USEFUL HEADSHOT TIPS FOR MEN.

#2 GET YOUR HAIR CUT A FULL WEEK BEFORE THE SHOOT.

Getting your hair cut a week before your headshot session will give your hair the chance to ‘grow in’ a little. It will give it time to relax into its true style.

Also in the Summer months, a fresh haircut might leave tan lines around the neck and forehead, so be mindful of that.

Try to stick to a tried and tested style and avoid any major experimentation at this stage.

A quick word on grey.

It looks great on you!

Yep…….a little salt and pepper can look very distinguished and it looks fantastic in pictures. Embrace it.

If you do decide to colour your hair or beard, then I would suggest doing so a couple of weeks before your headshot session to give it a little time to blend in and look more natural.

QUICK LINKS

**USEFUL HEADSHOT TIPS FOR MEN #1 TRIM YOUR NOSE HAIR**

Stay tuned for more useful headshot tips for men.

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 business professionals alike.

www.andrewkatsaitisphotography.com

Find the content useful? Consider buying me a coffee at my ko-fi page.

Photographing Medieval History’s Heroes……….and Villains!

Hello everyone.
In today’s post, I’m showcasing some images from a photo-shoot with a historical theme.
I’ve had a lifelong interest in history. World War 2 has fascinated me since I was a child, but I’m also interested in the Medieval period. So when Tegan and I got together to shoot, we put together a concept based upon several of history’s famous, or rather infamous households.

These images are conceptual by nature and are by no means intended to be historically accurate in any way, shape or form.

Just thought I’d clear that up, straight off the bat!

First up…………..

Beauchamp – Warwick

Guy Beauchamp (c. 1272 – 12 August 1315), pronounced ‘beecham’, was the 10th Earl of Warwick. He was an English magnate, and one of the main opponents of King Edward II and his favourite, Piers Gaveston. Edward and Piers certainly took to one another, though how close their friendship was, is a matter of speculation. After all, Edward went on to have four children with his wife, Isabella. Many at the time thought Edward and Piers were in a sexual relationship.

Gaveston was exiled three times at the hands of the English nobility. He had been a relative upstart in the English aristocracy and made himself unpopular among the established nobility by his arrogance and his undue influence on the king. He gave mocking nicknames to the leading men of the realm, and called Warwick (Beauchamp) the “Black Dog of Arden”.

Sooner or later, something had to give. Gaveston agreed to surrender himself (on the understanding that his safety would be guaranteed), to the Earl of Pembroke at Scarborough Castle.

On 10 June 1312, while Pembroke was away, Beauchamp forcibly carried away Gaveston to Warwick Castle. Here, in the presence of Warwick, Lancaster and other magnates, Gaveston was sentenced to death at an improvised court. On 19 June he was taken to a place called Blacklow Hill—on Lancaster’s lands—and decapitated. 

According to the Annales Londonienses chronicle, four shoemakers brought the corpse back to Warwick (Beauchamp), but he refused to accept it, and ordered them to take it back to where they found it. Gaveston’s body was eventually taken to Oxford by some Dominican friars, and in 1315, King Edward finally had it buried at Kings Langley.

The legacy of Piers Gaveston inspired the ‘Piers Gaveston Society’.

An Oxford University dining club founded in 1977, joined by 12 select undergraduates each year.

Their Latin motto “(Sane) non memini ne audisse unum alterum ita dilixisse” which translates roughly as “Truly, none remember hearing of a man enjoying another so much”

They hold a grand party each summer, once described as a ‘very well organised orgy,’ whose decadence has supposedly ranged from mass drug-taking to live sex shows.

So, a fairly colourful historical contribution coming out of Warwick, and Guy Beauchamp was but one of the line of Earls!

Next up………..

Medici – Florence

The Medici family, also known as the House of Medici, first attained wealth and political power in Florence in the 13th century through its success in commerce and banking.

The Medici family’s support of the arts and humanities made Florence into the cradle of the Renaissance.

The Medici produced two queens.

During their time in power, two of the women in the Medici family became a royal by marriage. Catherine de’Medici became the Queen consort to the French king of the time, King Henry II.  More than fifty years later, Marie de’Medici became the Queen of France after marrying King Henry IV. In 1616, her son, King Louis VIII, banished her from court for two years.

The Medicis produced four popes (Leo X, Clement VII, Pius IV and Leo XI), and their genes have been mixed into many of Europe’s royal families. The last Medici ruler died without a male heir in 1737, ending the family dynasty after almost three centuries.

