Neil August 21st, 2008
Hi Neil, I am a wedding photographer based in Tunbridge Wells, England and have just had the pleasure of looking through some of your amazing photography! I really loved the images from the above wedding and was interested to find out what software you use to get that unique look on some of your images. I am looking for a good ‘filters’ package to give my images some individuality and so would really appreciate your feedback.
I’m grateful for you interest in my work. I was teaching in the UK back in June and joined the BPPA. I hope my work continues to take me around the world. I’m disappointed to tell you that no filter set will help you achieve a unique look – in fact quite the opposite will occur….I’ve a strong opinion on this, so sorry if I come off well – opinionated!
You can listen to some of my theories from my creative journal, try out: http://makelightreal.com/blue-photoshop-tutorial/ as a start.
You’ll find that my philosophy is to approach each image as a blank canvas, respond to the elements and develop the picture to the highest emotional state I feel possible. Some images receive careful raw conversion for color and contrast, but no more alteration:
Some receive a greater amount of attention, usually to help get at the emotion/effect I’m feeling:
Much of it simply has to do with basic doge and burn, which accomplish with a simple workflow that operates in lab color mode: http://makelightreal.com/one-action-photoshop-workflow-tutorial/ So the premise of my action set is to make the basics of art theory/color theory as close to possible to my fingertips to be able to reach for the tool, and have it as close to my subconscious artistic mind as possible.
The trouble with filters are they encourage you to push a button instead of stretch your inner vision abilities
The goal I reach for in my photoshop workflow actions, is the quickness to achieve the look that resonates with my heart – but also avoid the pitfall of escaping from true artistic resonance. Let me just type out the inner dialog that might occur when I open an image into my workflow. First off as I open an image, I’m often distracted from the focal point and emotional resonance by some feature in the photo, most often the response is to doge down (darken that element) – this is one of the biggest reasons I work in L*A*B* as you need to dodge to color. Removing a distracting element is a negative action, so I will often look next at what needs to come out – or be highlighted – in positive response. The automated adjustment layers in the ONE Actionset are not the solution, they are a starting point that is at my fingertip to customize. As I open the layer I seek the specific curve that blends with the rest of the picture and resonates with the artistic vibe in that picture. Or I do one of a number of advanced curve adjustments that do everything from smoothing freckles to polarizing areas of the tonal scale. This pause is not bad, it’s cause for careful reflection. The adjustment layers can interact with texture layers, vignette layers, and be re-ordered to refine and define your intended result.
The goal for the ONE Actionset is to put reflection without distraction at your fingertips.
There is no greater calamity
Than not knowing what is enough.