More Fun With PhotoShop AI

More Fun With PhotoShop AI

Layers and Layers In PhotoShop

I try as much as possible to use only my own photos when I’m doing these images.  Various models from my years of shooting and backgrounds.  Sometimes I’ll just cruise through my collection of photos for ideas.  That’s how I came up with the ‘elephant’ and warrior girl image.  I’d done one with just the girl and a background (also, mine) and when I started messing with the image of the elephant I realized what a great combination those two photos would make.  The bamboo was the actual background behind the elephant at the Portland Zoo.

In the image with the owl: started with a portrait of the girl.  The owl was sitting in a tree at a campground on Vancouver Island some years back.  Took some time to finalize that composite image.

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Why Should I Get a Professional Headshot?

Why Should I Get a Professional Headshot?

Why are Professionally done Headshots important?

Why should I get a professional headshot?  How about a good selfie?

If you are your brand or you represent your brand, that first impression and what it communicates is going to be oh, so important.  Most folks make that ‘first impression’ decision within the first couple of seconds, at most.

Book Promotion Headshot

Once you have done all your surveys and you know what someone is looking for in your industry, what they are expecting to see, then you need to communicate that!

Do you want to communicate a very conservative type image, a bank manager or investor?  Dark and moody.  Bright and airy.  Approachable?  Or just a very simple headshot.  Or do you want to a portrait that shows you somehow involved in your industry?  Who are you. An Oilman, wearing a hardhat?  An executive?  Or however you want your business represented.

A good portrait photographer should be able to help you sort these issues out.  A professional headshot or portrait photographer will know lighting, posing and basic editing techniques.  These all make a huge difference in the final product/image.

Actor Headshot

There are different types of headshots:

  1. Actors headshots
  2. Executive headshots

And these can vary in what needs to be communicated.  One can go from very simple to more dramatic, showing you in your work environment.   Executive headshots can sometimes include a group of business associates.

Actors may occasionally need several different ‘looks’ for a portfolio.

And hopefully, an experienced photographer can help bring out the best parts of you. 

  1. Keep your headshot current.  Nothing worse than someone meeting you in person or on some video meeting and them having to keep their smile frozen in place because you have aged 20 years since your last photo. 
  2. Clothing.  Again, what do your potential customers, or clients expect to see?  If you are a contractor, a suit and tie might not be the best image.  Consult with your photographer as to colours that are flattering and those that show up best in photos.  Generally, solid colours are better, patterns can be very distracting.  What image are you trying to convey? 
  3. No selfies!  It is not very difficult to tell the difference between a selfie and a professional headshot.  If  you are trying to show yourself as a professional in your world, stay away from selfies or snapshots taken by friends. 
  4. Communicate to your photographer who you are trying to reach. What is your public?  What does that public look for in hiring someone in your industry?

    Wedding Dress Model

    Your headshot or portrait photographer will help tailor your photo or photos to show you the best way possible for that public.

  5. The standard headshot for years has been the ‘vertical’.  With the advent of social media, many photographers will now shoot your headshot in a horizontal frame.  Let him or her know how you are going to use the photo so you can be photographed accordingly.  Or both ways. 
  6. Let your personality shine.  Smile.  No smile. 
  7. Pricing.  $200-$400 and up.  There are photographers that charge much more.  These higher prices will often include an assistant/make-up artist that will help with make-up and hair.  If the photographer is traveling some distance to you, there may be additional cost for this as well.
  8. Are you comfortable with the photographer?  This can sometimes be a make/break point with a headshot or portrait.  He or she may be a great photographer but you just don’t click.  Talk to the photographer, meet if it is practical.  Read some testimonials. 

And have some fun with it!

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How To Paint In Photoshop

How To Paint In Photoshop

Painting Over Photos In Photoshop

There are lots of  videos and articles online for using layers and filters to create a painting from a photo using Photoshop.  I’ve put a couple of links at the end of this article where the author is using a Pixelate layer and an Oil Paint Effect layer.  And for the type of image being used, trees in the countryside with lots of leaves, I would likely use the same procedure.

