Post Processing Gifs

I’m in a hate-love relationship with this thing called post processing (also known as retouching.) I spend hours behind a computer tinkering away  at a single frame until perfection exists. Perfection is achieved when the image is complete with a solid sense of balance, focus,  and concept …or when I have to meet a deadline. I use a lot of props and special effects in my photography and for the for most part what you see in the final photograph actually existed in camera. I feel that creating a scene or situation that physically exists in the real world is a more visceral way to pull honest expressions from talent. However, sometimes things in my imagination doesn’t exists in the real world (or is very, very expensive to create.) To kick-start the new year I wanted to start breaking down my retouching with post processing gifs, enjoy!

Daniel Cloud Campos by Melly Lee (

Daniel Cloud Campos – This was a rather simple concept, does anyone remember the scene from Disney’s Peter Pan where Peter’s shadow escapes him and hides in Wendy’s room? Or perhaps Naruto’s Shikamaru’s troublesome Shadow Imitation Technique? I wanted to create the sense that Cloud’s hat was being stolen from a lamppost’s shadow. I converted the image to black-and-white, so that we wouldn’t be distracted by the original color and would focus primarily on the contrast and graphic elements. I directed Cloud to sit and react to someone steal his hat in one plate, then created three more plates of shadow puppets. Then I merged all four plates together.


iJustine by Melly Lee (

iJustine – When I first was discussing photo concepts with Justine she was very enthusiastic about her gaming channel and COD. Why not stick her in a COD situation? We went out to the desert with real guns and looked for real things to blow up. I liked the look and angles in her face on this particular frame. She looked very determined and focused. The kind of look you’d have if you were trying to gain visibly if someone threw a smoke grenade at you. I painted a variety of smoke, dust and shrapnel on multiple layers of Photoshop then finished the image with a warmer and greener color tone.
Edward Hong by Melly Lee (

Edward Hong – Actor Edward loves Cinnabon to death! And if he were to eat a horde of Cinnabons he’d probably die of food coma. For this shot we had four boxes of Cinnabon’s classic cinnamon roll. We wanted to make it seem like Edward was a little 90s kids again who not only ordered, but also was about to devour a mountain of deserts. I shot a frame of Edward gazing longingly at an open box then used the other three boxes to create more frames of Cinnabon covering the table. Once everything was in position I warmed up the colors for a happier sensation. The original colors are a little to drab for me.

Jon M Chu by Melly Lee (

Jon M. Chu – I met up with Jon at a building with a pretty cool rooftop view. Only thing however was that I was racing against the sun to get any ambient light for the background. I lit Jon with 22in beauty dish and then shot for data in my shadows. I knew while we were shooting that I’d pull data and detail out of the shadows in post, so I overexposed the raw file a little. –Enough to bring back detail in my blacks but not to the point where Jon’s face would blow out. Once the foreground and background felt balanced with one another I dimmed the No Left Turn Signs in the background and made the sky more vibrant.

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