Insights and ideas from Kelly Castro
Framing the perfect portrait
My main goal is to produce unique and memorable images. After working as an art director and then a freelance photographer, I took a job on the Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® software team—the idea being that I could stay close to the photography industry and at the same time free myself to shoot only the jobs and subject matter that truly interest me. Like many people on the Adobe digital imaging team, photography is my passion.
I fell into photography almost by accident. As an art director for a small company with an even smaller budget, I wore many hats, and I was eventually asked to produce product and advertising work. I had always taken pictures, but during this time, I gradually became obsessed with photography. When the offer came to travel with the band Smash Mouth and archive their life on the road, I jumped at it. After I returned from touring, I began taking on all types of photo assignments, from bands, models, and actors to weddings, food, and architecture.
I've always loved the immediacy of digital. I bought one of the first affordable, commercially available digital cameras in the 1990s, and Adobe Photoshop software was part of my workflow from the beginning. The Liquify plug-in is a favorite tool because it enables me to manipulate shape and improve composition. My new favorite feature in Photoshop CS5 is Content-Aware Fill; it's like magic, and it is a huge timesaver when retouching.
Working on the Lightroom team at Adobe is a perfect fit for me because the application is designed from the ground up for the photographer's workflow. I get to experiment with new features far in advance and provide my feedback directly to the developers, similar to the feedback loop in the public beta programs.
So what's new in Lightroom 3? Noise Reduction is a game changer. I can take images I shot with a digital camera 10 years ago and make them usable, or shoot in low light at high ISO and still produce a printable image. The new Post-Crop Vignette in Lightroom 3 is also excellent, and I'm proud to have provided input that helped this feature produce results as good as the vignettes I once created manually in Photoshop.
Whether I'm shooting street photography, action, or portraits, I'm always thinking about how I will process the images. A cool trick I've been using lately to capture more candid street images is to let the camera hang unobtrusively at my side and use a fisheye lens to grab a wide scene. Then I de-fish the image using the Lens Correction controls in Lightroom 3. I've also been taking advantage of the new publishing features, which make it really easy to post photos to Flickr, Facebook, and SmugMug.
Although my black-and-white portraits tend to receive the most attention, I'm interested in shooting so many different subjects and styles that I no longer attempt to specialize. Luckily, between Lightroom and Photoshop, I have all the tools I need to create any look I can envision.
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