Author Archives: Nikolay Dimitrov
Portrait and Fashion photography by Nikolay St. Dimitrov
Random photos by Nikolay St. Dimitrov
In my country they say: “Better later than never”. According to this piece of wisdom, I proudly present you my latest, 5-months old work, with the young Bulgarian model Ivilina Zhozhgova.
The shoot was released in mid-October 2014, but since I never have enough time, I upload the photos some 5 months later.
The main goal of this shoot was to achieve some beautiful photos for Ivilina’s book.
MUA: Petya Koleva; assistant: Martin Petrov – Marto.
Some time ago (well, it was half a year), I was contacted by Alexander Svet, pro-photographer and Phase One certified professional, about a project he is managing – Capture One Styles. He saw my blog and the articles about Capture One I wrote, and the custom Capture One styles I made and published here. Alexander asked me to try their film styles and return him my opinion. I agreed and he sent me a copy of the styles set.
To be honest, I don’t like today’s “vintage look” vogue. I don’t like the use of vintage plugins and Photoshop actions, as they are over-used these days. For some reason many people just ruin their photos, trying to follow the vogue. I do believe that every photo needs a special attention and editing, and batch-processing is a bad idea.
Capture One and the custom styles offer a different approach to photo editing. This is not just a plugin to batch-process photos with predefined settings. After you apply a custom style, you can continue to edit the photo and change all the settings. Even more – you can use a style as a base to create your own sub-versions of the style, save them and use them later. That’s why I use Capture One :-)
But let’s continue with the Film Styles.
I installed the set with no problems on Capture One 7 Pro, now I am using C1 8.1. The styles are working with no flaws after the upgrade.
The set is divided on two: 1. Black and White film styles and 2. Color film styles. You will find the names of many of the most used films in the set – Fuji, Kodak, Ilford, Polaroid, Agfa…
The first thing you’ll probably notice is that you have two or three versions of some films, marked with v1, v2 or v3 at the end of the style name. Why are these styles offered? Well, I haven’t asked Alexander about this, but if you have experience with film, you maybe know that you can achieve very different results with different processing/developer of the same emulsion.
The second thing to notice is that these styles do NOT emulate the film grain, but only the colors, tints, contrast and saturation. Since Capture One 8, you can add film grain to your taste.
Here is the original photo I used for all the samples you will find below (click the photos to enlarge them):
I have prepared a limited number of samples with some films I have worked in the film era. I cannot say if the styles are absolutely exact emulating the film, but this is not so important. In general, I see a very close result with what I used to expect with film. And this is quite enough for me. As I said, one could have different result depending on the film processing, so it is hard to say whether some color or tint is correct or not.
And here is what I achieved emulating some popular film names:
Here I used the same image, just applied the style over the color version of the RAW file.
The first photo is the color one with BW enabled in the Black & White palette of Capture One Pro. All the sliders in the palette at zero:
And here are the film emulations:
And here is a style applied with some (very strong) noise added in Capture One Pro 8.
I find the film styles useful – knowing what a film could give, you can easy, with a single click, emulate it on your digital photographs.
The film styles can’t do wonders and make your bad photos look cool, but they can surely make your good photos look better.
If you like the film styles, go on the developer’s website and try them yourself: www.captureonestyles.com
Definition of free stock photography
Free stock photos are photos you could get (from a stock photos website) without paying a fee for their download and usage. But how free are these photos? Well, not so free as you wish…
You should always read very carefully the license therms. Photos are distributed under many licenses and everyone of them could be kind of misleading. Some of the licenses allow you to do almost everything with a photo, but this is not the common case. In fact, the most part of the free photos you can get these days have several limitations on their usage and the most important one is: you cannot use them for any commercial purposes. So, they are free for your own usage only – you can watch them on your display, use them to make a personal wallpaper or a home calendar, but you cannot publish them on the Internet, because this could be considered “commercial” and could lead to very strong financial penalties.
What about using free stock photos commercially?
Of course, there are websites where you can get free photos with commercial usage allowed. But should you do that? Well, why not? Depending on the case: I would not use free stock photos to advertise my business. Mainly because there is a possibility that my competitors use the same photo(s). And this is a big problem! By the way, this is the main reason I would not recommend using any stock photos for advertising purposes, no matter if they’re free of paid. Hiring a photographer and making your own style is always the better choice.
Using photos in an editorial (blog, newspaper, magazine, brochure) is also considered commercial usage. And this is where free stock photos are used most often.
Where could you get free stock photos?
Just type the magic words in a search engine and you will get thousands of pages. Google has an option to image-search only free photos with Creative Commons license for commercial usage, but it returns very few results, probably because the photos need special markup to pop-up in the search and there are only few website that use this markup, one of them is Wikipedia.
