Monday, November 10, 2014

3 Simple Photoshop Tricks To Use When Editing A Headshot.

The one thing we photographers all have in common is the fact that we have to edit our work. Sure we all do it differently, but it has become a non-negotiable service that photographers are expected to deliver on.  Editing is crucial, especially if you are a portrait or wedding photographer. Here I'd like to share my method of retouching portraits and hopefully I can help someone out there who has curiosities on how to do it in Photoshop.

1. Healing Brush Tool. 

This tool does wonders. Absolutely perfect for removing blemishes, acne bumps, blackheads and any other unwanted material. Duplicate your portrait and name it Blemishes. Select the tool which is in the shape of a bandaid and locate the first blemish you want to eliminate.

 It is very important to hold down the Option button and click the area directly next to the blemish. The reason you do not want to click on the blemish is because you are essentially selecting an area next to it to replace the blemish with. Think of this step as applying makeup to the skin.

After you have selected the selection next to the blemish, NOW it's time to cover the blemish up. Simply click on the blemish and you will now see that it is covered up.

2.  Smoothening The Skin With The Gaussian Blur Filter
Now that your bumps and markings are a thing of the past, now we can get to the fun part. To give your portrait that smooth magazine-like skin you must apply a Gaussian Blur layer along with a mask.  Here's how you do it.
  • Duplicate your Blemishes layer and call it Smooth Skin. 
  • Go to the top toolbar to Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur. There, you will see a dialog box pops up. When dealing with skin,  I usually keep the blur around .80 - 1.0 

  • Once you have the blurred image on your canvas,  apply a mask to it. On the layers panel you'll see a little icon with a white rectangle with a black circle in the middle. 
  • Click it and you should see another white rectangle appear directly next to your layer. 

  • Lastly, Select the Brush tool and make sure the color you have on your brush is black. Start "brushing" on the areas you want to be sharpened in your photo. For example, the eyes, eye brows, lips, hair, etc. You'll now notice that the areas you select are turning sharp while the areas you do not choose are left smooth and blurred.

3.  Teeth and Eye Whitening.
This is an easy step. First you should use the lasso tool and select the area you would like to be whiter. when selected, I would suggest going to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation.

 I usually lower my Saturation to -20 and +28 to my lightness. Of course, you should use the numbers that best suite your photograph.

And finally, I like to uncheck all of the additional layers in my layers panel until I am left with the original unedited photo. It's fun to re-check each layer and seeing the progress you made before you merge all of the layers into one image.  

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions and I'd love to see your before and afters to post on our blog!

- Johnny Self.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Barry Seidman's "Feast for the Eyes"

Last night the Foto Care Gallery hosted Barry Seidman's "Feast for the Eyes". But before the 100+ people came to the gallery, he gave a talk about how he started his career, who he photographed, directed, etc. 

Barry's cousin and One of the Country's Leading Food & Restaurant Consultants Michael Whiteman chats with guests while waiting for the start of Barry's presentation. 

Mary Ann Seidman greets Cookbook Author Rozanne Gold as she arrives for Barry's talk.

 Word spread so quickly that Barry would be in NYC giving a talk and showcasing his work, that The New York Post mentioned him on page 6. Very impressive, Barry.

Over 100 people came to support Barry and his very unique photography. From family, friends, to famous chefs, everyone came out to Foto Care to support his work. Even the owner of Foto Care (Jeff) stayed to check it out.

Barry poses with Managing Editor of the New York Post Steve Cuozzo 
& Renowned Chef Eric Ripert.

We snapped a photograph with Barry & Restauranteur & TV personality Donatella Arpaia.

Although it was a busy evening for the Seidman's, we managed to gather the family together for a group photo. 

And thanks to Lisa Seidman pointing it out, we got a shot of Barry's famous colored socks. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

You're Invited to the TRACKS movie screening.

Foto Care invites you to the TRACKS movie screening! 
 RSVP: Your name and the words "Foto Care" to
Foto Care wants to see you at the TRACKS movie screening October 30, 2014 for FREE! 
We hope to see you there! Here is a quick summary of the movie: 
Anger rages in Philip as he awaits the publication of his second novel. He feels pushed out of his adopted home city by the constant crowds and noise, a deteriorating relationship with his photographer girlfriend Ashley, and his own indifference to promoting the novel. When Philip's idol Ike Zimmerman offers his isolated summer home as a refuge, he finally gets the peace and quiet to focus on his favorite subject: himself. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Foto Care | Sony: A Day In The Life of Coney Island

Ronald from Foto Care Megan from Sony and Curtis of FIT took a crowd of 20 students to Coney Island to have a hands on demo with the new Sony A7, A7S, A7R and the A6000. Students from FIT, SVA and Parson's came out to test-drive the new toys, while riding some roller coasters at the same time. Here are some moments for their Sunday Funday. 