Poitiers – Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) was one of the most powerful and influential figures of the Middle Ages. Inheriting a vast estate at the age of 15 made her the most sought-after bride of her generation. She would eventually become the queen of France, the queen of England and lead a crusade to the Holy Land. She is also credited with establishing and preserving many of the courtly rituals of chivalry.

She is said to be responsible for the introduction of built-in fireplaces, first used when she renovated the palace of her first husband Louis in Paris. Shocked by the cold northern climate after her upbringing in southern France, Eleanor’s innovation spread quickly, transforming the domestic arrangements of the time.

Eleanor spent her last years as a nun at Fontevraud Abbey in France, and died in her eighties on 31 March 1204.

She outlived all but two of her 11 children: King John of England (1166-1216) and Queen Eleanor of Castile (c. 1161-1214).

Dandolo – Venice

Dandolo was a patrician family of the Republic of Venice, which produced four Doges of Venice. The progenitor of the family was a merchant named Domenico.

Their most famous son, Enrico Dandolo (c. 1107 – May 1205) was the 41st Doge of Venice from 1192 until his death. He is remembered for his avowed piety, longevity, and shrewdness, and is known for his role in the Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople.

He was a dynamic leader, reorganising the Venetian currency and beginning the first codification of the republic’s laws.

Dandolo led the Fourth Crusade – an expedition intended to conquer Muslim Egypt – to Constantinople. His armies smashed the heart of the Christian Byzantine Empire.

His force became the first invading army to successfully breach the walls of Constantinople.

What makes all of this even more remarkable, is that Dandolo achieved all of these things when he was in his 90s. And he had been blind for more than two decades!

Venice is close to my heart. My family name ‘Katsaitis’ is the Greek variation of the Venetian name ‘Cazzaiti’.

Our ancestors left Venice in Medieval times, settling first in the modern-day region of Trabzon, before relocating to Kefalonia and Corfu, after the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Hopefully you enjoyed this little sortie into my historical households project? It certainly was fun to shoot.

This set has also recently featured in the ‘Editor’s Choice’ section of Streetfashion Magzzine if you are interested in taking a look.

As always, 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

If you like the content maybe consider buying me a coffee at my ko-fi page.

My ultimate step by step Lightroom and Photoshop editing workflow guide, including follow along video.

I’ve been getting tons of questions about my editing techniques lately, so I’ve decided to put together this step by step guide that will hopefully serve as a useful resource and reference tool.

First of all, as I’m sure you all know by now, my style drifts towards the fine art photography genre. The techniques you will see here can, of course, be adapted to many other styles of photography, so pull up a chair, grab a bag of potato chips or even a beer (if it’s that time of the day) and as my old pal Liam (Gallagher) would say…………‘get soaked in it!’

Liam’s not actually an old friend, but I have met him, chatted and shared a few good-natured expletives with him! I have met and looked after many of the world’s A through to Z list celebrities in my previous career in the world of executive aviation, but that’s another story altogether. Today we’re talking about editing…..and I LOVE editing baby………more than Oasis, but only just.

First things first………..here’s the video to follow along with.

We’re going to edit an image from a photoshoot with a very talented and versatile model and photographer, Arabella.

I’ve chosen the image at random for the purpose of creating this work through.

The corresponding video time codes for each step are also listed in the titles.

Let’s get started.

STEP 1 [00:10]

‘LENS CORRECTION’

In Lightroom, my first step is to check the ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’ and ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ tick boxes as a matter of good practice. Doing so will correct any barrel distortion and vignetting that is a characteristic of the lens you are using. The chromatic aberration tick box is to help with the reduction of purple fringing, it shouldn’t be a factor in this type of image but I always just put a check in it all the same.

STEP 2 [00:19]

‘BASIC ADJUSTMENTS’

I’m just making a few basic adjustments. Upping the exposure, the shadows and then the blacks and that’s it for Lightroom. Time to open the image in Photoshop.

STEP 3 [01:22]

‘CROP’

First I’m going to adjust the backdrop and crop to my taste and I’m doing this with the crop tool. Duplicate the background layer by pressing Cmd+J or Ctrl +J. Now make sure that the ‘content-aware’ tick box is checked. This way, when I adjust the crop of the image Photoshop will do it’s best to add a seamless extension of the backdrop to my new cropped canvas. I often use the crop tool to make an image bigger as opposed to cropping it smaller, so keep your mind open to this……it’s a good weapon to have in your arsenal. The crop works well in this instance……it doesn’t always get it right though, so keep a close eye on it.

