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Paul Johnston
Attended University of Texas at Austin
Lives in Austin, Texas


The Sheik's Daughter !

Model Brenda looks sharp for our catalog shoot.  She was wearing grey leggings, black lace top and a fancy headband with a sequin emblem on the front.  This trendy look could have been found on young ladies having fun at a ski lodge resort lounge.

While shooting with various props, I suggested she place a wool scarf over her head and then her nice headband over that.  Upon leaning to her left and giving an intense gaze, a wonderful look was captured.  Even silent screen legend Rudolf Valentino would be amazed!


Two studio lights, left/right, on white background, 7 inch reflectors, .5 stops over front lighting.

Two strip lights, left/right and behind model pointing at her sides, intensity equal to front lighting.

Overhead 24" x 36" soft box, 1 stop over front lighting.

Two extreme silver PLM 86" umbrellas with diffusion sock, left/right at front, set equal distance from model, 45 degrees to model

Photoshop Image Processing:

Background image duplicated, extracted with quick selection tool and placed on a new layer with layer mask.

Under the above layer a white layer is created which now gives image a pure white background for catalog look.

Retouching was done with the healing brush, replace mode, to remove some stray hair from the scarf, lace blouse and side of the face.  Slight smile line was removed.

Non destructive dodge/burn was done by creating new layer, fill with 50% gray and using soft brushes of various sized on soft light blend mode at 3% opacity.  White brush lightens/black,darkens.

Selective color adjustment layer was created.  Black is decreased slightly in red, yellow and white layers.  Black is increased slightly in neutrals and black layers .

Contrast adjustment layer was created.  Contrast increased slightly and brightness decreased slightly.

Hue/Saturation adjustment layer created.  Master: Saturation -4; Lightness 1 / Reds: Saturation -3 / Yellow: Saturation -3 / Cyan:  Saturation 4 / Blues: Saturation 4 / Magentas:  Saturation -4

Curves adjustment layer created.  Slightly pull down darks:  Input  45 / Output 36.  Slightly pull up lights:  Input  203 / Output 216.

Create stamp layer with unsharp 100 and noise 1.

Model/Wardrobe: +Brenda Lysiane 
Makeup/Hair:  +priscila bustos 
Studio Owner/Photographer's Assistant:  Monica Smith
+Juju Smith  / +jujufotofactory 
Photographer:  +Paul Johnston 

#fashion   #catalog   #model   #modelshoot   #glamour  
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Thank you Ani Gill !
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PI IN THE Sky !  -  #PlusOneCollectionIII  

While doing some HDR photography in Oakwood Cemetery (Austin's oldest city owned cemetery), my wife came over and asked me what the smoke writing in the sky was all about.  I initially read the smoke message as "PIN IN THE SKY" followed by lots of numbers which had become distorted enough that I could not read most of them.  SXSW is going on in Austin and I figured it was some sort of promotion.  Additionally, there was an airplane flying around in the sky towing a banner.

It was not until I got home and did a Google search did I realize the sky writing was celebrating National PI Day ( #piinthesky ), a day honoring the mathematical concept of PI.  PI Day is celebrated on 3.14.  Because today was a clear day and tomorrow in Austin is suppose to be drizzlely, I am guessing pilots of the five planes that placed the smoke writing in the sky decided to do so a little early so the writing could be best seen.

Yesterday I was at Oakwood Cemetery doing photography and upon leaving at closing time realized I had lost one of my rubber feet to my Gitzo tripod; so, today I went back and retraced my steps the day before and found the rubber foot.  

Oakwood Cemetery is a really nice place.  It is large, right in the central part of Austin and surprisingly quite in certain sections given it is right next to IH 35 highway.  With the exception of a few dog walkers, joggers and bicyclist, you have the place to yourself which is a really unique experience right in down town Austin.

Lots of graves are in need of repair.  I have started looking in to tombstone repair.  It is a very interesting subject.  Between the traffic on the Interstate Highway nearby and all the souls at rest in the cemetery, one's mind has much food for thought.

This is the AirSign Blog that gives some details on how the sky writing was achieved.  -

#PlusOneCollectionIII      #piinthesky   #oakwoodcemetery   #austintexas   #sxsw   #sxsw2014  
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Thank you Ani Gill !
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Paul Johnston

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Be Mine Valentine !  Happy Valentine's Day !


