Post-Processing:  A Basic Head Shot

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After a day of shooting kids on white seamless background paper, we wanted to take a moment to do a more adult head shot.

A white background can be a risky choice for an adult head shot, particularly if the adult is male.  So our carefully installed white background was not appropriate..

The trick was simple.  Turn of the lights which are lighting the white background. 

We tend to forget that if there is not enough light, the camera will see the colour white as the colour gray.  Less light more gray (or black); more light, more white (a lighter gray).

If you look at the picture, you may be inclined to believe that there was, in fact, a light on the background.  That's where an insanely easy post-processing trick came into play.

The gray background, in the captured shot, was not gray enough for my liking.  It was almost white.  So an Curves Adjustment Layer was added and the blend mode set to Multiply.  The figure was masked so that it didn't go dark, as was the part of the background behind the head.

You can do the same thing in Lightroom, using the Radial Filter.

Post-processing of this image, was pretty easy.  The little bit of retouching was done using Frequency Separation.  It was handy to soften some glare on the forehead and skin.

Here is the scoop:

Date Taken:  Friday, May 27, 2016 at 7:53 pm
Location:  Studio, Oakville, Ontario
Camera:  NIKON D800E
Exposure:  1/125 sec at f 8 ISO 200
Exposure Mode:  Manual
Lens:  AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G
Focal Length:  85 mm (35mm Film Equiv:  85mm)
Flash:  3x Studio Strobe
Software:  Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5 (Macintosh)
Two lights had been lighting the white seamless background; they were turned of for this shot.

Here are the Photoshop layers, in the order I would have created them:

* Image layer:  Minor clean-up with the Healing Brush.
* A Frequency Separation group.  There was some glare from the lighting on the skin.
* Curves adjustment layer, used to add a touch of highlight to the eyes.
* A Curves Adjustment Layer to warm the skin tones. 
* New Image Layer, used to create some sunbeams which are so subtle that you probably won't even notice them.
* Curves Adjustment Layer, set to Multiply Blend, as noted above, to darken the image corners and provide some vignette.

Posted July 13, 2016 at 1:25 pm.