STEP 4 [02:38]

‘LIQUIFY’

The liquify tool is one of my favourite tools in Photoshop. We can do many things with it, but in the case of this image, we’re going to fix the back of the dress which bulges a little (notice, I’ve used the ‘freeze mask tool’ to protect certain areas from getting distorted by the ‘forward warp tool’) and also we’re going to plump up the hair. I love to plump my subject’s hair…..so much so that I made an easy to follow tutorial on it here. That’s as far as we’re going to go with liquify in this instance. I’ll be discussing it in further detail in a future post.

STEP 5 [04:07]

‘FREQUENCY SEPARATION’

I’m sure you are aware of this technique for retouching skin. It works by means of separating the skin texture/blemishes and colouration/blotches on separate layers so we can work on either independently. I use the ‘healing brush’ to do some blemish removal (very little actually) on the ‘high’ layer and then I make selections on the ‘low’ layer with the ‘lasso’ tool to blur blotchy areas of skin using the ‘gaussian blur filter’

So, if you remember that the high layer is for the blemishes and that the low layer is for the colour, then you’ll be off to a good start.

I like to use the ‘clone stamp tool’ set to ‘lighten’ to sample around the eye area, and with a low flow of 5 percent, I start to lighten any dark patches. Now, because the clone stamp has been set to lighten, it will only affect any areas that are darker than the area which you have sampled for your cloning.

You’ll notice that I’ve also added a blank layer in-between the high and the low layers. This step is to paint over patches of skin with a brush set to a very low flow. Use the brush tool and take a sample of an area of coloured skin which you would like to replicate by pressing the ‘alt’ key whilst pressing the brush down. You should see the sampled skin colour appear in the brush swatches. Next, set the brush opacity to 100 percent and the flow to 2 percent and gently colour the area you wish to affect, building the effect up gradually.

Be sure to do a similar amount of skin work to all areas of the body to give the image a coherent look.

Frequency Separation itself could well be a whole blog post on its own, but suffice it to say that if this concept is new to you, then I would suggest watching a few YouTube tutorials on the subject (there are lots of very good ones out there) and practising it until you get the hang of it.

STEP 6 [11:35]

‘DODGE AND BURN’

I love to dodge and burn as I love the extra dimension it gives to a portrait.

Create a new blank layer and go to Edit > Fill > 50 Percent Grey with the blend mode soft light. We are left with a grey layer, so to make our subject visible we need to once again convert the blending mode to soft light. Okay, now we’re in business. We can use the dodge tool to paint on and brighten our highlights, and the burn tool to darken our shadows. Be sure to switch off the background layer and add a little gaussian blur to blend the dodge and burn strokes together more seamlessly.

If you wish to build up the effect, you can also duplicate the dodge and burn layer by pressing Ctrl+J. This doubles the effect, so adjust the strength of the duplicate layer by using the layer opacity slider. One other option is to add a white layer mask and paint the effect away from areas you don’t want it to be visible. We do this using the black brush.

In the next step, I’m going to do a more global dodge effect and boost the exposure on the face, hair and upper body. First, we open a new curves adjustment layer, but we change the blend mode to ‘screen’. See what happens? The image exposure increases dramatically, but we don’t want that at this stage. So we invert the layer by pressing Cmd+I or Ctrl+I. Now, we’re going to grab the white brush and paint on the effect where we want it. SO set the brush opacity to 100 and the flow to 4. Again, build up the effect gradually. I love this little trick. In fact, my whole dodge and burn process, including this, is explained in an easy to follow tutorial here.

STEP 7 [15:09]

‘GLOBAL EXPOSURE ADJUSTMENT’

I’m literally repeating the last step here, but instead of inverting the curves layer (set to screen), I’m applying it to the whole image, but reducing the opacity to my own taste.

STEP 8 [15:34]

‘SELECT SUBJECT’

In this step, we’re going to make a selection of Arabella for the purpose of preserving some of her skin tones during the colour grading process. First of all, we need to add a new ‘stamp visible layer’ at the top of the layer stack. We do this with the keyboard shortcut ‘Ctrl-Alt-Shift+E’. Next, I’m making a selection of Arabella (with the ‘quick selection tool’ selected) using the ‘select subject’ button.

