The Everyday Genius of Your Artistic Voice: Part 7, Post-Processing

Let’s Talk Post-Processing: If You Dare!

Welcome back to The Everyday Genius of Your Artistic Voice! This is Part 7 of an 8-part series, exploring practical ideas (and the thinking behind those ideas) for anchoring your very own soul’s genius and artistic voice more deeply into your photography and life. Ambitious much? heh. Today we broach the touchy topic of post-processing.
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Macphun Webinar: Planning for the New Year!

Plan For the Best, Forget the Rest!

ThatBendInTheRiver

I focus inward this time of year. Take a breath. Do some writing and thinking.
Y’know, take stock of what I loved/didn’t love about the past year… celebrate the wins… learn from the ‘fails’… and set the tone for my Epic New Year. (I always plan for “Epic”… cause if I don’t, who will?)

Seems Macphun Software had the same idea, since they asked me to be part of a terrific webinar full of tips for planning your photographic new year. I joined  Frederick Van Johnson, highly successful Photographer, Marketer, Broadcaster, Podcaster – and creator/exec producer for TWiP and  Laurie Rubin, Macphun’s Senior Education Manager. The aim: to give solid idea for starting, building, shaping your photography business… even if it’s a part-time venture. 

We Yakked About…

Frederick gave an overview of his awesome 5 Tips of Highly Effective Photographers webinar (upcoming, as of this writing)… which were all so smart and spot-on.
Laurie talked about some of the more unconventional ways to enter the photography business. People are always asking her about that!
I shared some of the things you should think about BEFORE pressing “GO” and building that website. Saves ALOT of confusion, time and trouble later on. 

It was fun! It’s always great to put heads together… and I’m happy to be able to share it all with you, right here:

Oh, and here are the websites I showed, in case you want to do some perusin’ of you own:

Mark Johnson
Nicole S. Young
David Keochkerian
Art Wolfe
Stuck in Customs
Timothi Jane Graham
Laura Belgray
Marie Forleo

My Big, Fat Tonality Pro Webinar

Webinars-R-Us

Throw on your backpack and come with me to school!
Kidding.
Kinda.
OK, not entirely… because I really did to a webinar recently!
It was for Macphun Software and their black and white plugin Tonality Pro, which I adore.

I was asked to take viewers through a few images, KHutt style. I love it when they turn me loose like that. Don’t worry, I didn’t go crazy, I kept it real… and demo’d some different ways I like to use the layers feature, some fun techniques for using color along with black and white, how blending modes create a whole set of options – and lots more!

And so that you don’t have to lift a finger, I brought the entire experience… right here… to you.
‘Cause that’s how we roll over here.

Always remember… if you decide at any point “I gotta have that!”… you can save 10% on any Macphun Product with the code KHutt.
I swear, a good deal an awesome product practically makes me swoon.

Hope you enjoy! There will be more… 😉

Macphun’s Tonality Pro: 3 Photos, 3 Ways

No More Secrets!

Finally! I get to share something I’ve been working on for weeks, but NOT able to talk about until now!

Macphun Software’s Tonality Pro plugin/app just launched last week. I was lucky enough to get to play with the software during the Beta process … and I’ve fallen in love with it!

Black & White Is My Home

My photography roots are in the darkroom… a looooong, long time ago. Black and white photography taught me the basics at such a deep level that it’s STILL what informs my composition, storytelling and artistry. So, Tonality Pro is a huge full circle experience for me.

The mind-bendy thing is that it doesn’t just do monochrome. It allows you to work selectively with color in ways I’ve never experienced before. It is truly mind-blowing! I don’t usually write reviews… but I’m working on one for this baby!

I have to admit that I’m still learning more and more about what all we can do with Tonality Pro… but I thought I’d start sharing it with you by taking 3 photos, processed 3 simple, quite different ways… just to give you a little flavah-flav of what you can do with this awesome plugin.

OH! And if you do decide to give any of the Macphun products a whirl, use the code KHUTT for 10% your purchase.

