Photoshop tips

10 before & afters in Photoshop

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Here are 10 examples of before and afters in Adobe Photoshop! Curated for you, with love! (alright I actually did after / before, just let me do whatever I want :D ) 

When people see me editing pictures (when I am in a coworking space for example) they always want to see the before and afters! I think this is an entertaining part of my job, and I always love to share it! I believe there is a lot of mystery around creation sometimes, and we all loves to see the behind the scenes of our favorite movies! Photoshop has definitely his own magic, especially for fine art photographers, and I am glad if I can help you understand more the process that goes behind creating theses pictures so you can get inspired by it! 

I think it is very easy to achieve really cool results simply if your ideas are good, so here all my secrets! 

Take your innocent niece, have a friend with a creepy hand, a black brush to have Camille’s arm disappear, some color correction and we’re done here!

Take your innocent niece, have a friend with a creepy hand, a black brush to have Camille’s arm disappear, some color correction and we’re done here!

An upside down picture, add darkness, add stars, boom done! (the light was shot on camera, it is a speed light reflecting on the surface of the water)

An upside down picture, add darkness, add stars, boom done! (the light was shot on camera, it is a speed light reflecting on the surface of the water)

Made myself look fitter (express gym session!) changed the hand, added darkness (I do love the darkness!) add stars again, BOOM done!

Made myself look fitter (express gym session!) changed the hand, added darkness (I do love the darkness!) add stars again, BOOM done!

Put a friend in a kid inflatable pool, clean and extend the background, color correction, BOOM DONE!

Put a friend in a kid inflatable pool, clean and extend the background, color correction, BOOM DONE!

Wear this dress you love but never go outside with, extend the background, make it red, HOP!

Wear this dress you love but never go outside with, extend the background, make it red, HOP!

Photograph a friend, do weird stuff on his face, have him be grateful for it : perfect creation!

Photograph a friend, do weird stuff on his face, have him be grateful for it : perfect creation!

Steal a flower in your neighbor garden, stuck it on your face, add hair, extend the background, EASY!

Steal a flower in your neighbor garden, stuck it on your face, add hair, extend the background, EASY!

Go in the middle of a meadow, ignore the cows judging you, clean the background, add birds, color correction, and you’re done!

Go in the middle of a meadow, ignore the cows judging you, clean the background, add birds, color correction, and you’re done!

Tape yourself some flowers around your body, look sad, add more flowers, color corrections and THAT’S IT!

Tape yourself some flowers around your body, look sad, add more flowers, color corrections and THAT’S IT!

Stuck your face in Christmas LED lights, look very proud about it, erase the wires, add geometric stuff, BOOM!

Stuck your face in Christmas LED lights, look very proud about it, erase the wires, add geometric stuff, BOOM!

I have a very few rules in Photoshop, I would say my big one is that I HATE TO CUT OUT, so I always find a way not to do it. For example if my final result is in a black background, I will shoot on a black background, simple, and I am saving myself A LOT of time! 

Also, I think I am spending half of my editing time extending the background to make my picture bigger. EACH DAMN TIME! I think It’s because I always crop it in a weird way. Why not shooting from a bigger distance : firstly I can’t MOST OF THE TIME because I am photographing in a small space, and secondly I don’t want to crop the original photograph because I don’t want to loose quality. While I am extending it, I am making the file bigger, which is nice to have big prints. 

What do you think? Did you imagine it was the work that went into some of these? Do you struggle to achieve your vision in Photoshop? 

These are older pictures, but if you love this type of article, don’t hesitate to let my know in the comments,I will do more of them! 

Does it make sense to create more art?

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A few months ago I went through an existential creator crisis (just like every others couple of months to be honest ;D ) : it didn’t make any sense any more to create pictures. 


You know, there are already so many of them everywhere! Let’s face it, we are flooded with images and other stuff : more pictures are uploaded every day on instagram than ever before, at a point we almost start to regret the age of the scarcity of film photography. Why would I spend 12 hours to create something with my heart and soul for it to disappear almost instantly, lost into this sad ocean of selfies. And if you start comparing yourself and your work with others photographers, it’s over : so many of them already doing such beautiful pictures, it does not make any sense to do some more! It will never be as beautiful, and even if it’s not that bad, it will never set itself apart from the crowd. That’s it, we are doomed to stay in this magma, lost in the middle of millions other people. I should have listen to my parents/husband/sister/friend and get a real job!

I knew it, I will never be Beyoncé, we are all gonna die, the planet is fucked and the pandas are still not having sex DAMNIT!

Ok, it’s time for a bit of mindfulness, let’s get back on track before we get lost into dark sad parts our mind labyrinth

I want to give you my own most powerful reasons to keep going. This is personal, mostly from conversation with good friends, and this pieces of philosophy help me on a daily basis to keep the spark going!

The world desperately needs the dreamers 

I got this one from my beautiful dancer friend human Kevin : He thinks our mission is indeed vital to the society : We are the one able to see and share beauty, we have the power to move people, to make them feel, this is what’s matters the most. As long as we have the artists, the world will not give up. Don’t let anyone treat you inferior because you are just another creator who wants to live his dream. Everyone loves to go to movies, to watch TV shows, to listen to music : this industries are MASSIVE, they hire thousands of people, and they influence people’s life, who can gather around something great and positive. That’s why every dictature have an absolute control over art and creation : they either use it to promote their own values, or censor the creations that does not fit their views. They understand very well that it can influence people’s point of view. Even in our societies, we need the dreamers to give us hope in a world flooded by bad news ans sensationalism. Especially when medias are playing with our fears on a daily basis. 

