Penitence ft Eloise…….making the image

So following on from my first post I thought I’d put together a little before and after to give you an insight into my post production on this image in terms of the creative process.

Hopefully it will become clear that with a basic understanding of lighting, a little imagination and some Photoshop retouching techniques you can turn a fairly simple image into something far greater than the sum of it’s parts.

I don’t own a studio. I do own a few lighting modifiers, a Godox AD360 and a handful of speed lights of various brands. The majority of my images are shot in a small room at my house which doubles as my wife’s office and a playroom for our kids.

Anything is possible in photography if you learn the craft and apply yourself to it………simple.

So let’s have a look at the image before and after………………….



The first thing you might notice here is that there is no backdrop being used. I do have a storm grey paper backdrop by Manfrotto now but this image was taken before I owned one. I improvised and used the wall as my background. A painted white wall will render grey if you place your subject and light far enough away from it.

Here’s a basic lighting diagram for this image.

Penitence ft Eloise by Guest User

It’s the simplest of lighting techniques. A single octabox positioned just out of frame and right on the shoulder of the model at close quarters. The closer that light is to your subject then the softer it will be. As I mentioned previously the proximity to the model and the distance between her and the wall behind makes the white wall appear a medium grey. If you do wish to tackle the science behind this (yawn) then have a look at inverse square law. I would personally recommend setting up your gear, grabbing a willing subject and having a little play with it. Seeing the results in real time will be like an epiphany of understanding. The properties of lighting in relationship to your positioning of light and subject can be figured out easily by experimentation and furthermore…………it’s fun!

You might ask why I keep going on about grey as the background colour? Well, grey is an essential tool (to me at least) in my post production. It’s my go to weapon. In Photoshop I can use that grey background to attach and blend any texture I wish to it to give my images the look I want. I achieve this using Blend Modes. I use Overlay or Soft Light to attach a texture or two to my image and then colour it using a mixture of LUTs or Nik Collection. The possibilities are infinite. I have done some skin retouching on this picture using a frequency separation technique which I’m not going to cover in this particular post. There are also countless resources available to show you how to do this but my favourite and go to resource on YouTube would be Glyn Dewis. Glyn covers techniques like these and many more in his video tutorials and his skill in teaching them is second to none. Please drop over and check out his channel here………..

Glyn Dewis

Just a few final thoughts about this image and a mention for the model Eloise who I’ve photographed a few times now. She’s a very collaborative person and we really do get some great results when we shoot due to this. We had discussed a painterly almost Renaissance type feel to this shoot and even though this was just a warm up shot for the main theme (the main theme itself going to publication in Femme Rebelle Magazine) this was one of my favourite shots from the entire shoot. I think it’s the way she posed her hands that really gives this image some credible narrative. So there’s one more little tip for you as a parting shot………hands……….hands can make or break your image even when everything else is right.


When that penny drops with the lighting then your photography skill set has jumped to a much higher level. You’re in the realm then of making pictures rather than just taking pictures. It’s a good place to be………trust me.

I hope you found this post informative. Please feel free to connect with me on social media. I’d love to hear from you.

Buy me a coffee at my ko-fi page.

Pray for me

Seems like an appropriate place to begin.

I plan to use this platform to showcase some of my work and also to pay a little forward as to how I achieve these images. I’m a firm believer in collaboration and I love to share ideas and tips.

Please feel free to connect with me here or on my other social media pages if you wish to discuss any commercial requirements or even just to chew the fat on anything related to photography or retouching. The name is Andy (Andrew Katsaitis) and my brand is called Republica.

This is an old image of the lovely Eloise Dulcie. Shot simply against a painted white wall in a small room. Lit with a large octabox positioned to camera left. The textures and painterly styling are all added in Adobe Photoshop CC using a mixture of blending modes and colour look up tables.

I hope you like it.

“Penitence ft Eloise”