I’m going to further refine my selection by manually adding in or subtracting areas that the tool has missed. Hold down the ‘alt’ key to subtract from the selection whilst using this tool. Next, we’re going to take it a step further by going into the ‘select and mask’ mode, by pressing the corresponding button at the top of the screen.

In select and mask, I’m going to paint around the hair with the ‘refine edge brush tool’ to try to pick up some of the stray hairs. It usually does a reasonable job but I’m going to go one step further and launch into ‘quick mask mode’.

You will notice that both the subject and the layer are now highlighted in red.

With a black brush selected (to add to the selection……white to take away) we can paint over parts of Arabella which are missing from the selection. This is a really nice way to refine our final selection.

When that step is complete and you are happy, go to Select > Save Selection and give your selection a name before saving it. I’ve used ‘1’.

We can go ahead and de-select our selection now that we have it saved. Press Cmd+D or Ctrl+D. We will come back to our selection again shortly.

STEP 9 [20:23]

‘COLOUR GRADING’

I use a mixture of colour lookup tables (LUTs) and Nik Color Efex filters to do the bulk of my colour grading. I like to do it in Photoshop as it gives me so much control over it, by utilising the layers. There are many different ways of colouring your images…….this is the way I do it.

First of all, I’m colourblind, so I tend to use tried and tested methods and just tweak them a little here and there.

The LUT recipes I use most frequently are from the Photographer’s Creativity Pack 3 by one of my favourite photographers and educators, Glyn Dewis. There are some fantastic LUTs in this pack and I use them in conjunction with other LUTs and filters to craft my own signature style.

Once I’ve gathered together a combination of colour lookup layers and adjusted the opacity of each layer to find the sweet spot, I then group them together by pressing Cmd+G or Ctrl +G.

I further adjust the opacity of the entire group to my taste and then add a white layer mask to the group. This is to adjust the strength of the effect on our subject. So, we load our selection. Go to Select > Load Selection and select ‘1’. The next step is to invert the selection by pressing Cmd+I or Ctrl+I………..and as if by magic, the colour is now only affecting the background and not our subject.

I usually bring back some of the colour grading onto my subject just as a matter of personal preference. To do this, we click on the layer mask, then we go to the ‘layer density slider’.

I’ve dropped it to 65 percent opacity in this case, but it’s different with every image and is purely a decision to be made based on personal taste.

STEP 10 [25:33]

‘GLAMOR GLOW’

I regularly use the ‘Glamor Glow’ filter in Nik Color Efex Pro. It’s a nice little feature which desaturates the image, whilst also adding a matte effect and a skin glow. I’ve warmed up the glow a little and as always, with Photoshop, used the layers to adjust the opacity of the filter. You will also notice that I’ve also used the layer mask to paint the effect away from the model’s hair………again, just a matter of personal choice.

STEP 11 [27:43]

‘PRO CONTRAST’

The next Nik Color Efex Pro filter does exactly what it says on the tin. I use the ‘dynamic contrast’ slider inside the ‘Pro Contrast’ module to give the image a nice punch. It also gives the skin a real lift.

STEP 12 [29:00]

‘TEETH WHITENING’

Purely optional and not really needed in this case.

Open a new blank layer and use the ‘lasso tool’ to make a rough selection of the teeth. Next open a ‘hue/saturation’ adjustment layer and notice that the selection now appears on the layer mask of the ‘hue/saturation’ layer. I’ve also added a clipping mask to clip this adjustment directly to the targeted area (our lasso tool selection).

Next, select ‘yellows’ from the ‘master’ drop-down menu and lower the saturation. Increase the lightness slider to taste and yep, that’s done. Nice and easy way to gently whiten the teeth in Photoshop.

STEP 13 [29:51]

‘PAINTERLY NOISE REDUCTION’

I’ve done a full video tutorial on this simple yet massively effective technique here.

We’re basically running a noise reduction on the image but bringing back some of the details using the ‘high pass filter’. It’s a technique I regularly use to give my images a painterly look. It also gives a pleasing skin smoothing effect, so please do take the time to watch the tutorial above, as this truly is a great technique to have in your workflow.

STEP 14 [31:28]

‘TOPAZ CLARITY’

This is one seriously fantastic plugin from Topaz Labs.

It adds contrast and dimension to an image like no other plugin I’ve seen.

Here’s the interface.

