Thursday, February 19, 2015

Divine Black and White Portraits

As a portrait photographer, I never turn my portraits to
black and white!
That's because I ADORE color!
Plus, I don't like when the skin tones turn gray and muddy.
I have tried many techniques and actions to find a black and white
that I like, but it never happened until NOW!
Rita at CoffeeShop Blog has finally developed
the perfect Black and White action for my portraits.
It's called Gossamer Wings and you can read all about it
plus download the action from her great blog  HERE.
I finally get the whiter skin tones.
Watch my video tutorial on how to adjust
Rita's action in Photoshop or PSE:
I really like the peachy-pink color in the original photos:
 I tried moving the black and white slider on the action
to the left and a hint of gorgeous color blushed through into the photo.
 I think it looks SO beautiful and vintage!

And, just so I don't totally miss color in a black and white portrait,
I created five Pastel Haze Overlays to use over
black and white photos to add a
glimmer of color.
To download the Pastel Haze Overlays CLICK HERE
These overlays are transparent.
In Photoshop or PSE, use the Gossamer Wings Action
to change a photo to Black and White.
Click File then Place and navigate to the
pastel overlay you want to use and click on it.
Stretch the overlay over your photo.
You can lower the opacity if you want.
I like to create a layer mask and remove some
of the overlay from the subject.
(Or just use the eraser tool.)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Shooting with Indoor Natural Light

I love VINTAGE and have a running portrait series called
Vintage Val.
I "discovered" her at the hair salon when I was getting my hair cut,
and asked if she would pose for a vintage shoot.
Well, we couldn't stop!  We have been shooting Vintage Val
every season for two years!
This is our winter shoot for 2015.
Shooting indoors with natural light can be intimidating, but
the results can be amazing...and well worth the effort!
This bedroom is PERFECT with two windows.
The one at the head of the bed faces east, the other south.
We did this shoot at 10 am on a cloudy day which created
perfect, soft light!
I also use a reflector if needed to brighten the face.
I always do test shots before Val arrives.
Camera settings will be different for each situation, so by
practicing ahead, you will have an idea of how to set your camera.
I am blessed that my camera, the Canon 5D Mark III, has excellent
ISO capabilities.  I shot these portraits at ISO 500 without noise.
When shooting indoors, I need to raise the ISO enough to keep my
shutter speed FAST so I don't get blur.
This is a common problem shooting indoors where it is darker.
It's tempting to just try to hold it steady with slower shutter speeds,
but that usually creates blur. I want the shutter
at 1/125s at the very least!
  So, just up the ISO...a little noise is better than blur!
Here's a practice selfie in the dressing room:
Once Val arrived, I could place her and really study
where the light was falling on her face.
I know you can play with shadows while shooting indoors,
but I don't like shadows on the face.
That is my personal style.
So I really study the light to make sure she has no shadows.
If she does, I use the reflector.
This day, my photo helpers were not there, so I actually
held the reflector and shot at the same time!
The reflector fills in the shadows with light.
If you like the shadows...that's fine, too!
It's really about shooting what pleases YOU!
The two windows were ideal for lighting.
Notice how she is facing the south window for almost all of my shots.

I rarely use flash, but sometimes it really helps to
brighten up a dark corner.
But I  never use flash directly on a face. 
For faces, I sometimes bounce flash off a reflector or white wall.
I prefer the softness of reflector light.
I only use prime lenses for portrait work.
Because we were in tight confines in this bedroom,
after I got some closer shots with my 50mm 1.4 lens,
I popped on my 20mm prime to get a wider view.
I love to find different perspectives,
like in this next photo, I included the tea set in the foreground.
Shadowy corners, but no shadows on the face.
I stood on a ladder for this next shot.
I am always looking for a unique perspective!
I think these shots from above are my favorite.
Look at that perfect kiss of light from the window.
I love to play with depth of field, too!
Simply shoot with a wide aperture
and the surroundings will blur.
Looking for different angles and perspectives will
take your portrait photography to new levels!
Here I played with the many mirrors in the dressing room.
I hope these tips inspire you to try an indoor shoot.
Take your time to find and use the light
and let your creativity go wild!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Products for Enhancing Your Photography

After years as a portrait photographer, I'm stepping away from
client-based photography this year to focus on helping
other photographers build their skills.
I have teamed up with the QUEEN of photography tutorials,
freebies and knowledge...Rita at CoffeeShop Blog
to bring you a weekly newsletter packed with
tutorials, tips and freebies.
You can sign up for the free newsletter in the upper right column
of this blog.
I also want to share the design elements that I have created
through the years, and have used to enhance my own professional portraiture.
 I am finally selling my collections in high resolution for use with Photoshop and PSE!
I have compiled three collections so far:
My Bokeh Overlay Collection
includes the most basic and useful bokehs in
white, gray, and cream.
Plus fabulous seasonal bokeh to bring a pop of WOW
to your portraits.
If fall isn't showing its colors yet...just add my bokeh!
If spring hasn't sprung...
I have spring bokeh for that! 

