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Professional Post Production for Model Photography
Learn how to edit your photographs to give them that magic touch seen in the magazines. This article is a continuation of a case study tutorial on: Professional Lighting for Model Photography.
Starting with the Right Photograph
If you followed my Professional Lighting tutorial about setting up two strobe lights for photographing fashion, you will know where the image we are starting with came from.
You can also start with a professional taken photo from stock photo websites, or from any of your own projects.
This is how raw image looks like. It was shot with Canon 400D, using kit lens 18mm-55mm at 55mm, f16 and exposure 1/125. ISO I used was 100 to keep noise level as low as possible, and my white balance was set to Flash light as we were shooting with strobe lights.
I have to say that when I chose this shot from whole bunch taken, I was pretty happy with it already. But my domain says that everything can be better, even if it seems to be perfect already.
It is very important to know what you want to do, before you start, to avoid complications in the process.
What I didn’t like straight away, was the shape of the bottom part of models face. Also, some colors seem to be a little bit off.
Photoshops Camera Raw
I like to use Photoshops Camera Raw, as it is integrated with Adobe Bridge and Photoshop, making my life a bit easier.
I use Adobe Camera raw to fix colors to my own liking. I tweaked Temperature and Tint a little bit.
Next was fixing Vibrance and Saturation to even out some imperfections of the skin tones.
Last adjustment was changing of overall colour tones of the image. To do this I used the Split Toning tool in Camera Raw
Don’t be Afraid to play around
Color changes, contrast, saturation etc of an image are a very personal thing. It all depends on the effect you want to achieve.
Don’t be afraid to move these sliders! If something goes wrong in Camera Raw, you can always use Ctrl+Z (Windows) or Cmd+Z (Mac) to go back one step or Ctrl+Alt+Z (Win) / Cmd+Alt+Z (Mac) to go back step further.
If you are not happy with what you got, just click on Camera Raw Defaults
Once you have the colors you are after, hit Open Image button to open it in Photoshop.
This is how my shot looks like:
After opening the photograph in Photoshop, the first thing you want to do is get rid of all the dust you have on your sensor, spots, blemishes etc. on the models face. I do this all with the Patch tool.
You have to be very careful, as this technique if over done tends to change, or even blur skin texture.
It takes time to master this technique, but trust me, it is worth that time practicing it.
Defining Face Shape
Having dealt with imperfections in our photo, it is time to sculpt our models face a little bit with the Liquify tool. I mentioned earlier that in this shot, chin area is my main focus.
I like when the face is more defined by sharper lines in general, but that is personal preference.
There are billions of airbrushing tutorials, everyone has their own way of doing it.
I like when it is done as natural as possible, but that can be achieved only if you did good work removing spots to begin with!
I always airbrush with the Stamp tool with opacity set to very low, around 20%, and by hand. This allows us to sculpt a models face even more.
As you can see difference between our before and after are very few. This is because it is very easy to go one step to far and change our model into an overdone plastic doll.
Dodging & Burning
As we come closer to the finishing the image, Dodge & Burn becomes a useful tool.
Again, be wary of overdoing it, as it might create an unnatural effect, and ruin all our hard work.
Too dark? Too Bright?
To avoid an unnatural look, I zoom in and out, all the time, back and forth.
Sometimes it is a good idea to take few minutes brake from looking at the image to get your judgement back on track.
Now when most of our work is done, it’s time for finishing touches.
I darkened the background a bit and added a warming photo filter, to get that “punch” with a warm touch.
You’re welcome to download the source files from this project to take a closer look if you wish. I hope you enjoyed the process and results.