Steve Schuenke's rule #1 for postprocessing Renaissance Festival images --- don't be wimpy. Throw the kitchen sink at an image and pull back the layers to see what's left. That's just about what I did with this image of a vendor selling metal claw gloves at the Texas Renaissance Festival. Doug Haass and I went to the festival on Saturday, taking impromptu portraits of anyone who we thought would make an interesting subject. Like my trip shooting there last year with Larry Patrick, we used a flash on a paint stick shot through a small softbox triggered with Alien Bee remotes. It makes for a nice set up -- very lightweight and flexible. You can put light under someone's hat, overheard for more of a beauty look, or across the face for drama. In fact, I've found shooting like this -- when you have about 2 minutes to evaluate the subject, pick a background, figure out some kind of lighting, and then take a couple of photos -- is probably one of the most challenging and rewarding kinds of photography. You never know who you're gonna meet and what you will bring home on a memory card, but you will learn how to light.
My kitchen sink of layers here included: Topaz Adjust, a couple of great scratched textures, and quite a few curves adjustments to add some depth and dimension.