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.