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Practice at Practicing
Some day I'll have to take a photography course, but it will have to be directed at those of us with digital point-and-shoots because, despite the near-geek that I am, if the camera doesn't fit in my pocket, the photos don't get taken.
This week I treated myself to the book "Welcome to Oz: a Cinematic Approach to Digital Still Photography with Photoshop" by Vincent Versace. It's very advanced, which is what I need for a challenge. His mantra is to create a "believable probability" in editing photos. He recommends using Photoshop as an emory board, not a jackhammer. In other words, start out with a well composed, decently lit photo.
The idea of the first exercise was to take a snapshot and "light" it better.
I used a 1978 Christmas party photo of my dad (photographer unknown). First I had to remove the head of my Uncle Pat's guitar from the left side of my dad's face — no problem.
The 4 photos above represent the following:
1. Retouched original, cropped.
2. Removing the color cast, adding a little color warmth.
3. Establishing light-dark areas: making the face brightest, then the torso; darkening the background.
4. Adding lights, as if we were in a studio or on a film set. Key light on the face (and glass top), with some fill light. Here's where I definitely need practice — first, to "see" what adding lights can do and, second, to master the use of Photoshop's Lighting Effects filter, which is both complex and cantankerous.
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