Monday, October 22, 2007

That Brown-Toned Gritty Look **UPDATE**

For awhile now, in magazines and elsewhere, I've seen more than a few examples by more than a few photographers who've been processing their images with a brown-toned, gritty look. And, I'll admit, I've become a bit of a fan of this processing style.

I'm not much of a Photoshop Master and I really didn't know how to approach this processing technique so, when I attended the recent SuperShoots Las Vegas event, I asked SS's resident PS guru, Joshua Berardi, of Moscato Images, about it.

Josh, who is a photographer and also works full-time as a digital retoucher, was kind enough to share some ideas on accomplishing this "look" and, while I can't say I've mastered it I'm on the road to feeling comfortable with it... at least, I think I am.

The image at the top is my first try at processing that brown-toned gritty look onto a pretty girl image. I'm still experimenting but I'm not entirely dissatisfied with the results. I think this "look" is pretty cool and, with the right image capture, can be applied effectively.

Okay, I'm toast today. I spent 16 hours on a set yesterday and my bones are aching.

The model at the top is Kayla. Image captured at a shoot a few weeks ago. When I arrived on that particular set, I asked where I should set up. They told me to shoot in the driveway against the stucco wall of the home's garage. "Hmmmm..." was my witty response. A few feet away was a designer swimming pool with all kinds a architectural refinements surrounding it but I figured shooting in the driveway would have been good enough for Rodney Dangerfield so it was good enough for me. Besides, they were writing the check so I was willing to shoot wherever they wanted me to shoot.

Image of Kayla captured with a Canon 5D with an 85mm, f/1.8 prime on board. ISO 100, f/8 @ 160th. Two lights, one modified with a 5' Photoflex Octodome (mainlight) and the other with a medium Chimera strip (highlights) were used. I also used a Westcott reflector to bounce in some fill. The stucco, btw, was painted with a mustard-yellow paint. Mustard yellow! Doesn't get better than that.

U P D A T E : Photoshop sensei, Josh Berardi, has posted a short tutorial on the SuperShoots forum. If you're interested in brown tone images (or toning with any other color) it provides a great way to accomplish it. As Josh points out, once you've processed the toning you can play with your image in other ways. In my image (above) I put my foot to the pedal with the sharpening (Unsharp Tool) in order to give the image some grittiness. I also used a "Multiply" layer to heighten that grit a bit more. I did some other stuff too. But I'd have to kill all of you if I told you.

Check out Josh's mini-tutorial by clicking HERE.

Also, if you're so inclined, you might want to join the SuperShoots forum community. It's a great place filled with some cool peeps. You'll find some great photographers there: From pros to serious, accomplished, hobbyists, to those at various places levels of the learning curve. And did I mention the models? Yepperz! There's some awesome pretty girls on that site and I'm not talking about wannabee posers with cell-hone pics in their ports. As I mentioned, it's free to join (so I'm definitely not getting kick-backs for pimping their site) and all they require is for you to post at least one image in your portfolio there.


Pawel Niewiadomski said...

So could you share with us this technique?

jimmyd said...

I've sent an email to Josh Berardi and asked him to share the tips. He'll probably share them on the SuperShoots forum.

it's free to join. the only thing they require is at least one image in each member's portfolio there.

Elliott Kim said...

It's easy to create a Photoshop action that automates the process. In the Strobist Flickr discussion group, there's a thread with tons of responses regarding "The Dave Hill Look." I think there's almost 400 replies!

jimmyd said...

elliot-- actually, i wasn't going for the Dave Hill look as much as I was going for the Gary land look. The latest issue of Digital PhotoPro (Nov '07)has a featured article, "In the Right Place," on Land and his photography. Land's work is more gritty than Hill's.

Kenn said...

Jimmy D as I have said before love your blog. As for Josh, a great guy always willing to help with PS. I am a great fan of JT and the SS gang, too bad you can't join us on the gulf in NOv, but can't wait to meet you at HTL