TITANIUM: published in Obscurae Magazine

I always love it when I can get an editorial picked up, and love it even more when it's in a new magazine I've not yet been published in. This time around it was a beauty editorial entitled: TITANIUM and it was published today in Obscurae Magazine, a first time for me in this publication.

Featuring one of my absolute favorite models Michelle Baker, this editorial is comprised of 6 painterly looks that escalate from lightly textured brush strokes to heavily smeared/blended makeup with TITANIUM WHITE as its base. Titanium white is a staple and backbone to any visual artist's paint palette and is a foundation colour (or non-colour) that is easily adapted to different situations. For example:

  • add layered brush strokes and it becomes a lattice of pattern and texture
  • mix it with colour and it becomes a pastel tint of the richer, pure pigment
  • use it alone for emphasis, mystery and masking


  • The focus of this editorial was Michelle Baker's exquisite, ever changing, expressive face;  I have long considered her to be one of my photographic muses (not sure you knew that MB - but you do now lol!). She is a joy to work with and her sweet, quiet ways and hard hugs bring out the mother hen in me.
  • MUAH Heidi Cheung and I haven't worked together in a while, so this shoot was a great opportunity for both of us to catch up, put together some beautiful, creative looks and capture some gorgeous shots of Michelle.

I'm thrilled to finally be able to share this lovely set and hope that you like it as much as I do.

Check out the editorial here or visit my Flickr account for the complete editorial set.

Retouching and colour grading

I enjoy retouching. Photoshop is my zen place. It's where I go when I feel like tinkering with colour, compositing and 'digital dermatology'. After a weekend of boxes, dust and debris in the home we are packing up, I felt like I needed a bit of art therapy so tonight I tinkered with a colour grading technique to create a more cinematic, cross-processed image.

Below is result of my play and includes a series of three images from an editorial I had published in early 2013, featuring Karie Holst

  • the first image is a raw, unedited and unretouched version
  • the center image is the retouched and colour corrected version of the raw image
  • the last image is the colour graded, final version

All the editing was completed in Photoshop CC 2014, using non-destructive editing techniques including frequency separation for the skin retouch and adjustment layers for the colour grading.


To view a higher resolution version of this image, please click on the photo.

the dark mysterious place known as compositing...

Playin' with the 'shop and exercising my compositing chops for a few minutes this evening... just goes to show you that the right studio shot combined with the right background can yield interesting and mysterious results.

Fashion editorial image of Karie Holst from our Shakespeare Westwood editorial with hair and makeup by Elena Ismail.

Black body suit by BlackMilk Clothing, plaid skirt by April Peters [The House Gallery Boutique]; jewelry accessories by Stella + Dot, Forever 21, Top Shop and H&M.

Grunge, urban decay background sourced from BigStockPhoto.

compositing for fun

sometimes the creative juices hit a slow point... the edits are becoming tedious... I've just got no mojo. those are the times that I try doing some 'just for fun' composites to exercise my creative muscles. here are just a few quick ones I've done over the last few weeks. i didn't spend a ton of time on these... maybe 15-30 minutes each and it's a good, quick exercise in tone matching, masking, and styling images. i hope you like them :) kysaComposite2


perfection in 4 minutes | richmond fashion retoucher

I often get asked how I go from a raw image to a fashion or beauty shoot final look. The first thing is retouching.

  1. I clean up the skin by removing blemishes and imperfections [and at the request of some models, moles] NOTE: most models have really great skin, so minimal retouching required in most cases; it's just a matter of perfecting the beauty shot.
  2. then I refine the skin with a custom action I developed in Photoshop for myself
  3. next, bring back texture with grain
  4. refine and resharpen as needed
  5. then once the skin is great, I'll play with the colour for a more fashion-forward/editorial look

here is my workflow in 4 minutes. NOTE: the actual retouching took about 8 minutes.