I’ve been wanting to make some of my portraits into paintings for a long time. Using the settings with various filters, I’ve not been able to get the desired effect.  Nothing I was really happy with.  Not the effect that I have wanted to create anyway. 

So, I started using brushes.  It’s been quite a learning experience.  I want the portrait to look like a painting but with various brush sizes and types. 

Painting With Brushes

First of all I open the image in Photoshop and duplicate the layer.  Pick one to use and ‘hide’ the other. 

Go to: ‘Select’ at the top menu (in PS), dropdown menu: click ‘Subject’. 

Give it a moment and the subject should be selected out. 

Next click ‘Select’ again and hit ‘Inverse’ in Dropdown menu.  Then dropdown: ‘Delete’.  Then Dropdown: ‘Deselect’.  You should be left with the subject only.  Use the Eraser tool if there are some bits left over.

Save that cut out image to your image folder.

I usually make a duplicate of that cutout in case I mess up in the painting step. 

Then I use brushes on the image.  There are legacy brushes in Photoshop.  I started with these.  Using the Mixer Brush Tool allows me to use and spread the colours of the image.  Use the settings along the top to how much you want to ‘load’ or not on your brush.  How ‘wet’ or ‘dry’ etc.  That’s a matter of learning the settings and what you like or not.

Adjust your settings to use the colours of the image, how much to load, etc.  That part takes practice in finding what works for you and will likely be different for various parts of the image over which you are ‘painting’.  First couple of times I did this, I used one brush for the whole image adjusting size and sometimes orientation. 

Later I started searching out other brushes to use.  There are lots of free brushes one can download.

You can also make your own brushes for photoshop.

Over time I’ve downloaded numerous brushes.  Not all do I find useful.  Fortunately, there is a way in the brush settings to move the brushes around so that you can create your own brush sets.  Put your favourites on one or two places and label them as you like.

That doesn’t stop my search, though, for the best brushes.  There are so many free brushes out there, it is kinda overwhelming.  I’ve never really painted with real paint and hand held brushes.  I might be able to now.

This technique of covering each square centimetre of your painting with a brush stroke is time consuming.  But with patience, I get what I want.  And as I practice, I get closer and closer to what I have envisioned for each piece.  Sometimes I’m not sure where I’m going and let the “paint” and “brushes” take me.  Love the process of learning.

Once I’ve treated the photo with the brushes, I make an image to be an overlay or background.  Or use one I’ve already made.  I either embed the background over the portrait and set the blending mode to Overlay.  Default is 'Normal'.  Or I open the background I've created and embed the painted portrait onto that. 

Then I might soften the edges between the two images using a blur tool to blend the two.  You can also merge the two and use your mixer brush tool to brush the edges.

At that point I can get completely carried away and embed several smaller images into different parts of the overall image using layers. 

Oil Painting your photo in Photoshop

Have a look here for samples of Martin's Headshots and Portraits

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How Can I take Great Portrait Photographs?

How Can I take Great Portrait Photographs?

Learning to Take Good Portraits

Learn The Rules

First of all, learn the rules really really well, then, and only then, allow yourself to break them. 

There are technical aspects and then the artistic.  The ‘technical’ part will take you a long way, if not most of the way.  By 'rules' I mean there is lots to learn, your camera, your lighting, posing and it helps to know people a bit, as well.  Learn as you do. 

  1. Learn a few basic operations with your camera.  Practice on inanimate objects around you while varying the speed and aperture.  If you are very new to

