Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kenna: Levels

It has occurred to me that levels correction for color images and B&W images are completely different. Actually they're completely opposite. In color you can compress the levels more for contrast, but in B&W you need the entire range of levels to produce the gradations in the skin properly. Cutting down the highlights and/or killing the blacks loses those gradients in the skin tones and causes harsh tonal changes. At least that's what I discovered when I tried to process the B&W version of Kenna's color picture the same way. Maybe I'm wrong. I'll keep experimenting.

Another little trick that I use is desaturating via the B&W adjustment. After I create a good looking B&W, I then adjust opacity so that the tonal strength of picture comes through while desaturating the image.

One thing I ought to remember is that all liquefy effects should be done prior to any retouching. It's better when it's performed up front rather than at the end.

Another thing I should mention about this set is that sometimes it's okay to lose the details in the eyes if your trying to create a certain effect. In this set we tried to shift the focus to body positioning and therefore the height of the beauty dish was elevated to the point where it would cast a shadow from the top of her eyebrow into her eyes. It adds to the mystery as well as the punch. Unfortunately I had to battle the low ceiling as well as the umbrella adapter threatening to collapse under the AB800 and beauty dish's weight.

This was a great start to an awesome shoot. Kenna is strikingly beautiful and very easy to work with. Probably explains why we shot 1,400 frames in about 7 hours. There will be more to come.

Camera info: D3/24-70 f/2.8G @42mm, 1/200th, f/7.1, ISO200

Strobist info: AB800 in 22" beauty dish from upper camera left (that's odd, I don't remember it being on the left side...) and SB-800 on-axis attached to the Ray Flash ringflash adapter. As always you can see the infamous setup here.

Model: Kenna Cade

Makeup: Kelli Zehnder

Wardrobe: Michelle Green

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