Easy to follow tutorial for a painterly style skin effect in Photoshop.

Hello everyone.

Quick and easy to follow video tutorial to share today on my YouTube channel highlighting a process I use on the majority of my images.

This two-minute retouching step gives that waxy, painterly look to skin which really fits well with my style and works perfectly with fine art portrait images in general.

There’s an added bonus here too, as it also has a skin smoothing effect.

Use it at the end of the skin retouching/frequency separation stage of your workflow to get the best results.

Have fun with the technique and be sure to let me know how you get on with it.

Stay safe.

Andy,

I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.

www.andrewkatsaitisphotography.com

Easy to follow tutorial to make eyes POP in Photoshop (Including YouTube video)

Little editing tip to share with you today, and this is a fabulous and easy tutorial to really make your subject’s eyes POP in Photoshop.

Giving those eyes that extra punch can really elevate your portrait post production work and make it stand out.

I use this technique on the majority of my images, and I’m sure when you see how easy and effective it is, you will start to incorporate it into your workflow too.

This is one of the final steps in my own image retouching process. I do this just before I do my final sharpening in Photoshop.

Let’s start with this portrait of Tegan. We’re going to use this as our example image.

Let’s go ahead and zoom in on the eyes.

One more valuable tip here before we go any further.

When you are photographing a subject in a studio with lights/flash there is a pretty good chance that you might have controlled conditions where most of the ambient light has been dimmed. This is of course good practice, but the darker the room is, then the bigger the pupils of your subject’s eyes will become…………and we don’t want that in a portrait. We want to see more of the iris. You will have heard the much used photography mantra ‘The eyes are the window to the soul’……….Well then, lets give them the chance to shine in our photographs and if possible face your subject towards the studio window. I know, it might create a challenge with your lighting setup but it will allow the iris to be much more prominent in the image.

Okay, so on with the retouch.

We’re going to make a duplicate of the background layer Cmd+J or Ctrl+J and then we’re going to enter Quick Mask Mode. There’s an arrow pointing to the Quick Mask Mode icon on he left side of the screenshot.

You will also now see that our duplicate layer is highlighted in red, on the right hand side of the screen. This means we’re in Quick Mask mode and we’re good to go.

Next we’re going to select a black brush with Opacity and Flow both set to 100 percent and we’re going to paint over all the visible areas of the iris. It will look something like this………

If you wish, you can apply a little Gaussian Blur at this stage just to blend the selection, but use a low value, say 0.5-1.0.

When you’ve finished painting, exit Quick mask by clicking the Quick Mask icon again to reveal your selection.

Now we’re going to open a Selective Color layer and set the Colours tab to ‘neutrals’………you can adjust the blacks slider in the ‘neutrals’ tab if you wish to have a play around with the contrast. I don’t always do this, but the choice is there for you.

Notice how our selective colour layer has a black mask with just the eyes (our selection) visible in white.

Things are going to look a little crazy now as we’re going to change the blend mode of our Selective Color layer to Linear Dodge Add.

It looks pretty bad at this stage………unless you’re doing some far out fantasy, superhero edits! So we’re going to lower the opacity of the Selective Color layer. I usually drop it to about 40 percent opacity as a good starting point, but be aware that the value for each individual image will be different.

I have reduced the opacity to 40 in the image above and opened a new blank layer above the Selective Color layer. This is going to be our sharpening layer and to do the sharpening we’re going to use *drumroll*

…………The Sharpen tool

You may or may not be familiar with this tool? I only actually use it as part of this workflow.

So to sharpen, we’re going to use the Sharpen Tool to paint on our blank layer and build up the sharpening effect on the iris. I’ve got it set to 45. Be gentle here and build it up gradually. Pressing on and painting somewhere between 2 and 4 strokes of the entire iris seems to work best in my opinion.

Once that step is complete, I like to group (Cmd+G) the Sharpen and Selective Color layers together. I do this so I can zoom in and out and also toggle the effect on and off, so I can see whether I’ve taken it too far. Lower the opacity of the group to the sweet spot which you are happy with. I’ve settled on 30 percent opacity.

That’s it……….easy.

Have a play with this technique and I guarantee you’ll find it second nature after trying it a few times. It works equally well with both colour and black and white images. Have fun and be sure to let me know how you get on with it in the comments below.

Stay safe guys.

Andy.

I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.

www.andrewkatsaitisphotography.com

Tamworth businesswoman Emma of LOVEEMVY.COM branding and headshot photo session.

