“This was a super fun Senior Session that I took in American Village here on Okinawa, Japan. It was definitely a more challenging shoot as American Village (AmiVil) is always very busy and crowded. And this day was no exception. It certainly stretched my comfort zone quite a bit as we hunted for the “perfect place” to get that shot in. We ended up taking pictures in front of dumpsters, bar windows, and in the middle of the street to create the look that we were going for. I think that in the end it was definitely worth it.”
Dani’s Photography Tip:
I absolutely LOVE strong color in an image. To me it just adds a depth of richness and realism that is sometimes hard to translate into a picture. To achieve that color-saturated look that I crave while not being too “contrasty”, I use Levels.
It is extremely simple but makes a world of difference. First you’ll want to start out with a nice clean edit. Next, open up a new Levels adjustment layer. If you’ve never seen or used Levels before then prepare to be addicted! The resulting pop-up box is your Photoshop Histogram. You’ll see five different sliders with numbers underneath them. The top three control your shadows, mid tones, and highlights from left to right respectively.
To give your image that slight punch of color, darken up the shadows and the mid tones a little bit. I usually slide them to the right by about 10. Now do the opposite for your highlights. Again, I usually slide it by about 10 but this time to the left.
Finally, on the bottom output sliders, I move each one towards the middle by about 5. Please keep in mind that these are set to my specific taste and you can feel free to vary the numbers to suit your look and/or style.
Now you’ll see that the colors are definitely more noticeable, but you may have also gotten some unwanted results on your clients skin/hair. So what you’ll need to do now is add a photo mask over that layer and use the black paint brush to remove the effect from where you don’t want it.
This will give you pictures with colors that pop and images that come alive off of the screen! This is a great way for getting some drama into backlit images as well if there is more haze than you would prefer.
Dani used a Canon 60D and Canon 6D with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and a Canon 100mm macro lens to capture these images.
See more tips on Editing.
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