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Beauty Retouching Class

On November 24, 2013
By Connie
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I’ve enrolled in the Beauty Retouching class with the Australian Centre of Photography here in Sydney.  I started using Adobe Photoshop about 15 years ago, and although my retouching skills are decent, they have definitely been in need of a refresher for quite some time.

Anyone who uses Photoshop on a regular basis can probably relate to falling into a personally refined pattern of methods used to enhance any image one might be retouching.  It’s familiar and comforting.  The ease and speed of using your overly practised methods makes you feel like a pro.  A stagnant pro.

I haven’t learned many new Photoshop skills in the last several years and it was time for me to jump start my learning once again.  For anyone who has never really explored using Photoshop, it is a truly brilliant program.  It never ceases to amaze me how extraordinarily powerful that one program can be.  In the right hands that is.

So far I’ve attended two of the five classes of this coarse.  My mind has been sufficiently blown multiple times.  I don’t know if that was due to my Photoshop ignorance or if my years of previous knowledge helped me really appreciate just how amazing some of these new techniques are.  I have spent countless hours struggling with smoothing out skin tones and blemishes while keeping textures intact.  I have a high admiration for flawless gradations from highlights to shadows.  Don’t get me started on cleaning up wrinkles in clothing.

My instructor made those problems look like child’s play.

Basically we learned a technique called Frequency Separation where it’s possible to separate the texture of a surface from the colours and tones of that same surface.  What does that mean?  It means I can now remove blemishes from skin with ease and without messing up the colours and tones.  It also means that I can smooth out colours and tones without obliterating texture.  It means awesomeness.

Below is a sample of my progress so far.  The image on the left is the “before” and the image on the right is the “after”.

 Beauty_Progress

The technique is completely new to me so I have a lot of practising to do.  It takes some mucking around in order to refine my brush strokes and settings.  But I’ve lucky to have lots of material to practice on.  I’m really excited to use these new techniques for the new portfolio I’ll be adding to my website.  I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me so I better get cracking.

Pin-Up Girl Calendar

On November 3, 2013
By Connie
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Blackies_Beauties_2014

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of collaborating on a pin-up calendar project with Seattle based artist, Chad “Blacky” Shepherd for Blacky’s Beauties 2014 Pin-Up Calendar.  The idea was to create a fun, Vargas-style pin-up calendar with a modern Cosplay/punk rock twist.

Blacky brought together a cast of strong, intelligent, real women to be photographed and then re-drawn in the old pin-up girl method of the 40s.  Most of the models were shot in the USA, but I was tasked with photographing Ms. January here in Sydney.  We had a lot of fun researching the poses, styling, and history of pin-up girls.  The before and afters that compared the photos to the finished illustrations were quite interesting, and sometimes really funny.  There is definitely a theatrical element to this genre and there was plenty of giggling on set.  Here’s our before and after comparison:

PinUp_BeforeAfter

Be sure to buy a Blacky’s Beauties 2014 Pin-Up Calendar before they all sell out.  Original sketches and prints are also available, and just in time for Christmas!

About Connie

I was that geeky camera chick who spent her high school lunch breaks in the darkroom.  I still miss the smell of those stinky developer chemicals.  Sort of.

Born in Canada, I graduated with top honours in Applied Photography at Sheridan College before spending several years assisting and producing for  some of the best commercial shooters in Toronto.  After gathering a wealth of valuable skills and getting my first DSLR, I bought a plane ticket to Asia.

It was my first backpacking adventure, but I managed to survive nine months from Seoul to Singapore with only some shoddy mandarin and a lot of luck.  I had the time of my life. So I did it again.  Seven months of zig-zagging around India and Nepal taught me ingenuity with limited resources, clarity when surrounded in chaos, and how to eat with just my right hand.

Sydney became my new home in 2008, and I’ve been enjoying the sunny weather and great coffee ever since.

Today, I’m a fashion and product photographer extraordinaire.  Based at Studio 8 in the northern beaches of Sydney, I relish the challenge and precision of studio lighting.  My clients are drawn to my clean, stripped back approach to every project.  My simplistic yet direct style is refreshing and elegant in a market full of heavily Photoshopped images.

When I’m not in the studio you can find me hand folding dumplings or scaling walls at the rock climbing gym.  I’m also really good at winning board games (or my friends are just really good at losing).

 

Accolades

Finalist – Shoot The Chef 2013
Top 5 – Australia’s Emerging Travel Photographers of 2010 – Capture Magazine
Winner – Best Marketing Imagery Award 2010 – New Mardi Gras
Semi-finalist – Shutterbug Awards 2010 – Shutterbug
Short-listed – Travel Photographer of the Year 2009 – TPOTY
Finalist – Cultural Explorers 2009 – STA Travel
Winner – World in Focus 2007 – Photo District News
Top Emerging Photographers of 2007 – Photo Life Magazine

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