I got several comments on yesterday’s post asking how I was able to create the background color and lighting effects in my otherwise boring head shot. After all, I only used a single light for the image and the background was a blank wall about five feet behind me. The trick I used was Tiffen’s Dfx 3 software, which I think is an indispensable tool for home studio photographers.
First of all, it’s important to note that I used an 85mm lens to take this image; doing so threw the background completely out of focus. That’s desirable for head shots where you want to tweak the background color/look later. I processed the RAW image (Nikon NEF file) in Lightroom 4.2 to open up the shadows a bit (note: click on any image below to see a larger view).
My main mission here at Luminescence of Nature is to educate photographers. To that end, there’s always lots of discussion about camera settings, RAW converters, and software settings. But even though we live in the digital age, there are some old tricks that just work. The difference is knowing how to apply the effect in your software of choice.
The effect I’m talking about is corner shading, or vignetting. This was the old darkroom trick of “burning” or “dodging” the edges of the frame to draw attention to the center of the image. This technique can be applied via a variety of tools in your digital darkroom, but the concept is simple. Your eye is subconsciously drawn to bright, colorful, contrasty areas, and conversely avoids dark, low-contrast, low-color areas in a scene. What’s great about this effect is that it need not be applied so strong as to be obvious, and yet it still delivers a powerful impact. Let’s take a look at three different ways to apply a vignette effect in post-processing.
I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of a brand-new video workshop from Luminescence of Nature Press™. Sharpening Techniques for Capture NX 2 is a comprehensive instructional video in crystal-clear 720p HD that covers all of the major sharpening methods in Nikon’s Capture NX 2. I’ve even made the QuickTime movie file easy to navigate, because I’ve added chapter markers to it. The 1280 x 720 resolution of the video file means that you’ll have no trouble whatsoever seeing the menus and other screen items as I walk viewers through all the sharpening techniques in Capture NX 2.
In this training video, you’ll learn:
How sharpening works
High Pass/Overlay filter
Advanced control over sharpening with blending modes
Selective/Creative Sharpening Techniques with brushes/control points
Practical examples of landscape, portrait, and high-ISO sharpening in Capture NX 2
How to perform output sharpening for print and web destinations in Capture NX 2