Portrait Post Production with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop Part 5 – A review

You have now seen some of the techniques I use in portrait post production.  Which one is best?

Well thats difficult to say,  It really depends on whats needed and whats acceptable.

Above you have the uncorrected RAW, Basic adjustments from Lightroom, Skin Blur and Digital Make-up.  Which one is best i’ll leave to you.

Hope you enjoyed these techniques.  Coming soon, posts on Work Flow and also Sharpness.

 

Special thanks go to Shelley GiardCorey Barker and Kelby Training, thanks guys, these techniques have been stolen shamelessly from you. Thanks for making me a better photographer.

 

Want to learn photoshop and learn about these techniques in more detail, then check out the Podcast “The Photoshop Guys” and also the websiteKelby Training, well worth subscribing to.

Portrait Post Production with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop Part 4

In Parts One and Three we covered the use of the use of the healing brush.  Now its time for skin smoothing.  In Part Two we used the most controversial technique, skin blurring.

Now were going to use what could be termed digital make up.

From our Part 3 post we  had ended up with the image above.  The major imperfections have been corrected (see Part Three) now its time for the skin blur.

Using photoshop duplicate the layer (Command-J on the Mac), don’t work on the original layer.  If you have multiple layers all contributing to the final image then use Shift-Option-Command-E (On the Mac) to produce a new layer based on the previous layers.

Our first job is to create a layer mask based on the cleanest channel of the image.

If you deselect all channels except one and view the image in turn you will soon see which channel is the cleanest.  Normally its the Red Channel.

With just the cleanest channel selected, Command-Click (Control-Click in Windows) on it to produce a selection. Click back onto the layers tab and click on the create new layer, then click on Add Mask.  A mask based on the channel selection will be created.

Make sure you have the new blank layer selected before you start.  Select a small soft brush.  The intention is to layer on a colour that will mask the skins imperfection, just like a layer of make up.  If you have a tablet then this is far easier but it can be accomplished with a mouse or a Mac touch pad or Magic track pad.  Just set the flow to a low setting between 1-10 no higher.

Using option click sample a good skin tone and then paint this on.  Keep sampling and painting.  On the new layer you will end up with something like this:

This overlaid produces a very pleasing image retaining texture in the skin tones.

As I mentioned in Post 3, you could now go on to work on the eyes and teeth but the basic work is complete. Once you have it looking like you want its just time to add the sharpening and final tweaks.

 

Below, is a crop of the before, a crop of the after using the blur technique from part 2 and a crop of the digital make up technique used here.

 

 

Special thanks go to Scott Kelby and Kelby Training, thanks guys, these techniques have been stolen shamelessly from you. Thanks for making me a better photographer.

 

Special thanks go to Shelley GiardCorey Barker and Kelby Training, thanks guys, these techniques have been stolen shamelessly from you. Thanks for making me a better photographer.

 

Want to learn photoshop and learn about these techniques in more detail, then check out the Podcast “The Photoshop Guys” and also the websiteKelby Training, well worth subscribing to.

 

Portrait Post Production with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop Part 3 – Retaining Texture

Back in Part One and Part Two of this series, we processed a RAW image, made some basic adjustments and ended up with the following image.

Then we took it into Photoshop, cleared up the complexion and applied skin softening techniques using the skin blurring techniques.

In this part we will again take the image into Photoshop but this time try our best to retain the original skin texture leaving a more natural look.  This technique requires more effort but for gives better results.

Using photoshop duplicate the layer (Command-J on the Mac), don’t work on the original layer (I am going to keep repeating this, its easier to delete a layer and start again on that stage then to have to start from scratch).

In the above image using the spot healing brush with the mode set to Lighten but with content aware switched on (CS5 not available in previous versions) the major imperfections in the skin have been removed.  Use a small brush, just bigger then the spot your trying to heal and remember to use a soft edged brush.  Dab a away on the darker imperfections gradually removing them.  For the lighter areas and excessive skin shine, the same technique can be employed but set your Mode to Darken.

If your working on an area close to a boundary like an area of skin next to the hair or the dress, it can make the image look worse.  If this happens just undo and switch from the spot healing brush to the healing brush.  Select from an adjacent area (Option-Click on Mac; Alt-Click on Windows), and then click on the area to heal.  For larger areas, then you will need to resort to patch tool, but be careful to prevent reoccurring pattens from forming.

Next we will soften the skin but this time use a more advanced technique to preserve the texture.  See you in Part Four.

Special thanks go to Shelley GiardCorey Barker and Kelby Training, thanks guys, these techniques have been stolen shamelessly from you. Thanks for making me a better photographer.

 

Want to learn photoshop and learn about these techniques in more detail, then check out the Podcast “The Photoshop Guys” and also the websiteKelby Training, well worth subscribing to.

 

 

Portrait Post Production with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop Part 2

Well we did the initial corrections and used the healing brush.  Now its time for skin smoothing and the most controversial technique, skin blurring.

Most people now say don’t use it, but used carefully it can produce a very nice effect.

I still use it for many of my images, while it can destroy texture, its fast and can produce images that your client will love.

If you remember from our part 1 post, we had ended up with the image above.  The major imperfections have been corrected (see Part One) now its time for the skin blur.

