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