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Post Production: Skintones

Lesson 26 from: Family Photography: Capturing Connection

Julia Kelleher

Post Production: Skintones

Lesson 26 from: Family Photography: Capturing Connection

Julia Kelleher

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Lesson Info

26. Post Production: Skintones


Class Trailer

Day 1




Psychology of Parenthood


The Power of a Story


Composition and Color


Psychology of New Parent and Connecting


Pre-Session Questionnaire


Posing Basics for Connection


Lesson Info

Post Production: Skintones

We've been doing a lot of soul searching and looking at ourselves as artists. Well, today we're really gonna get technical and we're gonna look into photo shop. We're gonna start off pretty basic, and then it's going to gradually over. The were doing two segments of photo shop, so it's gradually gonna get more complicated and more complicated, more complicated as we go. So I do want to preface a couple of things. Um, I might lose some of you. Please be patient with yourselves. Photoshopped can get very advanced, and it can be very confusing at times. And if you don't have some basic skills like understanding, layer mask or blending modes, you're gonna get lost when we get to the more advanced stuff. So be patient with me and be patient with yourselves and know that you can learn this stuff. But sometimes it's a matter of just understanding specific tools and photoshopped that can help you. So if you find yourself getting lost and if you find yourself going Oh, my gosh, this is so over ...