We’re talking business branding and headshots here on the blog today and it was an absolute pleasure photographing Emma, founder of Love Emvy premium leather goods and gift items.

Emma has been successfully building the Love Emvy brand here in my home town of Tamworth, Staffordshire since 2016. Love Emvy places an emphasis on luxury premium leather goods and gift items, with a fundamental premise of providing fantastic service. The business has grown and gone from strength to strength. It’s certainly been inspiring for me to see what can be achieved with dedication and hard work.

Now Emma was a little bit nervous about having her photograph taken………….

Don’t worry if you feel the same way, you’re not alone! The majority of people are a little reluctant in front of the camera but, fear not……….that’s where (I) the photographer comes in, to put you at ease and to capture those quality shots that will help to project your brand and give you that desirable edge on the competition.

Using professional photography services for your website and personal branding will really help to paint your online presence in the very best light. Your business will stand out considerably against those using low resolution and poorly lit mobile phone pictures for example. Don’t underestimate the power of high quality imagery!

I’ll get off my photography soapbox now and get back to the subject at hand.

Christmas is coming you know…………..

Stuck for Christmas gift ideas?

Emma’s put together some incredibly useful gift ideas here on her blog so definitely drop by and check them out. Maybe treat yourself to a spot of retail therapy while you’re there?

One final word about our photoshoot session before I wrap things up.

Emma wanted a headshot for her business profile and if you haven’t already got a professional headshot, then I’d highly recommend getting in touch so we can remedy that. I see so many poor quality phone camera shots on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Now they may be photos that are personally loved by the people in them, but they definitely project amateur……the exact opposite of the professional use which for they are intended.

I’m on that soapbox again!

Here’s Emma’s headshot.

I’m sure you’ll agree she looks great.

Are you a small business owner in Tamworth, Staffordshire or surrounding areas?

Want to elevate your personal profile to help develop your brand?

Please do get in touch for a headshot or business portrait.

Stay safe everyone.

Andy

I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.

www.andrewkatsaitisphotography.com

New Photographers……..allow me to save you some money.

It’s the least I can do.

I’ve been around the photography industry for a decade now so I’m going to pay a tiny little bit forward.

But wait………….

Your camera shop isn’t going to like this…………not one bit.

‘Sorry ’bout that’

Here it is folks………….

**DON’T BE PRESSURED INTO BUYING A UV FILTER TO PROTECT YOUR CAMERA LENS**

Your lens hood will protect the surface of your lens just fine. Why pay big bucks for an optically beautiful lens just to place an inferior piece of glass over it?

Doesn’t really make sense does it?

I guess it’s kinda like buying a store protection plan for a dishwasher that actually works out more expensive than the price of the dishwasher over the period of the plan…………the cost to you in this respect though is the downgrading of your image quality.

It’s a bit of an upselling scam really. The classic line being something like……. “I dropped my lens and the filter broke Instead of the lens, therefore the cheap filter did it’s job!”

In reality the filter breaking could just as easily scratch the precious front element of your lens beneath.

Most likely, the internal parts of the lens are going to get damaged if you drop the lens. A sturdy lens hood will offer you a lot more protection.

You might need to use a UV filter say if you were out on location photographing something where your lens might get splashed or muddy for example……making it easier to clean afterwards. Alternatively though you might buy a cheap 50mm ‘nifty fifty’ lens instead, that probably costs the same (or even less) than a filter? I know which option I’d choose if it were me…………

So hopefully this humble piece of advice will stick with you the next time you visit the camera store and save you some of your hard earned cash.

The Milky Bars are on me………..(as they used to say in the ’80s)

Stay positive and keep testing negative.

Andy

I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.

www.andrewkatsaitisphotography.com

**DON’T BE PRESSURED INTO BUYING A UV FILTER TO PROTECT YOUR CAMERA LENS**If Th

My top 7 go to places for photography and editing inspiration………….

I thought I’d make a nice little tidy list of my favourite inspirational photographers and resources and hopefully pay a little forward. I feel like I owe these people an awful lot, for the content they put out there and for the inspiration they have helped to nurture within me.

Let’s start at the beginning………………

I wanted to learn how to light my images with flash. It’s my personal taste. Natural light images for the most part look very flat and one dimensional to me. For the MOST part………let me emphasise that. There are some absolute masters of natural light photography out there. Incredible photographers. I shoot with natural light too………but……….I prefer to light with flash. I live in the UK where the weather is generally poor and very unpredictable. Lighting with flash gives me the ability to make and more importantly, control my lighting exactly as I want it to be, and with consistent results.

