your camera to a tripod, that way you will not feel constricted by the tripod, but instead see it as a steadying tool.
#2- You Don’t Have to Use a Tripod
Tripods are not always a necessity. One thing that every camera backpack I have ever owned have in common is the nuisance of carrying a tripod along. Sometimes you spend so much time working on setting up your gear to be steady that you miss that perfect moment where the sun is at just the right angle. Learn when to carry one, and when not to carry one. My rule is if I only have a few minutes to arrive at my location, I will hand hold, or use something as a brace, but if I am able to spend some time getting things exactly how I want them, I will bring the sticks along.
#3- HDR is Not Required
This image is a single image and not HDR. Dont get me wrong, HDR is a beautiful thing and when done right it can create some of the most astounding images. People like Trey Ratcliff really show how amazing you can make these look, but I rarely shoot an HDR that I am happy with. So, to cut down on some editing time, I shoot in RAW file format and expose for the mid-tones. This gives me a great base image and then I can show the image a little love with the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop to be completely happy with detail in most all of the dynamic range. MCP Actions has some presets to achieve a faux HDR look in Lightroom that can make it quick and easy too.
#4- Stopping Down at Night Hurts More Than Helps
The first few times I tried my hand at long exposure night photography, I was using really small apertures such as f/16 or f/22. My theory was that small apertures would make sharper photos, and in many cases that is true. But what I figured out, and you will too, is that larger apertures (such as f/2.8 or f/4 ) focused at infinity will look the same as stopped down exposures will but the larger aperture will take less time for the same exposure. For example: Having an exposure at f/16 ISO: 100 with a shutter speed of 30 seconds is the exact same exposure as F/4 ISO: 100 with a shutter speed of 2 seconds. How crazy is that!?!?
#5- Focal Length Can Be Your Best Friend
Landscapes or Streetscapes can be taken with any focal length lens; what changes is the look you are trying to achieve. When I shoot landscapes, I normally pack a standard length (35mm or 50mm, Most likely the 35mm), an ultra wide (14mm) and a Fisheye.
The Nikon 35mm 1.8 for around $200, Canon’s 50mm for just a little over $100 and Rokinon have manual lenses in all three of these types ranging from $200 – $500 each. With longer focal lengths in this category, such as a 50mm or and 85mm, it is very hard to hand hold without shake in lower light situation. I try to never shoot a focal length at a shutter speed slower than my focal length (Example: I wont shoot an 85mm at 1/60 of a second, but I will shoot a 50mm at 1/60th of a second.)
My favorite type of streetscapes are with my 14mm or 8mm fisheye where I steady myself up against a light pole or a wall and bring my shutter speed down to around 1/15 or 1/20 of a second (If I am really steady, I can do 1/2 second exposures this way. The image about is an example of this type). This allows me to catch the blur of cars going by and also expose for enough ambient light to capture the scene without causing too much, if any, camera shake. Are these pictures perfectly tack sharp? They can be, but even if they are not you will have a ton of fun taking them. All in all, a shorter focal length will produce better handheld shots than longer ones when using slower shutter speeds.
Thank you very much for reading. Like and share with your friends to pass along the relaxing art of landscape and streetscape photography!
Jarrett Hucks is a portrait and wedding photographer based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. His revealing journalistic story-telling has helped him find his voice in a saturated market. He is very active on his Blog and his Facebook Page sharing his commissioned work, personal work and street photography!