The mission of the artist

The artist is a messenger : they are a voice of the society we live in. You might want it or not, but you are a part of this world. So even if you don’t consider yourself as a non-political person, you are still a product of the society you are living in. The creator can use his skills to share messages from people that does not have the voice or the power to do so. When I was still a student in graphic design school, a friend of mine was older and he was already a recognized art director in Paris. He mentored me for a bit and I remember a great lesson he taught me : He said to me « as a designer, you have a power to help others : for example, a charity that helps women victim of domestic violence wants to promote the work they are doing. If they do a poster themselves, and put them it the wall in the street, probably no one will read it. But if you create a great poster for them, with a strong message and an impactful visual, some people will see it and be interested in what they have to say. As a designer, you will have to decide what you want for this world, you can use your power to influence people to buy more useless craps, or you can help give a voice to some people who can’t speak ». I realized this day that if I had a power and a responsability that was beyond me and beyond creating just beautiful visuals. 

The creators are the voice of their time

I will go even farther and say that most of what we admire from the past are from creators : the artists have the power to transcend reality but also time. If a prehistoric guy, thousands of years ago asked himself too many questions about why he was doing this weird paintings on the cave wall and watched netflix instead (wait what?) we would not be able to admire them. And even more important, to understand a tiny bit more about the way they were living. Most of the things we value from our past is Art, Painting, Sculpture, Architecture : these creations reflect the beauty of a past time. We won’t remember the accountant, the banker nor the nurse. These jobs are vital to a society for sure, and sometimes, the artist even help them to be remembered in their own way : I love how Verweer saw beauty and poetry in the life of the domestics working in house : we have to remember it was a time when only rich people got to have their portraits painted. He gives us an insight into the 17th century daily life of workers, and showed us the beauty of it. There are as many different ways to see the world as people on this planet, and I think this is incredible to have access to a piece the mind of other artist, living in other societies, and different times than us. It’s like opening a window to a different world that does not exist anymore. 

Vermeer, milkmaid, around 1658-1661

Vermeer, milkmaid, around 1658-1661


Conclusion

I could give you 1000 reasons why creation will always be a part of my life, this is a highly complicated, deep subject and I have so many more ideas on it (for a change!!). But I love these ones because they are beyond my own personal struggles. They help me see a bigger picture, and as someone who get trapped into my mind labyrinth a lot, it really helps me take the necessary distance to understand that my work is indeed valuable in some way. 

And also, what a waste of a life not to walk your own path :) 
I KNOW IT’S NOT THAT EASY
well it’s another story!

Des bisous!

how to self critic your photographs while you are retouching them

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So that’s it : you photograph this really cool picture, you just spent three hours retouching it, and you don’t know what to think about it anymore. Is it good? Is it bad? NO IDEA, you are still hesitating not knowing  if you are a genius who created the masterpiece of the century or if you need to burn your house so the world doesn’t see this abomination! What you know though is that the picture makes no sense anymore, just like a word you repeated too often (That actually happens to me quite often with my photographs!)

This feeling is perfectly normal! (I think) So here are some tips on what I am doing personally to self critic my work, before even showing it to anyone : 

- “Squinching” my eyes so I am blurring the picture I am looking at :

I do it all the time : it allows you really simply to get rid of all the details, to see if the composition of the picture still makes sense. You also have to know to know that your eyes are attracted to the brightest part of a picture : are there too much bright elements on the picture? not enough? a bright part that is catching your attention while it’s not a point we should be focusing on? 

- Take some distance LITTERALY :

I will always put my picture on full screen, get up from my seat, and look at my picture from the other side of the room. I have a 27 inches screen, so it allows me to see it how it would look on a wall if it was a print this size. In a museum, you usually experience a print or a painting from a distance and then you go closer to check the details. If you stay just glued to your screen you will never experience this perspective! 

- Check how it looks on your phone, very small :

I will always ALWAYS screenshot my work even when it is still in progress, and send the picture so I can see it on my phone. (I am sending a message to myself with the picture through Facebook messenger, it’s probably not the best way to do it, but it is simple!) Same here, you are working on a big screen, so you want to see how the picture will look 57 times smaller. Is it worth spending 2 more hours on details? How is the composition? What part of the picture attract your eye? I have at least 4 or 5 version of my “work in progress” pictures on my phone

- Take a break :

You need to come back to your work with some fresh eyes, a fresh mind, and something might jump into your face!


Now that you are happy, you think you’ve done a great job, the composition works, everything looks damn fine to you :

WAIT ONE NIGHT BEFORE POSTING IT
I know you are all excited and you want to share your masterpiece to the world but please GO TO SLEEP (that’s also the moment I recheck the screenshots on my phone!) 

You’ve probably heard about this thing called retinal persistance, or persistance of vision : due to being exposed to light or the same color for a long time, we keep an image that is just like printed in our vision. You can totally see what I mean when you have a flashlight in your eyes and you see a square of light for a few seconds. This thing also occurs when you are retouching your pictures for a long time. So for example, you do your thing, you are quite happy about it, you post it and then it’s the morning : and you realize that DAMN IT’S SO BLUE!! You didn’t see this picture looked WAY too blue the night before because you’ve got used to the color and your eyes compensated for too much blue. But now this is the only thing that you can see!! 

So I will always finish a picture, and the day after I will always have some adjustments to make. ALWAYS. I feel that you can’t skip tho one if you want to get better at color correction. 

All of them are about to change perspective, they are about making tiny adjustments that will make your photograph just perfect. So you are just so proud about it!

I also want to add that the more you will create, the more you will see and be able to judge your work! This is a picture I shot 5 years ago, it is one of my first self portrait ever. I didn’t realize it was SO YELLOW at that time. The skin tone is just so so wrong! Now this is the only thing I can see! So I adjusted it so you can compare how my vision changed and got more subtle :)

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Which one is your favorite picture? Can you judge your work, and other people work easily or do you need more help on this? Tell me EVERYTHING!