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August 2011 Archives

August 5, 2011

DxO FilmPack 3: Film Fidelity Without Digital Compromise

By Marianne Drenthe

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With 10 years in the digital image calibration business, DxO Labs has a strong reputation for quality image processing. This reputation is furthered with the updated release of their FilmPack 3. New in this version of FilmPack is a redesigned user interface and the ability to use the program as a standalone option or as a plug in within Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop and Apple's Aperture software programs.

What is the DxO FilmPack?

Sometimes we yearn for the nostalgic charm of fine black and white film photography and the incredible grain and vivid colors of analog color photography, but with the practical ease of digital imaging. There are tens if not hundreds of Photoshop actions that attempt to emulate that magical film feel. While we can come close to replicating film colors, contrast and luminosity within layers of levels, curves and contrast adjustments in Photoshop, we often fall short of achieving true film emulation. With improved noise reduction in the newest digital sensors comes a loss of realism and depth. Less noise equals smoother and buttery imagery, but that same combination of qualities produces images with decreased depth. When chemicals react with film and light you end up with photos that are filled with depth and grain, something modern digital photo sensors can't quite emulate.

With FilmPack 3, the authenticity of film grain is once again within reach. The FilmPack offers the beauty of various film grains to apply to images both black and white as well as being integrated within individual film presets. For instance you may long for the smooth neutral tonality, highlight and shadow detail and film grain of Kodak 400CN or maybe your desire is the vividness and contrast of film in a more realistic interpretation of the scene than you can achieve within the confines of the curves tool in Photoshop. The FilmPack serves both these purposes. With the click of the preview button after import, your images are displayed in the array of dozens of film choices: color negative, color positive, black and white and cross processed film options are at your disposal. There is no need to open multiple windows or run additional actions, the FilmPack allows you to preview and spot edit your images to taste with no more effort than clicking on a few options.

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Figure 1: DxO FilmPack 3's emulation of the smooth neutral tonality, highlight and shadow detail and film grain of Kodak 400CN.

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Figure 2: You can achieve the vividness and contrast of film in a more realistic interpretation of the scene than you can within the confines of the curves tool in Photoshop.

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Figure 3: With the click of the preview button after import, your images are displayed in an array of dozens of film choices: color negative, color positive, black and white and cross processed film options are at your disposal.

Continue reading "DxO FilmPack 3: Film Fidelity Without Digital Compromise" »

August 8, 2011

Men In Black: Posing and Lighting a Profile Portrait

By Don Chick, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

I love creating beautiful portraits. When I create a portrait, the full-face and two-thirds view are my go-to views of the face. My clients never arrive at the studio saying, “I want you to create a profile portrait for me.” Usually, the profile setup happens by accident. I’ll walk around the subject, adjusting the lighting, then realize just how beautiful his profile actually is. Then with newfound enthusiasm, I position the lighting to create a profile of my subject. Often the subject doesn’t think he has great profile potential, but most of the time a little sincere encouragement is all that’s necessary for him to trust me.

Creating a profile portrait is so easy with a large light modifier. Most of the time I have a 4x6 foot soft box on my main light. You can see in Figure 1 how to position your subject. Bring the subject to the front edge (nearest the camera) of the soft box position turn the body approximately 45 degrees away from the camera. If the body is facing the camera, as in Figure 1, they are in a front profile position. If the body is turned away from the camera, then they are positioned for a back profile portrait. Sometimes I’ll photograph the subject in both positions as it adds more variety, and more variety can lead to increased sales.

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Figure 1

There are two ways to control highlight-to-shadow contrast when using a large soft box. You can move the subject parallel to the soft box. Moving the subject away from the camera and toward the center of the soft box adds more light on the shadow side of the face, decreasing contrast. If you want more contrast—darker shadows on the shadow side—move the subject parallel to the soft box but closer to the camera. This will move the subject into the edge of the light from the soft box, and increase the shadows. A second way to control contrast is to use a reflector. In Figure 1 you can see how to position a reflector on the shadow side of the subject to control the amount of shadow contrast. Moving the reflector closer to the subject will decrease contrast, giving you lighter shadows, and moving the reflector back or away from the subject will increase contrast. Either method works well, but sometimes it’s easier to leave your subject in position rather than making him move and simply use the reflector to control contrast.

Continue reading "Men In Black: Posing and Lighting a Profile Portrait" »

August 9, 2011

Artsy Couture Gallery Blocks Add a Stylish Dimension

By Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP

When I first spotted Artsy Couture Gallery Blocks on a tradeshow floor, I was intrigued and asked the salesperson how the product was created. They have a depth like canvas wraps, but with sharp, neat edges. It’s a three-dimensional presentation of multiple blocks layered on one piece, too. The salesperson showed me that the pieces have a wood substructure and explained that the prints are metallic with a laminate-type coating over the top.

For the purposes of this review, I tested out three different products:

• 6x6 Gallery Block Set (3 single blocks with no backboard)
• The Top of the Line (7x10 floating gallery block on a 15x20 backboard)
• The Show Off (four 9.5x7.5 floating gallery blocks on a 21x21 backboard)

The Gallery Block set was very straightforward to order and lay out using ROES. The hardest part was selecting which designer template I wanted to use. Rather than having my images wrap around the edge, by selecting a designer template my 6”x6” gallery blocks ended up having a nice decorative fleur-de-lis pattern on the edges of each block. This turned out quite nicely!

Next, I designed The Show Off. While using ROES was no problem, I did spend more time figuring out the best layout option. Again, by selecting a designer template, I was able to have a pattern element on the edges to tie all the floating blocks together. The backboard also displayed the same pattern element. In the screenshot below, you’ll see how the layout is shown in upper left, and the four floating images (and wraps) as well as the backboard can be edited individually.

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For my final sample piece, I designed The Top of the Line. This one was a little more complicated, because while I was happy with the layout, I wanted a horizontal orientation rather than vertical. By reading the directions, I discovered this was no problem—you just have to let Artsy Couture know in the ROES notes which way is “up” so the piece will hang properly.

Continue reading "Artsy Couture Gallery Blocks Add a Stylish Dimension" »

About August 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in August 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2011 is the previous archive.

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Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


 
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