First port of call.

https://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

The Strobist Blog.

Lighting 101 by David Hobby is an outstanding free resource to learn lighting from the very basics. If you want to learn how to use off camera flash then I highly recommend making this your starting point.

Second on the list.

OneLight by the incredible photographer and educator Zack Arias.

This video tutorial is THE stand alone industry leading guide (in my humble opinion) to learning how to light and to understand flash. PERIOD.

Here’s the trailer…………..

The video is available to purchase from Zack’s store………https://dedpxl.com/product/onelight/

It costs $99, and I can tell you that if you are starting out with lighting and want to learn, then that $99 will be worth every single cent.

Zack Arias.

https://www.zackarias.com

Next up………..

Glyn Dewis.

Again an absolutely legendary educator, photographer, author and all around nice guy. I’ve been a customer of his for many years. I’ve purchased his fantastic books and I use his custom colour LUTs from his Creativity Pack to colour grade many of my images.

https://glyndewis.com/

Glyn also runs a YouTube channel which has been one of the single most useful places of learning for me. It’s crammed full of exceptional, clear and concise tutorial videos on Photoshop and photography.

Check it out here……………..https://www.youtube.com/user/GlynDewis

Glyn’s 3945 project is a beautiful homage to some of the last remaining World War II veterans………..https://www.3945portraits.com

Brilliant stuff!

Bit of Photoshop goodness next, and if you don’t already know of it, then the Piximperfect channel on YouTube is an amazing resource for all things Photoshop and Lightroom.

https://www.youtube.com/c/PiXimperfect/

You’re going to find just about anything here relating to image retouching, colour grading and creating composites. Unmesh is a fantastic educator and a great personality. Immerse yourself in his channel and learn some new skills. I always think it’s a good idea on days when you’re not photographing to get stuck into some new editing tutorials. Every day’s a school day around here!

The next entry here is for two very inspiring photographers that I’m sure you will have all heard of.

Joel Grimes and Joe McNally. I gravitate towards these guys as great educators as well as great photographers (I’m seeing a little pattern here).

Now, as far as Joel Grimes goes, I could literally hang on every word that comes out of his mouth. His experience and knowledge are GOLD.

Check out The Framed Show here………….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEuEKZTlrms&list=PLkjeBWqB_B737GRFbOSGFgyZj9cWhGPjR

……….and this great ‘one light’ video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP8Mb93XyIo

Every single time I watch those videos I learn something new.

Joe McNally is again an amazing personality and educator. One of the nice guys of the photography industry. He actually took a photograph of me in a demonstration at The Photography Show in the UK last year! If you ever have the chance to catch one of his demos I’d highly recommend it. https://portfolio.joemcnally.com/index

So last but not least, and this is a fantastic resource. Again featuring Glyn Dewis and co-host Dave Clayton, it’s the He Shoots He Draws Podcast.

https://heshootshedraws.com

What I LOVE about this podcast (aside from the great camaraderie) is it’s consistency and it’s attention to photography and design business matters, in addition to the photography chat. It’s unique in it’s outlook in this respect, and I find myself pouring over old episodes whilst I’m out walking and extracting absolute gems of information from them. I’m also having a few giggles as there is some very funny content in there too.

Great podcast, and well worth the free subscription! It’s a no brainer.

Well that’s it for today’s lengthy instalment! Please do let me know if you find value in these resources as I myself have done.

As always, thanks for reading and stay safe.

Andy

I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.

www.andrewkatsaitisphotography.com

Rockstar………….

Sharing some personal branding images from an older set here today. High key set, edited in black and white for an extra contrasty punch.

We photographed these against a painted white wall, with the large beauty dish (socked to soften the light a little) directly over the camera lens.

I actually used the Canon 17-40 lens for these! I know……I know, not your traditional portrait lens but I honestly don’t mind giving the ‘rules’ of photography the old English longbowman’s salute from time to time. That’s a two fingered salute for any of you that aren’t up to date with your Medieval archery terms!

Just FYI……………that’s not the two fingered salute I’m talking about!

I’m sure you’ll agree that these guys are absolutely fabulous subjects. Very cool people.

Their music is fantastic too.

Check them out here…………….www.iamvenetian.com/

Republica is available to shoot band promos, musician and actor portraits. Please do get in touch for your bespoke personal branding session.