    Window light front and back

    this part, check out this article on Basics

  2. Imitate others.  Start with some simple portraits.  Find some people photos that you like on Pinterest or somewhere.  Again, keep it simple to start.  Simple outdoor portraits. Walk before you fly.  Find a friend that is a willing guinea pig.  Find a shady spot outside.  You want soft light.  But you want enough light, so do this outside. Try and duplicate the pose, lighting etc of one or two of the photos that you found on Pinterest.  (Make sure that you are not trying to emulate fancy studio lighting.)  Pick simple outdoor photos to copy. 
  3. Focus. Focus on the eyes.  One or the other.  Something about the eyes and the soul  Focus, then reframe.  Set your ISO for the ambient light and as you are shooting photos of your friend, vary your aperture and speed.  Try different poses.  Photograph them from different heights and angle.  Take these photos back and go look at them on your computer and compare to each other and the ones you were trying to emulate.  Oh yeah, try and have a little fun while you are doing it.
  4. Review your photos.
  5. Read through any materials that you have studied to see if you missed anything.  Watch a couple videos.  Try this one. Keep it simple.  If you get the basics down really, really well, you will be able to do pretty much anything with a camera.
  6. The better you are technically, the better you will be artistically. 
  7. Pick another friend and go through this again.
  8. And again.  If you don’t have enough friends, go make some more.  There are tons of people who like having their photos taken. 
  9. Some simple rules.  Watch your background. Best not to have telephone poles sticking out of the top of the subject’s head.  Try and keep backgrounds simple, not noisy.  This leads to the next: You will likely want your subject to fill most of the frame.  Having Aunt Millie fairly unrecognizable in front of Niagara

    Mid Afternoon Sun in the Shade

    Falls because she is so small in comparison, is not a portrait that is going to communicate. 

  10. Watch some videos by Peter Hurley: “Turtling the Head - The Jaw” and the “Squinch”. You can watch here on my website or find him on Youtube.  This will help hugely with simple posing for headshots.
  11. Survey.  Constantly ask people what they want or need the photos for.  Or what they want out of the photos.  An image for LinkedIn or another social media platform?  Just to have some nice photos.  Is their agency requesting a portrait/headshot?  If so, what does the agency look for in an image?
  12. Take a LOT of photos.  Make sure you are consistently shooting.  Between shoots, always work on learning.  Whether it be more about your camera or posing or …
  13. Lightroom.  This is very important.  Knowing some basics in Lightroom will take your photos up several notches.  Again start simple.  There is a ton to learn in this application but the basics are pretty straightforward.
  14. Don’t spend all your time learning.  The important thing is to shoot, shoot, shoot.  Fit the learning in between times.  Not the other way around.  The more you photograph people the more comfortable and confident you will become. 
  15. Make sure you are photographing someone, somewhere regularly.
  16. Once you’ve got a handle on your camera basics, try varying the light that lands on your subject.  Partial shade on the face.  Shoot with majority of the light behind the subject, to the side, etc.
  17. Once you have practiced the above, try using a reflector.  You can get a round Westcott reflector for around $50.  Black, white, silver and gold.  Gives you a number of ways to modify light without a great deal of expense.  You can use this quite effectively with window light inside as well.
  18. Art has a whole lot to do with communication.  In an aesthetic way.  That’s where eliciting emotion from your subject can come in.  I’ll often get someone

    Late Afternoon Sun in Tree Shade

    to try different emotions, fear, anger, boredom and others.  Gets them to loosen up and can create some more interesting photos.

  19. Tricks.  There are hundreds of tricks to get one or a bunch of people to look or be a little less stiff. Outside with a family or a group, they are all standing stiff at attention.  I’ll get them all to crouch down.  This usually gets them all off balance and they pay more attention and look way more relaxed in the photograph. 
  20. Learn the basics and keep it simple to start. Some of the best photographers that you will ever find use very simple poses and lighting:  Yousuf Karsh, George Hurrell, Arnold Newman, Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Annie Leibovitz and Peter Lindbergh to name a few.
  21. Never stop learning and never stop having fun.
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Portraits From The Last Few Months

Portraits From The Last Few Months

Here are portraits that I’ve done over the last few months.  Some with studio lighting, some natural or window light.  Some posed, some casual or candid. 

I love this part of photography - People. 

All about light and shadow.  Getting the right and most flattering balance.  Oft times, one is trying to duplicate in the studio the simple lighting of a cloudy day.  That nice soft light. 

Some think that a bright sunny day is the best for portraits, or any photo for that matter.  Not necessarily true.  That strong, harsh sunlight doesn’t allow for any subtleties.  No gradients of light. 

If you can get the perfect light then much less work in processing. 

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