Model Taylor

Makeup and Hair, Alicia Guevara
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+Fototaker Sf Thanks for the comment!
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An incredible moment between photographer Jeremy Cowart and actor client John Schneider who had found out his father had past away one hour prior to the photo shoot.  More incredible is the connection John had made with Jeremy during the shoot where John shared his grief for the photographer to capture.  Two humans making a profound connection over the loss of another human and the documentation of such.
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Thank you Doni Saputra !
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Going on live right now is +Miss Aniela 's workshop on Imaginative Fashion Photography.  This event gives you the start to finish of how Miss Aniela comes up with her creativity to the actual shoot in developing the concept.  She is very good in giving her thoughts as a background as to what she is intending to accomplish.  This is really good stuff for the creative soul!
Miss Aniela’s collection of Surreal Fashion takes us to a shadowy, mysterious place where the most elaborate and fantastical dreams breathe to life.
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Interview With Australian Fine Art Photographer and Digital Artist Alexia Sinclair

This is a fine in depth interview about +Alexia Sinclair by +Julia Kuzmenko McKim .    If you have ever wondered how Alexia came to do the type of art she does and how she accomplishes it, this is a great read.  Excellent job by both Ms. Sinclair and Ms. McKim!
About 5 years ago, when I was still in my Photography college in Australia, our teachers would regularly introduce us to the new and noteworthy Australian photographers’ and digital artists’ work. Among others there was one artist, whose work really grabbed my attention and I have been...
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Great mobile interview concept by Chase Jarvis during SXSW!
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Casimir Dreams

What exits between reality, the awaken state, and the spirit world is a state of suspended animation; a levitational state where the reality of being is repelled by the everyday world and attracted by the dream spirit world resulting in the soul being suspended between the two.

Model +Seraphina Song  and an evening of photography made it possible for Casimir Dreams to come true.  At a younger age, Seraphina was an international fashion model.  Now, after her daily professional responsibilities are done, she likes to model for the creation of art and do artistic photography herself.

This creation was a group effort.  Monica Smith (+Juju Smith ) wanted to do a shoot based on a fine art concept of levitation.  The inspiration for this came from the work of +Brooke Shaden    The result of which ended up of an evening of Seraphina being placed in several scenarios of falling, floating and posing in fine art fashion while a fog machine was turned on and off.

This image can be divided into 4 individual elements:

1.  The "reality" state where model is seated on a table covered in black fabric.  Lighting was done with a large umbrella with diffusion sock, upper left of camera and one grided strobe, back right, pointing toward model's ankle area.  Model/table was extracted with quick selection tool in Photoshop and placed into background layer.  No adjustments were made to original image initially.  Upon final tweaking, a clipping layer was added with 50% gray fill so that non destructive dodging/burning could be done to the reality state.

2.  Lighting for the "levitation" state is the same as #1 above while model is laying on the same table covered in black fabric.  Model was extracted and placed into background as in #1.  No adjustments were made to original image initially.  Upon final tweaking, a clipping layer was added with 50% gray fill so that non destructive dodging/burning could be done to the levitation state.  Opacity was lowered to 80%.

Because of the back lighting, a very bright spot of light (lens flare) appeared above her right leg.  This bright area was left in during the extraction process.  Because of this bright area overexposing part of her left leg, the background was going to have to be adjusted to take this into account.

3.  The original background layer was created by filling a layer with black and compositing various elements onto it.  The background was my temporary work space while creating.  I doubled the largest dimension of one image and created a square background, then, added the various elements onto it and did a final crop at end after I made a stamp layer and sharpened.  Because I did not scale any extracted element, the file size of the composite reached a little over 2 GB for the PSB file.  Upon removing non needed working layers and cropping, the file size came down so it could be saved in PSD format.  Eventually, this file was scaled down to web size/quality in JPEG format.

I used Render-Lens Flare- 50 mm to 300 mm zoom at 100% brightness to fill the background and provide a believable reason as to why the levitating model had a bright lens flare in the lower part of her left leg.  The way the lens flare worked out tied the sitting model to the floating model.  After the image was completed, I went back and added clouds by taking a cloud image, turning it to grey scale and then added it to a layer using Lighten blending mode.  A white reveal mask was added and a black brush was used on the mask to paint away the clouds that were obscuring the three models. 

4.  Prior to the clouds being added, the "spirit" (angel) state was added in the center.  The model stood about 2.5 feet off the ground on a 6 foot ladder.  Around her waist was wrapped an ornate red fabric that came all the way down to the floor and spread out in a circle about 1 foot around her imaginary feet.  Bamboo foliage cut from around nearby railroad tacks were given for the model to hold in each hand with her arms crossed across her chest.  The model's face was now about 8 feet from ground level.

