The other week I had a client who wanted to learn how to take better portraits, work with a model, and use different lighting techniques.  We worked together for the day and employed a model I use who is patient and a lot of fun to work with.  We started by going over the different lighting equipment and techniques, talked about working a model, and then went to work shooting the model.   During the session we tried several techniques ranging from the easiest which would work during a fast paced event, to the more involved when we have the time to work making a great photo.  We used different lenses, different flashes, and many different environments.  The end result being that the client learned which equipment and technique would suit him best in which environment. 

 

You might recognize the model from a previous piece where we processed a similar photo using a similar technique  , and a piece on the modeling experience itself.    The interesting part of this, and the reason for the follow up, is it was interesting to me how much new equipment and software has changed in the six months since the last piece.  Nothing major, but small bits and pieces which can make a significant difference if used correctly.  This is a different type of shot using different lighting, the same equipment, and a different student.  The first was captured outdoors in the daylight, the other indoors using window light. 

 

Let’s go through the processing process together and maybe this time you can pull up an image of your own into Lightroom 3.2 and follow along with the different steps?  If you do, I can almost promise you that in 10 minutes time you can duplicate the processing I used for this image.   It’s notable that this image was captured using a Canon 5d Mark II with the original 85mm F1.2L USM lens at F1.2.  Wide open.

 

 

 

In the image above is the original untouched image.  Notice how the photographer achieved a perfect exposure?  We were also learning to use an old fashioned hand held light meter..;o)

 

 

In the image above is the original untouched image.  Notice how the photographer achieved a perfect exposure?  We were also learning to use an old fashioned hand held light meter..;o) 

 

 

 

Here we mark out our crop lines.  I recommend doing this before making exposure or white balance adjustments because the part of the frame you’re cutting out will no longer be affecting your histogram display. Cropping is mostly a matter of taste, but I think this works well with this particular image.

 

 

Here we mark out our crop lines.  I recommend doing this before making exposure or white balance adjustments because the part of the frame you’re cutting out will no longer be affecting your histogram display. Cropping is mostly a matter of taste, but I think this works well with this particular image.

 

 

 

Here we have the cropped image and noticing the white balance was off we warmed it up a little and adjusted the hues.  This is always tricky no matter how much experience you have and it’s why I recommend using the Xrite Color Checker Passport I reviewed here.   We did make the Color Checker part of our lesson plan, but we hadn’t yet gotten to it at the time of this image.

 

 

Here we have the cropped image and noticing the white balance was off we warmed it up a little and adjusted the hues.  This is always tricky no matter how much experience you have and it’s why I recommend using the Xrite Color Checker Passport I reviewed here.  We did make the Color Checker part of our lesson plan, but we hadn’t yet gotten to it at the time of this image.

 

 

 

Next are the eyes.  You can tell a person’s age (and how hard they live) by careful study of the whites of their eyes.  As a person ages they get less white.  No matter how much plastic surgery someone has they can’t change this one thing.  I zoomed in on the eyes to study the sharpness and was pleased he was able to achieve critical sharpness wide open at F1.2  Many photographers will try and tell you this lens isn’t sharp at F1.2, and doesn’t get sharp to F2.  I’ll let you gaze a this zoom of her eyes (the focal point) and let you be the judge.

 

 

Next are the eyes.  You can tell a person’s age (and how hard they live) by careful study of the whites of their eyes.  As a person ages they get less white.  No matter how much plastic surgery someone has they can’t change this one thing.  I zoomed in on the eyes to study the sharpness and was pleased he was able to achieve critical sharpness wide open at F1.2  Many photographers will try and tell you this lens isn’t sharp at F1.2, and doesn’t get sharp to F2.  I’ll let you gaze a this zoom of her eyes (the focal point) and let you be the judge.

 

 

 

Now we select the “Localized Editing” brush and choose the “Teeth Whitening” preset.  Teeth or eyes, it works well.  Notice the eye on the right is done, and the eye on the left is undone?  Notice the difference?  You don’t want to go ‘too white’, try to keep it natural and just take a few years off your subject.  Caution, a 40 year old woman with very white whites doesn’t look younger, she’ll just look freaky.  Be judicious.

 

 

Now we select the “Localized Editing” brush and choose the “Teeth Whitening” preset.  Teeth or eyes, it works well.  Notice the eye on the right is done, and the eye on the left is undone?  Notice the difference?  You don’t want to go ‘too white’, try to keep it natural and just take a few years off your subject.  Caution, a 40 year old woman with very white whites doesn’t look younger, she’ll just look freaky.  Be judicious.

 

 

 

After selecting another localized editing point we choose “Iris Enhancement” and bring out the color in her eyes.  Again, the eye on the right is done and the eye on the left not done.  Notice how subtle the differences are?  Your instinct will be to do too much, go too far, but resist.  When in doubt do less.

 

 

After selecting another localized editing point we choose “Iris Enhancement” and bring out the color in her eyes.  Again, the eye on the right is done and the eye on the left not done.  Notice how subtle the differences are?  Your instinct will be to do too much, go too far, but resist.  When in doubt do less.

 

 

 

With both eyes complete we choose the ‘spot healing’ brush (the circle with the arrow exiting the ride side of it) and remove any pimples, blemishes, or spots.  See the light circles?  These are areas I removed very small blemishes.

 

 

With both eyes complete we choose the ‘spot healing’ brush (the circle with the arrow exiting the ride side of it) and remove any pimples, blemishes, or spots.  See the light circles?  These are areas I removed very small blemishes.

 

 

 

In this image we’ve selected another localized editing point and the “skin softening” preset.  The right side of her face is softened, the left side isn’t.  Look under her eyes and on the cheek.  See the difference? Again, you don’t want to go too far.

 

 

In this image we’ve selected another localized editing point and the “skin softening” preset.  The right side of her face is softened, the left side isn’t.  Look under her eyes and on the cheek.  See the difference? Again, you don’t want to go too far.

 

 

 

Select another localized editing point and the “saturation” preset.  Now you can slightly increase the color on her lips.  Again, for purposes of demonstration I only completed the right side of her lips so you could see the difference.

 

 

Select another localized editing point and the “saturation” preset.  Now you can slightly increase the color on her lips.  Again, for purposes of demonstration I only completed the right side of her lips so you could see the difference.

 

 

 

Zoomed back out to a normal view we can see everything is done.  The only addition step I did was to increase the black level a bit to add more contrast.

 

 

Zoomed back out to a normal view we can see everything is done.  The only addition step I did was to increase the black level a bit to add more contrast.

 

 

 

Looks good eh?  This 800 pixel image is far from a ‘full size’ image, but its big enough to see we’ve really made some changes.  By design each change was subtle, but when you put them all together the effect can be dramatic.  Remember, the enemy of good is better.  Too much ruins the image and makes it look amateurish.  When in doubt go with less.

 

 

Looks good eh?  This 800 pixel image is far from a ‘full size’ image, but its big enough to see we’ve really made some changes.  By design each change was subtle, but when you put them all together the effect can be dramatic.  Remember, the enemy of good is better. Too much ruins the image and makes it look amateurish.  When in doubt go with less.

 

I hope you’ve followed along and are now able to do the same.  It’s not as hard as it looks and its easily something the average person can do in just a few minutes.  Sure, there’s more complex ways to do the same thing in Photoshop, and a plethora of Photoshop plug-ins you can spend your money on for marginally better results with a lot more work, but if you’re using Lightroom already you might as well take advantage of its features.

 

Is there something else you’d like to know how to do?  Send me an email and I’ll work up another tutorial.