Aloha, and welcome to Julia Bach Photography, Hawaii Photography Blog

Not every photographer is lucky enough to call Hawaii his or her studio. The Islands provide some of the most dramatic and beautiful backdrops for a wedding, family portrait, or event. From lush tropical rainforests, to expansive sunsets, being a Hawaii photographer on the island of Oahu is certainly living Aloha (the breath of life).

Mar 29, 2012

Ever wonder how photographers get those perfect shots of those perfect models, and it just doesnt look real? Well, thats probably because it isnt… Don’t get me wrong, no amount of photoshop can fix a terrible picture, but a good amount of photoshop can make a good photo great! In this tutorial I will show you how I take a not so amazing photo, to be nearly magazine quality. Lets get started:

So it starts off as a nice enough photo. The focus is a little bit off, but thats ok with me since I like the overall mood and feeling. So the first step I take to retouch this image is use my healing brush tool to get rid of any imperfections. I take out freckles, moles, zits, and even pores. Might as well add to the illusion of it. I also remove undereye bags using the healing brush and take out unwanted stray hairs. Once, that is done, I dodge and burn. Using different sizes and very low opacities I dodge midtones under her eyes, right below her brow bone, iris, eye whites, and any shadows that I dont particularly want. In this picture, I dodged her arm a little bit to give it a skinnier feel to it. I also dodged under her lips and her smile line area and her forhead a little bit to make it more prominent. I then dodged highlights very lightly on her lip, top of her lip, and the sparkle in her eyes. Then I burned the midtones in areas I wanted to accentuate a little bit. Her lash line, the shadow at the base of her chin to her ear and the side of her arm to give it a bit more depth. If you are good with makeup at all, think about how you would use makeup to flatten the face, and apply those same principles to dodging and burning. This is the result of healing / dodinging / burning:

Next up I am going to do a little nipping and tucking. I use the liquify filter to achieve this. For this particular model I push her face a little to make it more heart shaped. I use the bloat tool to increase the size of her hair, barely dot her eyes to make them a little larger, and also bloat her lips a little to give them a more pouty look. I also dont like how her head is looking deformed by leaning against the railing, so I am going to pull out the indented part a little bit to round her head shape. If you have ever taken a drawing class, stick to anatomy. You can push the image pretty far, but dont go too far or you wont fool anyone. Here is her nipped and tucked:

Now I want to make her POP. I duplicate her layer and put it on overlay. I dont want to go too crazy so i reduce the opacity to about 10%. This give it a slight pop. Then I merge those two layers and sharpen and unsharpen the image to get some seperation between lights and darks. The sharpening really helps give it some pop.

Now she is pretty much finito. For my taste I desaturate her and mess with her levels a little bit to get the desired effect.

If there are any additional questions, please feel free to ask.

So there is a new kind of lighting soon to be released called the gunlight. Specificially the Lowel GL-1 Power LED. Its a constant, dimmable, focusable light source with no wires attached. It almost looks like a giant flashlight! Apparently it is a very powerful solution to the downsides of lighting equipment. No more umbrellas, flutes, metering, and test shooting for light placement, just easy point and shoot. No more toting around bulky lighting equipment, just grab and go.

If you go to their website at you can check out samples of photographers work using the gunlight. I have to say, I am definitely intrigued. The gunlight comes out late summer, but you can pre-order now. Still so many unknowns though. Do you absolutely need an assistant to hold the light source, and what is the pricing? I am going to keep my eyes peeled for reviews on it once released because I didn’t feel that the website was a wealth of knowledge. Go check it out for yourself!

Being a Photographer in Hawaii, you inevitably end up shooting a lot of small weddings.  My very first wedding I photographed was probably my very favorite. Even though it was a small intimate ceremony , Erik and Jelina were the most in love couple that I have ever photographed. They just beamed at each other with love from the moment I met them, and frankly, couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Being from Seattle, there keen fashion sense, and quirky personalities really showed through.  I had an absolute blast shooting them, and even though I feel like my technique has improved since then, I still get the most compliments on their wedding.

Puako, HI Photography

Wedding Photography in Puako Hawaii

Wedding Photography on the Big Island

What couple wouldnt want their love to translate to camera so well!?! I have a few helpful hints for those Brides to be on how to get those cute lovey pictures you want so bad for your wedding day.

Numero uno: Meet your photographer beforehand. This may be tricky if you are having a destination wedding, however, it is important. You want to be sure that as well as loving their photography, that this is a person that you get along with, someone who keeps you at ease. Also, meeting them before hand gives a sense of knowing the person, that way you don’t get all stiff and awkward when some stranger is pointing a camera at you. For those of you who do not get a chance to meet this person face to face, be sure you get plenty of phone time with them. Although a wedding coordinator will probably do this anyway, be sure you discuss whats important to you for that day as far as pictures, and give them a sense of who you are and what you want.

Numero dos: Keep to a schedule. There is a schedule for a reason. So often brides are late, or ceremonies run long, or it just wasnt timed right, and you lose some of the most beautiful shots of your special day. Sunset shots! This is such a beautiful time of day to shoot, if you are having a wedding in Hawaii, you should make these pics a priority. It really sets your wedding apart as a destination, and Hawaii, or most islands are known for their unique and beautiful sunsets, dont miss it!

Numero tres: HAVE FUN! Your Wedding is a one time deal, enjoy it! Dont worry if the photographer is getting your bad side, or if you are bloated from too much filet mignon, photoshop can help later with any sort of personal insecurities you may have. What photoshop can’t do is create lasting memories of you having a great time at your wedding. So be goofy, be spontaneous, and show off your love to the world, and your photographer will handle the rest!

Using the sunlight the hour after the sun rises and the hour before the sun sets provides some of the most beautiful natural light photography that you can get. Because the sun is lower, sunlight travels through more layers of the atmosphere. The sunlight is more indirect and diffused by the time it hits your subject. Using the golden hour as lighting really brings some intense color to my images without me having to overdo it with the saturation. This creates some really beautiful warm hues. Patricia Gonzales proved to be the perfect model for this particular portrait photography session. Getting this yummy light isn’t easy though, we (me and my assistant) had to wake up at 5:00 to prepare and get to our location. Just as the sun was rose over Hualalai we began shooting. Because the sun was directly behind me, we were able to capture some really gorgeous blue sky as well.

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