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Thread: Portraiture and people Post Processing?

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    Portraiture and people Post Processing?

    Greetings All,

    I have to admit that in the past, I have been happy with my minimal approach with post processing. While I might spot the occasional flaw, play with colour balance, contrast/levels/curves and cropping, I have resisted the urge to do much more.

    But, the more and more I look into modern portraiture and people photography, the more I am discovering that there appears to be a higher expectation on what is done in post then ever before.

    I am curious to hear what type of post processing most people do with their Portrait/People photography. I want to be able to explore what can be done, so I can decide what I am comfortable with! (I am predominantly talking digital here - with Film and not digital processes, I want to explore what is done elsewhere).


    Is anyone willing to give me an overview of what they consider a good post processing flow?

    Cheers

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    Sir Rattus79 - The Proclaimant
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    I personally keep mine to a minimum. And approach it on a shot to shot basis. Guys get less then girls. Girls usually get skin smoothing and a bit of iris enhance as well as basic contrast/exposure tweaking. Spot removal is one of those ones. Some people love it, others think its not them without them.

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    I find that light rooms skin smoothing is a lot more subtle then cs (or at least my method is anyway) so I choose between the two by skin type/tone/texture
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    I agree Hoffy. We are seeing photoshop used as a digital canvas more and more, especially in some variations of portraiture, glamour, advertising etc, where the result is so far removed from the original person's face and features that it sometimes looks like another person at first glance.

    Interestingly I am not sure if this a bottom up, or a top down trend. Where what the masses are doing is influencing those at the pinnacle as far as photography goes, or that those at the top are creating new trends and the masses are then following. But if you look at the AIPP professional gold distinction winners you can see the highly edited photos are doing well at the top: http://www.appa.aippblog.com/index.p...inction-award/

    Then when you look at the gold award winners, it is even more prevalent : http://www.appa.aippblog.com/index.php/2013-gold-award/

    The 'old' method of doing a few tweaks is still my favourite.

    I tend to smooth out a few wrinkles, remove a few blemishes and sharpen eyes, lips (teeth if visible), jewellery and maybe eyebrows, along with a few steaks of sharpening through the hair if it has had a 'glamour blur' effect or similar applied. This is usually done by first removing the blur layer from the specified areas and then some minimal sharpening to the key points.
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    Other side of the hill ...
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    Agree with Rick's comments above (and his preferred method), except to say that the issue of OTT processing seems to me more prevalent in the AIPP awards for fashion or illustrative than it does in portraits (see Rick's Gold Awards link). It's probably an industry-based preference that drives it rather than personal preference of the photographer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    I agree Hoffy. We are seeing photoshop used as a digital canvas more and more, especially in some variations of portraiture, glamour, advertising etc, where the result is so far removed from the original person's face and features that it sometimes looks like another person at first glance.

    Interestingly I am not sure if this a bottom up, or a top down trend. Where what the masses are doing is influencing those at the pinnacle as far as photography goes, or that those at the top are creating new trends and the masses are then following. But if you look at the AIPP professional gold distinction winners you can see the highly edited photos are doing well at the top: http://www.appa.aippblog.com/index.p...inction-award/

    Then when you look at the gold award winners, it is even more prevalent : http://www.appa.aippblog.com/index.php/2013-gold-award/

    The 'old' method of doing a few tweaks is still my favourite.

    I tend to smooth out a few wrinkles, remove a few blemishes and sharpen eyes, lips (teeth if visible), jewellery and maybe eyebrows, along with a few steaks of sharpening through the hair if it has had a 'glamour blur' effect or similar applied. This is usually done by first removing the blur layer from the specified areas and then some minimal sharpening to the key points.
    But then the question that we should be asking is whether this is the photography awards or the photoshop awards?

    To me looking at the entries, it seems the latter is the case which is unfortunate.
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    Lets not forget that extensive work has always been done! Once it was real airbrushing.....

    But this thread wasn't meant to be a troll our flame thread. I seriously want to understand how a lot of these processes are done!

    Cheers

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoffy View Post
    Lets not forget that extensive work has always been done! Once it was real airbrushing.....

    But this thread wasn't meant to be a troll our flame thread. I seriously want to understand how a lot of these processes are done!

    Cheers
    I use Nik Software plugin for the glamour blur look, the clone tool to get rid of the occasional blemish (acne), I use layers to bring back the detail under the blur layer, and then sharpen selectively.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    The very first consideration with portraits to me is, are the images for your own use so that you will expose / process the way that you want or are they for the subject who will want to view them the way they want to see themselves.

    There is a huge difference in the way I tackle each scenario.
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    I always process my portraits using Photoshop actions which are specifically for retouching - this way I can control the amount of the processing using mask layers and opacity levels. Firstly I use the Spot Removal tool to get rid of any very prominent blemishes - I always ask the client if that is ok to do. I always use a particular action results in a subtle smoothing but still leaves some texture on the skin. I only whiten teeth/eyes if they are particularly yellow/red and occasionally I will brighten the iris if the eyes are looking a bit flat. I always do selective sharpening initially and then a final sharpen for printing.

    I find that shooting newborns is a challenge getting the skin tones correct and so I usually have to do a little bit more work to get them corrected. They are often red with a lot of milk pimples. Most parent's like the smooth baby look on their little darling.
    I also find that a lot of women put on their own makeup for their session and nine times out of ten they put their foundation on very unevenly and so I have to do a bit of colour correcting in the patchy areas.
    Lately I have been using a soft glow effect which clients seem to like - everyone wants you to make them look good, although there is a limit to what you can do with some people. For instance, my husband has very deep and numerous lines around his eyes and if I really work hard to get rid of them all I find that I have changed the whole character of his face which to me is wrong.
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    OK, thanks for the responses - I haven't forgotten about this thread!

    I have some images I took at a workshop 2 years ago that I am going to have a play with. I'll have a look at the hints and tips in the Formal and posed section and see what I come up with.

    Portraiture and human studies is something that I have always wanted to get more into (I have the gear and I have dabbled in it). I know I need to upskill a bit when it comes to Photoshop. Now the next hurdle.....finding someone to take pictures of!
    Last edited by hoffy; 25-04-2014 at 7:15pm.

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