Thursday, November 25, 2010

Colour and Tonality.

I was asked over on Flickr about colour processing and the tonality of my images.
Sadly, I cannot furnish anyone with a magic recipe to achieve a "look" or a "style" that they can use on their own images.....what would be the point of that?
I can say though that I have a definite work flow that I use between Lightroom and Photoshop (though each image does have a play of variables at work dependant on skin tone and light intensity and fall-off) and that the bulk of my post work is done in Lightroom while photoshop is used for perhaps 4 or 5 steps (patch tool,curves,photo filter,layers and selective blurring and sharpening to name the usual suspects) to finalise each image.
(An image is never truly complete,merely abandoned)

On what I do with lights and colour.....I had written this little squib a while back and posted it still has relevance to what I do.

On Technique:

I do simple one,(and just recently)two light photography....using exclusively cheap no name shoot through umbrellas, I use a Nikon d80 with a 50mm Nikkor lens and I have 2 sb600 flash units.

Zack Arias has been a great inspiration to me and I'd reccomend his DVD on one light photography to have you seeing the light yourself.

I treat each sitter and RAW image as a unique moment and as such deserves a unique application of post processing.....if my portraits all look the same to you...I have failed.

I use Lightroom and Photoshop for post processing of images...each image moves between the two applications a total of 6 times. My workflow is not as linear as I'd like but I'm working on it.

I have no secret recipe,no standardised approach.

I am a humble novice......I have so far to go.

On colour and cast to choice:

I choose colour cast based on the textures in the image,the light set up, the variables in the skin of the model and wether or not the model has a "timeless"quality to their visage. I admire early Flemish and Italien/Continental painters (think Rembrandt,Vermeer,Breugel,Bosch,Caravaggio and of course the Master...Leonardo Da Vinci)and that perhaps shows in the painterly quality of some of my images. I do NOT set out to craft work that references directly those image evolves in post process and I stop the process when I see exactly what I like.

Colour and cast are important to me to give an image an unreal dimension....images of children and lovely women usually come with glowing and blushing pink hues...I prefer to strip them out and confront the viewer with the line,texture and play of light of the face while presenting hues and tones (apparently) that some associate with corruption and even Death. A presentation of beauty and seeming decay that some dislike intensely.

Each to his own