I go into the ‘precision contrast’ module and set the ‘micro-contrast’ to 0.28 and the ‘low contrast’ to 0.14. I use it so often in this combination that I have it saved as a preset.

I use sometimes use it globally, but in this instance I’ve applied the effect and then inverted it, brushing it on the layer mask, on to the places where I need it in the picture.

STEP 15 [33:22]

‘PRO CONTRAST’

One more round of Pro Contrast in Nik. Apply globally and then reduce the opacity to taste.

We’re getting there now…………….

STEP 16 [34:50]

‘TONAL CONTRAST’

Last sortie into the Nik Software filters and one to be used with caution…….Tonal Contrast.

I’m using this on a very low opacity and just to add a little detail to the background.

I’ve selected the filter set to ‘fine’ and reduced the saturation to zero.

When applied in photoshop I have dropped the opacity right down. Then I’ve used the brush on the layer mask to erase the effect from the subject, leaving it only slightly visible on the backdrop.

STEP 17 [37:01]

‘CAMERA RAW VIGNETTE’

At this point I’m adding a little vignette, using the Camera Raw filter.

Open Camera Raw and drag a ‘radial filter’ around the subject in a kind of elliptical shape. The next step is to simply drag the exposure slider down to create a nice feathered vignette effect. This helps to focus the viewer’s attention even more on the subject.

STEP 18 [37:44]

‘HIGH PASS SHARPENING’

My preferred sharpening method. I brush the sharpening on, gradually building the effect in the areas that I want.

This method of sharpening is described perfectly here.

STEP 19 [38:52]

‘MAKE THE EYES POP’

I almost forgot this step!

I’ve done a full tutorial on giving the eyes that extra bit of punch…….it’s easy to follow and a great technique to utilise. You can find the tutorial here.

That’s it for Photoshop.

My full editing workflow.

I save the image back to Lightroom and in this case, cropped it slightly and that’s ‘all she wrote’ as they say.

I hope you like the image, and if you found this combined tutorial useful, then I’d also love to hear about it in the comments below.

‘Seduction of Orpheus’ featuring Arabella.

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

If you like the content maybe consider buying me a coffee at my ko-fi page.

My quick start photoshoot guide/checklist.

Lets get straight to the meat and potatoes with some quick photoshoot tips

1) Have your lighting and gear set up, switched on, tested and ready to go before your subject/model arrives.

It may seem obvious but it will save you time and it will give your model/subject some initial confidence in that you know what you are doing!

2) Turn the heating up to a comfortable working level.

Be considerate. No one wants to be cold. This is supposed to be enjoyable for all parties.

3) Get the kettle on!

Have little breaks…….offer drinks, soft drinks, Jaffa Cakes! Whatever your model/subject likes! You will have found out this in advance because…………

4) Pre-shoot communication is the key to a successful photoshoot.

See what I did there? Let point number 4 really sink in.

5) Set up a Pinterest mood board and USE it during the shoot.

I like to break it down into three sections styling/lighting/poses and I always refer to it during the photoshoot.

6) SHOOT TETHERED!!!!!!!!!

If there is just one piece of advice I can impart to you today that will make a MASSIVE and I mean massive difference to your photography, it’s to buy a tethering cable, plug your camera into the computer, open Lightroom or Capture One and literally see what you’ve been missing. Talk about my photographic epiphany! I shoot a sequence of 5-6 shots and then check the monitor for lighting blips, stray hairs, wardrobe or makeup malfunctions etc etc. Adjusting as you go. Working this way will, I guarantee, save you time and post processing effort later. It’s also a great way to show your model/subject what is working too, in terms of lighting and pose, in real time. Far better than a small display on the back of the camera. Trust me, I’ve done it both ways.

7) KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF.

If you do notice that stray hair or untucked shirt as a result of embracing my top tethering tip, then please don’t presume to touch your model/subject to sort it out. TELL THEM ABOUT IT and they will either do it themselves or give you permission to do so. It’s simple etiquette, but you should follow this rule at all times.

8) STOP, COLLABORATE AND LISTEN.

In my experience, lots of models are very good at looking at an image and spotting something that might be potentially wrong with it. Something that can be easily improved with a little tweak. So pay attention and remember they will have worked with a multitude of other much more experienced photographers than you or I. They may well be a pretty accomplished photographer themselves, so embrace their input, and thank me for it later! Also, there’s no need to be secretive. I’ve heard models talking about photographers who would never show them an unedited image! There’s really no need to be precious. If you work together collaboratively you WILL get better results. FACT. Show your model/subject what you are doing (see point 6 ) and allow them to offer their input and give them the chance to improve on their posing/styling. It works.

