Thursday, March 17, 2011

LR Preset: Pro Styled - Herb Ritts

Black and White were never my strong. Even on the film days I tried the the best I can but color was always more appealing to me.

A lot of you been asking for LR Presets for the Black and White and I found that X-Equals got, this week, an excellent Herb Ritts simulation so I decided to share it with you.

Hope you like them.

Herb Ritts – Pro Styled

The first and most impost step in emulating any photographer’s style is to study their work. You can start by viewing the gallery presented on Herb Ritts’ website. Further studies can be carried out by viewing his books such as Pictures, Duo, Africa and his other works.

Study the poses, look at how light and dark interplay with the human form. Note his use of lines and curves, and how they are used to guide the eye. Look at how he uses both balance and imbalance in his images. Try to unlock how all these come together to create the image. Spend some time exploring Ritts’ body of work and get a feel for his photographic eye.

Once you are comfortable with your understanding of his works, start thinking about how you would recreate the effects on your own.

Do note, most of Herb Ritts’ style is produced in camera, as with many other great photographers. You really need to focus on getting your images as close to the desired goal at time of capture, you simply cannot rely on post processing to accomplish the feat of simulating his unique style.

A few tips you may want to consider:

* Use a yellow filter to view your subject before shooting. Visualizing your shot through a yellow filter helps you see the difference in tones in your subject, eliminating much of the color.
* When shooting outdoors, go ahead and put that yellow filter on your lens. Since our target image will be a black and white image, the yellow filter will help by eliminating excess blue light, which will level out skies and bring a better balance to your image.
* Shoot both High Key and Low Key images, but be sure to have good contrast when doing so. Especially with abstract shots of parts of the body, you will want to consider a bright overall image with deep darks in the subject or vice versa. Use your environment and subject to your advantage.
* When shooting with your full dynamic or even high dynamic range, focus on a good balance of dark and light with good, but not extreme contrast. Look for emotion in your subject for these shots and pose for either strength or vulnerability depending on your specific goal.
* When shooting with natural lighting, think outside the norms of photography. Put the sun at your subject’s back, or shoot at high noon, and kick up the contrast wih filters or post processing.
* When using studio lighting or strobes, use some extra lights on a light back ground for High Key images. Or shoot on a dark background and focus more light on your subject, enhancing contrast.

These tips are just the tip of the iceberg, and you will have to experiment with them and your own ideas to find what works right for you. But to help you along, here are some presets we designed to help you get the final look a bit quicker.

These presets are designed to allow you to quickly take your image to one approximating the style of Herb Ritts. Be warned, these presets can be a bit heavy handed, so don’t be afraid to make some fine adjustments to what they generate. The presets included in the download are as follows:

* PS Ritts Curve 1 – This preset contains a fairly conservative Tone Curve, designed to enhance contrast, while maintaining the general brightness of the image. It has a moderate increase in Clarity to get a bit more pop.
* PS Ritts Curve 2 - Another custom curve, this time shifting the Tone Curve much darker, while retaining a high level of contrast. Also maxes out Clarity to enhance fine detail in darker images.
* PS Ritts Curve 3 - Again, a custom Tone Curve, dramatically brightening the image, with a minor kick to Clarity, creating an overall high-key and soft effect.
* PS Ritts Mix HIE - A customized version of the Cold Storage Kodak HIE infrared preset, providing a palette suitable for Ritts type work.
* PS Ritts Mix Pan-X - Another customized film emulation, using Kodak Panatomic X as its base.
* PS Ritts Mix Plus-X – Customized Kodak Plus-X preset for a more natural appearance.
* PS Ritts Mix Tech Pan – Kodak Technical Pan emulation tweaked for Ritts style use.
* PS Ritts Mix Tri-X - Tri-X as well, of course.
* PS Ritts Punch – A preset that endows a bit of surreal realism to your image. Brings out detail using Recovery and Fill Light and brings it back to Earth with a hit of Blacks adjustment.
* PS Ritts Yellow Filter – A preset that adjusts White Balance to emulate a yellow filter being used. Not for every photo, but can drastically lighten many.

As with all our X-Equals presets, these are designed to be used in unison to create the desired effect. Also, be sure to try other black and white color mixes, such as the Curve presets from our own Cold Storage to open up a world of new B&W effects. After you get the effect about where you want it, adjust Exposure or Brightness to balance out your image.

Thank you X-Equals for having made this wonderful set.

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