Earlier back in September my friend Ana Perez told me that she was ready to start building her portfolio now that she had graduated from Paul Mitchell the School Louisville. So I said let’s do it and as our conversations for our first collaboration progressed we settled on beauty where she could showcase her hair and makeup skills. We wanted to go natural with makeup and for the hair we wanted textures and shape. Now we just needed a model to be her muse, enter Sarah Neuling. Somewhat new to modeling in our community, her features were perfect for the looks we envisioned so we invited her in on the team. Now comes studio time, we had a bit of freshmen class that night but they would end up delivering solid work of professionals. Within a couple of hours, Ana and Sarah were able to crank out several different looks, from natural to creative. Once we wrapped up shooting, I would head to the digital dark room, begin editing and face what all photographers fear… a slump.
Now first let me say that by no means am I claiming to be a professional re-toucher, but I do my best to deliver a solid final image on behalf of the team. That being said, once I was finished editing I wasn’t really happy with the image. Something was missing… I was hitting my head on an invisible roof… but I could not figure what was going on. So, I run it by my good friend Joey Goldsmith, he points out a few errors in the editing and then I go back and perform a couple minor corrections. But still, it was not looking right to me. So I decided to reach out to Josh Eskridge, another well respected photographer whom I’ve had the chance to work with a couple times. I asked him his thoughts, he not only gave me feedback but even went a step further and asked for the RAW image and took good stab at it. He then sent me his steps and the Photoshop file with the layers. This allowed me to dissect my own image, look over his and see where I was going wrong. Although his work flow and mine were completely, I was once again reminded that with Photoshop there is always more than one way to get to point B. Long story short, my High Pass retouch layer was too strong and honestly not really needed on image. Being that I shot these at f/2.8,there was such a soft focus fall off, the High Pass just made the skin look too smooth. Another lesson was freckles… where I literally went in and burned the freckles to make them prominent, Josh showed me how a Black and White adjustment layer can do a much more beautiful job. You can even introduce a little Color Grading with that layer which was completely new to me. I am so much happier and proud of these final images now. I knew I could do better… I knew I had to do better since my work is representative of the entire team, I just had to figure out what was going on. I’ve gained a huge appreciation for Josh’s mentoring and I look forward to next year with assisting and shadowing him on a couple projects of his own. I swear it’s photographers like him and Joey that boost our community and help one another grow… with the simple gesture of paying it forward. Focused.
Photography | Gary Barragan
HMUA | Ana Perez
Model | Sarah Renee Neuling
A personal journal about any given day in my photography career where I will write about anything from portraits and headshots to sharing my educational experiences. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, it's my pleasure to share my stories with you!