Archive for the ‘Retouching’ Category

Using Photo Filters in Portraits

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with various filters in Photoshop and other image editing software. With the photograph above, taken last year with my friend Lindsay, this is the original version of the image. In editing the picture the first time around, I used a fairly traditional approach. The soft overall studio lighting was emphasized to provide a very flattering and feminine look for the portrait.

Today, I went back to this photograph to try a different approach. In Color Efex Pro, a “plug-in” filter for Photoshop made by Nik Software, I made a number of changes. Primarily, the tonal contrast was increased and the overall color saturation was reduced. The resulting image below has a somewhat “gritty”and dramatic feel and is a very popular look today, even for portraits of women.

The options of editing with filters today are unlimited. There’s no right or wrong way to to do this work – it’s a matter of what you are trying to achieve with the photograph.

Which of these two versions of the portrait appeal to you? I’d love to hear from you!

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.

Business Headshots

Recently I’ve been doing a flurry of headshots for businesses, non-profits and sole proprietors. Pictured above is Kent Whitaker, Managing Partner of Regent Street Capital. For each of the members of this firm, I did two images, one a bit more serious and the other smiling. Then we produced color and black and white versions of each image. This is Kent’s “smiley” image.

We shot these images in Regent Street’s Greenwich, Connecticut offices. I brought a lot of gear – cameras, lenses, strobelights, lightstands, umbrellas, etc. But perhaps the most helpful gear was my laptop computer. The camera was “tethered” to the computer, so that Kent and the other members of his firm could see the images right away on a big screen. We shot 20 or more pictures of each person, and then chose together the two pictures to be edited.

Here’s the black and white version of this same image:

Another recent client is the law firm, Ivey, Barnum & O’Mara. We did headshots of 13 attorneys and a variety of other images that will be used for magazine advertising as well as for the firm’s website.

All of these headshots were in color. Again, we aimed for one smiling and one a bit more serious. Here are two pictures we took of Andrea (“Andie”) Fraleigh, an attorney in the Greenwich office. Both of the images Andie chose showed smiles – this one fairly subtle, the other, shown at the end of the post, a bit more of an open smile.

Many thanks to Andie and Kent for allowing me to post these images. It was a great pleasure and privilege to work with each of you, as well as your colleagues. One of the true joys of my profession is making new friends.

Is it time for new headshots for your business? I hope you’ll give me a call!

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.







Jacqueline’s Dream

I’ve had the idea for “Jacqueline’s Dream” for some time. I just needed to find Jacqueline!

As I didn’t know any 8-year old girls, I asked my friend Sara, the mother of boys in this age range, and Sara immediately suggested Jacqueline. I’m so glad she did – Jacqueline was perfect! She came to the studio with her mom and was an enthusiastic and engaging model.

To see a larger version of this image, click Jacqueline’s Dream and then click the “slideshow” button in the top right.

The image took a lot of work and is a composite of six different photographs. Let me tell you how I put it together.

First, the easy part. I bought a stock image, of the field, sky and clouds. This was the background, and in Photoshop, I cut out the other five images and laid them on top. You can think of cutting out pictures from a magazine and pasting them on top of another picture. The “cutting,” called compositing, is very tricky in Photoshop, to get clean and realistic edges.

I did make some changes in the background image, principally cutting down the intensity of the color, so it would fit better with the other images.


All the images of Jacqueline were shot in the studio.

To the right, she is lying on her “bed,” a table with a sheet on it. Jacqueline’s fuzzy pajama pants are apparently all the rage with the 8-year old set.  I purposely used a white background, knowing this would help with making a clean edge to fit on top of the background. The image shown here is the unedited picture. I did a lot of work on it – even small things like fixing the eyes of the teddy bear.

We did the shoot the day before Easter, and Jacqueline brought her lovely new yellow Easter dress. (With all the jumping, I’m relieved we are able to keep it clean and neat!)

For these jumping  images, I shot her on a blue paper background, to make fitting her into the blue sky a bit easier. Jacqueline’s mom was just to camera left, holding a strong fan, which provided some nice wind movement in her hair and dress. We shot about 30 images of jumping and chose 4 for the final picture.

Jacqueline had come from a soccer game that morning and had a bandage on her knee from the game. We took the bandage off for the pictures and had a bit of editing to do to remove the knee scrape from the images. After the last picture was taken, the bandage went  back on. Mom reported that Jacqueline was a star of the soccer  game – “I stopped counting after she scored 11 goals.” “Wow!” I exclaimed, “Your team must have won the game, Jacqueline!” This dear sweet girl remarked, very calmly, “We creamed them.”

For the Darien Art Show, I made up a large metal (aluminum) print, 36 inches by 21 inches. Jacqueline and her whole family came to the opening of the show last night. Here she is, next to “Jacqueline’s Dream.”

Thank-you, Jacqueline, for being such a lovely and wonderful model!

Is there a composite image that might be fun to do with your 8-year old – or your child of any age? Or you?

If so, let’s talk!

Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.