Portrait – Post Process

Hi All,

Promised in shutterbug to go through some of the Post Process (PP) work on recent portrait.
This is a fairly “standard” set of portrait touch up work with the exclusion of skin smoothing which I haven’t done here.
Please keep in mind that there are lots of ways to do this, this is just the way I do it.

Original Image

EXIF etc..
Canon 350D, Sigma 50mm
1/1000 sec, f1.4 (Av mode), ISO 100
Flash off camera on 2ft bracket mounted on camera right, zoomed to 105mm. High Speed Sync (Camera normal 1/200 sec). 1/2 Cut CTO (Orange) gel.

First step I duplicate the layer and switch it off, there by preserving the layer.

Then I duplicate the layer again and use a partial soft light blend, this helps gently boost the saturation and contrast. I think this step is the single easiest and most effective step (in a subtle way).

Now next step is to move into the face and most particularly the eyes which are the key to any portrait.

Original

We have already done the duplication of lay with soft light blend now lets sharpen the eyes.
Use a soft lasso to copy the eyes to a new layer then use the unsharp mask to sharpen to a point you like (be careful not to much.) You can also adjust the effect by controlling the overall opacity of this new layer.

Now lets touch up the whites of the eye.
New layer, with soft white brush, in soft light blending mode gently paint the whites in, adjust the opacity to get desired effect.

Now lets help the color of the eyes, create a saturation layer and mask, only highlight the iris and boost the saturation.

Now lets do the same trick for the whites of the eyes to the teeth.

Now lets just help the background blur a touch.
Select with soft lasso, copy to a new layer and then big Gaussian blur.

Then adjust the levels / curve if needed. (Not in this image.)
Add a watermark and job done.
This is what the Layers look like.

An this is the final image.

However you will notice that the effects are very very subtle, and may not be easily noticeable in these Low Res files. I believe that this level of subtlety should be your aim for effective PP.

Any comments, questions, critique always welcome etc

= = = = EDIT = = = =
I have been asked about the camera bracket used, here it is.

It allows the flash to be about 2 foot off to camera left, not a massive amount but when close abotu 45 degrees, much better option than just on top of camera and still works with a changing dynamic subject.
This is triggered by cable and not my STE-2 (Infrared) controler as cable is 100% relaible. Also you can see the Orange Gel on the flash.

Cheers,
Richard B.
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