Jan 14, 2009

Post Processing: College-Age Portrait

A post! Finally! I had a wonderful Christmas vacation and a great opportunity to photograph some of my family over the past couple weeks (including this gorgeous shot of my little sis). But I had to take a bit of a hiatus from the blog for the vacation, unpacking, and getting my family life in order for the new year.

This post is a little of a "how to" about post processing. When I first started, I did little if any post processing on images. But as I've grown in photography, I've come to realize how much of a difference subtle changes can make. I've also had a ball doing some experimental work as per clients' requests. Enjoy!

1. The original image. We both liked the pose and the wind-blown hair. The image itself is beautiful and would have been a keeper without any editing.

2. A bit of face cleanup. We all have blemishes we would rather not be preserved for posterity. I do cleanup work on faces pretty often. It can be tedious, but the result is very nice.

3. Some hair fixes. There was a bump on top of the head that wasn't too glamorous, and then the hair across the neck didn't look quite right. The first hair fix was easy. That second one was tough because I had to recreate the parts of her neck where the hair had been.

4. Saturation and levels adjustment. I upped the saturation (deepness of the colors) and adjusted the levels (black, white, and midtones) of the photo to make her really "pop." It also added a lot of warmth to the photo I like.

5. Screen layer. This is a new thing I've been doing to my images: adding a screen layer on top to lighten shadows and give the face a kind of glow. On step 4, I generally oversaturate a bit so that the screen layer doesn't take away from the color of the image.

6. Vignette. Adding a subtle vignette really focuses your attention on the subject. It's usually my last step before finishing an image.


  1. Good job on the hair around the neck. You can't even tell. I still can't figure out the layers thing... something I've got to work on!