Creating a more dramatic look from a typical location
After hearing that Nik Software would be reducing the price for their entire plug-in suite, I was pretty happy. I was even thinking that I might be able to afford to buy it sometime down the road at a great price. Then, I heard that if you had purchased any of the Nik plug-ins in the past that they would be giving you the entire suite, I was ecstatic! I had purchased Color Efex Pro sometime last year and I was thoroughly enjoying it, but now I had the opportunity to use their entire collection.
I put some of the expanded features of my editing suite to good use on a shoot I did last weekend with Nicole Dnistrianskyj. I had a bright, partially cloudy day to shoot but I really wanted some drama in the light. Enter Nik Viveza and Color Efex Pro.
Here is the lighting setup that I used: Two flashes, one modified with a beauty dish and the other bare bulb and behind Nicole. For the shot above, the rear flash wasn't in place. Pretty simple setup, and as you can see below, I wasn't exactly getting the scene as dark as I needed to.
Here's a comparison of the photo out of camera and the final product. I used Viveza to help darken down the corners and maintain some brightness on Nicole. The ability to select a colour range and radius in Viveza is fantastic, since this would be an otherwise long selection and brushing process in either Aperture or photoshop. With Color Efex Pro, I added in some Glow, Skin softening and selectively applied some detail enhancement with the Bleach Bypass setting.
I find The Bleach Bypass looks great on the background and the fabrics, but will add too much roughness to skin tones. I can simply apply a control point on Nicole's Face and then reduce the opacity of the filter.
Simply put, the plug-ins supplied by Nik Software are easy to use, minimize the time you spend editing and actually look amazing. I'm certainly happy to have access to the powerful and simple plugins that make my workflow easier and provide me with more options on a tough shoot.
You can find the Nik Plugins at this link. Furthermore, check youtube for some great tutorial videos and insights as to how to take advantage of the software. One more thing: If you try them out, you will want to buy them. They are that good.