Desaturated High Contrast Effect for Commercial Portraits in Photoshop | Brian Rodgers Jr. South Bend Commercial Photography

hidden Photoshop gem: you can use adjustment layers and simply change the blend mode without having to use the adjustment layer for it’s intended purpose.

In this tutorial I will show you how to get that really cool desaturated high contrast portrait look you see in so many commercial portraits. Now keep in mind, this is only one way to achieve this effect. We start by duplicating the layer twice; press Command + J and Command + J again. Select you first copy (should be your middle layer) and press Shift + Command + U to completely desaturate the layer. Change the opacity of that desaturated layer to 40%. Then turn on your top layer (copy 2) and change the blend mode to soft light (Shift + Option + F). Lastly change the blend mode to about 50% opacity. Keep in mind that each image will be a little different. Now, that’s one way to do it, on to tip #2! 

Tip#2, Now we are going to achieve that same effect using adjustment layers and blend modes. This time, start from your base layer and add a black and white adjustment layer above that. Set the opacity of the black and white adjustment layer to about 40%. Now create a curves adjustment layer above that. Change the blend mode of the curves adjustment layer to Softlight (Shift + Option + F). Now set the opacity of the Softlight adjustment layer to around 50%. Boom, same results achieved. 

So what’s the difference between these two methods? Well, by using adjustment layers instead of duplicating your base layer, you are creating a smaller Photoshop file, thus saving hard drive space. If you have a Photoshop file with a few layers, the first method is just fine. However, when you retouching commercially, chances are, your files will be growing Popeye arms in no time. So working smarter in Photoshop can not only save you time (because your files will run and save faster) you will also save money (takes less hard drive space; consuming less storage and working faster puts more money in your pocket). 


Lastly, this is a hidden Photoshop gem: you can use adjustment layers and simply change the blend mode without having to use the adjustment layer for it’s intended purpose. For example, in this tutorial, I didn’t use the Curves Adjustment Panel to modify the curve in any way shape or form. I simply added the adjustment layer, and used it for a blend mode, which is the same as duplicating a layer and changing the blend mode…the only difference is, adjustment layers are much smaller and rarely add to the size of your Photoshop file. Furthermore, you can use almost any adjustment layer in this manner. You can do the same thing with Bightness/Contrast, Levels, Curves, Exposure, Brightness, Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, Channel Mixer, Color Lookup, & Selective Color, I just tend to stick with curves (personal preference). You may notice that I didn’t mention all of the adjustment layers. Here’s why: When you add a Black and White Adjustment Layer, an effect is automatically applied, you can still change the blend mode, but you cannot use the adjustment layer simply for the blend mode. Same goes for the Photo Filter adjustment layer, as soon as you apply that adjustment layer, it applies an effect automatically, thus changing the image before a blend mode is applied. 

There you have it, two 2 tips in one this week! 

Rock N' Roll!

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How to Convert White Products to Black Products with Ease in Photoshop | Brian Rodgers Jr. South Bend Commercial Photographer/Digital Artist

Your Photoshop Questions Answered: How to convert a white product into a black product with ease in Photoshop

I had a question come in from Google+ and wanted to answer it in this in this Photoshop tutorial. In this example, I’m using a stock image to demonstrate how to take an object that is completely white, and convert it to black while still retaining all of the original detail. I will also demonstrate how to do the opposite; turning black to white. This technique is very helpful in commercial retouching.

I would also like to add that while this technique works great, every image will react a little differently. I recommend using 16bit high resolution files within ProPhoto RGB color space, in other words you want the widest tonal range possible. Lastly, keep in mind that when you convert white to black, there are characteristics and qualities of light that you need to keep an eye on. White is additive light, black is subtractive light. In the stock image example in the tutorial, the teacher has a white shirt. That white shirt is adding and reflecting light on his skin. So when you convert it to black, his skin seems a little out of place, because a black shirt would create subtractive light from the subject. My advice would be to burn down the areas of skin (using a dodge and burn technique of your choice) near the black shirt. This would create a more believable conversion. I opposite would go for a black shirt being converted to white. I would take the darker areas of the skin, and dodge them a bit to match the quality of light.