my head. Then I want you to say to yourself, OK, what technique is she using that I need to learn. And typically it's one of just a few things in photo shop adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masking. Okay. And in just a couple of tools, the brush tool. I use a lot. We're gonna talk about a little bit about the pen tool today. So there's a couple of tools in there that you might go. Oh, I haven't used that tool before. I better study that specific area Photoshopped to help me out. And that's what I did when I was first learning photo shop and overwhelmed. Like I know I need to figure out how to put this person in this background, but I don't know what I'm doing or what skill I need in Photoshopped to do that. So I'm hoping that these next two segments will help you if you need to Nome or it'll help you find out what specific area photo shop you need to study. Does that make sense? So, like a separatist article basic, the other prefaced I want to communicate to you is that there are, like, 20,000 ways to skin a cat Photoshopped. Okay, you can do things multiple ways. I am a smash and grab. Okay, I learned I am not a perfect Photoshopped person, and I will totally admit that to you. Now I do what works, what produces the final result. And, as in my opinion, and there's arguments about, you know you could true Photoshopped gurus out there are gonna be cringe when they see some of the things that I do because it is very destructive to your pixels into your editing. Okay, but I'm also a type of person who doesn't think that having 50,000 layers in your layers palette is wise, either because it hogs up serious quantities of memory. I shoot with a D which is huge files. I've had images that are over a gig, single images that have so many layers. And had I not smashed, they would have been even bigger. Okay, so be careful. It's a balance between, um using the tools you have and the computer you have with destructive versus nondestructive editing. And if I'm one of those people that if it's right and you like its nationals layers and move on, man, just just come into it. So I am gonna teach you some nondestructive things. But then I'm going to be also reelection. Just do it. Okay, so I'm gonna start off by real basic. Okay, We're to start off just how I would do a typical of section. Okay, so in our studio for the long for many years it was just me, and I did everything under the sun. I mean, I was a one man show for probably must have been in business almost eight years now, So probably for five years, it was just me. Okay, So really, only in the last three years have I started outsourcing specific things and hiring on people. And, um, one of the first things I did was hire someone to help do initial edits because I was spending so much time in Photoshop and in bridge, and it was basic stuff that we do to every single image that I could train somebody else to dio. Okay, so that's when I brought on Tiffany, who started doing that kind of stuff for me and then when Tiffany left. Now Belinda has been trained to do this kind of thing for me, and she does a fantastic job with the initial stuff. And then once she gives me the initial edits that are, you know, 90% finished. I go in there, do what I think needs to be done to finalize everything, and then we show them to the client. I do pre touch everything that goes out of the studio. Bless you, Felisa. I do pretty touch everything that the client sees. There's. You have to find what works for you with your clients. There's some people who believe that it's a waste of time to pre edit everything that the clients going to see. And I totally agree. If you have a pricing model or a business model where your clients are only getting a certain number of images from the session, then there's no sense in pre touching absolutely everything to the final hilt before you. You show it to them. I have a different philosophy, and most my clients walk out the door with all of their images on disk, and I want to be able to provide that to them at the ordering appointment so they get to walk out with their USB, and they love that they love being able to walk away with it from the ordering appointment. So I tend to pre touch everything. And I also don't think that my clients can see it. They don't have the what I call or what Tom Rouse calls my mentor Visual literacy. They can't see it. So if you if I discovered that if I show acclaimed 1/2 finished image, they don't like it. And no talking them into anything will make him see that it's a good image, and then I can make it better. OK, Jonah, Jim question was my workload I'm gonna about to get I'm about to get into that. I am going to talk about that. I shoot in raw, Okay, Then we download the cards to the, um to the what we call the disc station, and we have ah, syn ology. And by the way, this is all in the resource is guide that comes with the course. We have something called a technology disc station, which is a raid backup drive has 54 terabyte drives in it. And so Belinda will take my car, download all the raw files to their I will call them, and then send her the cold images. So we're not putting a bunch of raw files d 836 megapixel camera files onto her computer, and then she just takes the cold, Does a further coal on them. And then she does those initial edits and saves them as PSD files. OK, so I do everything I do not crop down. I do not make things as small J pegs for the client to see. Everything stays large all the time. Okay, Yes, it takes up sports storage space. But in my opinion, the stage storage basis cheap. And it's one less step in our process that we have to dio. Okay, so all kind of talk a little bit more about that, Joan, as as we go. Okay, So I actually the reason I'm I kind of went through that first part of the process is because I have already called these down pretty much these air. Just certain images that we photographed throughout the last two days here. And I want to start off with a simple edits and things that I would do every day to two images for clients. Okay, So what initially I do is coming here? Obviously, Like I said, I will. Um, if this was a full session. I would, you know, use MySpace. I only use bridge and voter shop. I have tried to get into light room, and I just can't quite get there. And to me, Photoshopped has a few more powerful things to it than light room does. So I just have stuck with light room. I've tried all gosh Almighty