Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes of Dragonfly

You’ve got all your in-camera settings set, and you have captured a great picture. Now it’s a few hours later and you are looking at your picture on your computer. The picture is just not popping like you thought it was on your camera’s little LCD screen. If you have photoshop there are a few settings that you can use to make your great picture amazing and pop just like you want it to. There are other post processing programs and there are even some free ones (GIMP), that work just as well, but today I will be showing you in Adobe’s Photoshop CS5. No I have not upgraded yet to Creative Cloud, but you can use these little settings in any of the Photoshop CS versions.

Longwood Gardens has a beautiful summer spectacular going on. The water lilies are in full bloom and the Open Air Theatre is playing for all to see.

Today I’m using a picture I took at Longwood Gardens the other day. I was using my Canon EOS 70D with a EF 70-300mm USM lens. I had my settings at

  • Manual exposure
  • Shutter Speed: 1/400 sec
  • Aperture: f/16
  • ISO: 500

I was at the end of my lens, because this lily was towards the middle of the pond. What would a pond be with out a few dragonflies? A few took some time to pose for me so that I could practice quick focusing and exposing to better my skills, but that is for a different blog. Any picture that I adjust the levels or make minor changes to I like to duplicate the layer so that I can see the difference in the two pictures quickly as I work. Next I manually adjust the layers to bring out the blacks and whites a little more. This is really playing with the levels to create the base look you want.

I added a warming filter to the picture.

I added a warming filter to the picture.

In Photoshop in Windows you will see “Adjustments”, from there a window will open up. Within the adjustment window, I like to play with the exposure, vibrancy, curves, and photo filter. I started with exposure, and adjusted all three of the settings adjusting to my liking. As I was doing this I saw that some of the highlights became much brighter than I wanted them. To help with this without changing my new settings, I used the burn tool only on the highlights. The burn tool will “burn” or darken the areas of the picture you want it on. For the burn tool to work you need to be on the background layer or a layer with an image. I’m using the background layer since it is the base of my photo and the picture that is being adjusted.

Bruning petals

I used the burn tool to darken some of the petals.

Once I finished doing minor burning to the picture, I added vibrance with layer.  I pushed it up, this way some of the details in the dragonfly’s wings get a little boost. I boosted vibrance to +28, which gives the picture a warmer, more colorful feel. To get an even warmer feel, I ran photo filter, keeping the default setting warming filter (85) on but dropping the density of it to 15%. I finish my adjustments with curves, for this I choose a point in the middle of the line and pulled it diagonally down just a little bit to give the blacks some more black, instead of the picture being bright.

Using a black paint brush, I painted the corners before I changed the blending layer.

Using a black paint brush, I painted the corners before I changed the blending layer.

Now, for my finishing touch I’m adding a vinaigrette to the corners. Now there are many way to do this but since I only want a little bit, I am going to create a new layer and paint black onto the four corners. Since it is kind of dark and I don’t want to lose the details in the corners I blend the layer to darken and drop the opacity to 44%. I also colored a little too far into the picture so I created a mask to the layer I created so that I could pull the vinaigrette back without losing what was already there.

 

(I did continue to play with the layers along with adding a few other things to get this image, and you can do the same to get the look you want).

Straight out of the camera shot.

Straight out of the camera shot.

Man You Got Style

Man You Got Style

 

We have talked about things to do and how to prepare for a video, but we have not talked about what to wear, how to style your hair, or how you should do your make-up yet. Well this time we are, and I have brought on the wonderful ladies, Natalia and Renee from Beautify Me, LLC to help out. This week we will be focusing on the men, don’t worry ladies I have a few blogs coming up just for you.

First let me give you a little about Beautify Me, their mission is to help you to feel beautiful inside and out. They “strive to bring what you are feeling on the inside about yourself and translate it through your wardrobe, makeup, and hair.” Taking these principles Natalia helped me and our model, Matt, understand how men should dress to be casual yet professional while doing a video. She said the number one thing is to make sure you are comfortable, dressing in your professional style will help you feel comfortable and more like yourself. Presenting your video pitch to the world as the real you inside and out is really important.

Men's Clothing

Now time to talk about what Natalia recommends. Matt was wearing a maroon polo and tan khaki pants on the day we were writing and shooting this blog post. Our focus for this post was to be in casual business attire, which Matt was sporting already. Natalia recommends some other outfit options if Matt or you, the reader, want to change it up from the polo and khakis. A sports or suit jacket with dark jeans and loafers can be your way to go. If you have a more outgoing personality and like stripes or plaid clothing, choose a button down shirt and match it with a jacket and dark colored pants. I know it is summer time, so to mix in a little warm weather style with long sleeves, try rolling up your sleeves a few times to achieve a relaxed yet professional look.

 Men's Clothing  Men's Clothing

Clothing is just part of what you should be thinking about when doing a video. I know for women we like to accessorize with necklaces and bracelets. Men, you can do similar things. Matt was wearing a simple chain and a watch. Keeping it simple whether you are male or female is usually the best way to go for your professional video and even casual family pictures. Natalia even said for those of you who wear cuff links your don’t have to for a casual look with a sports jacket.

Mens Clothing

Now for the question the I’m sure so many of you men are asking, “do I have to wear make-up in my video?” The answer, “no you don’t.” Although recommended to use a powder, you don’t have to. Natalia recommends using rice paper or something like it to soak up all of the excess oil. She also said not to rub your face with it, but rather blotting you skin is the best way to use rice paper. The last but certainly not least, is hair style, again keeping it simple. Bold, flashy, and crazy is not the way to go when it comes to casual yet professional videos or photos. Beautify Me recommends keeping it to how you usually style your hair is the way to go, whether it is parting it to the side, or putting some product in it is the way to go. If you have longer hair definitely think about running a brush through your hair to get it looking neat and clean.

If you would like more style ideas or to contact Beautify Me, LLC visit them on Facebook or Instagram. As always I would love to see your style ideas that you came up with after this post, post your pictures in the comments below or share them with us on Facebook and Instagram.

Professional head shot by Tonya Moken.

Professional head shot by Tonya Moken.

 

Tonya Moken is the owner of TLM Productions, LLC, a business focusing on you in South Jersey and Philadelphia. Please call TLM Productions’ Tonya Moken at 609.440.6176 or email her at tonya.moken@TLMproductions.com for a project quote or photography lessons today!