I hope this helps, and if you would like to see more Photoshop tutorials, please leave a comment below and subscribe to my youtube channel. 

Color Conversion Retouching Technique with Photoshop CC - Brian Rodgers Jr. Commercial Photographer South Bend

This technique is great for commercial photography retouching. It can be used for product photography, automotive retouching as well as commercial portraiture.

In this tutorial/video, I will show a Photoshop retouching technique that allows you to change a color in an image to a realistic black or white conversion within minutes. This technique retains all of the detail from the previous color, with little to no masking required.

This technique is great for commercial photography retouching. It can be used for product photography, automotive retouching as well as commercial portraiture. A great example of practical uses for this technique: Let's say you shoot images of a product line for a catalogue. Let's say there are 5 identical products, the only difference is the color. Sure, you can shoot all 5 products, line every shot up to make them look identically shot, or you can use the same shot and convert the colors in Photoshop. With some simple adjustment layers you can knock this out in no time, and all of the shots will look identical, whether they are on an e-commerce page, or inside of a printed catalogue.

Also, while we are only focusing on a black and white conversion in this tutorial, keep an open mind and play around with the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, the Selective Color Adjustment Layer as well. You can create other realistic color conversions with these as well.

Please note, that when using the technique with portraits, minor masking may be required. In the first example, we are turning the red dress into black dress and then into white white dress. Since this color conversion technique requires the primary use of the red slider in the black and white adjustment layer, you will see skin tone change as well. Simply mask it out. If you using this technique on a portrait and you want to convert a color such as blue, you more than likely will not have to mask anything out. Because skin tones will be independent of the blue slider (the skin tones are in the red and yellow slider).

Lastly, this technique is a great starting point to adding additional color to your image. Let's say that I wanted to make the dress a dark purple. I can use this technique and convert the dress to black, then add a purple Solid Color Adjustment Layer on top, add a clipping mask so it only effect the black conversion, and change the blend mode of the Solid Color Adjustment Layer to Color. This would create a realistic purple dress (using the right purple of course; in this case a dark purple would be best)

Hopefully this technique helps you the next time you're in a pinch. If you like this tutorial and would like to see more, please leave a comment below, and subscribe to my youtube channel If I get enough interest, I will be more than happy to produce more tutorials in the future.

Thanks everyone!

2013 Addy Award Winner | Brian Rodgers Jr. Commercial Photographer South Bend

The picture above is shot that I took of the awards that I won for my team at Firevine for Commercial Photography

As some of you may know, I work at an advertising agency called Firevine Advertising and Design. This year we brought home a total of 12 Addy Awards including Best of Show for 2013. Proud of my bros at Firevine!

Below you will find a list of awards that we won at this year's Addy Awards.

Commercial Photography Awards: 

• 2013 Gold Addy Award Photography/Digitally Enhanced; Schoolpay Jasmin

• 2013 Silver Addy Award Photography Color; Afdent Fort Wayne Building

• 2013 Silver Addy Award Photography/Digitally Enhanced; Chef/Vehicle composite

• 2013 Silver Addy Award Photography/Color; Floor Cutter

Best of Show:

• 2013 Best of Show Addy Award: Products; Gourmet Mobile Kitchen Website

Other Awards:

• 2013 Gold Addy Award: Products; Gourmet Mobile Kitchen Website

• 2013 Gold Addy Award: Interface and Navigation; Gourmet Mobile Kitchen Website

• 2013 Gold Addy Award: Responsive Design; Gourmet Mobile Kitchen Website

• 2013 Gold Addy Award: Sales Promotion/ A/V Sales Presentation; Franchise Video 

• 2013 Silver Addy Award: 30 Commercial; Toothache Commercial

• 2013 Silver Addy Award: Integrated Campaigns/B-to-B Regional/National

• 2013 Silver Addy Award: Four Color; Brochure

Here is an image that I shot of all of our awards for 2013

Beverage Photography | South Bend Commercial Photographer Brian Rodgers Jr.

The key to capturing a splash is fast flash duration and experimentation

The key to capturing a splash is fast flash duration and experimentation