 

 

TryMacphun

(at this time, it is only available for Mac users. I’m hoping for a version for Windows users in the future!)

Here’s glimpse of it in action, KHutt style:

Get Creative with Analog Efex Pro 2!

I Love Re-Imagining…

You know what I love?

Ok, I’ll tell ya.

It’s that feeling I get when I manage to re-imagine my own view of the world in my art. Of course, that’s always easier said that done!

Take photo processing for instance.
Personally, I have a set of colors, tones, textures and overall feeling I love to create in my photos. It’s all good – and is part of a “signature” that has evolved and defined itself over time. It’ll probably re-define itself many more times too!

Seeing Things Differently is Good

But sometimes, I’d like to expand my view. Get out of my same-old, same-old. See differently. Try some new tools.

Enter Analog Efex Pro2 by The Nik Collection… a creative kick in the pants if I ever saw one! (and no, I do not get any payment or kickback for saying that.)


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Take a Detour

Ruts… Bleh!

Ever been stuck in a rut? I sure have! They often feel safe, known, comfortable… and you don’t always feel “stuck” in them! Sometimes it can be just smooth ‘n nice, which ain’t all bad sometimes.

I always know I’m hovering near rut-dom when I feel a little bored by my own self. In photography, it might feel like I can’t find anything original in anything I see, maybe I’m a little bored with my photo processing, maybe it’s just the itch to see and do something different(ly).

Rut-B-Gone!

In any case – I HAD a case of “the ruts” recently. When it happens, sometimes I’ll just step awaaaaayyy from the camera. Go out and enjoy life a little, without feeling like I have to find ART in every moment. Other times, I have an itch to photograph – but I just don’t want to look at another tree, ocean, beautiful sunset. Funny, huh? It doesn’t usually last too long AS LONG AS I take a detour from the norm to cleanse my palette.

Here are 4 things I do to banish The Rut:

 

GildedPast
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The Wide View

Another Panorama? Goodness, I’m on FIRE!

For someone who eschews the mighty panorama, I’ve certainly created a record number of them lately!
Mind you, two in the same month IS some kind of record for me… hahaha!

For some reason that I have not yet fathomed, I’ve been drawn to panoramacize certain scenes of late. This one – of the ocean just outside of Shark Fin Cove in Davenport, California, was taken on the exact same day as this image I showed you the other day. (and yes, I’m going to make the video I promised on that one… just seeking the time this week to sit down and do it).

Same Spot, 2 Takes

But where I was messing about with a 2-8 stop ND filter on the other photo to mystify and smooth out the water, I got a wild hair to produce this panorama as an HDR image. I just felt it would add to the wildness of the day. The water crashing and swirling, the sun setting so brilliantly (and so quickly!), so much going on all at once that I hardly knew what to look at! So I decided to bring the whole wide view home! hehheh.


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Free eBook! (Free Stuff Is Awesome!)

Free Like An eBook

I’d like to introduce you to an Awesome Free Thing. So here goes:

Awesome Free Thing meet You. You… Awesome Free Thing.
Did I mention said awesomeness was an eBook? Oh yes, yes it is! It’s called “Visionary Impact: 10 Pro Tips to Instantly Raise The Emotional Impact Of Your Outdoor Photography (Without Spending A Cent)“. I love that last bit in particular. heehee. These compositional tips are the very ones I use in my storytelling style of composition all the time.

You know how I can preamble on and on… so if you want to skip all that, just click on the image below for a BRAND NEW (free) eBook!

For the rest of the story, read on… (then click. :D)

VICover-ns
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Making Your Tech Support The Story

Opportunity in “Meh”: Change Your Eye-Set

It wasn’t an incredible day at the beach, photography-wise. No epic skies prepping for an eye-popping sunset, no late-day golden filtered light turning everything in sight to spun gold. No, it was just a nice fresh day at the beach. And I was in the mood to photograph.

So I had to change my eye-set. Like a mindset shift for my eyeballs. I started thinking depth of field, movement, cool rocks, green seaweedy/algae stuff growing on said cool rocks… and the locals. I always call the sea gulls and whatever critters live, work and play in an area “the locals”.