Thank you Tom's Coney Island for the hospitality! We really appreciated that. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Q&A: Ira Block (Part 2)

Interview: Ira Block
By: Johnny Self

Finding the perfect lighting. (image copyright: Ira Block)

Foto Care's in-house blogger Johnny Self had the opportunity to have a one on one interview with the famous National Geographic photographer Ira Block in his Chelsea apartment . Because of Ira's worldwide adventures and over-all likeable personality, we chose him to be a showcased photographer on our Fotoblog. We hope you enjoy Ira's story as much as we enjoy seeing him.

Simply another day on the job for Ira. (image copyright: Ira Block)
SELF: How did you start working with National Geographic?
BLOCK: A buddy of mine was a photo editor there, and he pulled a couple strings that lead me to meet the Director Of Photography of the magazine. He was from the Milwaukee area, and I use to work for a Wisconsin newspaper in college, so there was a connection.  You get the door open a little bit, then you got to push the rest of the way.
SELF: Nice, as a photographer, I think one of my biggest problems is shooting people in public. Having a large camera pointing it at someone makes them uncomfortable, and it’s like they have this “camera radar” whenever someone is around taking photos. You seem to have willing people pose for you, how do you approach them?
BLOCK:  Have them walk into your space, rather than you walk into their space. I work from the back forward.  

Decorative wooden camera found in Ira's photo room.
I’ll find a place that has an interesting background that will tell part of my story and then wait for things to happening front of that background.  But now I’m staying in one place,
SELF: And now they are in your territory, right?
BLOCK: Yes.  Psychologically it becomes more of my territory.
SELF: It’s not anymore “Did you just take my picture, now it’s “Oh no, now you’re in my picture”.  Because you walked by.
BLOCK: Yeah. It works better than running up to someone with a camera.
BLOCK: A great way to get pictures of people in public is going to an event where everyone has a camera, like a parade.  Because if everyone has one people are less freaked out.
SELF: Because they are expecting it.
BLOCK: Exactly.  You have to find ways to make it easier to deal with people. Like, using smaller, less intimidating cameras. Lately, I have been using the Sony A7R and S. They are still full frame, but smaller than most DSLR's.

If you know Ira, then you know he always supports a stylish hat. Whether it's a fedora or a Yankees cap.

SELF: So, Let’s say you weren’t 30,000 miles up in sky for once, and you had the night off. What would Ira Block being doing in New York? Lets say u had the night off.
BLOCK: Well, if it were season, I’d be going to a Yankee game.
SELF: Of Course.
BLOCK: I work a lot. I don’t have as much free time. Now, I’m working on images, sending them around the world. All the time. So work never stops. But I try to get out and do things. Gym, baseball game, occasional TV series that’s interesting. It’s hard to shut my mind down.
SELF: And now that Instagram is popular, the work just keeps following you.
BLOCK: Oh yeah, people like that I'm on social media, especially Instagram and Facebook.
SELF: (laughs) I think it’s very admirable that a professional like yourself is utilizing social outlets. So many adults don’t.
BLOCK: Well, its such a huge part of photography now. You can’t ignore it.
SELF: And lastly, What keeps you coming back to Foto Care?
BLOCK: Everybody there.  Jeff. Is great. Fred in rental is fun. John in digital, he and I have a lot of fun together.
SELF: John is funny.
BLOCK:  Yeah, we have our little one on ones. But they are characters there.
They are absolutely characters! That is a perfect way to describe it.
But they are knowledgeable and they really know their stuff. If I have a problem, even if I’m across the world, it gets taken care of. I try to bring the people that take my workshops to Foto Care, because they get one on one service & they learn how to do things the right way. It’s a great photographic community, there in Foto Care.  My personality and everyone else’s personality works there, and of course they have everything you need there.  It’s a great place to spend my money (laughs).

Once Ira pulled out his martial arts sword, I knew it was time to head back to Foto Care.

Ira gave me a call to let me know that since the last time we spoke, 
he has successfully received a black belt in his marital arts. 

