Before / After 2

 Model: Ái Châu
MUA: Ghy
Hair: Tuấn

This is another Before / After image that I've said in this entry. The photo was from a beauty and hair shoot I've done in 2009. I wish I could do some tutorial vid for basic retouch like this but my laptop is really crap to capture screen motion. So I upload here 4 photos to explain some steps that I've done.

This is the original photo. As you can see the overal exposure is ok but I thought the photo looks a bit flat so I will adjust the Level to create some contrast.

In this photo, I used Level to adjust the contrast but you can notice that I still kept the hair's contrast as the same in the original. The hair somehow was the main key of this shot so I didn't want to loose the hair's details because of the contrast.
Then I used one of the most powerful tool (to me) to retouch her skin, that was: Patch Tool (shortcut: J) combined with the second most powerful tool: Clone Stamp Tool (S) to clean those shadow created between the cheek and nose.
Next step, I wanted her skin tone to look softer because it was so sharp (I shot at f10) then I used 3 filters to do this: Dust & Scratch, Gaussian Blur and Add Noise. I promise I will post another entry to explain more detail for this step although many of you have known about it already ad I've said, these are very basic retouch skill that you could find in any tutorial website.
After fixed her skin, then I wanted to make the photo look more eye catching by the contrast between shadow and highlight, I used 2 most popular tools: Burn Tool (O) and Dodge Tool (O)
Using Burn Tool apply into the shadow area to make they look stronger and deeper other while Dodge Tool could make the highlight area look brighter. (To do this, your photo first must have some distinguishable shadow and highlight)
The result looked like this:
You should remember that the result of this step depends on your style, your taste and your needs. There is no limit for making it look stronger or softer. Maybe some of you may say that I was overdo in this photo but this is something I like to create and to see. If you don't like it, just say, this is not your style.
You can also notice that I have played a little bit with the Liquify Filter to fix her nose and her hair, then a little bit contrast and saturation on her hair.
And when the photo was done as this step, I believed that it was good enough for print or web media but I'd like to try with B/W to see how could it look.

And here it is:

Well I kinda like this B/W version than the color version. But you should remember that when you convert a color photo into B/W photo usually it might be loose some color information then you can loose some contrast detail. You can fix that by adjust the level for shadow area then you can apply the Burn Tool to create more contrast.

Well, and that's it. Maybe some of you may think that the final photo look not too good. I didn't say it look good. But this is something I just want to show you about some basic retouching skill so it's not a big deal at all. Welcome all comment.


Nokia Ovi shoot - Published

My last commercial job that was done just a few day before I left Vietnam to Australia. The campaign will be using this layout for Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore in 6 months from February 2010.
Agency was JWT Vietnam. Hải, the PM from JWT, has just sent me this final layout.

The background, actually was another shot given from the agency which had a talent on it already and that was NOT layer-file.. So my job was taking photo of the new talent and place on that background. The shoot was quite simple but after that I had to do a lot of D.I works because the background was really busy with many lines of shadow. Finally it was done and both agency and client were happy with the result.

The talent was Hoàng Oanh, it was coincident because I had some portrait photoshoot with her before this commercial ad. Casting agency was Flash.

Bonus: Some of Oanh's photos:


One Light / Model: Hanni

I kinda like to play with one light especially when I shoot on location because I like to balance between ambient lighting and my flash lighting. But even when I shoot in studio I still sometime like to play one light although there were always at least 4 strobes around me lol.
Here is an example, this is a shoot was done in Jan 2010 with model Hanni (Ngọc Hân), I played around with 1 strobe bouncing to a large umbrella (60" i think) and 2 white cardboard to have a very little fill light to the shadow on her face (i.e below her eyes, nose ...) The fact is I didn't want to get rid of those shadow. I like to had them there to create some sad feeling in the photo. Using the white cardboard help me keep some detail inside the shadow area.


And here is the lighting setup:
Very simple setup yet I could create some kind of "emotion lighting" for portrait photo.

One more photo from this setup:

Bonus: 1 more from the shoot with different lighting setup

Before / After

Ok, I usually don't upload Before / After photo like this because the model could be upset to see her original photo hahah joking but this time is an exception. I just want to show how a photo can be fixed in a digital way. You can notice that I haven't changed the color tone as well. And I haven't fixed her hairs on the forehead edge although I can do it easily drawing some hairs with my Wacom tablet. I'll show another Before / After photo next time.

Model is Kakao (her real name is Tú Thanh but she prefer to be called as Kakao), although she doesn't work in the industry as a professional model but she's one of my favorite model that I've worked for a few photoshoot.
MUA is Trân

One of our published job, this was one of my very first magazine shoot, was done in Nov 2008

Backstage Vid

My first backstage vid was shot and edited by Thuy Dung Hoang, thank heaps.

This photoshoot was a colaboration project in October 2009 between me and one great digital artist in Vietnam known as "Uot Mi". We decided to shoot and manip for our exhibition in early of 2010 but now I'm in Canberra for my study and Uot Mi is so busy with a lot of other projects so our exhibition will be delayed for a long time. We hope that we could make it in the end of this year. Hopefully

You can view some of Uot Mi's works here: http://www.spraygraphic.com/bexi

Russian Models

I'd worked with few international models in Vietnam in 2009 and most of them were from Russia. I was really impressed by their beauty even some of them were totally fresh faces at that time. All of them were represented by Tsquared, a modelling agency in Vietnam that all the magazine need to book international models from them for high fashion photoshoot.

Here are some of those Russian models that I'd worked with. Most of the photos were from magazine job, the rest were model tests.

Kaleriya (She's only 16 years old this year)

Margo Yalkovskaya


Katya Sulimenko


Anna Protopopova