Last night I had a tutorial on how to enhance portraits with Photoshop - now I don't intend to enter into a discussion about the ethics of image manipulation as I hope we all realise that the images we see in magazines and advertising probably bear little or no relationship to reality and never have done. What this is more about is time management! After spending several hours to get a better portrait image in the classroom I felt it would be better use of my time to enhance my skills with creative lighting, a better understanding sympathetic camera angels and so on...Anyway more to the point I often seen advertised a bit of software called Portrait Professional which promised to do everything that I'd spent hours doing in Photoshop in minutes, so I downloaded the trial version to try it out. The simple answer to "does it deliver on that promise" is a big fat YES.
Now I'd be first to admit that there is enhancement and enhancement and as with all these packages you can go completely OTT and you end up with a portrait of what looks like a mannequin! Restraint is the name of the game here and aim for results that still show the essential character of the sitter but it just looks like they've had access to a top notch make-up artist prior to the sitting. Anyway the real point for me is Photoshop is a wonderful and complex bit of software that I've not even really scratched the surface of, but to be honest, life's to short to spend hours behind a computer screen (as can be seen from how often this blog gets updated;¬) toying with an image.
For portraits, I'll stick with Portrait Professional - it's the right tool for the job plain and simple.
THe Photoshop evening classes are still going ahead and proving to be both educational and a bit frustrating. Now I've only ever dabbled a bit with photographic post production software - a very early version of Photoshop and a copy of Elements 3 which can bundled with my machine a few years ago. So when the course started I downloaded the 30 trial of Elements (9 as it was then) and was pleasently suprised by how far its moved on since version 3 - as perhaps one would expect. Then when the 30 day trial came to an end, I started up a 30 day trial of Photoshop CS5, which has now also come to an end, so they've all been uninstalled and my old version of Elements 3 re-loaded. Well, that isn't going to last long, it just doesn't cut it compared to CS5 or the newer Elements - however as an amature I don't feel I can really justify the full blown CS5 (even with a students discount) so it looks like it will be Elements 10. Mind you I suppose I owe it to myself to get a 30 day trial of Lightroom as well ;-)
Went along to the local art collage last night as I'd enrolled in a Adobe Photoshop course - not really used Photoshop "in anger" since about version 3! Anyway, throughly enjoyable evening starting to get to grips with CS5, especially 'Bridge' functionality. Bit of a culture shock though to have to do it on a MAC which I have to say was far less enjoyable, far too confusing (& I'm easily confused these days). Didn't like them when I had to use one at work 20 years or so ago and still not to sure why users rate them - guess its whatever you get use to.
Born in 1956 (so getting on a bit now) I'm married and have two wonderful children we all live in Devon in the South West of England - on the Cornish border.