From Light To Dark | High-Key and Low-Key Studio Portraits | Paul Wilkinson | Skillshare

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From Light To Dark | High-Key and Low-Key Studio Portraits

teacher avatar Paul Wilkinson, Portrait Photographer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Equipment: Pro Kit & Low Budget Options

    • 3. Capture Your Low Key Portrait

    • 4. Capture Your High Key Portrait

    • 5. Edit Your Low Key Portrait in Photoshop

    • 6. Edit Your High Key Portrait in Photoshop

    • 7. Submit Your Project & Get Feedback

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About This Class

International, award-winning photographer Paul Wilkinson shows how YOU can create beautiful low key and high key portraits.

Using both pro lighting kit and a low-budget alternative, Paul demonstrates how to set your lights up, interact with your subject and edit your images in Adobe Photoshop.

With bags of enthusiasm, super-clear explanations and loads of pro tips and techniques, this class will enable you to capture your best ever low key and high key studio portraits.


About Paul Wilkinson

Paul is one of the UK's most sought-after portrait and wedding photographers - not just for his eye for an image but for the manner in which they are created (mostly laughing, always relaxed!)

His images have adorned numerous publications from the BBC to the Times and have won countless awards as well as giving him the accolade of Fellowship of the Master Photographers Association.

He and his team are based near Oxford in the UK though often you'll find him clutching his passport and his cameras as he creates images for people across the globe!

This class is brought to you by the Mastering Portrait Photography team which includes Paul, Matt Brown (camera operator and video editor), Sarah Plater (camera operator and project manager) and Sarah Wilkinson (studio manager).

Meet Your Teacher

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Paul Wilkinson

Portrait Photographer


Paul is one of the UK's most sought-after portrait and wedding photographers - not just for his eye for an image but for the manner in which they are created (mostly laughing, always relaxed!)

His images have adorned numerous publications from the BBC to the Times and have won countless awards as well as giving him the accolade of Fellowship of the Master Photographers Association.

He and his team are based near Oxford in the UK though often you'll find him clutching his passport and his cameras as he creates images for people across the globe!

This class is brought to you by the Mastering Portrait Photography team!

