Today we sit down with my friend Siegart von Schlichting! Her fantasy work is beautiful and the way she crafts colors inspires us. With what she posts in our Facebook group regularly, we were intrigued to find out what color means to her and how she uses actions in the process
What type of work do you primarily shoot, why do you think color toning is important in your work, and what does it help convey?
I photograph many different kinds of portraits: “Simple” portraits on the one side and fashion and fashion fantasy portraits with fancy styles and special makeup on the other. Color toning is a key element and extremely important for all of them.
What inspired you to begin using our actions?
Like many photographers, I have tried out a lot of actions. Honestly speaking, I was already getting tired of yet another set of actions because the result was usually disappointing. But when I tried out the actions from Pratik Naik and Bella Kotak I was surprised and impressed.
I had already heard and learned a lot from them through tutorials and Youtube. I looked at the “before and after” pictures on the Color Lab page and decided to give it a try. At that time, I was working on a picture for which I needed an exquisite blue toning. So I bought the Crystalline Collection and tried “Azurite” and “Aquamarine” on the picture. The effect was stunning! It immediately turned the picture below into something very special.
Like I said, I was really impressed, because I hadn’t expected something like that. I turned the layers on and off to see how each layer worked. I do this from time to time to learn how an action works and to finetune when the result is not completely satisfying at once. It is so helpful that you can experiment with every layer.
Actions Used – “Azurite” and “Aquamarine” from The Crystalline Collection
How have they helped the images that they’ve used them on?
Basically, I can say that the actions add something dramatic to the pictures. This is especially important for my fashion fantasy pictures, but it’s also very important for my whole style. It lifts the picture and from one moment to the other turns it into something special.
I have worked a lot on skin retouching etc. and I feel I am at a satisfactory level, but in respect to color toning I still see myself at the beginning. I practice a lot, but the result is often unsatisfactory. The Color Lab Actions take over this part of the image processing. Even “simple” portraits get something special with these actions. For the portrait of Laura (at the end of this answer) I used “Ginger Glow” from the Enchanted Collection. The opacity is always around 30%, sometimes considerably less. Even with 10% I achieve wonderful effects.
At the moment I usually start with “Regal” from the Royal Collection. It takes pink from the skin color and unifies the skin colors, which is incredibly helpful. Then I decide in which direction to go and keep experimenting. To get more warmth into the picture, I usually use “Marigold Light” from the Aurora collection.
I find it especially helpful that the name of the actions gives a hint to the color toning. With other actions you normally have the problem, that you don’t really know in advance what there are about to do. You have to use a lot of time, trying them out and that takes a lot of time. So it’s wonderful that the naming of Pratik and Bella is to descriptive.
Action Used – “Ginger Glow” from the Enchanted Collection.
What is your favorite part about using the actions in your workflow and when do you use them?
I usually use backgrounds, textures, flairs etc. for my pictures. These have different color tones and temperatures. I use the actions pretty much at the end to “unite” all colors, so that they fit together nicely. It can ruin a whole picture if the colors used don’t match, an error that I see a lot on composed pictures out there.
My favorite part is that the result of an action is still somewhat of a surprise. That’s super exciting. It’s like playing around with the actions, experimenting, learning.
On other occasions it’s very clear for me, what action will work, and most times the result is satisfying right away. One of my favorite actions is “Black Gold” from the Royal Collection. It fits my style of photos extremely well. As you see, I love these actions ????
Action Used – “Black Gold” from the Royal Collection
What will others find when they give the actions a try?
The images get richer and brighter colors, more contrast, more depth and texture. The color of the image can be changed in a harmonious way and a completely new feeling of the image can be created. I have added the picture “Sometimes I believe in fairies” (posted below) to show, what I mean by that. I took this picture in spring, but through color toning It transformed into a beautiful picture with autumn spirit. For this picture (below) I used “Winter Orange” and “Ginger Glow” of the Enchanted Collection and “Marigold Light” of Aurora color collection to warm it up.
It is so exciting and so much fun for me to experiment with your actions and see my own picture in a completely new way.