Congrats on the black belt!
Ira, you are the man!
See Ira's work here:

Friday, October 10, 2014

Q&A: Ira Block (Part 1)

Interview: Ira Block
By: Johnny Self

Foto Care's in-house blogger Johnny Self had the opportunity to have a one on one interview with the famous National Geographic photographer Ira Block in his Chelsea apartment . Because of Ira's worldwide adventures and over-all likeable personality, we chose him to be a showcased photographer on our Fotoblog. We hope you enjoy Ira's story as much as we enjoy seeing him.

Ira posing in front of his Nat. Geographic covers.
SELF: So, (Ira) you’re a photographer.  A world famous photographer at that. But, what else are you?
BLOCK: I’m interested in athletic endeavors. I go to the gym a lot to stay in shape. Hiking, Climbing, etc.
SELF: Can you find that stuff in NY?
BLOCK: Oh, well I can’t climb and hike much in NY. But I do a lot of running, lifting weights, cycling. So I do that. I’ve got a big interest in baseball.
SELF: Yankees fan?
BLOCK: Big Yankees fan.
SELF: Oh, I went to the Jeter Tribute!
BLOCK: You went to the game?
SELF: Well, I went to the tribute;  2 weeks before his last game.
BLOCK: Oh nice, well yeah so baseball and as a result of baseball, I’m working on a baseball project in Cuba.
SELF: So you really like sports.
BLOCK: Yeah, but I’m not a sports photographer. (laughs).  And my baseball stuff is not a lot of action involved, it’s more cultural. And that’s the idea, to do something about how baseball is such an integral part of the culture of Cuba.
SELF: So you were primarily more drawn to capture the culture, rather than a specific action shot?
BLOCK: Well, I am interested in the overall grass roots of baseball in Cuba. The people that are using baseball as their everyday life. Because, if I take a picture of somebody sliding into 2nd base, well.. that could be Cuba, that could be Chicago, that could be in NYC.
Ira's photo room, where he works and stores majority of all of his photographs.
I’m trying to capture more of how baseball infuses the culture.
SELF: I love that.  So even after you’ve planned a trip abroad, I bet there have still been times where it’s nothing like you expected it to be, right?
BLOCK: That’s always how it happens. You can plan it, do all the research,  and then when you get there; it’s different. Every time. It never runs the way you think it should run. Part of what I have to do is come into a situation that wasn’t planned the way you thought, and 
shift gears to work with what you have, and still tell that story with the pictures.  But the aesthetic of the story has to change on the spot. Because, I cant call up editors and say “Hey, its different”. I have to be able to work with what I got.

Ira celebrated his birthday abroad, and these are the moments he captured at his party.

SELF: At that point I guess you’re the fixer, right?
BLOCK: Yeah. We got to make things happen. Being a travel photographer, the logistics come first before you can snap the shutter.
SELF: When you fly out,  how much extra baggage are you taking?
BLOCK: What I carry with me depends on the job.  The cameras don’t take up that much room. I carry most of
them on the plane with me.  In one of these (points at bag)
SELF: What’s that?
BLOCK: Temba. It’s a Temba rolling case. Roadies. So the cameras fly with me, its great. But the lighting equipment, no way. They would have to be checked.
SELF: Right
BLOCK: More and more I can rent equipment wherever I go. This one time I was surprised on how much equipment I could rent in China. I think, I rented Profoto lights.
SELF: Oh, we love Profoto.
BLOCK: Yeah, well now you can rent Profoto in China.  I actually found a cinema rental house, where I was able to get c-stands, arms, modifiers, etc. 

Back in the day, film strips were stored in binders. Ira literally has 100's of them.
SELF: You must have an assistant with you, right?
BLOCK: Oh yeah.  If I’m doing a lot of lighting 
I’ll take a lighting assistant with me.
SELF: Wait, do you rent a car, too?
BLOCK: Yeah, some places I can rent a car and drive. Some places I can get a car and a driver.  Suddenly my crew becomes a production, which I don’t like for my editorial work.
SELF: It changes from being just one guy with a camera, to something larger, right?
BLOCK: Yeah. When I’m traveling I like to be smaller.
SELF: So you’re like a professional micro manager at this point, huh?
BLOCK: Yeah (laughs) and I like to say that, photographers like me are producers, directors and camera operators. We do everything. 
SELF: Impressive.

Time for a tea break.  See (part 2) of this Q&A 

on Friday, October 17, 2014

Tea time.