BarCampCHS 4

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PS-For-Photographers Splash Screen

This past weekend marked the 4th BarCamp in Charleston, SC. What is BarCamp? It can be described simply as an attendee-driven conference. The attendees pitch, vote on, and present the content of the day. It’s a lot of fun and this was my 3rd year doing it.

Once again, I presented a class that was photography related. This time I tackled my portrait workflow in Photoshop. I had two examples prepared to demonstrate the techniques I currently use when editing photos. The first one was a headshot of one of the pediatricians at Sweetgrass Pediatrics. I showed a basic RAW conversion in Camera RAW, and then opened the photo in Photoshop to demonstrate techniques like blemish removal, teeth whitening, how to optimize the eyes, skin softening, and dodging & burning. I finished with my selective sharpening technique. This is the final retouched image:

Dr. King

Due to the nature of BarCamp, my class got scheduled in the very first time slot of the day, which is cool by me (who doesn’t want to get their session over right away so they can enjoy the rest of the day??). Unfortunately, the day started quite late due to the fact that almost twice as many people showed up this year compared to last year. I only made it halfway through my session before we had to move outside to get the group photo made. I promised the class that I would post the second half of my session as a screencast here on my website, so you’re all in for something a little different.

Before I get to that, I wanted to talk about the group photo. As I was packing up my gear in the classroom, my daughter came rushing in and said “Come on, Dad, everyone’s waiting to get the photo taken!” I grabbed my camera and ran to the balcony to see everyone all grouped together on the ground level. I looked down at the crowd and thought “Oh, crap”. Mid-day, cloudless skies. Sharp shadows from the building, and worse, the trees. Bright yellow warm light dappling big swatches of faces, and cool blue shadowy light on the rest. All inconsistent, and no time to get hundreds of attendees to relocate! Besides, where could I possibly relocate them to anyway? Well, I switched my camera’s bracketing feature on and organized the crowd to fit in the frame and fired away.

BarCampCHS4 Group Photo

This photo is the end result of a lot of finessing in Lightroom, Photoshop, and Color Effex Pro. I’ll save you from all of the gory details, but the dynamic range of my camera truly helped me save this photograph. I was able to use a highly underexposed photo (that still had blown highlights anyway) and create a useable image. HDR didn’t fly because there were too many moving parts. Doesn’t matter – people seem to like the shot regardless of the pixel gymnastics it took to get everyone somewhat evenly exposed.

OK, so here’s the screencast I warned told you about – Hope you enjoy it:

And here’s the final image that I retouched in this video:


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