Tag Archives: john

Glossy studio beauty shoot for Sophia

Sophia is a dancer. Dancers make great models.

One of these statements is a fact, the other may just be my opinion. You can judge for yourself.

I studied ballroom dancing in my youth and I love shooting dancers, they are aware of what their whole body is doing and are able to copy poses perfectly if I’m looking for something very specific. This was Sophia’s first time in the studio and in front of the camera but you couldn’t tell.

In preparation for our dance portfolio shoot we spent the morning trying some poses and getting used to the process of setting up and shooting for specific styles with some beauty shots. After a slightly nervous start we soon had the stereo turned up and were snapping away with Sophie hitting some really creative poses.

We shot using a selection of backgrounds using two 70×50 softboxes and a large reflector, putting the new studio runway to good use and allowing us to really control the light spill onto the background. With such a large studio space it’s now easy to create deep black background shots while keeping depth in the images.

I’d say with these edits I’m at my retouching limit. I’ve pushed the glossy ‘perfect’ look further than I normally would to create a glossy image that looks great in print. This is just one style of shoot and edit available. Many styles can be accommodated so call or pop in for a chat about what jonhallphoto @ Nancie Henry can do for you.

Look out for Sophia in the future.

Prints and prices for guest galleries at jonhallphoto.com

Having your pictures on disc is convenient and ensures that you have copies to browse whenever you wish but when you wish to display your favourite pictures in the highest possible quality jonhallphoto offers professional, gallery standard prints at affordable prices. Invite your guests, friends and family to create their own collections and get their favourite images direct to their door without the need for you to collect orders and distribute prints.

Buying your images direct from jonhallphoto.com ensures optimum conditions for print with each images personally colour corrected and sharpened for print by a professional, not automated by a print lab.
The following products are available to order direct from the portfolio and client site

Digital downloads for tablet/phone/desktop from £1.49

Watermark free 3MP images for personal use. Perfect for facebook or digital photo frames

Individual Gloss, Lustre or Metallic prints from £2.45

Printed on Fuji DPII premium crystal archive paper and colour corrected by hand. These are not your average photo lab prints. Pick your top shots to build your own albums

Large format prints from £11.95

Matte and Satin prints from £14.95

Available on request, finest Matte finish on premium paper stock, perfect for black and white, or sepia images.

Gallery framed prints from £24.95

Single, double and triple mount frames, in a choice of colours.

Box framed prints from £44.95

Flush mounted images on 7mm board and anti-scratch sealed. Framed in a real wood 2″ deep frame with a contemporary feel.

Gallery wrapped canvases from £71.95

Not your traditional canvas – images printed on professional quality photographic paper with a canvas effect seal. The print is then flush mounted and wrapped over a box frame of 7mm board and 2 inch deep (15mm thick) side walls, creating a stunning three dimensional product.

Discount photo bundles from £29.99

Save on multiple prints with a photo bundle. Select up to 40 album images for small prints, or combine metallic 10×8″ and A3 prints for a premium set of wall decorations.

Photo retouching and skin smoothing. How much is too much?

Quality skin smoothing should enhance, not replace makeup

I am often asked by clients, both portrait and wedding alike – “can you airbrush me?” The answer of course is “yes, but do you really want me to?”

When it comes to the controversial topic of photo editing – specifically skin smoothing known as ‘airbrushing’ it can be difficult to tell what is acceptable in the fast moving media industry.

Do a quick search for “airbushing” and you’ll be met with a volley of opinions both in support of, and rallying against this well established technique. First it is important to note the difference between the different levels of photo enhancements ranging from simple blemish removal to full shape-changing manipulation.
For top models and celebrities, airbrushing is just another part of the daily routine with some even employing full time photo editors to ensure continuity from one shoot to the next. For clients looking for a casual photo shoot it can be used to enhance the natural look and provide that little extra to provide images you’ll want to treasure forever. Many models walking into the studio are basing their expectations on magazine work, with hours of professional hair and makeup, some minor tweaks in the editing can make a huge difference to the end result.

Here’s how I catagorise the different levels of editing.

  1. Blemish removal – This is practiced by virtually every photographer. The aim is to remove only temporary blemishes such as spots or scratches. Easily achievable with a variety of software this does not change the overall look or texture of the skin.
  2. Asymmetry removal – This is a dangerous area, referring to any marks or blemishes that are a permanent feature. Photographers must be very careful when removing moles or scars. It’s easy to cause offense by removing something you think the client wants rid of before asking.

