Saturday, November 6, 2010

Workshop: Natural Light Outdoor Portraits

I conducted a mini-workshop for our local camera club this morning. We had a good crowd especially considering the chilly weather!

I was so busy talking I almost forgot to take any photos for myself. When I went to review my images there were only TWO! (Worse yet, they were identical & not very good.) Since I asked the workshop participants to email me their photos I guess it's only fair that I post mine here.  So, here it is... warts & all.

A little background on the shot: Showing them how take an overhead shot, I hopped up on a park bench to demonstrate. Obviously I didn't give much thought to the actual image (with regard to my camera settings, the model's hair/clothing, etc.)!

Here's the image SOOC (Straight Out of the Camera) with only a few minor adjustments in Camera Raw:
Yep. I shoulda fixed her shirt, re-arranged her hair, and had her lift her chin. 

Also, I did what I told everyone else not to do: I had my aperture set at f/1.8... much too wide for this particular shot. Consequently, the left eye is in focus but the right eye is not. Probably not an image mom's gonna want to buy... at least not as it is right now. On the other hand, look at those eyes! How could you not love those sparkly eyes? So, the good news is: we've got something to work with.

First, I ran CoffeeShop's Perfect Portrait free action & tweaked it to my liking. (Mainly, I warmed up the image & used the color pop, brighten, and eye enhancement in this action.)

Next, I removed the red color (caused by the chilly weather) above her mouth & on her lower cheek. I added back a tiny bit of rosy-ness to her (upper) cheek to give a little shape to her face. (It was a bit 'flat' looking after removing the reddish color on her lower cheek.) I also diminished the purple-ish color in the inside corner of the left eye (without completely removing it). 

And probably most noticeably, I 'combed' her hair. 

Here's the result:
Looking better but it could still use a little work!
Next, I ran The Pioneer Woman's free Lovely & Ethereal action and lowered the opacity to 40%. Subtle but effective. I like the additional warmth & depth it adds to the image. 
Here's the result:
Almost done...
I ran Boutwell Magic Glasses (from Totally Rad Photoshop Actions) on the eyes, brows, and mouth. The effect is subtle but it really helps sharpen up her features.
Here's the result:
Much better!

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the before & after:
As you can see by the side-by-side comparison, I could have saved myself about 15-20 minutes of post-processing time if I had taken a few seconds to notice & fix problems with her hair, clothing, and pose.

And here is the final cropped image:

Here's a black & white version:

Canon 5D with EF85mm f/1.8 USM @ 85mm
ISO 100  f/1.8  1/160
Spot metered (on her skin)

Thanks again to our lovely models. You guys did a great job! I hope the photographers had fun & got some useful information out of the workshop. If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know. And, I look forward to seeing your images from the workshop!