to try and get in the light room, but I just Maybe someday I'll get there. Okay, So, basically, what I did is I'm in bridge, and I just pressed my space bar that allows me to see things full screen. And then I just use my arrow keys to scroll through images. And when I like one, I pressed the one key and give it a little star. Okay? And I literally just do that with ones that I like. I start. Yep, that's pretty. Where we will go back and forth. Which one's better? Which one's better and all Star One, etcetera, etcetera. OK, then. When I've done that, bridge allows me to view and sort by rating, okay? And that will put all my start images down at the bottom. Then I go over here to the left and click on the star rating. And that will just Onley Show me the ones that are star rated I press command all and that highlights Simone. I just put them in a new folder that says Rock hold or the last name of the family cold. Okay, so that's just a basic sorting How I would sort Enbridge I don't really want to get too technical with that because I know there's so much more to come today. So let's open up on initial image of Bilin and her, her little brother Memphis here that we shot yesterday or two days. I'm losing my days eso anyway, OK, so basically double quick cause you guys concede it was working on stuff. Let me go ahead and enlarge this. So now I'm in what's called Adobe Camera. Okay, immediately. I one of the first things I do with every single image and this is a great little trick. You guys all know I shot this was a 50 millimeter lens, remember? We talked about compression and angle and lens toys. Well, adobe camera raw has this wonderful little lens icon over here, and all after simply do is press the enable lens profile correction, and it will correct for the distortion. And they've been getting that. My 50 millimeter lens loves to put on my images. Okay, It senses which lends I'm using and automatically adjust for that. So all you have to do is click that button and say, Fix it. And that usually fixed nine out of 10 problems you have in your image before you even start. Okay, so I have a recommend going there first. Now, since I White balanced in using my great card, it's pretty much white balance. I don't really need to touch it for that part, but I do know that I have some messy things over here. I shot her a little far away from the background. I wish I had been a little closer because that would have made my light more even on my background. And I wouldn't have all the shadow when shading going on. But I know this happens to a lot of you and it just me too. So we're gonna talk about how to fix it, which isn't that hard at all. Okay, so I do think the images a little cool. I'm gonna go ahead. And what? The other thing I do is I look at my history, Graham. A lot up here is extremely valuable information. And you could adjust exposure by just going on the history ram and changing. And if you want there instead of your sliders, which can be very nice. I also note that she was on in a white shirt which, you know, I couldn't control this time based on, you know, sometimes parents bring stuff that's not right. So I noticed that my highlights are starting their not blown out yet. If you look over here on the right side of the history, Ram, they're not hitting the table as we call it. They're not blown out on this left side, but I can tell that they're a little hot, so at least hot for my liking. So I'm gonna go ahead and drag down the highlights a little bit. Bring up the exposure sums to compensate for that, and that keeps the highlights, especially on her cheek, just a little bit softer. This is super subtle stuff, guys really subtle and your I will get trained over time to see this, but it bothered me so I wanted to fix it. And it's in my opinion that these super subtle little things can add up at up and add up to make the image not quite as powerful as you want it. So if you fix those subtle little things and train your eye to do that, it's gonna help you reduce that cumulative effect of a lot of small details. Not working. Does that make sense? Okay, so you know, I can kind of cool things off if I wanted or warm things up. This is an I thing. It's a personal preference thing. We shot it on that swayed gray. So one of the things you want this is how I'm thinking when I look at an image. Jones White balance for skin tone Do not look at skin tone when you're trying to adjust the coolness or warmness oven image. Look at the background you shot, and if the colors in the background are accurate, okay, because if I look at her skin, I go, Oh, I like the way her skin looks right here, and her hair is kind of pretty. It's really warm, but the background is extremely warm, and it's a little green, but I can kind of adds a magenta in there and fix it. But what is really press the devote for during 20 ways that's gonna catch right anyway so you can adjust this color as you see fit. Or if you had done your custom white balance, you wouldn't need to do much up here is because, as you saw in the beginning, it was pretty, well, white balance. But if you do have to fix white balance, you want to make sure and adjust it so that your background, color and tone looks accurate. Okay, not the skin tone, especially if you guys have ever photographed babies. You know as well as I do that some babies come out bright purple, OK, do not white balance based on skin tone balance based on what the background looks like and this supposed to look like. So when you shot it, you know that color tone This will train you to see color a lot better. We're gonna get into skin tone here in a second. So one of the things that I also do is I go into this hue, saturation, grayscale cider, okay, and don't ever play with you, it'll mess you up bad. Okay? You'll think. Yeah. So anyway, but not really. Yeah. See, the baby turned like bright magenta. This will mess you up. So just go ahead and not don't even touch you. But saturation and Luminant I play in here all the time, okay? And what I typically do is I start. And now I am looking at skin tone. Okay, I start reduced, and this is gonna make a global change to the entire image. But when I really encourage you to do is start cranking these up and down and see where you see the red. Okay? Notice the baby looks dead. Okay, Be very careful with this. Don't overdo it. But the reason im slamming it to one under the other is to show you where the reds are. There