Getting more control with contrast using gradient maps by Canberra Photographer - Geoff Jones

No doubt when editing a photo for a client; be it for fashion, beauty or commercial - you will want to adjust contrast. Let's face it, the basic contrast slider in Photoshop doesn't give you much control, so here's a different method for adjusting contrast using a gradient map. First hit "D" on your keyboard to change to the default foreground and background colours black and white. Then make a new gradient map adjustment layer. You should now have a slightly contrasted black and white image. If your image is in negative, tick the "reverse" box. Now set the layer to soft light.


Click on the gradient bar to open the Gradient Editor window.


Now, there are a number of different places where we can make adjustments to the contrast. The black and white box's on either side are called "colour stops". These act as controls for the gradient. If you click on the black colour stop, then click the colour itself underneath the opacity control, you can then change it to a lighter shade of grey. This will bring back some of the shadows. Likewise you can change the colour of the white colour stop to bring back some of the highlights.

Experiment a lot. You can also use this method for split toning outside of camera raw.Another point of adjustment is the "colour midpoint". If you click on one of the colour stops, a little diamond shape appears in between the colour stops. This can be dragged left or right to change the position of the gradient mid point. You can also manipulate the colour midpoint, and the colour stop by clicking on the location box at the bottom of the window and using the up and down arrow keys. I find this method far less painful, as it prevents accidentally creating a new colour stop. If you do accidentally create an unwanted colour stop, just click on it and hit delete.

Have fun and I hope you found this useful!

Geoff Jones Canberra ACT Australia fashion, portrait, beauty and commercial photographer.

Domino by Canberra Photographer - Geoff Jones

Had an amazing shoot with Stefania Kightley. I always love shooting with Stef, she is so much fun to shoot with.This one was inspired by the Movie Domino. Believe it or not, but there is not one ounce of skin retouching... No blemish removal. No doge and burn.

See more of Stef here:


Chantico by Canberra Photographer - Geoff Jones


I'm extremely happy with the results of Sundays shoot with an amazingly talented team consisting of Jessica Lewis, Mary Li, Melissa Tan,  Catherine  Cheah, and Tentacle Threads.

Melissa is a stunning model from Malaysia. I was very fortunate to have had the chance to shoot with her during her short visit back to Australia. If only we had more time!

More images to come soon!

Hello kitty cyber goggles, under-busts, and hot-pants by Canberra Photographer - Geoff Jones

Pink PVC underbust

I'll be shooting the beautiful Sylph Sia later this month in this awesome custom made under-bust vest from Anna at Ladymoon Design. Go check out the rest of her work here Add to that some Hello Kitty cyber goggles, and some black hot pants from Tentacle Threads and we have a recipe for awesomeness!


Don't overdo it! by Canberra Photographer - Geoff Jones





When editing the eyes for beauty images, don't be tempted to give your model vampire eyes. In this cropped close up, I kept the colour of the iris and the eye whites natural by simply increasing contrast and brightness. There is nothing worse than seeing a portrait of a beautiful subject ruined by spooky over-saturated eyes.

In some circumstances, you may want to doge and burn the iris to add pop and contrast, but again don't overdo it.

As far as the eye whites go; Again, keep it simple. Don't remove all of the veins, and remember that the eye is spherical - there should be some shadow to show this. Don't over whiten the eye whites. If you have enough light on your subject, you shouldn't have to whiten the eyes at all. In some cases it's desirable to keep them dark.

Adding a subtle soft dark edge to the iris can give a nice effect.

Lighting: Fill light by Canberra Photographer - Geoff Jones

As you know, in photography,  fill lighting is simply used to fill in shadows. A good starting point for the fill light should be at around half the brightness of the main light, and adjusted to suit the effect you are going for. You generally want the fill light to be perpendicular to the main light, but obviously this is not always desirable. You also want the fill light to be as soft as possible, as its function is not to create shadows, but hide them.

There are many ways to use and place the fill. I like to use cheap white cardboard reflectors which you can buy from art shops for a few dollars, as these give a nice soft fill, and are easily bendable foam core is another option, but I prefer cardboard. This works particularly well for beauty lighting where the white cardboard is placed under the models face and bent upwards from either the front or the sides. This also gives a nice lower catch light as it is reflected in the eyes. You can adjust the intensity of the fill light by simply moving the cardboard further or closer to the subject. You want the fill light to be as soft as possible, which is why it's best to use white over silver reflectors (although silver is sometimes more suitable).

Another method I sometimes use for fill is to bounce a strobe off a wall or the ceiling. essentially turning the surface into a giant soft box. This will give you a very soft light. In this photo, I used the above method for the main light as I wanted the light to be very soft and even. I placed the strobe behind the camera and to the left and pointed it up to the ceiling. You will notice the light is still darker on one side of her face, but the effect is very subtle. I also placed two large rectangular soft boxes behind the model off to either side for some accent lights.