I’ve tried to post this a couple of times now, but something keeps going wrong. I hope it actually works this time. When working on this post Monday afternoon I accidentally hit ‘publish’ instead of ‘save draft’ so it went live for about fifteen seconds, and some of you got an email about it only to find nothing new when you came to the blog. But now when I publish it, it’s not showing up at all. Weird.
Sunday afternoon I wanted to play around in some new wigs I’ve bought recently and haven’t had time to try on, so I decided to set up my camera and combine wig-time with photography (taking photos of yourself in new wigs is also a great way to get perspective on how they really look on you). I took about 150 shots overall, and once again did this quickly to make it work with the time I had available; I didn’t put on any drag makeup or anything, just freshened up my normal day-to-day face, and wore a simple tee-shirt as my costume. I took some straight-up pics to show the wigs for a review I may do later, but then with each wig I also did some arty-farty hair-flinging to try and come up with some interesting shots for my portfolio, such as it is. I just had my Speedlite on top of my camera and opened up the blinds for some natural light (rather than taking the time to set up my umbrellas), but I got a handful of cool shots to play around with for the week, so I am happy.
Here’s the process for the one I made my 365 for the day. Original:
It was a cool shot right out of the camera, but of course I had to mess with it a bit. I used my RadLab editor in Photoshop to brighten things up as well as add color, change the tone a bit, and create more contrast:
Then I used Snapseed’s sharpening and structure tools for better clarity. This is tricky with all those hairs flying about – over-sharpen the picture and it will look a hot mess, but I think I did OK.
Lastly, I used my desktop Pixlr app to cool down the color a bit more and add some slight texture to the background. Overall, not a bad Day 67:
Here’s one more I managed to edit the next day – this is one of those wigs that looks great in photos, but not so much in real life. I’d never wear this one out of the house because the lace is way too dark (it’s made by an ethnic line, and those lines in general use much darker lace for their customers) and it’s just way too big for me – way too much hair. Exhibit A:
But the color is fabulous for photos as are the pretty waves, and, at $45, it’s a bargain anyway, so why not:
Side note: As I mentioned in my previous post, I tend to shoot in vertical or portrait mode as opposed to landscape, and another drawback to that aside from the fact that the camera is usually off-kilter is that when posing for self-portraits, I often don’t know exactly where to stand to get my entire body into the middle of the frame. So, I usually end up taking several shots of a pose, each time moving over a millimeter or two in the hopes that in at least one of them I’m fully in the shot. This is actually why so many of my portraits aren’t centered: I often like the facial expression or focus best on a shot that is off-center and use it anyway. In the case of this shot, I did not intend to be cut in half, but with the fall of the waves here I really thought it worked nicely. So yay for happy accidents.
I of course removed some of my facial lines and smoothed my skin slightly in PS, then used what has rapidly become my new favorite tool, my RadLab photo editing plug-in. I love to brighten and add contrast and color using this tool, and on occasion I’ll even go into the color filters to change things up a bit, like I did here:
I was a little nervous about giving my skin such a yellowish-green hue, but I really liked the effect overall and especially how it made the red hair pop, so I went for it. And yes, I did shave a few years off the old mug, so deal with it. After getting to this step, there wasn’t much more to do, but I did use Snapseed to sharpen as well selectively make the red hair a little brighter and more vibrant. Then I used my RadLab Dirty Pictures plug-in to add a slight texture to the background, and voila! The finished product:
Sometimes my changes are so slight, like adding that background, that I wonder if they really matter. But that was a lot of blank wall just sitting there, and although I tried to add more interesting and noticeable light leaks and bokeh effects, everything else seemed overdone, and I still wanted to add something. So subtle texture it was. I like how it makes the photo feel a little 3-D, like you could almost reach out and touch that red hair. I really can, of course, but that’s because it’s sitting in a bag in my bathroom cabinet.
That’s all for now, but hoping to have time to edit some more from this set later this week as well as review some wigs. We’ll see what all I manage to accomplish.