This year I took the plunge.
I signed up for a year subscription to Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom Classic. It gives me the confidence to work away at an image without the program crashing or tripping through a project.
Sure, it costs money. But constantly arguing with the software costs time and frustration. Especially when you forget to save a project just before the system crashes.
One of the new features of Photoshop is it's upgraded Select Subject tool where a user can almost magically make a delicate and detailed selection with practically just one button click. Amazing time saver.
If you are under the clock to get a project completed, this could very well make your day go much better.
Something else I enjoy with Photoshop CC are the new tools and options in Content Aware Fill and the Sharpening. Such an obvious improvement from CS5 and CS6 versions. Hats off to Adobe for keeping the software growing and improving from one version to the next.
It's true what they say. You could work with this software constantly day in and day out and still not experience every tool and process to its maximum potential.
This year I am going headlong into blending layers with portraits in order to create unique pieces. Some of the images involved up to a dozen texture layers on top of the original image. Whatever I want to throw at Adobe Photoshop, it handles with flair and finesse. How are you making waves with your work in Photoshop? Feel free to comment.
How do you know when a picture is done?
This can be a tough question to answer. I've asked that of artists who paint on canvas, as well as photographers working in the digital darkroom. I don't think that there is a universally accepted answer to this question.
Personally, I tend to stop before I get frustrated with an image. If it gets to that point, then I will typically clear all my adjustments, take a break and come back at it fresh and new.
Working an image until I get angry or cranky tends to result in lacklustre results. However there is something to be said for taking the time to experiment. To find a number of ways of doing things that just don't work for that specific subject matter. I'm told that Edison tried over 3000 designs before settling on a satisfactory lightbulb. It's okay to try. That's exactly how we learn what doesn't work.
My work in portraiture tends to be subtle. Adding a bit of texture, altering colours and tones, bringing up the shadows or perhaps making them more intense as the project requires. I love shooting portraits of people. But they're not truly complete until I have worked them in retouching software.
My personal touch includes the lighting, pose and of course the retouching or as I like to call it, the treatment. The treatment stage typically is 30 minutes in length, but I have been known to stretch it out to a few hours when I just can't decide which path to take the image down. In times like these, I may even scrub the work and start over completely from the basic image. There are no hard and fast rules. I just do what feels right and what I feel the image calls for.
Many of the images are layered with custom shot backgrounds and textures that I shoot over the winter months. I also will walk the city in search of background materials such as rusty surfaces, scratched metal walls, rocks, clouds and who knows what else. There are thousands of potential options for random textures available. A road trip to the nearest big city would allow me to add even more textures. A great way to spend a day in the city.
Post production as a way to make a portrait into a signature piece is important to get attention for your work. It's with this extra effort that your work will stand alone in a sea of copycat "photographers". I intend to continue growing as an artist with my personal approach to portraiture. My post-shoot treatments will help me to gain that growth. I hope that you will also find techniques that work for you in your quest to stand apart from everybody else with a camera.
Photo-Artist working a personal vision.
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