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Secret Photoshop Recipe: Rusty Cage!

Last week we talked about creating smoking hot gorgeous light with a two light setup, and this week I wanted to discuss how to create even more of a smoky dramatic look with one of my favorite action secret recipes, using TRA’s Rusty Cage!

This action, Rusty Cage, is the most dramatic difference you’ll see in my before and after’s – it is the only action I use that is not subtle. Of course it can be more subtle if you use less of it (ie. adjust the opacity layers to a lesser percentage). You’ll see that I even set some layers of the action at 0%. I use Rusty Cage when I want to create an even moodier, more dramatic, smokier feel, or a look that resembles a painting.

You can use it with natural light, strobes or any available light – as you see demonstrated here.

When shooting on a shoestring budget with a non-model and no assistants or supplemental lighting (ie. no strobes, or video light, or even a reflector), I am working to shoot fast (usually only 4 to 5 minutes for a quick little set) using just available light to flatter her as best I can. This shot is a perfect example: a dimly lit hotel lobby where we did ask permission to shoot, since it was packed during Fashion Week in NYC. I said we’d take one or two shots and be quick and be done.

Available Light, AFTER

(Pic above)

Available Light, BEFORE:

christa_meola_boudoir_photography_photographer_new_york_000Settings: 24-70mm, 2.8, ISO 6400, 125 sec.

MY SECRET RECIPE

Rusty Cage, by Totally Rad Actions

Rusty Cage Light @ 41%
Warm Up @ 100%
Levels Tweak @ 0%
Desaturate @ 100%
Duplicate Desaturate layer @ 24%
Rusty Cage Dark @ 64%

Plus a dollop of EZ Burn, by Totally Rad Actions

EZ Burn @ 68% (and erased on hand and feet).
This is what darkens the appearance of the outer edge of the image.

IMPORTANT NOTE:
When you’re shooting, you strive to create a set-up that’s beautifully lit and flattering to your subject. Using actions in post does not mean that you are trying to correct anything you did “wrong” when you captured it. But you can choose to further your artistry and enhance the vision you had while shooting it.

Share your fav action in the comments – I’d love to hear it. Or tell me what you think of Rusty Cage.

I hope you get an opportunity to test drive my secret recipe and cook up some sexy!

xoxo Christa

ps. you can download Rusty Cage right here.
You’ll find it in the set of 48 actions called “TRA 1: The Original” – have fun!