Thursday, May 21, 2009

Itouch + Image + Photoshop = Happiness...

The last couple of months I have spent a great deal of time on my children’s picture book and have had no time for photography. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and illustrating for children. Working on the book is very rewarding, watching it become stronger is very reassuring as I want it to succeed. My first picture book "Lilliput Blasts Off!" is off for a show and tell, now I wait for feedback and hopefully good news. In the mean time I need a creative outlet; otherwise I am certain I will go mad. I just grew my nails back and I really like them.

For a few days I have been trying to visualize a concept with images within my private stock. I just need to let out some creative steam. I feel much better now.

I have had the opportunity to go on a couple of photo shoots with my daughter and her friends. It felt good to hold the camera in my hand and look through the view finder and focus on the shot. In between the more focused shots I began took candid shots. I didn't put a whole lot of thought into it, just what look good through the viewfinder and clicked away. The girls kept trying to pose and I kept telling them not too, I wanted to catch them interacting naturally. It took a bit but I got a few shots that I knew I could work through in Photoshop and take them to the next level.

The girls at the moment are huge fans of twilight so I thought I would create something with a twilight feel. I opened up Photoshop and told my kids to give me half an hour (crossing my fingers that they forgot about me and gave me another half). It has been awhile since I have manipulated an image and at first I had no direction. I told myself to knock it off and just go with it. Turned on the Itouch, listening to “The Decemberists”, off I went!

Here is the before shot

For every edit I do eg. If I am working on the eyes, then I always duplicate my image I never work on the original. When I am satisfied (along the way) with the look and know I want to keep the edits then I flatten the image and duplicate it. Always saving as I go along because I am one of those who goes with the wind and rarely writes things done. Unless, I make a recipe for a series, then I put pen to paper. I could use the record, but knowing me I will forget it.

I first began to work on the blemishes and keeping my focus on the detail of the girl in the foreground. She was my focus for my concept. I used the healing brush until I was satisfied. I sharpened and brighten her eyes a bit to bring them out as well. Same method posted in an earlier tutorial, plus using the dodge tool to brighten them out in the end and also creating a highlight in her eyes.
I then went to lens blur right in Photoshop and blurred the background. I used a layer masked (as I have shown in a pervious tutorial) and brought it back only the areas that I needed the blur and then made adjustments in my layers palette.

Now the fun begins, playing around in Nik filters. There are no rules and if there are rules I always break them. I experiment a lot until I am happy with the look and somewhere in between I know the direction I want to go in, and please no one disturb me, mommy’s on a roll. I’m off! I started using the midnight filter to darken the background.(While doing this I found it created a cool texture as well to the background) I knew I just wanted the two girls in the back to just be shadows, not completely be blacked out, but show that there are faces in the background. I then softly brushed the midnight filter on the main girl to give her a grungy feel and keep some light on her. I applied this filter a couple of times. The second time I increased the contrast to 74% and the color to 0% and then brushed in only the background.

I then started working on her face. I used the eyedropper to catch the color of her lips and apply it on her cheeks. I used a soft brush and lowered the opacity to about 20% and the flow to about 30%. Again I made adjustments in the layers palette to only bring back some of the color. I changed the hue of her lips using the lasso tool (using a layer mask) and using the burn tool for details. I applied eye shadow to her eyes, using a sample of color from her eyeliner. While working on her eyes I noticed that I had lost some of the detail in her hair so I had to bring a bit back. I used the eyedropper and sampled a light area of her hair I grabbed a soft brush and set the opacity70%, flow 50% and I made hair strands of different sizes adjusting in the layers palette.


If you have any questions, comments or critiques please post them or email me at and I would be more than happy to help.

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