Westcott

My ‘Take’ on a Beauty Portrait: Photography and Retouching

In Photography by GlynLeave a Comment

So I thought for this post I’d give you a look at what went into this recent portrait of Sophie Jones…

Glyn Dewis - Westcott

Let’s first take a look at the lighting because that was actually done in 2 different ways. The reason for this was so that I could actually combine 2 versions of the portrait together to get the final look I was after.

The main lighting for the portrait came from using the Westcott Rapid Box XXL Octa to the front and camera left side of Sophie as in the lighting diagram below:

Westcott Lighting

So, looking at the pictures below…

  1. This portrait was lit using the Westcott Rapid Box XXL Octa
  2. This was lit with the Westcott Rapid Box XXL Octa and with the Westcott 32″ White Reflector (you can just about see it in the frame)
  3. This is a combination of 1 and 2 where using a Layer Mask in Photoshop I have masked in the face of 2 into the portrait of 1 … make sense?

Glyn Dewis - Westcott

Having combined the portraits together so that I had exactly the lighting I wanted I have then masked ‘out’ the eyes so that the final portrait contains Sophie’s eyes that were only lit with the Westcott Rapid Box XXL Octa (just a personal preference thing because I don’t like seeing the reflector in the eye; I love the light it gives on the face…just not the reflection in the eye)…

Glyn Dewis - Westcott

Once I’d combined some lighting elements and the eyes without the reflector being visible, it was then a case of retouching the portrait which mainly consisted of:

  • Removing stray hairs from over Sophie’s eye (camera left)
  • Blemish Removal (Non Permanent Marks Only)
  • Skin smoothing
  • Dodging and Burning
    (which I always do after skin smoothing because I find smoothing the skin flattens out the dodging and burning if I do it beforehand)
  • Tidying up lipstick on lower lip
  • Adding Punch (Contrast) to hair using Screen and Multiply Blend Modes
  • Colourizing using Look Up Tables (LUTs) that I’ve created (I’ll be releasing these soon in my Photographer’s Creativity Pack 3)
  • Lighting Effects and Finishing Touches in Camera RAW

Without doubt over recent years, despite some HUGE advances in Photoshop (with more soon to come), for me one of the stand out updates was when Camera RAW was made available as a filter that we can access and make use of at any stage of our retouching rather than only at the very beginning.

Glyn Dewis - Westcott

I’ve since sent off for a print of the this portrait to be done on Fine Art Paper and backed with 2mm board. This is something I always do as  ‘thank you’ to the model. Having the prints on 2mm board is also a great thing to do because folks will be guaranteed to display the picture rather than rolling it up and putting it back in the cardboard tube or sliding it back into the envelope until they maybe get it framed, and that’s got to be a good thing right ?!?!

Talking of printing, I ALWAYS go through the Soft Proofing process in Lightroom before sending files to be printed. At the time of writing I tend to use a Lab, namely Loxley Colour, for my prints although in the near future I’m looking at investing in a decent sized printer to do my own so I see the process all the way to the end…if that makes sense. It was my friend Moose Peterson that has made me think more about doing this ever since Dave and I interviewed him for on our weekly Photography and Design Podcast, HE SHOOTS, HE DRAWS (LINK)

If you’re not sure how to do Soft Proofing in Lightroom, here’s a video I did taking you through the entire process…

Anyway, hope that’s useful in some way and as always if you have any questions / comments, feel free to make use of the comments section below.

Catch you next time,
Glyn

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