A large soft box was off to camera left and elevated to illuminate left side and face of model.  A large strip box was off to camera right and elevated to illuminate the models left side.  A small strip box, at camera right, horizontally oriented, was elevated to height of model's face to illuminate her face.  Behind the model to camera right was a grided strobe pointing to the back of the model to illuminate her hair and bamboo foliage.

Model was extracted with quick selection tool in Photoshop with a new layer and layer mask and placed into background layer. The quick selection tool did not work well on the bamboo foliage so I painted on the layer mask with a white brush to reveal the foliage and original black background around the foliage area.  A blend mode of Screen was applied to this layer causing the black background area around the foliage to drop out.  The Screen blend mode caused the model to become very transparent which works well for implying a spiritual state.

Finally the spirit was distorted by using Transform warp mode.  Basically the model was stretched and curved to the left as if the spirit was looking at the levitation state. 

Final Tweaks:  Adjustment Layers

Selective Color:  white, neutral and black were adjusted.

Curves:  On the black end, Input 1; Output 8 : On the white end, Input 255; Output 245 / slight gentle downward bend of overall curve.

Hue/Saturation:  Saturation -4

Brightness/Contrast:  Brightness -12; Contrast 29

Lastly - Stamp layer, Unsharp 100, Noise 1 and Crop


Model:  +Seraphina Song 

Makeup:  +Seraphina Song 

Event Organizer: +Juju Smith 

Photo Studio:  +jujufotofactory 

Photographer:  +Paul Johnston 

Inspiration:  +Brooke Shaden 

#levitation   #fineart   #model   #modelshoot   #imagination   #fantasy  
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Thank you Ani Gill !
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Thanks +Lee Daniels for being such a positive force in this world.  Looks like your being a wonderful person even out did your excellent photography!  I followed you on Google + and was always wishing the best for you.  Condolences to your family.  May your spirit fly unfettered!

#rememberingLeeDaniels   #restinpeaceLeeDaniels  
Another wonderful moment. My brother and I stood next to each other and chose very different compositions. I love how photographers can share space and time and unique visions.
My brother +Dave Daniels version is here:
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how true that is about different perspective though viewing from the same spots. fantastic image and colors
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Texanna Gypsy !

Model Valicia, aka Lisi, gathered her wardrobe and props to come up with a gypsy outfit, Texas style catalog shoot.  Her dress is made by the Texas +Magnolia Pearl,  an eclectic clothing artist. (  Lisi also appears in a Magnolia Peal commercial titled "Serenade of the Winged Victrola"   See -

The above image was taken with 7 strobes - 2 large diffused umbrellas, front, left/right; 2 strip boxes left/right slightly behind and shooting toward model's back and side; 2 bare bulb strobes left/right pointing back to seamless paper background and flagged with black cine foil; 1 small overhead softbox on boom for hair light.  The background and overhead lights were set at about a 7/10th  stop brighter than the main two front lights.  The strip boxes were set about 1 stop of light less than the front lights.

In taking this image, things other than the background (strobe and lighting equipment appeared in the image) so, Lisi was extracted and placed onto a white background.  Basic tweaking was done and a seperate layer was created to add a subtle shadow along the bottom edge of the pillow, dress and boots. A gaussian blur was applied to shadow.  Because the image was evenly lighted orginally, the shadow was made very faint.

Model/Wardrobe:  Lisi
Dress Designer: +Magnolia Pearl 
Makeup/Hair:  +priscila bustos 
Studio Owner/Photographer's Assistant:  Monica Smith
+Juju Smith / +jujufotofactory 
Photographer:  +Paul Johnston 

#catalog   #fashion   #model   #modelshoot   #MagnoliaPearl   #glamour   #gypsy
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Thank you Elizabeth Lund !
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Photographer - Fashion, Glamour, Musicians, Events, HDR
Enjoy having fun with people and kidding them.  Hope others will poke a little fun at me too!
Bragging rights
I'm from Texas ! A beekeeper in a former life, until the bees threw me out ! Have been know to stretch the truth and on occasion, tell the truth! I am the only one officially allowed to issue Gold Stars on Google+ ! Am a storyteller, some of which may be true. ;-)
  • University of Texas at Austin
    Marketing, Honors Program, B.B.A.
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Austin, Texas
Longview, Texas - Fort Leonard Wood (military base) - Fort Belvoir, Virginia - Akumal, Mexico - Isla de Mujeres, Mexico
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