Tuesday 24 June 2008

A simple way to add zing to your portraits

I took this shot of Emily at the weekend using window light and a collapsible background - an impromptu shot with no fussing over set-up. She's got a lovely expression and the skin tones are natural - perfectly acceptable. However, as I didn't bother to light the background separately it is rather muted.

A couple of minutes in Lightroom and Photoshop though and you can make the shot a lot more vibrant. I used the brightness control in Lightroom (this protects highlights unlike the exposure control) to give a modern high-key look to Emily and then split-toned the image, introducing a gold hue into the highlights. I then exported to Photoshop and made a crude selection of the face which I then inverted. I used the 'replace color' command to select only the background and then lightened this (if I hadn't deselected Emily's face, areas here would have lightened as well). I then added a white stroke and black border (a process I have stored as an action). Very simple but gives the portrait a very different feel.

Check out more of my photography here: Kent portrait photographer

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