If you’re like me, when you began your journey into photography, all you thought about was shooting. You shot for an extremely long time, then began wondering why your photos weren’t looking like other people’s images. That brought you to learning about light, and the complexities and characteristics of certain light. You then began to understand light, how to shoot in manual, or some version of manual in order to get the results that you wanted. However, you wanted to then be even more creative. This probably led you to learning about flash photography, and you quickly became a “strobist.” Maybe you learned from David Hobby, Joel Grimes, or someone like that. After watching them, you soon realized that there is one more step in the equation: post processing.
I am by no means great with Photoshop. I promise you that. However, I strive constantly to become better every day, and so should you. Photoshop is a skill that will stand the test of time when it comes to post processing. You should strive to understand several ways to accomplish each technique you do on a photo. That is one of the beauties of Photoshop. There are multiple ways to do the same thing. This led me to StyleMyPic, and their Pro Workflow Panel.
The Pro Workflow Panel is a Photoshop extension panel that can be installed on many versions of Photoshop. My main reason for downloading it was that I wanted to optimize my workflow in Photoshop. I had researched many ways to dodge and burn, do frequency separation, and various other techniques for portraits, but I was pretty slow at them, and wanted to speed up the process. StyleMyPic has a nice website and YouTube page, which showed me how to use it right off the bat. I really liked the skin smoothing variations, and found that it is very easy to make sure that the skin is not overly smooth. I don’t do many beauty portraits, and find the overly smooth skin in everyday photography to be off putting. The dodge and burning technique that it uses, isn’t my favorite, but the fact that I can fade the effect after each brush stroke really allows me to fine tune high light or dark the dodging and burning it is applied.
My typical workflow with a portrait is to edit it in the exposure, contrast, and a few other things in Lightroom, then bring it over to Photoshop. I have found that I really enjoy the editing tools that the StyleMyPic Pro WorkFlow Panel gives me, and I don’t have to remember what tools I should use. If you’re a very advanced Photoshop portrait retoucher who knows exactly the techniques that you want to use and has already developed a successful workflow, this product is probably something that is not for you. If you’re someone out there who has learned various techniques in Photoshop and has been shooting portraits for a while, and is looking to speed up your workflow, I recommend it to you.
Take a look at the SOOC compared to the after image below.
Image by Ross Thomas Photography