Takeoff
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The Age of Panoramas

It’s So Simple On a Mobile Phone Nowadays

Panoramas photos are becoming all the rage now. On many mobile devices, you just hold up the phone and follow its direction to create them. They’re getting better all the time! However, at 72 ppi – it’ll look great on your computer monitor – but you won’t be printing a big one for your entryway anytime soon. For a mondo printable panorama, you really need to use a big-girl/boy camera.

A Little Trickier With a DSLR

With a DSLR, it’s not quite as simple as with your camera phone. You have to take impeccably framed multiple image, then “stitch” them together later in Photoshop using Photo Merge (or some software that specializes in panoramas), then clean up any aberrations, balance any lighting variations – and process the photo (if you so choose). It’s quite a process! You’re talking hours. Many photographers do them with 10, 20 or even more images – some of those guys are at it for days.  I tried doing couple of panoramas a few years back… they didn’t turn out well at all. They actually stunk quite badly. But this day I was in the mood to give it a shot. Well, four shots. That was about all I was willing to commit to, just in case it blew. Keep it simple!

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Using a Gradient Fill Layer To Alter Color, Tone or Mood

The Courtyard at Castello di Amorosa

You can use them boldly or subtly, but the using a Gradient Fill Layer in Photoshop (I use CC) is a great tool for finishing touches on a photo. I’ll give you an example of subtle use from a photo I processed recently.

We visited Castello di Amorosa last fall for a photo shoot. A bunch of great images and 3 episodes of The Chat (owner Dario Sattui, photographer Annette Biggers, model Jennifer Freeman) came from that fabulous 2 day visit. I’m still smiling!

As our final evening was winding down, after a lovely glass of wine and noshes (The Castle is a fabulous winery), we wandering back toward our cars. The evening light was gorgeous… and the lights of the castle were on. Of COURSE, we had to shoot just a little bit more! This was a fun one of the courtyard… which I took with everyone tapping their toes, eager to drive down the valley for dinner. I could’ve stayed all night!


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Get The Most Bang For Your Buck on a Sunset Photo Shoot

If you’re shooting sunset at a location that lends itself to moving around AND if you enjoy photo processing, here’s a quick tip for maximizing the impact of an evening’s shoot: MOVE your butt around – and process each photo differently. The latter is if photo processing is your bag, of course. All the image in this post were taken during the same sunset photo adventure. I made a point of moving as quickly as I could through the time before, during and after sunset to snag as much variety as I could. I’ll show you some examples next – clicking on the images will let you see them larger if you like, too.

And for the curious amongst you, the next 6 images were all processed as HDR images…

TheSweep
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Color or Monochrome?

Plan A, Hijacked

I was heading elsewhere this day; intending to shoot sunset (if there was one) at another location. But when I looked over and espied this scene, all other plans went out the proverbial window! I love matching reflections… strong cloud formations… and an almost surreal/abstract arrangement of elements when they happen naturally. It’s magic! (and this day, certainly one of my daily miracles. Especially since the west hasn’t even SEEN clouds for months!)

Unbroken
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Processing "Posted: No Trespassing"

Deciding What, Why & How

I like “old building, new growth” juxtapositions. I especially love it when the old building says “Posted, No Trespassing”. It’s just so quaint and presumptuous. Oh, I know it’s a modern sign meant for modern, rude humans… but as a captured moment, the combination makes me giggle.

In this photo, I also loved the side light. It was the blend of “old building, new growth” and “cool side light” that made me want to play with this photo.
Since I often get asked to show my original photo(s) along with the finished one… here’s how this one came together.

First, here’s the finished version:

Posted8
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Making Post-Processing Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

I love post-processing photos. Since my approach to photography means creating my own vision or “take” on what I see, I have no problem processing a photo in dramatic directions and find it all incredibly satisfying. I was raised in an artistic family, so I guess that just got baked into me. By the same token, I was trained classically in photography, revere Nature and have learned that sometimes Nature does all the work for you. When that happens, you really shouldn’t mess with perfection.

