I recently photographed Madison for her acting portfolio. We shot a variety of outfits and also did a few headshots for good measure.
Madison is a member of PQA (Pauline Quirke Academy) and has recently completed a term in London at West End Kids.
She played a Lost Girl alongside Bradley Walsh and Martin Kemp last year in Peter Pan at The Arena Birmingham and hopefully there are big things to come for her in her acting adventure. I have to admit to a little bias though………as Madison is my niece.
This is a retouched (lightly) headshot which I absolutely love. Lit with my trusty Godox AD360 in a 22″ Beauty Dish with the sock on, boomed directly in front and overhead Maddy angled down at 45 degrees. There is a white piece of foam core like you can get from Hobbycraft or any similar craft store held just below for fill. I love to use foam core as a fill card, it’s so cheap and so effective. One other point to note here is that this was shot with the Canon 17-40 L at 40mm. I know most of you might say the wide lens is not a good choice for portraits but I like to use it for beauty headshots. It enables me to get right underneath the beauty dish which is (by the way) positioned very close to the model. My rule of thumb is to take the diameter of the dish and position it at that distance from the subject. In this case a 22 inch dish at 22 inches away. I move it up and down on the boom arm to adjust the shadows under the nose, lip and chin to my taste.
Here’s to Maddy and wishing her all the very best in her acting career.
Just a quick post today to share an image from a recent set with Kandi K, a fabulous model who contacted me via my Instagram page.
I lit this with my trusty Godox AD360 boomed overhead in a 120cm octabox. I used my Canon 6D with the Sigma 70-200 2.8 lens. I generally tend to shoot with this setup. Hopefully you like the results.
Backdrop by Kate Backdrops (an absolute bargain)
Couple of new edits to share today featuring the fantastic Rue.
I’ve been experimenting with a few new black and white editing techniques recently after discovering some new black and white profiles in Adobe Camera Raw. If you have a subscription to Photoshop CC then by all means check them out. They are found by clicking the four little square boxes on the main menu interface next to the profile tab. Aside from being great stand alone looks I also use them at low opacity to desaturate my colour images.
I don’t tend to go for black and white in my editing as a rule of thumb even though I am extremely and I mean extremely colourblind! I may well be editing a few more in this style as I’m really loving the look it’s giving me.
The set “Salvo” was previously published in the December 2017 edition of the fantastic FemmeRebelle Magazine.
The dress is by All Saints London (belonging to my wife), the gloves are an eBay bargain and the hat I picked up from a friend of mine who is a military collectables dealer in Tamworth. I love to style my models whenever possible and I have always been fond of the military fashion look.
One final word on the lighting. I’m sure some of you will recognise it as the three edge light setup as championed by the one and only Joel Grimes.
Joel is a massive inspiration to me and truly a great educator in the field of photography and retouching. This was lit in his signature style using a soft box on either side behind the model to provide those edge highlights and with a main light in an octabox boomed over the top and directly in front of the model. In case you were wondering the smoke was also added in post in Photoshop CC.
I hope you like the images.
Well it was Valentine’s Day 2015 to be precise……..during the daytime in an underground parking garage in Digbeth, Birmingham.
I was looking through some old images earlier and decided to re-edit this one. The reason this image spoke to me today was that it was taken at a time when I first started experimenting with lighting and off camera flash.
It was an image I’d made, rather than simply taken……..and let me tell you it was like a moment of clarity in my mind. The point being that bringing your own lighting to a photoshoot gives you the freedom to craft and create an interesting image in almost any environment.
I’d set up the lighting (a Canon 600RT speedlight in a collapsed silver reflective umbrella just behind and to camera left) and positioned John, the model and together we came up with this tie flick kind of scenario. Now as you can imagine it took more than just a few frames to make the tie stand up and play ball like that but once the lighting and the composition were locked in then all of the hard work was done……well it was for me at least! John played a blinder here and gave this shot the narrative we were both looking for. He really sold it.
John and I have worked on a few different projects since then and we have always created some quality images together. I’m also delighted to say I recently photographed his wedding in Wootton Wawen to the lovely Kat.
Please feel free to connect with me on social media. The links are at the top.
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.
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………..
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.
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”