Joseph N. Tran


Here’s a quick sample comparison of my levels of post processing under certain lighting. The first set of Abby, in the black, was lit from a continuous light. The rest of the lighting was from the remaining ambient light coming through the side window, helping to separate the background a bit. I hung a reflector on Abby’s right side. I shot at a high ISO,  allowing more light, and to introduce some noise. The second set of Abby, denim shirt, was pretty much a direct strobe. Nothing special or specific here.

As far as the processing, the first set, I consider it to be pretty heavily processed. There were adjustments in colors, the channel mixer, as well as the usual curves adjustments post-RAW adjustments. It wasn’t needed, because Abby has excellent skin, but the retouching on the skin textures was to just give the shots more of a flat clean look, instead of a more natural gritty one. I actually prefer simple natural shots with natural skin textures, but everything serves a purpose. The rest of the work included simple healing, dodging, burning, and then I capped it off with a little more artificial noise for the finish.

The second set of Abby has very minimal adjustments. The biggest change is in the bump in contrast through the curves adjustment layer. I also gave the colors a slight bump to give this overall set more of a punch. I usually consider the context of the shots when deciding if I want the pictures to have more of a high contrast, versus a low contrast feel. If this shoot was more stylized, and the actions and directions involved, were more distant and aloof, I would’ve probably gone more in a low contrast direction with the adjustments. These shots were more natural, slightly sexy, and showcased Abby just being herself in my eyes. 

To wrap it up, this second set had no other adjustments or any forms of retouching done. I cropped the shots to the proper proportions to arrange, and resized accordingly. The first set, had heavier post processing, more than I usually like for my personal works. Whatever direction you decide to go with, for your own works, will depend on how you personally feel about it. There aren’t any rules, so don’t let others dictate what you should do. Don’t get too involved and stuck in having your work look like this persons’ or that persons’ …do you. Discover what works best for yourself, share your works with others, be open to constructive criticism, humbly accept compliments, and continue to grow and evolve.

Eastside Story

Here’s a fashion set I’m brewing up involving Alex. This was shot in Salt Lake City awhile back. I’m piecing together various shoots, and this one was always one of my favorite ones. Alex has such striking features, and Janelle Corey, did an amazing job on her hair and makeup.

I’m currently debating on adjusting the colors, or simply going more bold with black and white. It’s still up in the air, but for now I’ve just laid out the RAW shots in a story board to get a better feel for how, and where, I want it to go.


Time flies by when you find your groove. I’m just getting caught up with things. It was such a busy, and difficult, weekend. Nevertheless, a new book is up!

Check it out when you get a chance. A glimpse of it was teased in my last post. Some neat shots, organized and arranged, to reflect the theme. I broke it up into three chapters, focusing on three aspects of Los Angeles. If you’re curious about the “sL92”, it’s more personal to me than anything. The “92” reflects an important year to me, and the “sL” is someone who had a huge impact in my life around that time. Hope you enjoy it!

Meg above, making it just in time.


“Sometimes I feel like my only friend, is the city I live in, the city of angels. Lonely as I am, together we cry.” -Under The Bridge : Red Hot Chili Peppers

A glimpse at some L.A. Stories with Hannah, Kianna, and Alex.

Pretty Days

Wasting the day away, and absorbing negative thoughts, doesn’t accomplish a thing. Live for the day. The best season is upon us. Enjoy what’s in front of you, and feel fulfilled for what you have, instead of what you desire.

Chelsea in the garden.


Awhile back, I thought it would be a fun idea to play with a few digital projectors. I got them connected to my Macbook, threw on some choice movies and created some unique backdrops and colors. Shot a few of my close model friends in this scenario and was excited to see the results.

I shot at a high ISO, somewhere around 3200 - 6400, and just used the projectors lighting for much of my lighting source. I killed off any ambient light in the room, and just let the projector do the work as well as the camera. I shot in RAW format to give myself some room for error. As for the models, I just let them be themselves, and they had a great time with the project. I really enjoyed the results.

I haven’t taken the time to go back, to thoroughly piece these shoots together. So I figured it would be fun to share them on this post. The top set is of Cassy, I used more of a futuristic setting, and the movie used, I believe, was “2046.” The bottom set featuring Kelly, I used “The Fountain.” The shots of Kelly, posted here, were shot from my old iPhone 5. Not bad for the time, in regards to the quality of the shot, and what I was able to do with it. These movies were quite visually stunning, and would provide really interesting backdrops and overlays. 

The results posted are pretty much as shot, with some light adjustments for shadows and highlights. I’ll probably work on these some more, down the line. Right now I’m currently working on another chapter to add to a personal favorite story of mine, which I’ll post within the week.

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