Such was the case on this day:

Nature is such a drama queen sometimes.
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The Limelight: Photo Process & Preset Link

SONY at the Ryman Auditorium

During my recent trip to Nashville, TN for Sony’s DI event, testing the new Sony mirrorless cameras… we visited the famed Ryman Auditorim. Home of the original Grand Old Opry. It’s got quite a history – and an unmistakable vibe when you walk in the door. I could’ve stayed there all day!

We were given super special access, which I’ll talk more about in a future blog post. But today I wanted to go through a process I did on one of the photos from there… and offer you a preset download of one of the filter sets I used. I got this idea from one of the comments on my Google+ page, where a fellow named Matt Kaiser asked if I’d made a preset out of the NIK Analog Efex Pro filter wards the end of my process – and if I’d be willing to offer it for download.  I thought that would be fun… so you can find that at the end of this post, by clicking on the small version of this image. It’ll download straightaway.

But I decided to do a bit more here, since I did a number of things to this image beside Analog Efex Pro and didn’t want to lead anyone astray.
So, first of all, here’s the finished image, taken with the new Sony A7r, with the 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (which will be available only as part of the kit):

TheLimelight-PECSF-Finished Continue reading “The Limelight: Photo Process & Preset Link”

All Lined Up For Awesomeness

“All Lined Up For Awesomeness” seems like a silly title… but that IS what I thought when I looked at this cool cloud formation at sunset – then saw these pelicans. Later, when I looked at it on the computer… the pellykins (as I fondly refer to them) were also lined up with that one bit of the arc in the clouds. I hadn’t seen that bit so clearly when I was just concentrating on getting the shot. I love juxtapositions!

SunsetFormation

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Stop and Smell (also Texturize) the Flowers!


It’s end of summer and also the end of my unplanned bloggity-blog hiatus. You may not have even noticed; I know how busy you are. 😉 But I’m back now, with much I’m about to announce! Stay tuned for that.  But first: I thought I’d ease back into the swing by sharing one of my recent artsichord (like that word? I made it up. heh.) experiments. A triplet of roses, plus a neighbor; with one showing everybody else how it’s done.

My about-to-be-announced project started like they all do: me thinking “Oh, that’ll be a piece of cake!”… and ending up on a steeper learning curve, with more delays and challenges than I ever dreamed possible! But there’s universal intelligence at work for ya. If you knew how hard something was going to be going in, you’d probably not even start! Along the way, I had less time to process photos, less time for everything except total immersion.

Somewhere along the way though, I finally had to just stop, smell the roses and process some photos! Not surprisingly, my creative desires are emerging from my “voyage d’immersion” with cravings for some different flavors. Here, I ended up playing with textures, light and contrasts in an entertainingly (to me, anyway) new way. Figured I’d share the steps. This is ONE of the finished pieces, followed by each step along the way. There are about 10 of them. You might want to get a little coffee, glass of wine, a nosh. Here goes:

1-NIKReflectorGold
Continue reading “Stop and Smell (also Texturize) the Flowers!”

Photo Processing Doldrums: Breakthrough!

The Inner Game of Photo Processing

I showed you a photo that happened kind of by accident – but was definitely an “inner game of processing” breakthrough for me here. When I came out of “the zone” and looked at my Photoshop layers, thinking about what prompted each one, it wasn’t a process I found easy to describe. Which is why I wanted to try! I have no idea if this is useful to y’alls, but this is basically how it went.

Here’s my original, which taunted me for months:

Ice-OriginalRaw Continue reading “Photo Processing Doldrums: Breakthrough!”

Photo Processing Doldrums: Begone!

When you first see this photo, what’s your first reaction? Do you know what it is? Does it make you curious? Does it irritate you? Entice you? Make you tilt your head like the RCA dog? Yawn? Judge it in some way? Er, what?

Mind you, I didn’t create it with any particular reaction in mind, I was just wondering. I really processed it as an exercise. The end result and process turned out to be so interesting, I though I’d share.

FrozenInTime Continue reading “Photo Processing Doldrums: Begone!”