Some days are simply sublime...
Updated: Feb 16
Set up: This shot is taken on a sunny day. The model is Cody Cataluffi. She in the shade of an Orangery. I’m in the orangery, shooting out. You can see the sun on the Acer trees, in the background. I like to use Acer trees, as their leaves give some lovely shapes and colours when they are soft.
Cody – Summertime Girl
There are no lights used, just reflectors, a half gold on the left. You can see how the half gold gives warmth to the left side of the face. It’s also the key lights in Cody's eyes. There is a very large white reflector behind me. (don’t tell anyone, but it’s a bed sheet!). It is creating the additional light that is also being reflected in the eyes. It affords me an opportunity to lift them a lot, adding so much life to the shot. It also brightens the shadows, so that when the file hits Adobe Camera RAW (ACR), I can lift the shadows a little more and drop the highlights a little, to give the finished even-lighting look.
(These kinds of tools are available in similar RAW processors. I just happen to be a Photoshop guy.)
This detail shows the sharpness of the lens. You can download it below.
The shot is graded in ACR globally, and then, using the brush tool. I locally adjust and touch specific areas. If you haven’t used the brush tool in ACR before, I really recommend it. In this case I used it to enhance the jewellery. You can see that I have emphasised the diamond and sapphire highlights, in the pendent, bracelet and earrings. I also lifted the whites of the eyesa little, and reduced the saturation in the whites (an old technique I learned back in the days of commercial retouching on a Quantel Paintbox.).
You can't really see the reduction in saturation in the eye whites without the detail above. All of this is done before the file is processed. Therefore, it is non destructive to the pixels in the file. In addition to this it is stored in an .XMP file so that when you open the file next time it will go back to these settings as a start position.
Note: the Sony 85mm f1.4 GMaster lens picks up every pore on her skin including powder imperfections on the make up. Of course, the final image isn't meant to be viewed like this, but I thought you guys would be interested to see it.
Above is the cropped file in a zip archive. Feel fee to download it so that you can see the image at 100% 1:1
Ethical retouching has been applied to the shot: When retouching a model I may correct "on the day" issues, eg skin blemishes that happened to be there on the day, However, I have not retouched any permanent marks or features. In addition to this I have not changed the shape of the model's face or torso. I have not sculpted her features at all.
Cody's looks are 100% down to her parents, not me. I'm just the monkey clicking the button.
Her flawless skin is mainly due to the 2.5 hours of professional make up by Viktoria Kohl, that occurred before the shoot.
I hope you enjoy viewing the image - Colin
Pixel Peepers' Notes & Newbie Hints & Tips:
Camera: A7RIII - Lens: FE 85mm/1.4GM - Settings: f2.0-1/250th- ISO100- Handheld
The image above is cropped to 3968x5272.
The uncropped image is below for reference.
For those of you who have made it this far, you can see what I have retouched in and out of the background.
The plant pot on the right is blue and white and pulled the eye away from the subject. It had to go.
Also, the studio building in the background needed to be covered by Acers, Simple Pixel Copying in Photoshop 2021.
You can also see that by shooting further back I am able to crop and rotate to add drama to the pose.
I do this to almost every shot that I produce, for both myself and for my clients.
The 42mp images that the Sony A7RIII camera renders make this flexible and easy.
I can cut up to 2/3rds of the image and still have a commercial image, suitable for magazine reproduction.