Friday, October 23, 2009

Photoshop Finishing and Magic

Follow this link to view "Before" and "After" portraits of Catherine.

Photoshop cannot turn a badly photographed portrait into a good portrait.  Skilful Photoshop technique can, however, make a well photographed portrait even better.

After your portrait session, we will present you with your previews.  The take that you select will undergo our finishing process, in order to make it suitable for presentation as a large print or other high quality reproduction.

Portrait finishing involves blemish removal, skin softening, eye brightening, line fading, selective detail enhancement, selective detail diminishment, and local and global colour and tone adjustments.  It is the final stage in a process designed to make you look your best, and to produce an artful composition which makes a strongly positive impact when presented. 

As digital photographers, Adobe Photoshop is of course our workhorse for portrait finishing.  Photoshop is a powerful tool, and like all powerful tools, it must be operated with care.  Too often I see portrait finishing work which has been overdone.  Our goal is to finish your portrait subtly, so that the work does not a draw attention to itself, and away from the statement about you that the portrait should be making.

Sometimes we have to go beyond basic finishing, and perform reconstruction.  Reconstruction involves adding, removing or substantially changing elements in an image.  Most commonly this involves head swaps in a group portrait, eye opening, and requests for body slimming.  We have done all of these things and more; some examples would make a good subject for a future blog posting.

You may recall my blog posting last month about the portraits that I made for our client Winston Churchill Dental.  In particular, I mentioned that I was going to have to deal with the large bandage worn by my subject Catherine.  I have just turned the set of finished portraits over to my client. 

The work that I did on Catherine’s portrait demonstrates everything that I have said above.  The comparison of the previously posted preview of Catherine’s portrait to the finished version can be viewed by following this link

The quality of this portrait of Catherine was achieved not by Photoshop but by skilful portrait photography technique in the studio.  The finishing work performed on it is significant but subtle, and serves to enhance that good exposure.  Getting rid of the bandage is an example of the special magic that we can do with Photoshop when necessary.

If you are seeking high quality portraits, for your business or for your personal use, please contact us.

(Side note: I originally embedded the comparative image of Catherine’s portrait in this posting, rather than linking to it on my server, but Blogger’s ham-fisted re-processing of the image greatly obscured the subtle differences between the versions.)

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