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Submitted on
October 31, 2012
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Question:
Hello Mickle.. i am very impressed with your work and love how your photos look like. If you find the time i would be so happy if you could take a look at my last few pics .. but mostly my studio work and tell me how to make them better in postproduction (PS). I use 2 lights in the studio, one softbox( for face) and one umbrella (for body) and on my camera a flash (Speedlight YN560) to activate the studio lights, or do you think i am on the right way ... i am using Canon EOS 600D. And again thanks so much for posting your work here !!!

Answer:
Your best post-production actually begins in pre-production. You should know what a shot can look like in your head and have an understanding of how to get there before committing to taking the shot. Everything you do should be done with intent. It's there in the image because you wanted it there. Techniques were used because you wanted to use them.  A happy accident is just that, an accident,  they are unplanned and rare.

Your next step is a good shoot production. Shoots are about execution not so much trying to figure things out as you go along. I'm amazed at how some Photographer wait until they get in a shoot situation before they really start to critically think about what they are capturing and how they are capturing it. Practice happens in pre-production (as much as you can practice it) and the shoot is the performance of what you've practiced.

If you've done good pre-production and have good captures then you've got what you need to have great images to work on in post-production. If your images look like crap going into post, then you've created more work to do and may not come off as you've intended. Photoshop is not the solution you want to be using to fix images that were poorly planned for and badly captured.

In post, I'm mainly looking to manipulate tonal and color contrast and color grading. If I want highlights, I light for them at the shoot. If I want shadows, I light for them at the shoot. Post work is not the place you want to try to make up for poor craftsmanship.  

The main issue that I'm seeing with your images is the lack of dimension and tonal contrast. You are lighting flat. So your Models are evenly lit but that result in taking a technically great image but lack artistic commitment. It's safe lighting, lighting I would use for a group shot or family formals at a wedding.  It's lighting I would use to ensure that safe capture of something to make sure that I have something.

Here are some questions for you:

1. Have you questioned why are you using an umbrella or a softbox as modifiers? What are they contributing to the shot?

2. Why are you placing the lights where you are placing them? Could they be place or directed differently?

3. Why are you shooting on a seamless? Could a different color  help? Could a location with ambient lighting provide a better solution?

Again, shoot with intent. You know what you want and why you are doing what you are doing.

I could tell you everything that I specifically  do in post-production and it really is useless to you unless you understand why I made the choices that I made for the capture to setup what I do in post. My suggestion to you is to focus more on creating great images that you could use straight out of the camera. That more than anything is going to help you get the images you are looking to enhance in post.
:iconliquidskystudios:
LiquidSkyStudios Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2012  Professional Photographer
I think what you say is insightful and totally agree.

I've always guessed you use Lucis Art in your post production for the effect you achieve.
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:iconpardilate:
Pardilate Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
very ilustrative!
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