Taking pictures with a camera is only half the job. Postprocessing, making the photo stand out a bit more is an essential part of every photographer. Whether this is in a dark room or in Lightroom, Photoshop or anything else is irrelevant; you have to take care of how you present an image.
One small processing trick I lately found is how to improve hair slightly and realistically.
We start out with the original photo, straight from camera (thanks to Ayten of La Rouge visagie for the styling, and Lisanne for posing).
Part of my workflow is Totally Rad!’s Pro Retouch action set in Photoshop (and no, this article is not sponsored, it just works quite ok for me). These allow me to do most of my postprocessing non-destructively and relatively fast. One of the actions is called ‘Skin: Foundation strong’, and it makes the skin smoother without destroying texture. I have noticed a long time that it also does wonders for hair, making it look better. Not something you’d expect from a filter that it designed for skin, but that’s where experience comes in.
I’ve applied it below to the hair.
Notice how it softens contrast, but alas also introduces some blurring. We can rectify that with a simple Unsharp Mask:
All post-processing is personal of course, but I tend to like this softer look often, and apply it some photos.
This image is from February 2015, but I revisited it since I’ll be photographing this lady pretty soon again. It’s funny to come back after months and then like different images at that point. The original is relatively soft, lots of white, but I added a lot of contrast and some Clarify to make it more raw, while still sensual at the same time.
Or “When you just don’t listen”. This shot was done with Psychara, and she was actually standing in front of a large darkgreen door.
I stumbled across a few Photoshop actions and templates on the internet the other day, one of which was ‘Sandstorm’. You have to be careful to pick the right photo with this action, since it’s quite energetic.
The action was made by Sevenstyles and can be found on http://graphicriver.net/item/sandstorm-photoshop-action/10012562 (and no, this is not sponsored, I just find the action very cool).
For this photo it just seemed to accentuate the threatening look. It’s a bit extreme perhaps, but I tend to like photographs that seek up some boundaries.
Now & then I just have to mess with the background. 😉
This one was originally very clean; I added a soft vignette, then as I tried to add a light area coming from the left, my brush misbehaved and there were spots and larger areas and it all turned out a bit cloudy, Christmassy. I added a wee bit of rain (if that comes through after the compression), drove most of the image towards blue and raised the lightness to get rid of the black and insert some floaty feeling to match the cloudy background.
I like it, it’s dreamy. I like dreamy.