Thursday, October 09, 2014
How I create portraits (part 1)
Here's a glimpse of my workflow:
I shoot everything in RAW and usually bracket my exposure. Then I import my images in Lightroom 4 (LR4). Out of the bracketed exposures, I choose one that seems right for me. Here is a screen shot of the RAW image in LR4:
This was shot with the EF24-70mm f2.8 L ii mounted Canon 5D mk ii. Focal length 70mm, 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400, no flash fired, aperture priority. Not an ideal camera to have for portrait but since that was what I carried at that time - it would have to do. As one can see, there are a lot useless space on the image. Cropping out those useless pixels would compromise the quality of the image but I didn't have much choice. (My EF70-200mm f4 would have been a better choice but I left that at home.)
In LR4, I tweaked the image so it looks a bit better:
Exposure +0.45, Contrast +22, Highlights -100, Shadows +80, Whites 0, Black 0, Clarity +18, Vibrance 0, Saturation -3, Tone Curve (TC) Highlights 0, TC Lights +9, TC Darks -6, TC Shadows 0, Split Toning 0, Sharpening 25, Radius 1.0, Detail 100, Noise Reduction 0, Enabled Profile Corrections, Everything else is 0.
Then I export the image to Photoshop CS6. Here is the image cropped at 4x3 portrait:
Using Silver Efex Pro 2, the image is rendered in black and white:
Then I remove the background using layers. It is much easier for me to remove the background when the image is already in B&W.
I used Analog Efex Pro to add some grit and dirt:
Viveza for selective dodging and burning:
On a new layer, I then tamed the highlights on the nose and the beard using the brush tool and copying the grey tones that are on the image.
Then I created a vignette using Color Efex Pro 4 and was able to easily remove the name tag with a brush tool. We are almost there.
Then I darkened the entire image using Viveza but I masked the face so it would not be affected.
I added a film grain using Color Efex Pro 4 to smoothen out the gradation on the background.
The last step is to create a copy using Shift+Alt+Cmd+E on the iMac. Then I applied the hi pass filter that is built into CS6. I applied a Radius of 1.8 pixel.
Change the blend mode to Soft Light and reduce opacity to 17%. Viola!
Hope this helps. Next time I will write about how I get my signature shoe polish look on the faces of my portraits. Cheers.