9) Get down on your knees.

Literally get down on your knees. Your shooting angle will dramatically flatter or un-flatter your subject so think about your shooting angle. It’s important. Shooting a full length shot of a female subject? Get low. Shooting from a low angle will accentuate the length of her legs. Shooting from a standing position will do the opposite and make her legs look short. Similarly, taking a lower camera angle when shooting a male subject can give a nice imposing look. If you’re shooting a head and shoulders portrait, then take a different approach. You’re going to want to be just a little higher than your subject’s nose…….have them project their jawline out and push the forehead slightly down. It’s flattering. Take a look at Peter Hurley’s YouTube channel or the work of Sue Bryce for all of the posing advice you will ever need. It’s something you should never neglect to consider.

10) Be vocal.

Coach your subject or encourage your subject. Tell them ‘that’s fantastic’ ‘let’s go along these lines’ ‘let’s develop this’ etc etc you will build a better rapport and that of course equals a more productive session and………….

11) DON”T BE A CREEP

Just don’t be that guy. BE PROFESSIONAL. Want people to work with you again? Build a great working reputation and you will have more people wanting to work with you than you could ever fit into your schedule. It’s a nice place to be at………..BE NICE.

12) Say thanks

Yep………..easy innit? Say thanks. Drop your model/subject a message after. Congratulate them and thank them for their hard work. Leave them a reference if applicable. It will be appreciated.

Hopefully this little guide is useful to you?

Stay safe people.

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

If you like the content maybe consider buying me a coffee at my ko-fi page.

5 ways of dealing with Internet trolls.

We’ve all been there right?

That one little negative comment on your picture, out of a hundred, that tries to illicit a reaction and get a rise from you. My wife will tell you that I’ve addressed a few of these recently. In fact the more of my work I post in say Facebook groups for example, the more I’ve noticed the odd snarky little comments crop up. Now you can get glowing feedback on your picture, tons of great comments and a general consensus that it is a nice picture, and then that one guy (or gal) comes in with some nitpicking comment that makes me want to put my knee through the screen! It can really ruin your day if you let it. We’re not gonna let it ruin our day though right?

Now I’m not looking for everyone to champion my work. Before anyone says ‘are you just looking for people to blow smoke up your arse?’ No. Please know that if do I post an image, then I post it for me. I post it because I’m happy with it. I’m happy with the lighting and the post production and of course I’m happy if it does well. I still want to get better with every time I shoot though, but that’s another conversation.

When someone turns up on your image and says ‘I would have done this differently’ or ‘I would have posed that hand another way’ I just want to SCREAM and say ‘well get out there and make some goddamn work of your own.’ I don’t scream however……….well maybe inside my head, and maybe just a little.

So what happens next? Well, I guarantee that I’m going to go have a look at their contributions to the group and their profile/body of work. Guess what I find? I think you know the answer……….yep……..little or nothing.

So the person that is ruining your day with their unsolicited critique is anything but an expert on photography or retouching. They’re just a troll. Go figure.

Now I’m not averse to critique. Far from it, but if you are critiquing my work then a) first of all I had better have asked for it because b) I believe you to have greater ability than myself and I value your input and would love to learn something from you. It’s an easy formula to follow. I was always taught never to offer a critique unless specifically requested. I think that’s a pretty good rule of thumb.

Here’s a lovely quote which I think is extremely relevant here…………

“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:
Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?”

Try applying this mantra to everyday life as well. It’s beautiful in it’s simplicity.

I’m feeling more relaxed already!

Time to calm down now and work out how to deal with these online gremlins.

So what can we do?

1) JUST BLOCK THEIR ASS AND MOVE ON.

Simple and effective. Most platforms offer the facility to do just this. Don’t rise to them, block them and they will not see your posts and vice versa. This is a nice happy place and I’m taking this option for the most part.

2) IGNORE THEIR ASS AND MOVE ON

Yep, be the bigger person. Just ignore them and move on, happy in the knowledge they are probably raging at you for doing so. Victory is sweet!

3) KILL THEIR ASS WITH KINDNESS

Be polite, respectful, and professional whenever possible because your response will be a reflection of you, your business, and your brand. They will run out of steam very quickly with this approach.

