Chasing Light Artistic Tools for Creatives

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Cloud Overlay Set

Actions, Textures-OverlaysNikki Harrison
bef-aft2

bef-aft2

So it is time to create a new cloud overlay set, but I still find using the same first set I created, easy to do.  Using so many options in Photoshop, you can create completely different looking skies, by changing the colors and different adjustment layers.  If you are still using Elements, you really need to step up your game and invest in your photography by getting Photoshop.  I use Photoshop CC because I need to use all of the entire suite of products that is available from Adobe.  Here is a before and after of an image that uses the cloud overlay.

Using the "Love Set" with Boudoir

ActionsNikki HarrisonComment

I love natural light.  I love studio light.  Okay.  I love light.  Painting with light specifically.  When I shoot outside there is no real direction of the light, I shoot when the light is flat (cloudy) or just after sunset so that again, there is no real contrast.  This way I can direct the light any way I want.  However, when I shoot in studio, I can control every aspect of the lighting direction and achieve exactly what I see in my minds eye as well.  I don't shoot a lot of Boudoir.  Not that I don't want to, I just haven't.  I would like to, very much.  I think the female body is a work of art, an incredible schwoopy canvas on which to play.  (I love the word schwoopy, many young ladies ask me what that means when I tell them how to pose).  This is an example of schwoopy.  I love her posing ability and the fact that she is aware of herself.  The perfect model is one that is aware of themselves, and ooze the confidence to pull off the pose.  This image was processed with "Butterflies" from the Romance Set.  As you can see, there was a great deal of retouching to achieve the final effect.  The final "butterflies" action really did complete this image.

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bef-aft6

Boudoir Images and Chasing Light Actions

ActionsNikki HarrisonComment

Just finished my first session of the year yesterday, here are a couple images I processed. This one was processed with "Moody Black & White" from the Kiss Set + "Butterflies" from the Love Set + "Old Hollywood" from the Chemistry Set.

Chasing Light Actions

Chasing Light Actions

This next one was processed with "Love Story 2" from the NEW Robust Romantic Actions Set 2 + "Rockefeller Center" from the NYC Texture Set.

Chasing Light Actions

Chasing Light Actions

Hand Editing 101

Actions, Tutorials-WorkshopsNikki Harrison

So what is the difference between hand editing, and photoshop actions? The ONLY difference is that an action is recorded, and editing without aid of an action is all free hand.  Or "Hand Editing" which seems to be the new term these days.

Are using actions a weak way out of learning photoshop?

There is no weak way, in a creative process.  There are time savers, and ways to harness other looks you may not have come up with on your own.   If someone says it is wrong or lazy to use an action, chances are, they are just trying to sell you something else...  I can pretty much guarantee at one point or another in every creative's process, they tried, bought, played with, alternative's to "hand editing" as an aid.

On a side note, the image example below shows this image from Adobe Camera Raw and this other one from Capture One.  I am a huge fan of Capture One, and what this software does to your images initially in Raw.  Wow.  Download your free trial today, you will be blown away.

hand edits by chasing light

hand edits by chasing light

Retouch like a Pro?

ActionsNikki Harrison
CL- Fairy

CL- Fairy

So many people contact me, asking how I retouch my images.  I have pretty much showed everyone in my video tutorial's how I retouch my images.  I retouch (edit my images) first in every portrait I do, then when I am finished, I simply start applying my actions and overlays until I get something that appeals to me.  Remember that this is a creative process.  I am providing you with all the tools I use, nothing more.

My tools are my camera, lenses, and photoshop.  Same as you.  How well you become technically skilled at using your camera and lenses, lighting, to create the image you want to, is always going to be up to you.  How well you develop your artistic side technically, by learning all of the possibilities that Photoshop offers, is up to you as well.   I cannot teach people how to be "Creative".  You do see people trying to mimic other photographers work, this will always happen.

You can either be a trail blazer, or a follower, the choice is yours.  Instead of trying to emulate another photographer, try to find out what makes YOU feel warm and fuzzy all over.  Find out what it is that gives YOU that big AH HA moment and makes y our heart sing!  I know that I am able to emulate many photographers and their editing style.  But do I want to?  Not really, I have slowly developed my own style, and have many people tell me now, "I don't even have to read who the photographer is, when a Nikki Harrison image pops up, I KNOW its yours."  THAT is what I love. You need to find YOUR niche.  Your image style.  I developed mine by combining skills I learned from MULTIPLE sources.  Multiple.

It is even easier now than it was when I started out.  You can find free educational resources EVERYWHERE online.  I have blogged about it before, you can find that blog HERE. I recently was interviewed by Portrait Professional on their blog.  I too started out using Portrait Professional, years ago when I started learning photoshop.  Do I use it now?  No, I have developed my own action in my retouch set which suites my style of editing today.  Would I recommend Portrait Professional?  Absolutely!

If you are more interested in hand editing and learning how to edit INDEPTH like the professional retouchers for magazines and fashion photographers, I highly recommend Pratik Naik.  He recently did an amazing workshop on Creative Live that is fabulous. Bottom line, don't limit your learning curve OR don't ever feel like you  have nothing left to learn.  I feel like I am stagnating if I am not learning something new every week!

Combining a Lot of Chasing Light Products

Actions, Textures-OverlaysNikki Harrison

So, like I always say,  use all the products that I create.  Many times I actually forget to use some of the older ones, like Romantica.  Right now you can still buy it, but only for April and then it will disappear again.  Romantica along with Romeo and Juliette and Antony and Cleopatra.  These are still some of my favourite actions.  Hansel and Gretel is still, the NUMBER ONE best selling action.  It too will disappear as of May 1. The best results that I get when I am creating images, is when I use ocean and cloud overlays, with texture overlays and multiple actions.  Unfortunately, NO one action is used to create the huge epic style imagery you see me create from time to time.

For instance.  This image I used the following:

  • Retouch set:  Skin Perfection, Cherry Cheeks and Lips, Smokey Eye
  • Ocean & Cloud Overlay:  #1
  • Texture Overlay:  Set #1 - Summer Skies
  • Robust Bundle:  Moulin Rouge
  • Chemistry Set:   Evening Walk, Magic Matt

www.elegantportraits.ca

Photoshop Elements Users Version 11+ Actions

ActionsNikki Harrison

Photoshop ElementsPhotoshop Elements users have been waiting very patiently for these actions to be available to them .  The first set has been released to purchase by PSE versions 11+  These actions may work with earlier  versions, but since I cannot test it on any earlier versions, I am recommending only those photographers with versions 11+ make the purchase. The first set of actions available by Chasing Light is the ROBUST BUNDLE.  You can click here to buy now.  The next set will be the Fairytale Bundle.  Stay tuned!!