in the child's lips, there in her toes, it's in the baby's face. But look how much more read the baby skin is than the Braille in skin iss. Okay, so I usually just hot my reds down. Just a touch to kind of start removing the read out of the baby skin because almost all babies come in hot pink, magenta red, some kind of color. That's not soft porcelain skin tone. Okay and bit newborn baby photographers are always asking me, How do you get creamy, lovely, beautiful skin tone on a newborn? And worse yet, how do you balance between the two subjects? Because when you start working on the baby, you end up messing up the other people in the in the image. Okay, so I start reducing the Reds. I sometimes play with oranges. Look how much oranges in the skin there's a lot, especially in the little girl. There's a lot of orange. OK, but if I reduce it too much, she's gonna look dead and we both are. So I just start removing the orange. Just a touch, because I like that sweet, creamy, pale look, OK, and that's about as much as it's gonna let me do right now without completely annihilating skin tones. Okay, the other thing you could do is go into Lou Minutes. What luminous does that takes the Reds and ads for lack of a better word light to them? Do you see how it's adding light to the Reds? Okay, that's going to start to help me bring in that creamy skin tone for the baby as well. If I add luminous to the oranges, it's gonna add light to the child, which I want to even though both out. So I'm not necessarily going to do that. Does that make sense? Are you following? Okay, Sometimes I go really fast in photo shop. So I need toe. Make sure I slow down. The readiness of the baby when I was photographing families was really the scariest thing for me. Was the baby skin? Yeah, yeah, hard. And this is just the initial start. We're going to do a lot more once we get in Photoshopped. Okay? But I The most powerful way you can edit is to make sure your raw file is as solid as it can be before you start taking it into Photoshopped. Okay, so I don't do a ton and raw, but I do enough to give me a good start. Now, the other thing that I do is I up the clarity which increases contrast in your mid tones. It could be really ugly. Okay, but it can also soften skin. Do you see how I'm reusing my clarity and all of a sudden baby's skin is starting to soften out. And we're gonna talk about poor man's portraiture in just a second here. But that's pretty much poor man's portraiture if you don't want to buy portraiture, but we'll talk about how to use that here in a second. But I usually actually increased clarity initially because I want a little pop in my mid tones. Okay, The cool thing. And I actually just learned this is you can save your life. You're a CR settings. Okay, so if you go up to this little tiny icon over here and say save settings okay, I can tell a CR that I want to save every setting associated with this image or just a few. It could be just white balance. It could be just exposure, just the skin coloring on. Then I can go ahead and save this and call it a newborn family settings. Okay. And a CR will save that, which I can then, on the next image, go in and apply preset to the next image that comes along and not have to do all the same settings. Okay, that's just like, brilliant, cause I'm not spending much time Mules, lighters like this back and forth, which is kind of a paint you really realize as you start to get into your business more and more and more, you have more clients. Anything to save time is the benefit. And if you can start doing that now, which will give you free time to work on your creative work, then that's a good thing, right? So So at this point, I would open this image. Now I could just open it as is, and start working on it. Or I could open it as a smart object. Okay, smart objects are really cool ways of being nondestructive. Because if I open this as a smart object, okay, close this one here. If I open this as a smart object, which you'll notice in my layers palette is there's this little icon right here that indicates it's a smart object. So what that did is it preserved my raw settings when I what, I apply to this image in camera. So if I double click on it again, it's going to reopen the image in raw with all the settings that I already had done. So I can start tweaking things should I need to go back to it, which is really cool. And if you want to use poor man's portraiture, which we're gonna show you in a few minutes when we look at a mommy image, this is a great way to do it. Because you can start making multiple smart objects of the same image and fussed with your clarity settings and then do layer masking to to take it off certain areas. Okay, so I'll talk about that in just a second. So smart objects are pretty cool for that now. I don't always open and smart objects because there's smart objects is a nondestructive layer. Okay, basically, and sometimes certain tools and settings won't work if it's a smart object, if it's if it's creditable again. So sometimes I will even have to rast arise the layer to make it so that I can do certain things to the image like dodge and burn, etcetera, etcetera. Okay, so there's if you when I was first starting out Photoshopped, I would be like I would pick on a pick a tool or something and start to do something working. I don't know I'm on a garage to avoid an emerging. Okay, you get really frustrated. Usually it's because you're not in the right layer, okay? Or it's because you have something little marching ants somewhere in the image that you're not seeing, and it will only apply the Dodge tool to the area that you selected. So keep that in mind if you just put command d d select half the time you're too will start working again after because there's some you know, you've got someone of tiny pixel in here that's been picked in here and you can't see it big. So don't you think you're going crazy? You're like, Why is my brush will not working? Why is my rational not working? Sit back, calm down. Photo shop is not being rebellious against you, even though it feels like it. Ask yourself if you're on the wrong layer, or if maybe you have something selected that you don't know about. That's really small and just be patient with yourself, cause chances are it's something that you're doing home. Not that Photoshopped broken as much as you want to beat the heck out of it and say that it is OK, so other little tricks now