I use my bokeh to spruce up high key white background portraits!
I consider this collection an essential tool for enhancing portrait photography!

 Click on the Buy Now button to purchase The Bokeh Overlay Collection at
Buy Now

 Painted Barn Wood Collection
This collection is a labor of love.
It includes everything you need to do interior decorating by adding
barn wood floors, walls, wallpaper and baseboards
to a high key (white background) photo.

It's so simple to take it from white to WONDERFUL!

Never buy or create expensive sets again!
The Painted Barn Wood Collection comes with everything you
need to decorate a set with painted barn wood and it's a ton of FUN!

The collection also comes with a detailed video tutorial
showing you how to add the elements in Photoshop or PSE.

Click on the Buy Now Button to purchase my Painted Barn Wood Collection for
Buy Now

Snow Overlay Collection
This collection is near and dear to my heart because I live in Michigan
and winter is my favorite season for portraits!
These are the amazing snow overlays I created myself to use
in my own winter portraiture from realistic to whimsical.

You will LOVE these overlays for enhancing your winter photos.

Click the Buy Now button to purchase the Snow Overlay Collection
for an introductory price of
Buy Now

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Free Heart Glitter Overlay

My freebie this week in our CoffeeShop Newsletter is a high resolution
Heart Glitter Overlay for Valentine's Day.
If you haven't already signed up for the newsletter...
sign up in the upper right column of this blog.
I have teamed up with Rita from CoffeeShop Blog to
deliver lots of exciting photography and editing tips, tutorials and FREEBIES
every Monday morning to your inbox!
Use this week's freebie to create special Valentine memories.

Take some photos with lots of pink and red
then add my Heart Glitter Overlay.
The overlay is transparent and thus
VERY simple to add to your photo in Photoshop or PSE.
Load your photo into Photoshop or PSE and click on
File then click on Place
Navigate to where you stored the overlay and click on it.
The transparent overlay will appear over your photo.
Move it around or stretch it out to fit where you want it
over your photo.
To make it super simple, click on your Eraser tool...
it looks like a little school eraser.
Click OK to rasterize.
Now simply erase any hearts off the face or any
place you don't want them.
You can also lower the opacity on the overlay just
a tad if you want.
The overlay adds a spark of LOVE
for Valentine's Day!
Have a ton of fun with your freebie overlay!
If you missed the newsletter
CLICK HERE  to download the Free Heart Glitter Overlay.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My NEW Painted Barn Wood Collection

My NEW Painted Barn Wood Collection has been a labor of LOVE!
I live in an area of Michigan with hundreds of historic barns.
I enjoy driving around to photograph them in various seasons, and
one day, I came upon this whopper, white, fading barn.
I hopped out of my car to photograph it from the street without
trespassing when I saw the farmer walking down his driveway to retrieve his mail.
I asked if I could go onto the property to photograph the barn
closer up and he was an absolute delight!
He even offered to show me inside.

I had been wanting to photograph some barn wood to spruce up my professional
high key (white background) portraits.
I was giddy as I walked around the entire barn and photographed
the barn wood in various stages of aging and peeling.
When I got home, I created backgrounds and floors
in a variety of colors and loved using them in my professional portraiture.

I felt like an interior decorator as I easily added the
design elements in Photoshop.
All the fun of decorating without the physical labor and mess!

No need for an elaborate studio with fancy
walls and floors.
Just take a photo in front of a white wall,
or hang a white sheet or blanket.
Click here to read how I created this make-shift studio
in my GARAGE!
My barn wood collection has it all
and I'm now making it available to YOU!
The collection comes with 28 painted barn wood backgrounds,
8 white and colored floors, 15 exclusive wallpapers, 4 baseboards
and 5 bonus painted brick backgrounds.
The wallpaper adds another design option!

The Painted Barn Wood Collection comes with a
detailed video tutorial showing you exactly how to add these
decorating elements using Photoshop or PSE.
The video will teach you techniques you can use
to edit and enhance all your portraits and other photography.
Purchase my Jill Wellington Photography Painted Barn Wood Collection
for just  $49.99.
Click here:

Buy Now


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