The Blue & Gray…& Sepia!

April 11, 2016 § 2 Comments

"Union Soldiers"

“Union Soldiers”

My last blog was about making my present day images look like images from the last century.  I got a number of emails asking if I could show some more including a few before and after shots.  I had some Civil War re-inactor images that I shot years ago, and also some images from the Gettysburg Battlefield and thought this would be a great combination.  All of the human beings in these images were shot at a re-inactor event in Mentor, Ohio a few years ago, and all of the background images were shot when my family and I took a trip to Gettysburg many years ago.  The exceptions are the few “studio” portraits where I used a painted background or my barn door…both of which are in my studio.  Besides the “antique” images, I included a few color portraits and also a couple of series of before and after images so you can see from step one to the final image.  My basic workflow is to take the original color images, strip out the people from their original background, place them on a new background and then edit the composite images for a final color image.  I clean up the images, maybe adjust the saturation, adjust the exposure using “curves” first and then maybe “levels”.  I’ll use Topaz’s “Clarity” to play around with the contrast and color and then move on to Topaz’s “Detail” to bring out some texture.  Sometimes I’ll add a layer mask and brush out the texture where I don’t want it…usually if there’s a women’s face in the image would be one example.  Since these re-inactors were all grizzled soldiers, I left in most of the texture on their faces.  I may add a gaussian blur and then adjust that blur to affect only certain areas.  I’m usually done at this point, and I did include some of the final color images, but since I want a monotone image, I now move onto creating a black & white image and then adding a sepia tone.  There are a lot of different looks you can do here, but for that “antique” look, I prefer sepia.  I then add a border and I’m done!  I used to do all of the black & white in Photoshop, but I recently bought the Nik Software program and for my money, they have the best b&w in their Silver Efex Pro program.  Anyhow, I’m including more images than I’ve ever done on my blog before, but I wanted to cover this pretty thoroughly.  Hope you like them.

"Confederate Officer"

“Confederate Officer”

"Union Soldier and Cannon"

“Union Soldier and Cannon”

"Union Soldiers on Guard Duty"

“Union Soldiers on Guard Duty”

"Union Soldiers Discussing Strategy"

“Union Soldiers Discussing Strategy”

"Union Soldiers in Color"

“Union Soldiers in Color”

"Background 1"

“Background 1”

"Re-inactors 1"

“Re-inactors 1”

"Union Soldiers on Guard Duty Color"

“Union Soldiers on Guard Duty Color”

"Background 2"

“Background 2”

"Re-inactors 2"

“Re-inactors 2”

“Confederate Officer”

"Union Soldier Environmental Portrait"

“Union Soldier Environmental Portrait”

"Union Officer Environmental Portrait"

“Union Officer Environmental Portrait”

"Union Soldier Portrait"

“Union Soldier Portrait”

"Union Soldier Color Portrait"

“Union Soldier Color Portrait”

"Union Soldier Studio Portrait 2"

“Union Soldier Studio Portrait 2”

“Union Soldier Studio Portrat 1 Color”

“Union Soldier Studio Portrait 1”

“Union Soldier Studio Portrait 2 Color”

As always, thanks for looking!




§ 2 Responses to The Blue & Gray…& Sepia!

  • norpro says:

    They look great! Loved the horses too those really looked like they were old! and beautifully suited for the sepia tone!

    • Thanks. I did not want to have the Civil War images long as old and faded as the horse images. If you look at actual battlefield photographs and portraits shot by Matthew Brady, they are very pristine! I’m amazed by those old time photographers who used large format cameras on tripods in war zones or other difficult locations and produced some amazingly beautiful work! There’s Matthew Brady with his Civil War images, Edward Curtis’ portraits of the Native Americans, and Charles M. Conlon photographing baseball players in the early 1900’s…these people were amazing!

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