My setup for adjusting autofocus.
Nikon’s How To Fine Tune Autofocus Article is pretty straight forward. I replaced the book with a focus chart and glued a ruler on a small carpenter’s square to make setting it at 45 degrees easy.
On my Nikon D800, all six of my lenses needed between +5 and +12 adjustment. I had noticed some back focus before making the adjustments. Focus is especially critical when shooting with the D800.
For a recent swimsuit shoot for Ola Style, with model Hayley Ridall, I decided to try a slightly different fashion workflow. The main driver for the change is the availability of the Nik Software suite as Photoshop plugins. Formerly I only the Lightroom Nik plug-ins, which meant that a 250MB TIFF file had to be generated for each step. In Photoshop, each Nik tool creates a new layer, with the added advantage that the opacity can be fine tuned.
Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4 G
Broncolor studio strobes
USB 3.0 tethered to a laptop using Nikon Camera Control Pro 2
Full screen review in Nikon View NX2
Exposure: ISO 100 @ 1/60s @ f/9 @ WB Daylight
Safety and Cataloging
Backup day’s shoot (about 1,500 images) to Windows Home Server 2011
Import from the server to Lightroom 4 on a workstation
Catalog, sort and flag.
Create a Lightroom collection just for the picks.
Lightroom Preparation Workflow
For each shot picked to finish, I apply some pre-Photoshop processing.
- Adjust color to 5300K based on X-Rite Color Checker Passport.
- Apply Lens Correction and CA Correction. The 50mm is very sharp, but is has a very strange trapezoidal cylindrical anamorphic distortion. The Lightoom Lens Correction corrects the trapezoid problem, but there is volume anamorphis the still needs help in Photoshop.
- Apply the Skin Smoothing brush to legs and tattoo areas.
- For medium and log shot, I find that the eyes and teeth whitening Brush tools in Lightroom work very well. Hayley didn’t need much here, so I reduced the brush flow to 50%.
- Launch the image with Lightroom adjustments in Photoshop
The order of most of the steps in Photoshop is very important.
- Nik RAW Pre-Sharpener at 50%
- Apply Nik Dfine Skin process
- Apply Nik Vivenza adjustments, in this case +10 brightness, +10 contrast, +10 shadow detail, -7 structure.
- Add auto Levels adjustment, then adjust mid-tones to 105.
- Create new merged layer.
- Fix cylindrical volume anamorphis problem using a transform formula I developed for the lens in my kit. In this case, volume is reduced by 2.5%. In general, the longer the lens and closer it is to the subject, the more correction is required.
- Use healing brush to clean up hair, pore-by-pore spotting, correct shine, remove threads, etc.
- Use clone tool to remove tattoos (Normal, 100%, soft brush, actual pixels view)
- Merge all layers.
- Create duplicate layer (Crtl + J), add Gaussian Blur (7 radius), create black mask (Alt + click new layer), then brush blur on the sunglasses, avoiding the eyes. This removes dust and makes for a smooth sheen.
- Merge layers.
- Create duplicate layer (Ctrl +J), change blend mode to Soft Light, create black mask (Alt + click new layer), then brush extra contrast on the lips to make more shiny and increase color.
- Launch Nik Color Efex Pro 4 and apply a custom recipe that includes Color Contrast, Detail Extractor and Dynamic Skin Softening filters.
- Merge all layers.
- Save stacked in Lightroom as a TIFF
- Make Lightroom virtual copies for conversion to monochrome, “300″ look, etc.
model: Hayley Ridall
designer: Ola Hawatmeh/Ola Style
hair: Zach Taylor
makeup: Courtney Robinson
producer: Logan Griesemer
photo stylist: Susan Page
intern: Brenna Clementz
photography: © 2013 Preston Page
It is great to have the time to grab a few shots again. This a view from our bedroom, March 27, 2013. This picture is the result of three hand held 1-stop bracketed shots processed in Nik HDR Efex 2, with minor touch up and cropping in Photoshop CS6.
New to OnOne Perfect Suite 7 is Perfect B&W. This picture was made the Albumen Print preset, after which I applied a sepia/blue split tone in Photoshop CS6. I’m fascinated by the look of early photographic processes and it is nice to have tools that support exploring them easily.
Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: AF Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D IF-ED
Exposure: Three 1-stop brackets around f/2.8 @ 1/15s @ ISO 1600
Software: DxO Optics Pro, Lightroom 4, Photoshop CS6, Nik HDR Efex, Perfect B&W
It looks like the entire content of this blog was lost I changed the title, so I guess this is reboot for 2013. What better way to start fresh that with an image from the “Femme Fatale” project? Thank you to my collaborators, the marvelous model Mimi Graczyk, hair by Kris Theohar, makeup by Christoper McKinney and photo styling by Susan Page. I hope to pick up the pace on this and other art projects this year.
This workflow has become pretty much my standard for fashion and beauty work:
- Capture tethered to a laptop using Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 and ViewNX 2
- At the end of the day, import pictures to a new Lightroom catalog for tagging and sorting
- Process the RAW picks in DxO Optics Pro 8, output as DNG files and import to Lightroom
- From Lightroom, run through basic beauty and fashion retouching in Photoshop CS6
- Apply a standard “look” using a custom recipe in Nik Color Efex Pro 4, which for me usually involves application of tone and contrast filters.
- Finish in Lightroom with a develop preset to complete the look. For this series, I’m using a split tone with a sepia wash and blue shadows.
camera: Nikon D800
lens: AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D
exposure: ISO 800 @ f/25 @ 1/80s
lighting: vintage Broncolor beauty dish
Preston Page Studio