Oleg Ti's photography blog

My blog about photography techniques

Category: Retouching

Two images from one RAW

And sometimes three and more… Why?

RAW file keeps more and more information if to compare it with TIFF, even TIFF-16. I don’t even say about JPEG!!! And sometimes we need to “pull” 2 or 3 or maybe more images from one RAW file. As I said that is because of our necessity to get as good quality of image as we can. Of course, we can do in with curves or levels in Photoshop but you know that even TIFF-16 is worse and worse than RAW.

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Without doubts the time spent on retouching is practically a synonym for quality of this retouching. Any retoucher will tell you that only a careful hand working, inch by inch, is a guarantee of good results, while the automation of the process would not lead to the expected results and would be capable to satisfy only taste of unpretentious amateur .

The time is a resource we always miss and understanding necessity to spend a lot of time retouching our pictures sometimes we need a quick result.

I will give you a decision, which I started to use a few years ago and successfully have been doing this time. On the one hand – this is the solution for a quick retouch when there is no time, on the other – a tool to make the filigree “polishing” of the final result.

But let’s start doing it step by step.

Here you can download my action Blur + Grain (save it pressing Downloas Linked File As…), which you can install in Photoshop on your computer. Find Action Window and Load this action. I think it would be better to install in the beginning to fully understand the solutions presented to you.

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During processing, we are often confronted with the fact that even with a good, tanned skin, the model does not look very impressive. With this example I’ll tell you how I work when I need to make bronze, brutal, spectacular shade of skin.

But at first let’s look at the original photo:

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When completed in image selection, RAW-conversion, skin retouching, and when photographer comes to the stage of postprocessing of photographs, which can be called “artistic” work, he faces the challenge of more aesthetic rather than technical. How to make so that the image would began to look interesting, attractive, unusual.  And after several stages of a rather routine work, it is the hardest, but the most interesting stage.

I always wonder when photographers follow any clear instructions, attentively finding perfect white balance, buying and using gray card, constantly watching the histogram, alway checking flash. Photography – is not blind reflection of reality. This is your view of reality. So what it will: overexposed, underexposed, warm, cold, bright, pale color, gray, you decide. You are the creator of this image!  As to me I do not follow clear instructions and my own algorithms and try to go through as much as possible modes of postprocessing capabilities. As banal as it may sound, but often I act “at random”: try different solutions, and sometimes what at first glance may seem absurd, will give very interesting and dramatic view to your picture after careful using!

In this style of finding a solution, I often use different blending modes. With no algorithms, I often just go over a variety of colors, blending modes and opacity. In most cases I get an unusual, bright, but sometimes unacceptable images, but this ia the way of finding regime which as I think will be most suitable for this image.

Here I simply list the possible solutions that I have chosen, while fingering the different modes of blending modes. This shouldn’t be clear examples of values, but rather a measure of the range of solutions that I go over before settling on one of them. At the same time, any of them may be the final solution to be chosen by photographer based on his aesthetic ideas. I am not describing the algorithm of blending mode, just giving you examples of its usage. Look at the source photo:

And at final pictures you could get from using different blending models:


And look at full examples below…

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The desert, the sun and the model…

And Profoto Acute 600 battery pack and me too!

Model Desert Dubai

Here you can see the final picture that I got after several steps of retouching!

But at first about preconditions. I got a nice opportunity to take pictures in real desert when arrived to Dubai for several day this year. With real camels, high dunes, torrid sand and hot hot hot hot sun! We had just 2-3 hours for the shooting and I had to work very fast and effective! Using Profoto Acute 600 battery pack I got “like-the-sun” very hard light with umbrella reflector that directed exactly on the model.

Lighting: Profoto Acute 600 with open umbrella reflector
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon 24-105 4.0 IS
Focal length: 24 mm
Shutter: 1/200 sec
Aperture: f/22
ISO 100

But it is made and now needs retouching…

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