4) WARN THEIR ASS

A simple ‘No CC required’ in the image description should suffice. If not, refer to points1,2,3 and 5.

5) CRUSH THE LIFE OUT OF THEIR ASS WITH HUMOUR

A well placed and intelligent witty comment may be the single most effective way to squash a troll’s verbal rampage, but beware as this approach can always backfire on you. Use this method cautiously and resist the urge to get drawn into a slanging match. You won’t come out of it looking good.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful.

Please feel free to refer to it when next confronted by an online troll.

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

Buy me a coffee at my ko-fi page.

**NEW PHOTOGRAPHERS** Let me save you even more MONEY!!!!!

*clears throat…………….

****DON’T BUY LIGHTROOM PRESETS****

Yup.

99 percent of them suck………….BIG TIME.

There are also thousands of free Lightroom presets available too. Guess what? They suck too.

So why not? I hear you ask.

Well, in my humble opinion, there are a few reasons but first and foremost……………….

THERE IS NOT A ONE CLICK SOLUTION TO EDITING A PHOTOGRAPH

You will become a better photographer/retoucher if you take the time to break it down and learn how to do it yourself. This rule applies to all aspects of both photography and editing. See what happens when you adjust the individual sliders and the tone curve. Learn the effect it can have on your image. There are literally thousands of free tutorials out there on the University of YouTube. Start there. Learn the craft. Dive in and get involved…….the water’s lovely.

YOUR PHOTOS WILL NEVER LOOK THE SAME AS THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S WHOSE PRESETS YOU ARE BUYING

Nope.

Not unless you’re taking a photo of the exact same thing, at the exact same time of day with the same camera, same lens combination, at the same aperture, focal length, shutter speed, Iso, same weather, same lighting conditions etc etc etc.

Just no.

WHY WOULD YOU GIVE UP YOUR CREATIVE INPUT?

It’s your art.

It’s your vision.

Develop your own style. You’re a creative………so get creative.

So what are the options?

My personal advice and this is based on my own workflow and experience………….

LEARN PHOTOSHOP PEOPLE

I know, I know………this is about Lightroom. But editing in Lightroom? It’s doable, but if you want real control over your images then you’re gonna have to learn Photoshop baby. Layers and Blend modes are the fine tuning tools you need for slicker images. I colour grade with LUTs……recipes made up of various LUTs but with the added control that Photoshop allows by means of reducing the opacity or fill. I use Lightroom mainly as a catalogue tool, with only a quick click of the camera and lens profiling checkboxes and maybe a crop before I transfer the image to Photoshop for editing. I also use Lightroom for tethering, which is my number one most useful photography tip bar none…….just in case you hadn’t already heard me bleating on about it!

I’m going to make a post about my editing workflow as I’ve been asked many times about it recently, and I do use some filters in Photoshop but using the opacity and blend modes to fine tune them. Stay tuned for that post. I’ll try and get that together soon.

So are there any Lightroom presets that are actually any good? If 99 percent are bad, then what about that remaining 1 percent? Well if you’re a wedding photographer (I used to be) for example, then there are some very good Lightroom presets such as the Mastin Labs range. If you’re batch editing 500-1000 wedding images then you’re going to want to start with a preset and fine tune from there. We shouldn’t be having this conversation though if you ARE a newbie photographer………what the *bleep* are you doing shooting weddings when you’re a noob? Learning to walk before we start sprinting comes highly recommended.

If you’re editing individual portraits then we need to refer back to point number 1………..there is no one click solution! I hate to repeat myself and I’m not attacking any photographers out there who are selling presets (that’s up to them of course) but I’m just trying to save anyone that’s just starting out a few bucks (or quid) whilst also setting them (hopefully) on the righteous path of developing their own creative editing style.

Editing is fun.

So have fun!

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

Buy me a coffee at my ko-fi page.

QUICK AND EASY Photoshop dodge and burn tutorial.

Hello everyone.

Just a quickie today to let you know about my latest easy to follow YouTube video tutorial.

Harness the power of dodging and burning to add extra dimension to your portrait editing workflow.

There’s an extra bonus tip at the end of the video for a real punchy global dodge effect with massive impact.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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

Buy me a coffee at my ko-fi page.

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

Buy me a coffee at my ko-fi page.

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

Buy me a coffee at my ko-fi page.

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

Buy me a coffee at my ko-fi page.