Adam Rowney

Model – Toby Peach

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For this shoot, I wanted to go for a more sophisticated and charming look, so I worked with the equally sophisticated and charming Toby Peach, an actor and workshop organiser, and model for MOT. I kept the lighting quite stark to go with the clean cut styling of the shoot. I used a flashgun, just off centre from the cameras viewpoint. It’s about as basic as you can get for lighting, but quite effective.

Model – Toby Peach – MOT Models

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Removing Banding With Digital Noise

 

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What is banding?

Banding is an unwanted visual artifact caused by changes in brightness / colour values. As shown above, it is where the image has unwanted lines / bands across what should be a smooth gradient. It’s a common problem with digitised images, caused by there not being enough information to allow a smooth gradient to be shown. It’s often seen in images that show a vignette, or in images that have the sky or a sunset in them.

I use Adjustment Layers a lot. They are non-destructive way to edit an image, to change the curves, levels, colours, hues and saturations etc. But like all methods to adjust colour values, they can cause banding. Although the great thing about Adjustment Layers is they come with a mask, which in this case is very useful, as you can add digital noise to help remove any banding.

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To remove banding from a mask, you can follow these really basic steps shown below.

Step 1: Click on the mask. If you want to view the mask directly, without seeing the image itself, you can click on the mask while holding down on the Alt Key. This is what I have done for the below example. It is a great way to see how much digital noise you need to use.

Step 2: Go to Filter –> Noise –> Add Noise

Step 3: The Add Noise box will come up. Depending on the resolution of your image, you will have to adjust this to fit your needs. I personally use 3-5%, but you should experiment with your images. I set the distribution to Gaussian. Being subtle is the key, as if you add too much noise, it will start to show through on the image.

Extra: If you want to add digital noise direct to a layer, then make sure you tick the Monochromatic box. If you do not do this, you will get coloured artifacts showing in the image. A word of warning though, this is a destructive technique, so make sure you do this to a duplicated layer.

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And that’s it. It’s that simple. I use this on virtually every mask that I create, and it helps hide banding. Below I have included a real example where banding was an issue. The image had a Solid Colour Adjustment Layer that had a strong gradient added to it. This caused banding, so I used digital noise to hide the banding.

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Fire Red

This series of images was created way back in February 2014. I have collaborated with my old housecat*, Gestalta, a number of times. The last two times were for the Porcelain shoot in 2013, and the Diamond Shoot that I did in 2012. I’ve always wanted to create a black & white series that had a powerful red aspect added in post production, and I was so excited with the resulting images! She reminds me a little of the character Rachael from Blade Runner in this.

*Gestalta, Rebecca Tun and I lived together for a year, along with Gestalta’s three cats Charlie, Stumpy, and Wicket. We often call each other housecats =^_^=

Model – Gestalta
Hair / Makeup – Hellan Judd

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The Rise, Decline, and Rise of Social Media

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The last few years in social media have become a whole lot more cynical, but it wasn’t always like that.

In the beginning, people added themselves where they could, using horrible glittery basic html for the likes of Myspace, Geocities and other social media and website forefathers. It was fun, it was stupid, and it was pretty carefree. But it was a rising industry. Myspace sold for $580million. It was big business. Then Facebook starting steamrolling the industry, creating a massive leap in social media, helping push other social media platforms up along with it. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.

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These platforms have proven to have been really useful to the photographer sector and other creative industries. Being able to advertise and spread our global footprint has allowed for many creatives to gain business, and create new contacts that would have otherwise been unlikely to have ever been created. From personal experience, I have had my online content reach over 120 countries. I have worked with people from all over the world, either through my travels, or from people traveling to me. As always, we first got in contact via social media. I could not have done this without an online presence.

Although with the rise of social media, also came the rise of people questioning it. Is it wasting my time? What are they able to do with my data, can they sell it? Why do they want access to my images? And why do they keep changing the damn design of the website? These questions have been most commonly asked with regards to Facebook and Instagram, and the laws of what can and can’t be done with someones data is commonly talked about and debated. The super paranoid suggest all of our lives will be sold off, and our images be used for a thousand and one adverts around the world. While Facebook does need to create revenue, it’s not going to sift through your baby pictures, badly composed food images, and drunk and blurry nights. The super chilled probably don’t even question, care, or even know their data might be used. As in most cases, the truth probably lies somewhere in-between. Just like Google, and many other websites, they will tailor their adverts to you by what they know about you.

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Whatever the truth is, people are fed up, and looking elsewhere. Some have suggested that Facebook is even committing fraud, or at the very least, being incredibly misleading with it’s advertising numbers, as posted by Veritasium here and here, and by booooooom.com. Researchers at Princeton University have even compiled a paper on their prediction that Facebook will lose 80% of it’s users by 2017.

So, will Facebook die? It seems every website that has its day, will also have its end. To the average person, it’s another website, come and gone, but to a photographer, it’s another tool that is becoming less useful. So what I’m curious about is what will be the next big contender?

Working for Red Creative

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I recently started working for a fashion company by the name of Red Creative. The team photographs commercial fashion / ecommerce for companies all over the world. The company was started by George Davies, the creator of Next, so as well as shooting outsourced work for other companies, we also work on his brands. I work on three sets, differently designed for model shots, mannequin cutouts, and product overheads. I’ve done a lot of retouching for similar companies, and think that having experience in both retouching and photography should be really useful for the future!

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