that I'm in a photo shop, one of the first things I start doing, and it just kind of depends on my mood. If I want to start work on the background first. If I want to work on the subject first, it really doesn't matter. But a good a couple of keystroke shortcuts that are fantastic that are rarely rarely talked about our command space and then take your mouth and drag forward and backwards, and it will increase and decrease your image. It's a spectacular shortcut for zooming in and out of your image. I love it dearly. Okay, The same thing goes with any brush. So if I'm on the brush tool and I go to control option, I could increase or decrease the size of my brush just by dragging instead of having to go up here like that. OK? And it will decrease it. Also, if you if you scroll up or down, it will increase the hardness of your brush so press control option up and down is the hardness or softness of your brush. Left and right is the size of your brush larger small once you start using the shortcuts, You will never go back. Okay, Okay, so I know there. So let's start working on the background First. Another thing. If you're working on a small computer like this, you can press the F key, which basically mounts your canvas. So when I do that now, I can press my space bar and move my canvas anywhere I want all over the screen. And then when I pressed the space in command bar, I can zoom in anywhere and let it go and drag, zoom in drag. I'm doing school times. You can kind of see what I'm doing. So it clicks is clicking no pun intended. Okay, So, like I said, shortcuts or your best flipping friend and especially you will get so fast. I mean, we have we have editing down to less than 30 seconds and image when we're on the fly. Belinda can edit a gem session in about 45 minutes. Now at the most, you know, and that's that's like Grant, if the baby is really hard and challenging and she's got a lot of stuff to do on it, it will take a little bit longer. But family sessions. She definitely has under two hours. Don't you think you dio? But once you start using these shortcuts and you have to keep in mind Belinda to start doing this what, six months ago? The most. So she's not quite at the speed, but she's getting there, especially with these shortcuts. But I try to edit family images and things like this in about 30 to 45 seconds for image. That's that's definitely moving quickly, but a minute per image at the most. Okay, Yeah. I'm sorry. About 40 images for 40 40 images for a full session. Grand family would just take a little longer because you're dealing with mom and under eye circles. You're doing a lot of retouching, but baby alone, those images are easily 30 seconds to a minute at its each. Okay? And but a lot of that is because it's right in camera, okay? And I didn't use to be right in camera. Let me tell you, it was a mess. And but the minute I really said to myself, you know what? I can do this Well, in Cameron, I kind of challenged myself to do that. And that's when things start to go get really easy in photo shop because I'm like, Okay, looks good already. I want to touch that. It's such a liberating feeling. You know how those sessions that really stink and you just know they suck. And you just weren't on your game that day and you dread editing. We almost put it off like the end our because, like, I know this is really and you go in there and it's a tough edit. But then you realize after the fact that so bad it looks pretty good now that it's edited, you know, have faith. Like That's what I think. Yeah, John, I found the more than I edit in post the better might my camera gets because I know what to look far. Yes. Mistakes you have to correct imposed to make you go. I better fix this now because I don't want to go with it later. Exactly. Exactly. Ok, so here's another little trick. The square marquee tool will help you extend backgrounds. Okay, this is a selection tool. This little area right here obviously is part not part of, but I don't want it there clearly so I can sit here and go clone stamp, tool and try toe down. Or the easy way to do this is to just select it. And an area of the backdrop that you want Press commander control tea and just slide it out of there. Okay, Nice little quick and easy trip. But Julia, weight, if I have a complicated background, is totally gonna start my background. Yes, it will. That's why we have something called content aware scale, which is even better. Okay, we'll talk about that when we get to the frozen image here in a little bit. Okay, so I have extended my background. I've still got issues going on back here. OK? But right now, I want to start fixing skin tone and fixing her posture. Okay? She slouching over like this. It's really hard to tell a child to sit up straight when you just want a good shot about connection

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

BD Design Cards
Butterfly ClamShell Lighting Set Up
Newborn Posing Design
Newborn Prepartion Sheet
Standard Lighting Set Up
Studio Gift Card
Gear Guide
Downloads with RSVP

Ratings and Reviews

Natalia Malinko

This is the second course with Julia I have seen. And it's amazing and very inspiring in so many ways! I appreciate so much the honesty of Julia, her spirit for doing things she loves. Like a photographer and artist myself, I feel identified with her perception of world and the passion for artistic and family photography. This course is about never give up, it's about hard work, and also it's about cultivating creativity and honesty. I highly recommended this course to every photographer who want to grow and understand himself and the business of professional high-quality photography. Thanks, Julia and Creative Live, for this one!

a Creativelive Student

So glad I bought this class - well and truly worth the investment. This course has helped me realise why it is so important to make an emotional connection and how to use it to my advantage {while giving my clients the very best too}. I cannot wait to try some new printing/mounting glad Julia was kind enough to share this! I got a lot out of this course and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to take their newborn photography business to the next level.

Jenny White

This class was amazing!!! Julia does a great job of showing her process, how she captures beautiful images from start to finish. It was worth every dollar I spent!!

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