This past weekend I decided that I would try to employ some of the lighting techniques using different light sources in order to generate decent headshots of a willing model. I have read about and studied the techniques used by such stalwart pros as Joe McNally, David Hobby and David Black...but I never have seriously tried to translate the books into real life. I also decided to take advantage of some wonderful natural light in a favorite studio setting of mine to create a nice image of my friend Robyn.
1) Open image
2) Create 2 new layers (name them Hi and Low or whatever you want)
3) Now click the original layer and do a luminosity selection (alt + ctrl + '~').
4) Copy this selection into the Hi layer
5) Repeat 3, then inverse selection
6) Copy this into the Low layer
7) Now, do a Gaussian blur on the Hi with a radius of about 20 (really depends on the photo)
8) Repeat 7 on the Low layer with half the radius
9) Merge the 2 layers, then go to the filters and add a little Gaussian grain to the blurred/merged layer
10) Copy the background over the newly created layer and use some masking to let the adjusting layer show through
The image above at the right is the "after" shot with all of the editing in place. There are many products out there that offer portraiture help to the photographer. However, this method required no new software, no new learning curves, and most importantly - didn't cost a dime. And who doesn't need help like this during times like ours?
I still wasn't satisfied though. The high contrast image just screamed out for another treatment. I used the black and white converter built in to CS3 to take advantage of what I had - and the resulting image seen below...well, my client and a few others seem to be really happy with it. I see things I could still improve on...but that was the point! This was a learning exercise - And one that I thought might be worth sharing.
This beautiful lady rocks!!! And I thank the gods that she has been my friend for over 15 years.
Keep the faith.