*A quick, simple and free Vignette Action

This is a quick and easy action which I use often.  While so many photographers (myself included) spend time and money in software to correct for light falloff, I like to go the other direction and introduce it sometimes.  Of course, there are times and places where a darkened vignette doesn’t make sense, and that time, and cost spent to correct it come into play, but for the times you’d like to delicately direct attention to a specified area, this action can help that happen.  Also, you can completely determine the “shape” of the vignette to suit the frame.  C’mon in and see the difference a vignette can make.

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*Free Bleach Bypass photoshop action.

Bleach Bypassed

Bleach Bypass is a fun way to add contrast and moodiness to an image.  Because of the way it renders luminance, it tends to flatter skin tones in that it will push the highlights a bit which, if controlled, can produce nice, smooth skin.

Used in color film processing where the bleach portion was skipped, resulting in the emulsion retaining the silver and color dye in the process, it produces high contrast images with muted colors.  Digitally, it can be reproduced by layering a black and white duplicate over the color image and adjusting the blend mode in photoshop…

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*The Eyes Have It.

Eyes are not only a window, but a roadmap.  I’ve always felt that I can tell a lot about a person based on the shoes they wear, and the kind of person they are by their eyes.  Eyes tell you a story, they paint emotion and can determine the power of a portrait.  Of course there are many, many other elements to pay attention to, but a good portrait quite often starts and ends with the eyes.  Even in snapshots, making sure everyone’s eyes are at least open is one of the first things you check when glancing on the LCD screen right?  Assuming we’ve captured a shot with eyes open wide, getting them to pop can make the difference between a good portrait and a wow shot.  Here are a few techniques that I use, and have found from others, that can help make those eyes stand out.

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*Alien Skin Bokeh 2

Bokeh (/bō’kɛ/): In photographic terms, has grown to mean the subjective quality of the out of focus areas in a photograph, and how a particular lens renders out of focus points of light (adopted from the Japanese term boke 暈け, meaning fuzzy, disoriented, et al).  Pronounced BO (as the bo in bone) and KE (as the ke in ken) if we are taking it directly from the Japanese word, while the “h” was added to help non Japanese speaking photographers pronounce this adopted term (see the wikipedia article for the history on the term and idea in photographic application).  While the definition, pronunciation and it’s subjective nuances are often debated as to it’s application in the photographic realm, it hasn’t stopped Alien Skin from creating a plugin that beautifully applies an out of focus blur to selected areas of an otherwise focused image.  With their second release, Bokeh 2 has added new bells and whistles as well as a more refined control of both radial and planar regions within an image and it’s area of focus.  Read on for examples and why I think this is a wonderful deal of a plugin.

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*Exposure 3, third time’s a charm!

Alien Skin's Exposure 3 makes your digital files instantly feel film like. - ©tyson robichaud photography 2010

I have been curious about the Alien Skin Exposure software plugin for Photoshop for a long time.  With the third iteration, Exposure3  has taken their film simulation software even further.  Read on for examples and reviews…

*Authors note: Link to Alien Skin’s Newsletter showing this article here!

To those who’ve come from the newsletter, welcome!!!

 

(March 2012) Now that Exposure 4 has been released, you can read my updated review HERE!

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*Free Photoshop Contrast Pop Action!

My lovely friend Kira plays the good sport.

Here is a brief tutorial on how to add a contrasty “look” to just about any picture.  There are sites out there to purchase many of these types of actions, and some of them are well worth the price, but I’ve found that through my years, many other photographers have offered up free advice as I was learning to scrape the surface of Photoshop, which enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of my post processing.  So, in this tradition, I shall try to pay back a bit of that help by offering up this little trick.  I know that many photographers would rather spend their free time taking pictures, not in front of a computer processing them.  I myself find enjoyment on both sides of this coin, but I sure don’t mind being able to quickly automate some of my more “used” techniques.  This is one of them…

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*Photography vs Art

Where does a photograph stop and digital art begin?

Where does a photograph stop being a photograph and start becoming something different?  We’ll call it an ‘artistic interpretation’ for lack of a better description.  Or, are they one in the same no matter what level of manipulation has been applied?  I’ve been taking pictures for a while, more of my life than not if you don’t count the hiatus I took after college when I was bogged down with three jobs.  I still have some shots from that time period, but they are few and far between.  So, I feel like photography has been a part of my life for a while.  I’ve not spent too much time thinking about it in these terms until recently.  Prior, I’ve just enjoyed taking pictures but thanks to the internet and my epiphany that there are other people out there with opinions getting me to challenge my personal understanding, I feel like it is an entertaining idea to explore.  Is anything done to a photograph, after an image has been captured, by way of any kind of manipulation actually doing something that betrays the purity of photography, or is it just part of the progression?  Well… let us explore. Continue reading