    Here the lines have been smoothed only slightly to remove the pinching caused by tight fitting lingerie.
  3. Light skin smoothing – This method uses a simple blur filter and some photoshop masks to produce a texture free skin. This method tends not to stand up to close inspection and is easy to spot. ‘Smooth’ and ‘blur’ are not the same but it can be achieved quickly to give a client a good overall impression of airbrushing results.
  4. Complex skin smoothing – Using a variety of techniques such as channel mixer, high pass, layer styles, masks and much more (I don’t want to give up the secret recipe in it’s entirety) skin can be made smoother but retain the texture giving a look of high quality make up rather than photo manipulation. This is my preferred choice as it is more flattering and less noticeable. If I am smoothing skin for a beauty shoot, I don’t want people thinking ‘look at that editing’. I want them to think ‘look at that model’
  5. Post process lighting – This is an interesting one. By adding highlights and shadows to your images you can change the way a model looks. By lightening the area under the eyes and darkening the cheeks you give the appearance of high cheekbones for example. Again this is a dangerous game as you risk changing the look of your model too much. A little can go a long way here…
  6. Manipulating shape – This is the part that really fuels the media frenzy. Changing the shape of a model to ‘enhance’ features by shrinking some parts while enlarging others, giving celebrities the unachievable figure made so fashionable by the glamour and music industry. This is done (often very obviously) by using tools such as ‘liquify’ or ‘puppet warp’ and should be approached only with the full consent of your model. Changing someone’s shape because you think it could be better is not a always a good enough reason. That said there are times when minor adjustments can make a huge difference – smoothing out the lines where clothes pinch against skin can reduce distractions in your picture or remove creases in material that would otherwise pull attention away from your model.

And now I ought to come to some concluding point that says ‘do it this way and you’re safe’. Unfortunately no such method exists. The key is to be sensitive to the needs of your client. I make sure that models and clients know exactly what they want from their finished shots and where they are heading. For a beauty shoot destined for facebook, the aim may be to make the client look the way people think models ‘should’ look. Typically this means a little smoother, towards the controversial end of the scale. For acting head shots however it is important to show the client in their best light, but without removing any features that would impact upon a role once cast.

If you are starting out down this road maybe these pointers will help.

  • Save your work continuously, keep a copy of the original shot to hand for reference. If your model looks like a different person, you’ve gone several steps too far.
  • Know how your images will be viewed. A full body shot on facebook will never be viewed at 100%, so editing at this level will go largely unseen.
  • Conversely, if your images are for large format print, every detail will come out so watch out for transitions between smoothed skin and fine details.
  • Be honest and open with your model. Explain the options and provide examples if available. A simple question like, ‘would you like me to do any enhancements’ is much better than ‘do you want me to fix this?’

If you would like to learn more about post processing using Adobe’s creative suite, get in touch for photographic tuition from Jon Hall. Sessions can be conducted in the studio with everything to hand from camera to print or in the home with your setup to make the best of what is available to you.
If you would like to have your say, leave a comment on this post. How much is too much?

Angela and Stefan at Crabwell Manor hotel

I was  fortunate to be working with the Lovely Angela and Stefan for their wedding at Crabwell Manor. The couple had a lovely day and were relaxed throughout their photography making some really striking pictures. Here are some of my favourites. Arrangements like this are all part of the service at jonhallphoto and make wonderful canvas prints. Images can be hand picked for family and guests, with many clients opting to use storyboards like this for their thank you cards.

Portfolio and client site

Click here to visit my portfolio site, with high quality slideshows and secure galleries for clients. This service allows exclusive access to your albums with the option to share, download the original file or order prints from professional print labs. All products are of the highest quality with prints and canvases available in a range of sizes.

Here’s how it works:

  • Following your wedding, shoot or event you will be receive a secure URL and password to log in to your album and see full size, high resolution images from anywhere on your PC, tablet or phone.
  • View your album first to finalise any changes.
  • Create separate collections for family or friends with slideshows to share through facebook or email
  • You have the option of allowing guests to order prints direct from the site, allowing them to pick their own favourite memories from the day.
  • Download full quality images the moment they are finished, direct from the site with password protection.
  • Your images remain backed up on our secure site in three separate locations so you can be sure your treasured memories are safe.

Have a look around the site and see what you think, if you like what you see or would like to see other print options available leave a comment in the guestbook.

Turn your model into a marionette

Ever felt like puppetifying your models?
Photoshop offers way more than corrective adjustments. Using a few simple techniques you can turn your favourite models into puppets and create this cool (if a little creepy) effect.
If you’d like to see a tutorial to guide you through the process of creating an image like this leave a comment and let me know.

Turn your model into a puppet
Learn the puppet effect on photoshop, just leave a comment.

Retro beauty shoot for Jean Rae

Making her first of hopefully many appearances on jonhallphoto.com is Jean Rae, a stunning pin-up beauty based in Oxford who exudes retro style and sophistication. If you’re not sure what that means, think Hedy Lamarr or Ava Gardner for those of you who are a little older. Think Fallout 3 for those of you who are not.

I was excited to be working with her as it’s my first retro inspired shoot and I’m a huge fan of the era, (mostly the music) having grown up watching Fred and Ginger. Jean Rae already has a great portfolio working with excellent photographers such as Lesley Rigg and Justin Hoffman. I hope I’ve added something new.
We spent some time with a simple studio setup. Just plain backdrops and twin softboxes with Nikon SB speedlights to achieve these shots. With plenty of experience in front of the camera Jean-Rae made it easy to get some stunning shots, moving easily between one flattering pose and the next.

Watch out for Jean Rae if you’re a retro fan. You may just see her again.

You can find Jean Rae on facebook here to checkout more of her work or see these images in full quality on my portfolio site.