See full profile

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1. Introduction: in this video, we're going to show you a couple of things. Every studio photographers should know how to create a beautiful Loki moody image. How too great. A really nice, high key, punchy portrait. We're gonna give you that the techniques we use, we're going to show you how we got from these out of camera images through the post production. We're gonna go through each of the steps on the way, talk about some of the equipment we used to talk about why I love them so much and why they're so powerful on why you, as a photographer, probably should get the hang of them. Poor person on the high end portrait and wedding photographer working out of the UK, Amongst other things. On the co author of the book Mastering Portrait Photography, which a few of you may have read. Also the recipient grateful recipient of a handful of awards, including the Master Photographers Association Wedding Photographer, the on portrayed the top of the year, which puts me in an interesting position where I get to talk about different aspects of our job these days. Luckily for May, I also am now a judge for international competitions are. Assignment is twofold. One. A low key image to, ah, high key image. What does Loki and high key actually mean? Well, very little. Loki just means it's pretty dark like a means. It's pretty bright. That is it. No complicated. I know it is an industry. We do like to make things complicated. They needn't be low key, dark, high, key, bright. We're going to step through. Each of those creates amenities. And then, hopefully you're gonna send loads of amazing pictures back which you met. Leave me going on which I thought of that. So there's going to kit first. 2. Equipment: Pro Kit & Low Budget Options: NASA has adjusted the zoom on her camera. We're going to talk a little bit about equipment. What am I gonna be using? Well, I'm gonna use a handful of things. Firstly, and most importantly, I'm using strobes. Yes, I know these expensive strobes. This is a pro photo. Be one strapped to a pro fate of three foot by two foot soft box. Why my using expensive equipment like this? Because it's reliable and it's very quick. And as a professional, I value that However, I'm also gonna do it some cheaper equipment. Roll this one out the way Notice on wheels makes my life very easy. We're also going to do the shots with these bad boys. These are £10.15 pounds, 150 watt fluorescent tubes. No day off photographers, person tubes. They are high cr I versions of fluorescent tubes, which means they just have a really good quality daylight color to them. Nothing more complicated. We're going to use three of them. We're going to show that actually, it's your understanding of the placement of light in the use of light that matters not whether you have a £2000 pro photo kits sitting on wheels, Much as I love in terms of camera, the bit that's gonna be capturing images. And I'm gonna get ahead of us on this and just talk a little bit about that, mostly because when I show a nick on D five, I get a flurry of emails from people saying It's all right for you. You're using a Nikon D five. This is not where the magic really happens. Not as such anyway, much as I love this kit. So I've got a Nikon D five with a 72 200 front bolted onto the front of it. This is my regular kit. I always use it for so much of our work anyway. However, in this instance, I'm going to use the 70 determined rolled all the way back at about 70 millimeters between 70 about 85 mil. Why am I telling you that? Because most kit lenses on a DX former camera that you buy from any outlet will have something like in 18 to 55 mil lens on the front on 55 mil at DX crop is about 90 millimeters. Something like that. 70 18 18 90 millimeters. Something like that, which means the focal lengths I'm using are the focal lengths you can get to on a straight out of the box camera with Kit Lens. I'm also not gonna drop the aperture on here below F four. If you're not clear about apertures, then there's a load of jittery sites on that, and you can also go across to our mastering portrait photography site as well. We'll talk about it, but F four most kit lenses will do between 1/4 5.6 around about there, which means you can still use the kit you have at home if you're not flush like we are with professional grade equipment. Point to note in these images, it doesn't matter whether the background is in focus or no, I'm not doing environmental portraiture. We have very shallow depths of field. I'm quite happy with a big debt. The fields. If you need to get a 5.66 point seven F eight, then you'll find. In fact, most lenses will show better quality rendering at F eight if you've got the lighting power to cut through the back of the camera. Yes, the nick on the five is one of the best photographic units on the planet. It's an amazing thing, but it's not about the sensor, though the sensor is incredible if you look at the cover of the book I've just introduced. That image was taken on a D 100. That's six megapixels of glorious Nicollin. Sensor was the first digital camera ever bought. Amazing thing, but not high quality. Not compared to something like this. The point I'm making is that it's not about the kit is about what you do with it, though. The lens on the front was Nick on 35 to 70 mil. Old school steel is like a lump of steel glass in it in a push pull zoom. Not particularly modern in its design, but a really beautiful lens. You spend money on camera kit, spend it on your glass, not in your senses. This bit the back bit goes out of date. Every three years. They spit the front bit. I've had for 15 not quite cause he's on your design lens, but I keep my lenses a very long time. So that's all the stuff on that side of my subject. What about the stuff on this site. OK, well, you can see for these videos we tend to use a black background and I'm gonna use exactly the same black paper background for the low key portrait. Why, Black paper? Because black paper is slightly sheeni has a site shine to it. On that shine means that light will come back to the camera. Why is that important is because I don't want to create an inky black background. Watch this. If you use black velvet which is a rather go to dark material for background, we use it. Some of you will know me for my black dogs on a black background shot. We use black veil with that because black vote doesn't reflect light in the same way it tends to soak it up another. Yes, You get tiny lines where light strikes creases. If you flatten out, you really don't get much like I don't want that affect. I want a slight she OK, As for the high key, I'm gonna go really high tech pushing the boat right out into the most glorious advanced white paint on a wall. This is just a plastic bullets studio will with a trade Matt White paint on it. It's a matte white, not a vinyl or eggshell or any of those things. It's Matt White because it doesn't give any reflections. Gives very even lightings. When I bounced, lighted it from any angle it will always like evenly, and those are backgrounds. 