My website for free stock photos
At the end of 2014, I was doing a cleaning-and-arranging of my main computer storage and I realized I do own too many photos I’ve shot through the years that I cannot sell (because they are not any special). But these nothing-special photos may be valuable for someone in this beautiful world. So, I decided to make e-Cobo – a free stock photos website. I started from the ground and with my very unassuming programming skills, I’ve made a decent website, IMHO.
I have many more to do on this site, I have to make a search function and I have to upload all the photos I prepared (over 2000). A login system will be implemented later and only registered users will have access to the bigger size of the photos. This will take some time, as I work on the website only when I do not have other assignments. I don’t know when I will finish it up, but you can already go on the site and get some really free photos.
All the photos are distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License – you can use the photos even commercially, but you must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. Also, very important, the license is “NoDerivatives” – you cannot edit, change, remix and so on the photos.
All the photos are offered in two sizes: 800 and 1600 pixels the longest side. The size is quite enough for websites, blogs, newspapers, magazines etc.
Here is the new and absolutely free 2015 calendar template for InDesign
The main file in the ZIP package is an Adobe InDesign CS3 interchangeable file format – inx. The file could be opened with all InDesign versions after CS2. Includes also the original InDesign CS4 file, a PDF and a JPG preview image.
The template is fully customizable – months are created with tables and you can easily modify the look of the months. Using the paragraph styles, you can change fonts, colors, spaces and so on in couple of clicks. You cal also remove (make white) the strokes within the table.
The template is 100% free for personal and/or commercial use.
If you like it, please share this page on Facebook or Twitter, or add a link to this page on your blog or website. Thank you!
DOWNLOAD (Zip archive, 1.83Mb)
LICENSE: Free for personal and commercial use
FILE FORMATS: CS3 interchange (.inx), Adobe InDesign CS4 and PDF
WEEK STARTS: Monday
Here are some examples with my latest work with the young model Geri Dimitrova.
The pics were shot for Geri’s modeling portfolio during two hours of shooting on three locations.
photo&retouching: Nikolay Dimitrov
model: Geri Dimitrova
MUA: Grim Viktoria
assistant: Dragomir Uzunov
About this test chart
Three years after the release of my first AdobeRGB test chart it was downloaded thousands of times and I hope it was helpful for people that care about the quality of their prints and the calibration of their computer displays. But, being only 1500×1000 pixels, it is very often too small for today’s large monitors and printers with A4 or Letter size. It is absolutely useless with larger printers. So, this have to be corrected.
The new chart I offer you now is significantly bigger: it is 4252×2835 pixels and is calculated to cover a 60×40 cm print at 180 dpi. With this size it covers also all the displays on today’s market.
The chart has an AdobeRGB color profile embedded!!! You should understand color management and use of color profiles, otherwise you may get some unexpected results.
How to use the test chart
If you use the chart to judge the quality or calibration of your display, simply look at it. Please be aware: most of the browsers (especially on PC) do not understand color profiles, so the only reliable way to see the correct colors is to open the test chart in Photoshop or other image editor or viewer with proper color management. If you are using a browser/software that has not color management capabilities, you’ll most probably see some soft and desaturated colors.
If you are using the chart to test your printer, you must be aware of the proper use of color profiles and color management. Read carefully your printer’s user guide and especially that color management part.
What should you look at?
1. The background of the chart is neutral grey and it should render/print neutral – this shows if there is a problem with the color balance.
2. The color gradient should render/print smoothly, without banding or artifacts – this shows how accurately your printer/display handle the wide gammut of the AdobeRGB space.
3. The grey gradient should render/print without banding and/or corrupted sections and in neutral grey from black to white – this shows the capabilities of your display or printer to render/print accurately the greyscale gammut.
4. There are 4 photos in this chart – two stills and two portraits. The stills contain colors outside the sRGB gammut, and this is useful for displays and printers with gammut wider than sRGB. The portraits shows how your display or printer renders/prints grey gamma portraits and color portraits. Human skin color accuracy is essential if you do photograph people.
5. At the bottom there are five black rectangles on the black background and five white rectangles on the white background. You should discern them all, especially the right ones – this shows how your display or printer handles the darkest and the lightest tones.
Some things to consider
While this test chart has a wide AdobeRGB color space, it can be seen/printed properly only on wide gammut monitors and printers.
You can freely distribute the chart.
You are not allowed to resize, re-save or modify in any way the original file!
Photo and retouching: Nikolay Dimitrov
Model: Geri Dimitrova
MUA: Grim Viktoria
Click for larger view (opens the larger photo in a new window)