How do I get to look this good?
February 2, 2015 7:09 AM   Subscribe

I really like the beautiful photographs used throughout this tailoring company's website. How can I get my images to look like their's?

Something about the style of all their images really strikes me, their washed out colours, grain and details seem really appealing to me. So much so I'd love to tweak my own images to similar effect. I use Aperture for my RAW photographs but any guidance in how the photographer is manipulating their shots to obtain the look would be very welcome.
posted by Caskeum to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Looking at that first picture, what I see is that the texture of the jacket is echoed in other parts of the image -- the grate to the man's left and the safety class to the right. In another in the same setting the texture comes up again in the pavement on the floor.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:29 AM on February 2, 2015

Do you have Photoshop? These are just photos that are probably not very different than yours to start with, processed in PS with an action that desaturates the photo and adds a fine grain filter layer on top.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:43 AM on February 2, 2015

Best answer: I don't know aperture, I use Lightroom. For lightroom, there are many settings plugins out there to achieve stuff like this - there are companies that sell lots of film-look plugins for example, which is what these sort of look like.

For a start, I would try this though:
1. lower the saturation
2. add "local contrast" - there are lots of ways to do this, such as
a) aperture probably has a "clarity" setting, try ramping this up
b) use unsharp mask with low strength but high radius - in photoshop I'd do this as a layer and set it's strength/affect using layer opacity and probably trying different overlay modes
3. add film grain type noise (aperture probably doesn't have this natively but photoshop does

Possibly they are reducing overall contrast somewhat, also, not sure. There's a thing people do a lot these days that can be done in photoshop like so:
make a new layer, fill it with a not-very-saturated color you like, such as an orange or brown or something. Set a low layer opacity. This leads to a reduction in contrast, a slight color cast, and sort of feels like "light leak" or maybe the effect you get with photographs where you should have used a lens hood but didn't.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:44 AM on February 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Note that most of these are pretty low contrast photos to start, and well lit. Your source material matters some.

If you have a few photos of your own that you'd like the effect applied to, you can PM me and I could take a shot at it.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:46 AM on February 2, 2015

It could well be a simple texture layer overlaid in Photoshop - something akin to the paper texture used as the background of the website.

Along with some selective desaturation (blues and yellows? I'm not on a colour corrected monitor at the moment) add a smidge of sharpening and you're in the ballpark.
posted by brilliantmistake at 7:47 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

See: Retro Filters or Portrait Action + Film Grain or another style of grain layer. (There are actions for grain that use more refined techniques, but I would probably use a pattern layer to achieve this.)
posted by DarlingBri at 8:07 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

The site formerly known as Aperture Expert had a link to film grain effect. The examples on the site aren't the same type of photos as on the clothing company's site so it's hard to tell for sure if it will give you the effect you're after but it might be worth a try.
posted by Beti at 8:48 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Paul from SEH Kelly is a really nice chap, and he might let you know the particulars if you send him a polite email! I can't recommend their clothes highly enough either.
posted by sobarel at 9:04 AM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you can post some of the photos that you are trying to work on, we may be able to give you more specific advice. That said...

These photos are taken at very high resolution, in sharp focus, with excellent lighting, and excellent post-production work. To get similar results you will need:

a) a good camera
b) a very good photographer
c) high quality lighting with diffusers and reflectors
d) Photoshop skills and / or
e) a very good photo retoucher (who will certainly have Photoshop)

Hopefully you are/have these tools before you begin :)

The photos they are using have a similar color palette to begin with, which makes creating a unified feel much easier. They are most likely reducing the saturation, especially of warmer tones. You can use the Image>Adjustments>Photo Filter>Cooling Filter to do this yourself.

Many of the photos also have a slight vignette which is done through the Lens Correction>Custom>Vignette under the Filter menu. I don't *think* they are using a texture overlay, unless it's at a very low opacity, and masked off the main subject. If you try this, you can use the Quick Mask feature (at the bottom of your tool palette), or use the pen tool to select a path around the subject (this takes some practice and working knowledge of hotkeys) and feather (Select>Modify>Feather) it before adding your texture.

Also, check out your Levels (Image>Adjustments>Levels) to tweak the light/dark outputs to get a similar feel across your photos.

Play around with it, and check out Youtube for retouching tutorials.

Good luck!
posted by ananci at 2:30 PM on February 2, 2015

This might sound silly but... get a film camera? You could use lots of plugins to make it look like film or just shoot film.
posted by miles at 9:43 PM on February 2, 2015

Much of the lighting has a diffused quality. Outdoors, that means an overcast day. Diffused light means there are not hard shadows and works well with desaturation. The clothing does not have bright primary colors; the locations and backgrounds have been selected for their neutral colors, so the overall effect is harmonious.
posted by conrad53 at 9:46 PM on February 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

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