Some Great New tools!
I've wanted to use Nik Software's Color Efex Pro, but was always hesitant as it seems like you're applying things to the photograph that didn't originate from the camera. Now that cameras have HDR, video, processing for JPEGs built right in, those feelings have gone out the window. In fact, most photographers are processing their stuff to death in photoshop, because it gets them a certain effect.
What I love the most about Color Efex Pro is that you can really change the feel of a photo. Take for instance the portrait I did with Jonah, who had just acquired his volunteer firefighting training certification. I originally wanted to make the photo look hard edged and gritty, but there was just too much going on in the background.
|Sometimes the best intentions are just not enough. There's way too much going on here, and its all distracting from Jonah.|
So, bringing in Color Efex Pro tweaks allowed me to 'Bleach-Bypass' the image, generating a detailed, contrasty look that really accentuates Jonah in the image, and as an added bonus, makes him look more rugged, a good thing for this portrait.
|Apply Color Efex Pro filters including Bleach Bypass, Glamour Glow and Vignette and Voila! You have the image above!|
This raises an interesting point then. At what point is there too much post-processing? When have you removed too many freckles or pimples? When is skin too soft?
I've always gone for one of two directions: Either I make someone look as good as I can while still looking realistic, or I make them look so fake that you wouldn't know if it was a painting or not. Just because I can, doesn't mean I will but if I get the impression that some fake-y look will make my photo more interesting or more artistic, then I'll give it a try. Below are some more works that I've processed with the new software.
|The image above was processed using a bi-colour filter, to cool off the bottom half of the photo and warm up the top half.|
|Another portrait of Jonah, this one including the SUV he drives in the event of an emergency. The color processing saves this image, turning the background wall from a drab 50s puke green to something less attention-grabbing.|
|I shot this one for the Location Scouting blog entry, then applied some film-grain and glow. It's a subtle effect but well worth it!|