Post Processing Overview
Three live shoots, the one we shot here earlier in the studio, the art studio, and now the on location. There's a lot of work to be done on the back end to kinda bring those all to life, and I know yesterday we edited through all the studio stuff, but that has a different feel as far as it's definitely more controlled than some of the environments you'll work on when you're lighting on location, whether it's indoors or outdoors, so let's go over a little bit of the post-shoot workflow, and also kind of recap what we've talked about so far. So, so far we went over what is an environmental portrait. We're all well aware of that right now. I've definitely harped on that far long enough. We went over the action editorial shoot. We went over the portrait shoot in studio. We did all that post-processing. We went over our indoor location shoot with all the videos, the outdoor location shoot that we just finished up. Now we're gonna go on that post-shoot workflow and then lastly, in our final ...
segment after this, will be the portfolio and marketing. So with that said, let's start talking about our post-shoot workflow. The first thing I'll do is I make my selects. As you saw yesterday, we go through. Just looking right now, you guys can't see this yet, but you will, from the art studio I shot 442 images. We're gonna go through all in a matter of minutes or less, and I'm gonna quickly make selects with a few explanations along the way. We take our RAW edits, we do all the processing to make those look pretty. We export them for Photoshop for any retouching. We then do our color grading, which either we can do that beforehand in Capture One or if you want to add some things, and this is all personal preference if you know there's things within Alien Skin you want to do or Photoshop, or wherever you do your color grading. That's up to you, but I like to do the color toning last, after I clean up the image. So we'll start with making selects. So, I'm gonna just explain how I do it. I know I did it once before, but it's a little different for this, and then we're actually gonna switch over to Capture One and do all these things live, so I use Capture One, I go off first impression and instincts. Don't overthink it. Again, it's really important. Otherwise you will spend hours staring at the pictures and you'll convince yourselves that you hate the ones you thought you loved and you love the ones you thought you hated, and then you'll either love 'em all or hate 'em all. So ask others for a fresh perspective if you're stuck. Like I said, I have people that I'll email a web gallery to, and I simply tell them pick four images from this set. I'm stuck, I don't want to look at 'em anymore. I need someone's fresh eye who hasn't seen these, wasn't at the shoot, and doesn't even know. I might give them a few parameters of what I'm going for, but other than that, all I want is them to star a few images or take a picture of the screen with their phone and text them to me so I know where to go. The RAW edits, with that we'll create a baseline for each image setup, meaning we'll edit one for that lighting setup, then apply that edit to everything else, tweak as needed. That way we know, you know, certain images, if he turned his head a certain way or another it might add more shadow, it might add more highlights, but generally speaking, I'm trying to create a baseline because I'm not trying to spend forever in Photoshop or Capture One editing. Apply to all images from the setup, so it's just batch processing, and then exporting. So we'll go over the export settings again. One thing I did not cover earlier is importing, so you know, I told you a couple times that sometimes the tether breaks down, whether the cord comes unplugged or you're shooting too quickly. Those images go to card, but I didn't explain how to import those cards, so I actually brought a card with some of the images from yesterday's shoot. We can import that through Capture One. I'll show you the basic settings to do that, and it's pretty easy and self-explanatory, but just we'll show it all so you guys can see it and hopefully answer some questions there. As far as retouching, minimal retouching. I like to keep it real. I'm hardly gonna do any facial retouching on these at all. Just a little bit of blemish removal, watch for distracting elements like reflections, glare, and those type of things. That's pretty much that, and then cropping. I don't do much of the crop. I try and get everything square in camera, but again, I leave space because I know there's different formats. It could be going on the banner of a website. It could be going in a vertical magazine ad. I like to leave that space without affecting too much of the image, so we'll crop last. Color toning, Alien Skin, find your identity and stick with it. I went over that enough yesterday. You probably got the idea, and also doing that in Capture One. So any last questions about editing before we get into it, or any suggestions or anything at all?
With regard to your editing style, are there times where you have tried to adapt that to maybe be more widely accepted? Have you gotten feedback from a portfolio review that maybe changed your course with your visual identity with regard to color tone and whatnot? How's that look for you?
I'd say the best thing to do with color tone to, for one, find your own identity but not be too wild that you're not getting hired, is to pick something that's not some kitschy trend. So there's always been trends, whether it's in lighting, whether it's in lens choice, whether it's in color grading, and I try and pick something that speaks to my images, so you'll see a lot of 'em kinda have a little bit of a vintage tone, but it's pretty true to real life. You'll notice I add blue to a lot of the shadows. I add a little warmth to the mid-tones and highlights, and that's about it. I don't do any crazy filters that look like you just threw it in Instagram and exported it. For some things, those are great, but for my website, I like to keep everything having that general feel. You saw a lot of my images. I mentioned I like to have them almost feel like they're images stuck in time, so it might just be using a film mimicking filter or something like that, but I also lower that opacity to that filter quite a bit, because I just want a touch of that feel to give the image an overall tone. Even this one, it's a little desaturated, there's a little bit of greens added to there, not a lot of warmth, definitely a lot of blues and greens in the shadow, it's cooled off. But it's nothing that's too kitschy or too trendy that it's gonna throw off someone from hiring me, and a lot of times that'll be a conversation you'll have with a client too is the color toning, whether they want to do it in-house and they just want the RAW files, or whether they have specific suggestions or sample images, but I try and keep it pretty neutral. That way it's not offending anybody and it's not harming me from getting work. Yes, another question.
Well, my question is related to his question, and that is, you're a young photographer and you've developed this style over the years. And now is this something, this style, you plan to continue forever, or are you--?
I mean, forever is a long time.
With that said, it's a style I definitely plan to continue, but I know, this is gonna go on a little bit of a tangent here, recently I was in Barcelona and I got the chance to go to the Pablo Picasso Museum, and this is the same with, another example is I went to the Irving Penn exhibit, which both of these, they're great artists, one a photographer, one a painter, but one thing I was surprised, relieved, and loved about the exhibits is that with both artists, their styles, you know, the stuff, everybody knows a Picasso painting, because you think of the abstract type portraits. But the fact is, he only did those the last little bit of his life. When we were going through the museum, seeing the things he started when he was 12 years old all the way up until he was 70, if you would have had that painting up in front of me and said who painted this, without knowing art history I would have had no idea because Picasso as we know it, is this specific vision. So, hopefully, as I grow as an artist and evolve, this isn't the style that lasts forever, but I keep evolving and finding new things and things that speak to me. Same with Irving Penn, I mean, there was, the early photos in his catalog were still lifes, and everybody knows him for his black and white portraiture so it's one of those things where I can say hopefully, because it would be easy to keep doing this, but at the same time it might get boring. I'm sure I'll, you know, things happen in life that change your viewpoints and your point of view, so it's kind of hard to answer. So I'm sure it'll change, and it's already changed a lot. I know some of the photos I took even 12, 14 years ago, I look at now and I kinda cringe a little bit, but I know that's part of the process because to get here I had to go through those steps and other things outside of art to kind of figure out what it is that I liked and where it was going, so that's why I like going to those exhibits too. It's kind of like all right, well this happened to them and you know, I don't have to stick with the same thing my whole life. So yeah, I do think it'll change but who knows? I can't predict it.