If you’ve read my blog or looked around my website you might hazard a guess that I’m in love with photography.
That’s kind of true, but I’d rather say I love is the way the world looks. By that I mean people, places, objects, colours, light etc. There is nothing more magical than a stroll through an area with interesting sights and scenes – at home or abroad.
It’s not just the stereotypically beautiful scenes, it’s also the abstract and even conventionally ugly. Although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find some people and places beautiful in the traditional sense.
But it’s often more than. It might be that a scene and a moment tells an interesting story about a person, place, or culture. The possibilities are endless.
If you look at my photographs you will find it’s a mix of mostly candid shots of either street scenes, travel destinations or architecture. This fits my interest in simply looking at the world and trying to capture interesting moments.
I’ve done less in the way of traditional portrait photography. In part because I am extremely shy about attempting to direct a model / subject.
However lately I find that I want to work on some projects with people to try and document something about their life, personality, interests, passions, skills etc.
As a stepping stone towards that I decided to spend a few hours with a portrait expert and model to learn some basics of working with models.
I was lucky enough to meet with Andrew from 36exp photography and Rosie; a London based dancer / model.
The session with Andrew was just what I needed. As I hoped, the focus wasn’t on the camera, gear etc. but it was on working with a subject, I got lot’s of great insight and tips from someone who lives and breathes portrait photography.
In this post I am going to share the top 15 or so photographs. However I have 100 or so (from 500) that came out not bad on flickr.
I’ve also been studying photoshop re-touching and I thought it might be interesting to highlight the difference from ‘in camera’ to ‘post photoshop’.
Here is one of my favourite shots as it came straight out of the camera in RAW format (i.e. not processed at all by camera / laptop)
Post Lightroom (basic developing)
Here is the photograph after basic processing in lightroom. Note I normally process the highlights, shadows, clarity etc. a bit more aggressively in lightroom, but as I didn’t want to affect Rosie’s skin much I kept it to minor adjustments:
- tiny adjustment of exposure, whites, shadows
- tiny bit of contrast and vibrancy
- I also cropped in to 4:3 dimensions
Here we go ‘lightroom edit’:
Post Photoshop (editing / re-touching)
Now for the photoshop edit. The photoshop work is based on a study of re-touching techniques. I’ve kept it relatively subtle, however keeping in mind I am new to this, it may still be a bit off in certain ways. I changed
- A bit more volume to hair (to capitalise on Rosie’s already amazing hair)
- Smoothing skin texture under eyes and colour
- Removing minor blemish and some of the stand out hair strands
- Adding a bit of light and colour to the iris of the eyes
- Adding a bit of colour to the highlights in the hair
- Slight teeth whitening
Here we go ‘photoshop edit’:
For a beginner it takes quite a bit of time to make even small adjustments, do you think it’s worthwhile from picture 1 to 3? Hopefully it’s subtle so that it is still clearly Rosie, but just a tiny bit polished.
Other than the re-touching topic, here some of the other images that came out well. Note these only have minor lightroom adjustments – no re-touching.
I don’t like to focus on equipment; but for any reader that’s interested, I use a simple combination of a Nikon D610 and a 50mm prime lens.
What do you think, how did my first real portrait shoot come out?