Stay safe.

Andy

I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.

www.andrewkatsaitisphotography.com

I went to the shops today to buy toilet paper……………

……killed two birds with one stone and took this self portrait in the kitchen!

_MG_9111-Edit-2

It wasn’t any fun taking this. Wearing that mask felt like someone was pressing a pillow down on my face! No fun at all.

The props, I had lying around. A World War 2 helmet, a cold war era Soviet gas mask, a couple of nasty looking weapons and my trusty old All Saints military coat.

Single light setup, a Godox AD360 in my 120cm octabox (gridded) to camera left and just out of frame.

I had the camera set on 10 second timer, pressed the shutter, grabbed my weapons and hoped for the best! After less than ten shots I’d had enough and wrapped it up. I got one shot that worked and that was enough for me. I’m not planning on getting back into that mask anytime soon!

Be careful out there.

Stay safe.

Andy

I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.

www.andrewkatsaitisphotography.com

Headshots for business and personal branding. What should I wear?

Everyone in business should look their best and project themselves in a positive way to their customer and client base. It’s a fact. Whether it’s a corporate PR portrait, a profile picture for Linkedin or other social media or just a great headshot Republica is here to take care of your needs. Personal branding is perhaps more important than ever in 2020 due to the working restrictions of the Coronavirus pandemic.

A beautiful headshot can be created in just about any environment and in limited space. These are shot against a grey paper backdrop with two lights, but we could also achieve something equally striking by using just a white wall, or a piece of foam core as a backdrop, and one light.

So, I hear you ask…………

What should I wear for my headshot session?

It’s essential that we get this part right.

Many people dread having their photograph taken……myself included, so if you’re looking your absolute best then it will help you to project confidence in the images.

Okay.

First of all, your images are going to want to stand the test of time. With this in mind we’re going to want to try and avoid wearing anything that can look dated. That means gents, none of those distressed jackets with the seams on the outside or a low cut v-neck that reaches your sternum!

Your clothing should also be complementary and flattering to your body type.

I’m not giving you a free pass to wear black though!

Choose solid colours but avoid crazy patterns. Large logos are a non starter, as is anything that will cause a distraction in the photos

Make sure what you do wear is clean and pressed! A creased shirt does NOT look professional. Sure, creases can be removed in Photoshop after but there isn’t a photographer in the world who wouldn’t recommend taking two minutes with an iron over twenty minutes with the healing brush tool!

Be comfortable in your style and resist the urge to over accessorise.

Take a moment to think about what image of yourself you’d like to project. Business casual? Lose the tie. Smiling? More serious? Use this as a starting point in styling your outfit for the session. By all means bring more than one outfit and ask for advice from your photographer.

Clothing aside, putting your subject at ease is perhaps the most important part of any headshot session. I can honestly say that at least 80 percent of all of the people who I have photographed headshots for, had uttered to me beforehand the immortal phrase ‘I hate having my picture taken.’

The same people also left the room saying ‘That was actually a great experience.’

So don’t be afraid of having your headshot taken.

It’s not so bad………………

I even did my own.

Yep……..that’s me!

Nice to meet you all!

Stay safe everyone.

Andy

I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.

www.andrewkatsaitisphotography.com

What the major camera brands DON’T want you to know…………

………………………and this might come as a bit of a smack in the mouth.

‘Ave it.

Are you ready for it……………?

Here it comes…………….

**YOU DON’T NEED THE LATEST CAMERA MODEL OR THE MOST EXPENSIVE LENSES TO MAKE A GREAT IMAGE**

Is that clear?

I don’t really like to shout. In fact I’m very softly spoken in reality, but the amount of content out there that’s driven towards convincing people they need the new ‘Mark XXXXIII’ camera body or the latest 900mm f0.5 lens drives me to despair!

NO, NO, NO……………………..

The only gear you will ever need is the gear that enables you to get the job done.

If you take anything away from reading this article, try to remember the above statement. You and your bank account will thank me for it later. I promise.

Let’s be clear though. You ARE going to need some gear………..and despite what you might see and hear online, buying a £5000 camera body alone is not going to miraculously improve your photography. Not one tiny bit.

Now I’m not disrespecting Canon gear, because I do genuinely love it. I’m just citing examples from my own experience and I’m asking you to question whether you actually need that bit of kit or not.

