Creating Light – Creative Portraiture

posted in Personal

Creating Light – Creative Portraiture

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I’m lucky enough to have some down time for the next few months (woohoo!) which allows me the luxury of revisiting past work and trying new ways of post processing. I’ll be sharing my techniques here in an effort to be more creatively active this year. Hey that kinda rhymed! Okay focus…

So when I created the above images I didn’t intend to make a blog post, thus, I did not save my work accordingly. I will however recreate the same technique, just in a different pattern to make it more interesting for me. Or perhaps in a different color. I haven’t decided yet. I don’t know. YOU don’t know. It’s a mystery!  Not really. It will be blue. Some shade of blue. Mystery solved. Sort of. OKAY, Let’s work on this together shall we?

Here’s the base image:

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Yes. I know. I’m using Adobe Camera Raw, get over it. I use Lightroom for client work but I’m way too chaotic with my creative work to use Lightroom. Now if we can move past this I would greatly appreciate it.

I’ve basically left the image SOOC. My first order of business when I bring an image of a person into photoshop is to work on their skin. Even if you have perfect skin it’s hard not to find something to fix when you’re staring at an image for any length of time. Lint, stray hairs, mascara dust, you’ll find something that needs to be removed.  ANYhow…

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In this case I didn’t do much. Removed some spots using the heal tool. Nothing fancy. OH I should also mention that I’m a MAC user so I really have no idea what the commands are for PC’s.

Moving on.

 

Command J (to duplicate the layer)

Grab your brush tool.

Select a color. Set your opacity to something low (35% ish)

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Paint the area you want colored.

Keep choosing different shades of the color you’ve chosen (i.e. a light blue, a mid blue and a dark blue). This will give the color depth.

Create a brightness/contrast adjustment layer.

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Crank the brightness and contrast.

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Invert the layer mask by hitting “command i” (the layer mask will go black).

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Use your brush tool to paint in the adjustments you just made to the desired areas. Your brush should be white to “reveal” – If you make a mistake, just make your brush black to “conceal.”

Okay this version looks like garbage. Seriously wtf is that?! I’m ashamed. I’ll try again on a different image. I’m clearly too set on the way I did it the first time.

Base image:

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We’re going with some kind of pink-purple hybrid.

Command J to duplicate. Brush tool. Select your color.

Pro tip: Hold down option and it’ll bring up the eyedropper tool if you want to sample a color in the image itself. 

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Brightness/contrast adjustment layer. Located at the bottom of your layers panel.

brightness/contrast adjustment layer

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Crank it up!

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Invert that layer!

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Paint that shit in!

I’m getting a little too excited.

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If you’re not liking your colors you can play around with the shades after you’ve added the brightness/contrast adjustment layer. That way you can see what the effect will be right away. I like to initially guess and be surprised. Then I go back and make adjustments if I need to.

Share some of your images in the comments below if you use this technique and produce something you actually like. I’d be thrilled to see what other people come up with.

Anyhow, that’s that.

Happy New Year! 🙂 And cheers to more silly blog posts.

 

 

  • Ali Bee

    Fun! Thanks for sharing your technique. Do you typically use natural light for all your portraits like this?

    • I almost exclusively use natural light but for these portraits I had access to a friends large softbox so that’s what I used. 🙂

  • Tiffany LJ

    Love this series. Will take note and have to try this sometime 🙂 Thanks for the share!

  • Sandro Pehar

    Nice. Camera raw eh. Alright.