Category Archives: Photography Tips

Tips on masking in Adobe Photoshop CS5


My last post was on a similar subject but the video had no sound. I hadn’t mastered Adobe Captivate 5.5 trial version. I still haven’t but at least I can give you sound . I have now figured out how to stop the panning but I am afraid you will have to put up with it on this one.

This is all about how to create a mask and change the background on your image, hope you get something out of it.

Masking with Adobe Photoshop CS5

Here is the video

and here is the final image

Tips on masking in Adobe Photoshop CS5

Adobe Photoshop – Tips on masking


I cannot believe I haven’t made a post since Easter. I won’t make an excuse because excuses are like a***holes….everybody has one.

Instead I am going to try and help someone who asked me today how to use masks to replace a background. Here is a little demonstration using Adobe Photoshop CS5. There is no sound as I am using Adobe Captivate 5.5 Trial version and sound isn’t included.

Hope you get something out of it.

What to do when plans don’t go exactly as you would like


I had the pleasure of shooting with Kimberley yesterday. We had discussed a latex outfit and doing a studio shoot but I really fancied the latex with a backdrop of street graffiti. I edited an image I had taken of some graffiti in Volgograd.

I arrived at Kim’s house using my trusty Sat Nav and during our initial chat it became obvious that a location shoot would not be appropriate as she was just over the flu and it was a little chilly outside. She has a well equipped studio with Bowens lights, just what I am used to. Remembering the lighting from my graffiti, I set up a soft box low on her right and used a beauty dish on her face to the left. Beauty dish a stop brighter than soft box.

Here is the result and the graffiti

Volgograd Graffiti and Studio Shot

Into Photoshop and using the select colour range tool I selected the background, with the quick selct tool I refined the edges and created a new layer masking out the background. Copy and paste the graffiti below my masking layer and blended.

Here is that result.

Street Latex

I also wanted to try out my new Lencarta Ringflash. I had used it at Studland but only for fill so not mounted on the camera. This time I used it as it should be and was very pleased with the results and the ease of use. Nice and light and the battery recharges quickly. Also you have good control over the power with an easy read LED.

Here is the result and you can see the distinct halo effect with the shadow which is what ringflash is known for.

Ringflash Portrait

And here is another example but this time in contrasty black and white.

Ringflash contrasty black and white

Have you tried Silver Effex Pro by Nik Software?


I downloaded a trial of Silver Effex Pro by Nik Software.

What a find. It operates in Lightroom and CS5 smoothly.

There are a lot of presets which can be tweaked very precisely. I am impressed at it’s ease of use and flexibility.

Here are a few results, hope you like them

Sinopa Rin at Studland

Sinopa Rin at Studland

Ivy Grant in my studio

Ivy Grant, taken in my studio

A little fashion at Studland

A little fashion at Studland


Gothic Lolitas in my studio

Gothic Lolitas in my studio

My favourite shoes

Favourite Shoes

Cheryl Elizabeth at Studland

Cheryl Elizabeth at Studland

Sinopa Rin Again

Headshot at Studland

And again

Headshot in black and white

A Day – one on one


Another good day yesterday doing what I enjoy so much – lighting.

I gave a one day “one on one” course to Judith who was on day two of basic lighting. In our first session we positioned Greatchen, my rather well endowed mannequin, against a white back drop and using one light went through a number of different modifiers without changing the position of the light. It was also demonstrated how a soft box wraps around the subject. Judith was taking photographs of each change. We then went into the office and sat down and reviewed them on the larger screen.

Day two was to be a subject of Judith’s choice. When she arrived she admitted she hadn’t though it through and so off I went to find a suitable object. It’s spring and the daf’s are starting. Three were chosen and dutifully presented to Judith.

You should have seen the frown on her face and the smile on mine. She admitted she had tried on many occasions to photograph daffodils but to no avail. They always looked like blobs was her remark.

Into the studio we go. Judith wanted to produce a soft image against a black backdrop. She chose to use a soft box for her key light which was positioned close and at right angles to the flowers with the back edge lined up with the back edge of the flowers. She took a few images and then we reviewed the. After spotting the shadow on the right of the image we returned and placed a gold reflector on the opposite side from the key light and pointing up. More images and return for another review. The flowers look a little flat and I suggested she throw in a back light. Back to the studio and we set up a light with a snoot diffuser shining from again the opposite side from the key. The reflector had to be moved up and pointing down to eliminate a harsh shadow on the center bud.

Voila, this was the final result of Day 2 with Chris.

Day 2 - Still Life

Lightroom 4 – continued review


In my last post I gave a brief review of Lightroom 4 Beta. I stated that I was having a problem when I uploaded an image to Flickr.

Petesky came up with this solution:

“Ok, checked your blog. Now I see what you mean. I had exactly the same problem as you with lightoom. Lightoom default is to export images (to an editing program) as Prophoto RGB.You need to go into Edit-Peferences-External Editing and change it to sRGB.”

That did sort it and so thank you Petesky.

I decided to give it another go and edited one of this series of 15 images and then synchronised. All the images were updated and no firther edits were made before I used the slide show function to produce the video below.

Verdict cannot wait for my jewelry shoot on February 4, the post production work has just been cut down to about 10 minutes.

Do you re-touch your portrait photographs?


This is another question I am often asked. The answer is in most case almost certainly especially if the subject is female.

I was talking to a wedding photographer one time and I asked the same question. He told me that if he doesn’t re-touch he gets far less final sales.

The key is not to do too much. Don’t make a sixty year old look like a 30 year old but taking 5 or ten years off will almost certainly get you a sale.

You saw some images of Annie Moya yesterday. At 26 she has beautiful skin and to skin smooth her until she looks like a plastic mannequin would be a sin. She had a few small spots on her chin, you poor girls must hate those hormones doing that to you, and so a little spot removing with the clone tool is all that is needed.

Here is a before and after to show you what I did to her.

After Photshop


You will also find a few more examples here.