3. Capture Your Low Key Portrait: This is Emily, our model. Hi. Hi. Thin. This first picture, we're gonna photograph or create a low key image to do that. A couple of things. We're gonna light it. Very simply. We using a dark background, I'm using a paper background, not a velvet background. Velvet is too dark ago. Zinke Dark. Where's papers? Actually slightly shiny. So you get a little bit like back off it, which is just a little bit cooler, I think. Anyway, I've asked Emily to come looking beautiful, of course, which he doesn't naturally, but also wearing for this shot. Predominantly dark colors, in fact, exclusively dark. Because because if you can get it And this isn't if you can't always do it is really effective. If you can get all of the colors to be fairly harmonious. And by that I just simply mean that all quite close together in color on toe. So if you look at Emily, she's not wearing anything bright. Anything like it's all dark. The only bits that are light are zip her watch on his skin. And, of course, as a portrait photographer, which is my particular thing, I really want I want to look at her face. And so having her face is the only skin tone. Everything else quite dark on a dark picture should be reasonably effective For this image . We're going to use just one light, which is this two foot by three foot soft box. This is a pro photo soft books on a Pro photo. Be one. This is an expensive bit of kit, but I'll also show you how you could do it with a single light bulb on an umbrella. The reason I'm using a big soft boxes because it gives a very soft, wide illumination in the gap. In between, the video takes turning all the lights off and setting the lighting as I want it on Emily. There's some bits that when you're looking at how to light someone that you need to consider, and it's an instinct thing. But this is what I'm trying to do firstly, with some, like she's very slender, and so I'm not really worried too much about body shaping. If you're tryingto do that, you need to spend some time figuring out which bits of someone's figure I need to be accentuated, in which bits need to be diminished. into the shadows. Clearly not a problem today with Emily's face. I'm trying to bring out the beauty that I see in her, and that's always the same with portrait photographers, as opposed to possibly fashion or product, where you're relying on re touches and everything else I'm not. I will retouch, and I'll show you some of the tricks. We do that, too, but most of this is done in camera and with lighting. Now what we did early was I took a couple quick test shots of Emily to have a quick look at how her face renders on camera. And I figured out that for her, with this light in this set up with this outfit, she liked better with broad lighting. Okay, and all that means is that from the angle you're looking at from the camera with her nose pitched, every society away from the light, Emily's face shows the strength and her cheekbones and on a facial profile, slightly better when it's lit on the broad side of her face. All right, something you just experiment with. And then you get an instinct for it and you get a feel for the outfit is all dark, which is great. And the zips provide a really nice just a little bit of detail in the image which will shine through because of the dark coat. The other thing I do is a portrait photographer is I'm not particularly into overly posing people. If I can avoid it. I actually spent most of my time trying to figure out how people stand naturally and then just twisting and turning it to make the picture. The reason I do it that way is because it's a portrait photographer. I'm trying to get people to look natural. Still beautiful, yes, still something that you couldn't just take on necessarily as a grab shot but still really natural. Emily stands like this on her own, and it works really well. The reason it works. Firstly, she's gotta wait nicey Coxes would on a front leg, but doesn't. Usually you get guided by people tell you put into back leg. It pushes the hips away. In this instance, that doesn't really make any difference. You gotta hands in pockets and their high pockets or not down here into the trousers, which gives a break in the elbow, which is works really well, you get this really nice shape. Emily is now looking at me curiously thinking she didn't even know she did all this. And she's brought this professionalism and this skill and experience in opposing without even knowing she's done it. And I, for one, am very, very happy. I'm focusing on her nose or eyes that see, and that's a simple as that. Okay, so if you look around a student, you see, I've got one light, one model, one black background family attorney, other way, And bring your face back to make a quick look. Can he still beautiful? Now you notice also the I'm using my camera is my guide. All right. I have, like, meat is I spent many years working in film, and I use light meters. But these days, with digital backs, the digital back on your camera is the best light meter you can have because it doesn't show you what the picture is going to look like. It shows you what the picture is, so use it. Learn how to read it for May I know that the picture that looks like that is pretty well exposed. I've learned to read the backs of my camels. In fact, every time I get a new camera, I spend the day with myself and possibly a model just taking pictures, picture after picture after picture, learning to read the back of the camera and then bring them out onto the max and having a look at how they actually come out. That's really important. I know what that on the back of here translate to as a printout, because at the end of the day I specialize in Prince. Say we want movie like logic a case of just very quickly have spun the light round. As