I’ve tested the expensive lenses. Tried the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 it’s a beautiful lens…………I photographed a wedding with it at Chatsworth House and it was great, but guess what? When it came down to it, I purchased the Sigma 70-200 and it’s been my work horse lens ever since. I tried the 50mm f1.2. Beautiful lens…….heavy price tag. Shoot it at f1.2 and what do you have? Tons of out of focus, useless images…..beautiful bokeh though if that’s any consolation! For my own purpose I bought the cheap and cheerful 50mm f1.8 BECAUSE IT’S THE PIECE OF KIT I NEEDED IN ORDER TO GET THE JOB DONE! Purchasing the lens with the red ring on it won’t necessarily provide you with better images. Sure it may be more contrasty than say the third party manufacturer’s equivalent lens but a slight shift of a contrast slider in Lightroom for example (or better still using targeted contrast adjustments in Topaz Clarity or Nik) is no hardship, and it’s not going to cost you an extra £1500 is it? Is the red ring really worth the extra money? Improving one’s craft comes with practice and learning…….NOT NEW GEAR.

I feel like I want to tell you all to go out there and use your Canon Rebel with the kit lens or a 50mm and learn how to use it so well that you can make incredible images in your sleep.

I’ll let you into a little secret………any photographer, who has taken the time to learn their craft and to master that limited bit of kit, could do exactly just that.

When you buy a piece of kit, my humble advice would be to learn it to the extent of it’s limitations before you look to buy something else. For example. I’m a flash photographer. The first modifier I bought was a reflective umbrella and let me tell you I got the most from that thing. I learned it’s uses off by heart. It’s a great modifier and it’s cheap, but when I came to understand that I needed a bit more control of the spill of light, well then it was at that point when I moved on to buying a soft box with a grid. Can you see my process? After I’d purchased my beloved beauty dish, I then realised I needed to upgrade my regular light stand to a C stand with a boom arm in order to use it effectively.

Here’s an image I made when I was just starting out with that same silver umbrella (collapsed) and that cheapo 50mm f1.8 lens.

I guess what I’m trying to say is……yeah, I’d love the medium format camera or the latest Canon/Sony in an ideal world, but I would honestly focus instead on making great images with the kit that you have. Of course you should upgrade when necessity dictates to (and if you can afford to of course), but let’s face it, the major camera companies will release new kit every year, newer and better. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to buy it to make great images.

Thanks for reading.

Stay safe.

Andy

I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.

www.andrewkatsaitisphotography.com

Making those family memories.

Just a quick addendum to my recent blog post…………. https://andrewkatsaitisphotography.wordpress.com/2020/10/28/halloween-photoshoot-ideas-when-youre-locked-down-in-the-middle-of-a-global-health-pandemic/

We had a fabulous Hallowe’en. I hope you did too?

We played games. The kids bobbed for apples. We had a chocolate fondue with strawberries and the biggest marshmallows I’ve ever seen!

I got my picture.

My mission was to make a Hallowe’en portrait……..a family memory to frame and put on the wall.

So the girls had been applying makeup and face paint for a while before I warmed up the lights and the smoke machine. I knew I wasn’t going to have much time…..they were both way too excited and also in the middle of a sugar fuelled frenzy, so I was going to have to work fast.

The room where I shoot at home is small.

It has white walls………yeah!

So how was I going to create some atmosphere and make an image with a spooky feel? One word answer……….GRIDS!!!! Yep I put the grid on my Octabox to try and control the spill and direction of my light. By angling the light across the girls in the crosslight/Rembrandt position I was ensuring that not too much of it was hitting the white wall behind them, rendering it grey in colour.

Here’s the setup.

In the diagram the octabox to camera left has the grid fitted. Unfortunately there was no facility for this in the creator program.

I added in the strip box boomed out behind the girls, angled down on them to backlight the smoke from my little fog machine.

I took a dozen shots (working quickly) and decided on my favourite.

Here’s the SOOC shot……….

They look pretty spooky don’t they?

My personal feeling is that smoky images tend to lend to high contrast. So I opted to go black and white for this one. Edited in Photoshop. I added contrast using the Nik Pro Contrast filter in Colour Efex Pro and further contrast using my favourite Topaz Clarity plugin.

I’m going to write about both of those great plugins in detail in a future post, but for now here’s my finished picture……….

It’s visible in full size on my Flickr, 500px etc. Please do connect with me there (links at the top of the page.)

Hope you enjoyed the post.

Stay safe.

Andy

I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.

www.andrewkatsaitisphotography.com