Tuesday, August 25, 2009

VISA Pour l'Image 2009

I will be flying to Perpignan for VISA Pour l'Image for a week, if your attending the show come on down to the Objectif Bastille stand at Palais des Congrès and say hi!

Product - Before

Monday, August 24, 2009


Retouching photographs... a constant source of frustration for the less IT inclined members of the photographic community. There is always a DVD or a seminar on at every photography show I speak at about the subject, how to do it quickly "one click retouching!" or easily (plugins for Photoshop etc..)

I think the truth is retouching photographs can be a rather laborious process, involving a mixture of Actions in Photoshop combined with more complicated layer-based editing and I don't really believe there is any quick or easy way to achieve the things you see in magazines. If you want quality results, you really have to throw yourself into learning the tools, Photoshop and correct RAW processing being the primary ones. I treat retouch as a creative exercise, combining traditional retouch activities (skin smoothing, shaping and light adjustments) with my illustration.

These are a couple of images I use as retouch samples, a Product image and a bit of Wedding:

Wedding - After Wedding - Before

Product - After Product - Before

These were created with RAW editing in Aperture 2 to correct exposure, highlights and shadow and correct White Balance, followed by Photoshop for cloning, patching and softening work on multiple layers. In the case of the product photo I used the table as a guide for lighting but dropped the camera onto a white backdrop to really isolate it. A reflection was painted in on a transparent layer beneath. The dress on the wedding piece was balanced using a soft light layer, soft light allows you to pull up the brightness in shadows and even out harsh lighting - If you fill the layer with neutral grey (50%) when you create it you can just gently paint in the lightening using a 10% white paintbrush. I use a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet for all my illustration work, the ergonomics of using a pen make it an unbeatable experience and I highly recommend it to anyone looking at retouch or digital illustration, I'll try and put up a post about how I use a tablet in the near future.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Adventures in the Highlands

I seem to be a bit obsessed with mountains, I spend all my time away taking pictures of them - I just got back from Scotland, a pretty intense 4 1/2 day road trip around the western highlands and I got a lot of pictures of, yes, mountains...

I managed to get as far as the Isle of Uist, a short ferry ride from the mainland and one of the most unusual landscapes I have come across in the British Isles, The pockmarked and broken earth supports only one main road that meanders the length of the country which was easily navigated in the best part of a day.

I tried to go through the 600 odd pictures to find something thats not damn mountains, a few might have slipped through.. but I hope they are interesting enough to be forgivable. As usual there are more images on the flickr stream.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009



I am off to Scotland on Friday! actually I travel up there fairly frequently but I never actually get to see more than the hotel and whatever venue I'm presenting in. August is a pretty quiet time so I'm taking advantage of this to get some more landscape work done. Starting in the Lake District and then going straight for Fort William I'm hoping to get to the Isle of Harris for a day and get to see some of the white sand beaches.

Weather don't fail me now!

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Carnaval Del Pueblo"

I spent yesterday at Europe's biggest Latino carnival; "Carnaval Del Pueblo" hosted in Burgess Park, south London. The mixture of incredible music and wonderful food was truly inspiring and I have renewed and invigorated love for South American culture. I got there at about 12.00 for the procession and went into full pelt photographer mode, shooting solid for about two hours!

I took a 50mm F1.2, (rarely gets taken out on walkabout trips these days because of its weight but I thought I would pull out all the stops for a carnival) a 70-200mm F4 (absolutely brilliant for this..) and a 16-35mm F2.8 which gave me a lot of flexibility, had the choice I would probably have taken a longer zoom instead of the 50mm but all in all I think I got a few nice shots, there is more on my flickr which you can see by clicking on any of the files below:

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