I do not bother with story board when I shoot. I leave it for those who need guidelines find it difficult to shoot without following a plan. I do not plan, I react. It is the combination of what I see with what I know and the light that is being cast that makes my brain go creative mode. However, when you shoot for a specific concept, such as photoshop manipulation, it is good to know how to bring the base photo to as close as possible to what you need as your digital clay. Below you can see my latest photoshop manipulation of my self portrait. I wanted it to be dark and mysterious, like a scene from a fantasy game (think in terms of Greybeards from Skyrim). What I needed was a head and shoulders portrait of myself in something that would imitate hooded rags (I wrapped around myself black muslin cloth that I use as a backdrop for studio portraits), and a blend of evenly lit image with deep well defined shadows at the same time.
I knew I will be going for an older and wiry face, with accentuated face features so that I can push those even further in photoshop via dodging and burning. But I also knew that I cannot make the photo too dramatic (too low key) because contrast is something that I will adjust as I create the photoshop manipulation. At the same time I needed my face to be lit well enough so I can easily edit it. It is much easier to darken things down rather than brighten them up. Shadowed areas have less defined textures and are less three dimensional. If you watch the below video, you will notice at the beginning the original photo, straight from the camera. I lit my face from a slightly elevated angle so the shadows amplify my cheek bones and jaw. I wanted the light more or less in the center so the face features will be more symmetrical and more powerful. I knew I will be cutting this photo out of the frame and since I did not have to deal with masking out hair I could get away without a back light. I used grid on my main light and the light that separates me faintly from the background is whatever light bounced off of the wall behind me. I needed catch lights in the eyes so I placed the softbox right above the field of view of the lens. Shooting with 85mm I had enough compression to get the light into a fairly low position. It was important because I did not want to use any fill light from underneath (it would ruin the shadows under the hood at the top of my head, and on the sides as well).
Working with flash guns is tricky, because every centimeter of movement counts. You can ruin or completely change the mood in the photo or its composition by moving the light by literally a centimeter or two. Studio photography is amazing for teaching precision and understanding the light and how to control it. Photoshop is like a tripod. It will slow you down and allow you to analyze the photo you are editing. People who do not like to edit their photos and just run and gun will never ever truly understand the depths of composition. It is a mixture of talent, ability to sense the energy flow between the elements of the photo and hours and hours of hard work. Do not neglect your photo editing - it pays off and will aid you in growing artistically, not to mention it will help you a lot in improving your technical skills as a photographer. And remember - photo manipulation or editing is not there to rescue bad images, but to complete your artistic vision and imbue your photos with personal style.
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Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PonteRyuurui/postsFor more tutorials and how to videos check out my photoshop and photography tips and tricks YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEOVGZ2rpLhR7gSPvaexxxQ
Ponte Ryuurui (品天龍涙)