Using photoshop duplicate the layer (Command-J on the Mac), don’t work on the original layer.  If you have multiple layers all contributing to the final image then use Shift-Option-Command-E (On the Mac) to produce a new layer based on the previous layers.

From the menu select filter-blur-Gaussian Blur.  I tend to use a Radius of 20 pixels but feel free to experiement.

What you see above is the blur effect, now obviously this is totally unsuitable, so add a layer mask via Option-(add layer mask button).  This masks out the effect of the blur and you get back with what you had before you added the blur.

Now you select the layer mask and carefully paint on the mask to remove it where the skin is.  Once that is complete reduce the Opacity to about 40% on the layer and you will have a reasonable effect.

You could now go on to work on the eyes and teeth but the basic work is complete. Once you have it looking like you want its just time to add the sharpening and final tweaks.

Part 3 will see us going back to the beginning, this time we will use techniques to try and preserve the original skin texture.

Before and after below:

Special thanks go to Scott Kelby and Kelby Training, thanks guys, these techniques have been stolen shamelessly from you. Thanks for making me a better photographer.

 

Want to learn photoshop and learn about these techniques in more detail, then check out the Podcast “The Photoshop Guys” and also the website Kelby Training, well worth subscribing to.

Portrait Post Production with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop Part 1

If you shoot jpeg then what you get out of the camera is generally pretty good.  If you shoot RAW then what you get out is generally not as good looking straight out of the camera, unless you use the Camera manufactures own RAW processing software.

Most of use prefer something a little easier to use and more powerful, such as Apple’s Aperture, Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe’s Lightroom.

RAW files thought have far greater potential and can be processed to give a better image then with jpegs.

The image above is a RAW file taken straight from the camera, with Adobe Lightroom’s default settings.  There are a few blown highlights and the colour temperature is a little low.

It does not take much to tweak the exposure and colour temperature and apply a little sharpening (Sharpening is a topic for another day).

What we have above is much closer to what I saw in the studio.

For many people this is how the photograph ends.  The next steps that can be taken are what many consider to be steps to far.  A betrayal of true photography.  What many people do not know, is that while the next steps have become easier with products like Adobe Photoshop, these techniques where possible in the darkroom and have been with us now nearly a hundred years.

We now have a number of options available to use.  Everyone even the most perfect of models has small imperfections.  A good make artist can make all the difference, but even then things get missed, or the make is either under or over done.

The healing brush to the rescue.  Lightroom and Photoshop both have healing brushes but as I intend to do things with this image that Lightroom cannot do easily I took the decision to take the image into Photoshop.

Using photoshop duplicate the layer (Command-J on the Mac), don’t work on the original layer.  In the above image using the spot healing brush with the mode set to normal but with content aware switched on (CS5 not available in previous versions) the major imperfections in the skin have been removed.  Use a small brush, just bigger then the spot your trying to heal and remember to use a soft edged brush.  If your working on an area close to a boundary like an area of skin next to the hair or the dress, it can make the image look worse.  If this happens just undo and switch from the spot healing brush to the healing brush.  Select from an adjacent area (Option-Click on Mac; Alt-Click on Windows), and then click on the area to heal.  For larger areas, then you will need to resort to patch tool, but be careful to prevent reoccurring pattens from forming.

So with the major imperfections corrected the next step is skin softening, a topic mired in controversy.

There are two major options available to us.  Do we want perfect  flawless skin or something a little more natural.  Both techniques can be taken too far and remove all the texture but one tends to obscure skin texture more then the other.

Part 2 will look at this and use the most controversial technique. Skin blurring.

 

Want to learn photoshop and learn about these techniques in more detail, then check out the Podcast “The Photoshop Guys” and also the website Kelby Training, well worth subscribing to.

A bit of Shoot Prep

No Photography tomorrow but an outdoor shoot on Saturday morning subject to weather and a studio shoot in the afternoon.

I try to be as prepared as possible, and have prep lists for each kind of shoot, and regularly top up my batteries before hand and make sure my bag is packed ready to go.

Something that is easy to forget is to double check your memory cards. So tonight I am just checking whats on each card and ensuring I have two copies of that data on separate hard disks before giving them a quick format.

One important tip is to always format the card on the camera you intend to use it in. Never format your card on the computer.

Happy Shooting.

Lightroom – Importing Presets

Installing Lightroom presets can be a little tricky but Mat from Lightroom Killer Tips has recently found out, there is a far easy way.

Just Drag and drop the preset file on to your Lightroom icon in the dock.

Thanks Matt.

Of course that is if your a Mac user. If you’re a Windows user then double click the preset file. It will most likely say it does not understand the file type. Associate the file type with Lightroom and then double click will install it.

Have not tried it in Windows, as I do not have a Windows machine handy to test it on, only Apple Mac’s, Linux, and Solaris at present. Must rebuild that Windows 7 test machine of mine.

Photo Tip: Sharpness 4

Sharpness.

Something all photographers worry about, this the fourth in a series of posts.  This time something a little different that you might not have thought of.

Are your shots tack sharp?

  • Do you use a heavy tripod?
  • A cable release?
  • Still not sharp?

Try using your mirror lockup, something I always use on my
Hasselblad when shooting landscapes, most digital SLR’s have
this function these days.

On lower end DSL’s it is generally buried in a sub menu, but on higher end models there may be a dedicated button or dial.