Overdone the airbursh?

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I see far too many pictures that have been airbrushed to death, it seems to be a big trend but what makes it worse is that people (models\photographers) actually think that the end results look good!

So what's the key to good airbrushing I hear you ask?

Well the key is fairly simple really, good lighting and makeup, a little preparation goes a long way. Getting the lighting right will ensure that the airbrush stays well and truly locked away.

The most common reason for people airbrushing an image is to eliminate shadows that highlight all the bumps and crevices that appear on the models face\body, and believe it or not even if the models skin is in very good condition a sharp image and poor lighting will show up everything.

So how can one remove these shadows?

Firstly good make-up will enhance the image helping cover up any particular problem areas. However the most effective way is getting the lighting setup correctly. A good lighting set up is extremely important in getting the correct final result for your style of shoot. High contrast and shadows might work if that’s the kind of finished image you want but for fashion the light works much better diffused.

Why don't photographers use built in flash?

Next time you take a picture with your built in flash, observe the image and see how the shadows hit the face. They will appear quite a harsh, the image may be a good one but that may also be determined by the ambient light, so doing a test like this one, its best done in a darkish room in front of a plain wall, this will give you the best example.

So what special lighting equipment does one need?

Well believe it or not, none, natural daylight is great and even better its free. All you need is something reflective that will create a soft light on the models face.

Has the image above been airbrushed?

Believe it or not the image above as not been airbrushed. A reflector was used to fill in any shadows on her face, the bronze colour was achieved by using a gold coloured reflector.

So airbrushing for me at least is a last resort and if I don't quite get the lighting right I learn for the future.

What if I need to airbrush?

An overworked image usually means that either the photographer was really bad setting up their lighting or the model didn't quite find the light. Get to know how light works, become familiar with your camera and its settings and finally ensure your model gets good direction. Get all those correct and you will have more time in the studio and less in front of a computer.

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