Tutorials

Whitening Teeth in Capture One

As of version 8 of Capture One, users have been blessed with the ability to control white balance on an adjustment layer. This is useful for a number of reasons, but the biggest win for my workflow is a very simple, and very repeatable way to whiten and brighten teeth in Capture One.

For a change of pace, I recorded a video to demonstrate this technique. Steps are detailed out below. 

Step One: Make you desired adjustments to the overall image

Step Two: In the Local Adjustment tool tab, create a new adjustment layer and call it "Teeth"

Step Three: Use the paint brush tool to paint a mask over your subjects teeth

Step Four: Use the local White Balance adjustment tool to reduce the Kelvin temperature of the masked area until you achieve the desired effect. You can also locally adjust exposure and/or brightness to further enhance the teeth. 

I find this to be a really effective, easy, and easily repeatable way to enhance tooth that appear too yellow, while keeping your images in Capture One. I used to rely on Photoshop to do any teeth whitening I needed, which meant I made my adjustments in Capture One, then exported to Photoshop for further editing. Now I can keep 99% of my workflow in Capture One, reserving Photoshop for only major editing.  

Do You Make Lighting Diagrams? You Should.

I am not going to pretend like I am in-tune enough with the physics of light to draw up lighting diagrams BEFORE a shoot. However, with almost every single image I create I draw a lighting diagram, usually after the fact. It's one of the most important things you can do as a photographer who works with off camera flash. 

The process of lighting a shoot is fluid for me. It generally begins with a concept and a rough idea of how it will be lit. This is almost always just a jumping off point. The quality of light may not be how I imagined it, or there might be other factors influencing the light in a way that I didn't think of. So I adapt to the result that I am getting and make adjustments until I get what I want. 

Once I have an image that works with what my initial vision was, I take a few minutes to sketch a light diagram. 

A page out of one of my books of lighting diagrams and notes from projects past. 


I consider this a very important part of my process. It helps me analyze what worked, and frankly helps me remember how a shoot progressed. I often include notes about how the shoot went, where my light power levels were, what the sun position was (even if it didn't figure into my image). I also sometimes include stuff that should be included in the EXIF data, such as lens, camera body, etc. I do this because sometimes meta data gets stripped, or other bad things can happen and it takes only a second to write it down. 

I think most importantly I do it because I like having a visual record of my work (aside from the actual images) that has some technical behind the scenes information, and also I find it therapeutic to write them in a notebook. Like with a pen. Low-tech to be sure, but oh so satisfying. 

This is a practice that I recommend to any photographers, amateur or otherwise, who aren't in the habit of doing it. My notebook of choice is the Field Notes Brand 48 page Graph Paper Memo Book. I don't try to hide that I am obsessed with this brand. Mainly because they're wonderful, but also because they are small, so they fit in any bag. They are durable, and I adore the design sensibility and philosophy behind the brand. 

Field Notes. The best memo books around. 

So do you make lighting diagrams? If you don't, I think you should. It will help your creativity, critical thinking and possibly be a source of inspiration for future work. 

Relevant Links

Field Notes Brand - The best memo books around

Strobox - A really interesting online diagram/photo sharing tool for photographers

Also read This Article on taking notes


Losing My Reflection - Shooting Sunglasses for Minimal Post Processing

Carefully setting up your set can save you a lot of time and trouble in post when shooting and editing sunglasses. 

Shooting sunglasses can be tricky. You want to see a good representation of the shape and style, but most lenses on sunglasses are curved and have a tendency to reflect everything in front of them. Editing out reflections in lenses may seem pretty straight forward, but the subtle gradient of many lenses can make it tougher than you might think. This set up will give you virtually no reflections and a great looking shot of your sunglasses, right in camera. 

Behold, the boat

Note the light placement. I used a beauty dish here for ease of set transition, but two softboxes would work well. You are essentially bouncing light back onto the glasses from the front and back sweep. If you are getting milky looking frames, add a flag to keep some of the softbox rom spilling directly onto the glasses. 

This is the set up used by the company I shoot for full time. One of the benefits of working in a production studio is that you get to work with other photographers and share ideas on how to tackle certain issues. The sunglass boat is one such instance. 

The idea here is to build yourself a "boat" out of white seamless paper, with only one hole big enough to fit the lens. This way, everything around your sunglasses is white and will reflect as seamless white in your lenses. 

Carefully cut a hole in the paper to allow just the lens through. This will keep your reflections to a minimum. 

This set up will eliminate reflections for quite a few styles of sunglasses. Aviators and similar styles may reflect the lens itself, but that is far more manageable in post than most other reflections. 

 

Note the use of white gaffer tape to tape the seams. This prevents the small paper overlaps from reflecting in the lens

This set up has the added versatility of being able to shoot straight on and at an angle, or back shot in one set with out needing to move fill cards or fancy footwork.