Author: Riaan Roux
A Look At the Forever Thine Workflow set by Sleeklens
As a photographer, you soon develop a love-hate relationship with editing. Editing your photos, in the digital age, is expected and a requirement for every photographer. Many people will accept the image straight from the camera, but as soon as you move into photography as a hobby and perhaps further into professional photography, then editing is what sets you apart from the beginners or the average.
When your photography progresses into the world of Wedding Photography then editing can become painful as it becomes more complex and refined. Most photographers develop a style of editing which may or may not become repetitive and monotonous as you wade your way through many hundreds of photos while you apply the same set of edits over an over. But what if you could make it simpler?
Enter Forever Thine Workflow
The Forever Thine workflow pack consists of 112 Lightroom Presets and 23 brushes which have been designed with the wedding photographer in mind. Having done very many wedding photos myself I was quite surprised by the presets and how they improved the efficiency of my workflow. Though I have relied on many of my own presets which I designed myself I was looking for something more which would improve speed and efficiency. The most difficult part of the process is often deciding where to start, and this is where these presets make your life so much easier.
The presets have been broken down into groups with variations in those groups, and this makes the decision of where to start so much easier. You start by taking a look at your image, or image group, decide what look you would like and pick a variation. Most of your work is done right there, and these presets have been thought out pretty well to do just that…make it simpler.
But Presets are not Perfect
Presets are a starting point, they are not a magic bullet, so some tweaks and adjustments may be needed with every image. Presets are there as a starting point, and you tweak from there, and this is where you use brushes. Besides tweaking sliders, parts of the image need some brushes to complete the image to your liking. The 23 brushes included in the Forever Thine workflow add exactly those brushes most wedding photographers would need.
The Forever Thine Workflow impressed me, and I am sure they will make you happy too!
Where do you find the Forever Thine Workflow?
THE VALUE OF EDITING
Few images ever look their best Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC), and often they need a little tweaking in some form or other. The level of change applied to the colour, contrast, tones as well as addition or deletions of parts of an image is editing. Choice of editing depends on the taste and style of the photographer. I like to keep images real so that the en result is believable without looking obviously edited. The resulting images sometimes have a person wondering if any editing was done, so here is an example of a before and after image. When viewed on its own, the resulting image, had you not seen the “before” image, would look quite realistic with no editing.
Teach me to Photograph
I am often asked to teach others to do photography, but it is like asking an artist to teach you to paint… I can teach anyone the technicalities of a camera, but a camera does not make the images, the intuition, emotion, creativity and style of the photographer brings the image together. Teaching someone to set up a pose such as this and then capture it simply is not something you can easily do. Learning to set up scenes that look natural and as if you just happened to be at the right place at the right time is what makes wedding photos amazing.
Studio looking backdrops
Backdrops are expensive. Most amateur and startup photographers opt for the old boring white backdrop because it is the cheapest. White is not only hard to work with, but it is boring and tends to wash light back into the model and limits lighting options (if you want the white backdrop to look white). If you light a white backdrop wrong it shows folds and wrinkles and tends to get a muddy look to it.
How do the professionals do it?
Professional photographers, when forced to use a studio, use paper backdrops. Paper gives the best look without washing back too much light and it gets a nice smooth matte look. If you browse through most of the top fashion magazines you will also notice that the backdrop is often not white. The most popular backdrop colour is grey and often a darker grey as it shows clear intent of colour rather than a faded white which appears muddy light grey. Grey is very versatile as it does not wash light back like white does and does not need to be carefully lit like white or even black. Grey gives the photographer the option to focus all lighting on the model rather than try to balance background with the model.
But Paper is Expensive!
Yes, paper is expensive and can tear easily, especially when doing full length shots. This is why I use roof paint! Quality roof paint is not very expensive and even a 20 liter drum of dark grey (as I prefer) costs less than half of a paper backdrop. Roof paint also has a texture very much like paper and it is tough. When high heels and other wear and tear starts showing you shake up your paint drum and paint over scuffs and marks. Quality roof paint blends perfectly with previously painted surfaces and does not show patch marks. Roof paint is like a repairable paper backdrop!
How did I get the infinity curve? After a few experiments building infinity curves I eventually abandoned infinity curves as they can easily get damaged and limits background usage in my limited space to that area where the infinity curve ends, so no leaning on walls (which give nice looking shots!). I have a normal wall and I spend less than 1 minute in Photoshop linking the floor and wall into an infinity curve using the patch tool. This is a very basic Photoshop function…seach Using The Patch Tool on YouTube.
Photography & Video Underground in a Gold Mine
One of the things I enjoy the most is doing underground photography. Ever since I got my first assignment from a Gold Mine in South Africa asking whether I would be willing to travel deep underground and photograph a group of visitors who would be visiting their mine I was hooked. I was warned that the environment would be unlike anything I have experienced and I have to state to anyone who wants to do this, or ever is offered such a job, it is not like any photography job you will ever so.
Under ground the environment changes as it is artificially stimulated to sustain human life. The stope, that space at a rock face where ore is extracted, is hot, humid and dusty. It is an unfriendly and wild environment where the air is breathable, but not anywhere near comfortable. Mining is not for soft people…it requires a person dedicated, hardened and willing to work in an environment you will not experience above ground. There are men and women down there who collect many tons of ore to make just one golden trinket.
The first time I went underground I used my Sony A77 which is a crop sensor camera, but in the cramped spaces I soon discovered that the Sony SAL2875 SAM lens was just not wide enough. At the time I owned the Sony A900 as my only full-frame camera and I was very scared to take it down as it cost me so much money, but on a third trip down and noting that the A77 suffered no ill effects I took the A900 down and it was amazing! Full frame and a wide angle non-distorting lens is great! Yes, I could use wider angle lenses, but I did not want the distortion which comes with these lenses (I did try a 19mm lens and it was horrible underground).
Then I got a Sony A99
The Sony A99 change me as a photographer…it fealt as if I had re-entered the days of film, but with some super-juice! The Sony A99 is just a different piece of equipment designed around the photographer to make life simpler in even the harshest of environments. After spending so much money on my A99 you would think I would wait a while before I took it underground into the wild depths, but I had it less than a month and it accompanied me on my next available mine excursion. Why? Because the A77 and A900 had already proven to me that this class of camera is really weather sealed and more than capable of handling these extremes (and I did a wedding that next weekend with my A99!).
Now…a long time after taking the A99 underground it is still my favorite underground photography and even videography piece of equipment. There is not always a lot of light and I make do with what is down there as flash often destroys the mood. Even when shoot at ISO6400 I find the photos perfect for use in posters, booklet and even banners.
Here is a video snippet I shot yesterday on the Sony A99 while in one of the harshest environments in the world.