I said earlier, Emily's features, I think, render just that little bit more beautifully lit, slightly broad. And now I've turned her body of the way just to see if the picture, because the picture as a language, right, if he reading right to left or left to right, every picture has a sense attention to you can take it. Either way, people like different things because I've switched Emily round of switched the lighting around her took and you grab your collar just gonna break into space where it Sorry. So notice if you have to break into someone's space. Ask them because not everyone likes you being close to people. I'm not a big fan of people. Muddling with my clothes reminds me of my mother when I was a kid, and it's not my biggest thing, all right, so if you have to adjust so much clothing, ask them. And if they're uncomfortable, get them to do is show them or have an assistant as I'm a guy and I'm working with a lady very often I'll have made was one of my assistants. Come and help me out so that I don't have to break into someone's space. I don't think it's particularly nice. Fair, right? I want a proper kind of snugly. It's lovely. Thank you very much. Just your eyes over the for. That's nice, right? Can you? Yeah. Just sorry I said that stuff and that you proper That's it. So now we're gonna do is seriously the same shot. But this time, using this is when the first soft boxes I ever bought it's in fact, an umbrella with some fabric on the front. I think it was made by Last Delight. Identifies a brand on it or not. I bought these many, many years ago. It has got 150 watt fluorescent high cr I tube in it. They are the high Sierra version, so the quality of light that comes off it is reasonably good. It means that the spectrum is reasonably full, so you don't get some of those nasty tones that you can get with fluorescent lights. There's nothing expensive about this. So I think this soft box was probably 50 quid, maybe 60 quid. I don't know. It's a long time ago, but is the 1st 1 I bought a lightbulb £15. The tripod is probably the most expensive bit of this kit, but you could probably do make do light stand out of something. Emily is back, obviously still looking lovely. And all I'm doing is I'm just moving in like around because we were working with now continuous lighting. I can see what I'm doing a little bit clearer, but why will also need to do to get the shot to work is to turn off all the studio lights. Because, of course, with strobes, the studio lighting is completely obliterated by the flash with continuous lighting. What you see is what you get. And so I know I need toe eternal, your lights off. I do this a lot. I say to someone. Look at May. It's not because I'm vain. Well, I might be vain, but this is not because I'm vain. It's because if they're looking at May, I can see where the reflection from the light lands in their eyes. It's really important for May. Anyway, One of the things I think is absolutely key to a good portrait. If your eyes Aaron shot, they should sparkle now. Yes, I know that's not so photo shoppers, and we touches out there who have libraries of highlights to go in ice. Personally, I like to do it in camera if I come not just because the cats like that's more natural. Because if the cats like in the eyes in the right place, probably for lighting on the face is pretty close to being right as well. So just look at me while I get it right. All I'm doing is I'm twisting the light sites. If I turn the light away, you see how black the background goes as I turned it back towards Emily sees us lining up. I've just got some tone in there. It's gonna bring it a little. Okay, keep looking at me is bad with the design of this soft box idea of a slight problem, which is I have this prom, anything, the handle or stick or whatever stem. I suppose this problem umbrella stem sticking through a little bit of Mexican strength just to keep it away. So I leave it. It'll be in shock, probably. But I photoshopped out what I do not want. It is coming across Emily because that's the difficult bit of photo shopping. If it's on the background, that's an easy bit of photo shopping. Okay, the difference being continue, citing wanted to simply continue citing and strobe lighting or flash lighting. Is that the power? You're gonna have a lot of light coming in is usually lower. Not always, but usually so I've had to reset my camera. So where's before is a nicer 100 192nd F 6.7. Now I'm on I so 1600. That's at the top end of sun cameras. Iso's A lot of cameras these days have these high I so so so you should still be to get a really decent picture out of it 125th at second, which is great for those of you know, the shutter speed rules 120 13 should be fine for me to photograph up to resume of about 100 mil. In fact, I can handhold a little bit further than that. And I'm shooting F four again. Something that should be within the range of most consumer lenses. Almost semi pro lenses, if you wish. If you're struggling, If you have to go there 5.6, try it. But you might have to use a slightly slower shutter speed. Okay, And there you have it. A low key image shot with someone some class, 60 quid certificate a beautiful lady. Simple show. It's lovely. 4. Capture Your High Key Portrait: Okay, so now we're moving onto high key. Hi. Key simply means light, bright, white, airy whatever you want to take it to. But on the whole, all the turns in the image almost turns Image are gonna be nice, bright tones to build a shot like this usually. But I'll ask my clients in person. Photographing my sitter to do would be to have high, light colored clothing. However, when Emily turned up and we just photographed as a low key model the blackout, that actually gives me an opportunity, something slightly different. This is one of those rare moments when having contrast in the image will help me. It might not be a pure, high key image, technically, but it's to be very beautiful. So I'm gonna show you how I'm gonna like Emily building a light pattern up with her in dark . When I got that, we photographed it. I'm gonna get to switch into a light colored outfit so I can show you exactly what I mean about the difference between the two helpful. That will give you some ideas for how you can use everything you have in front of you, including what model is wearing to good effect. So what? I don't for a moment set up a single light. Now we're shooting against the white plaster wall. This is not a background. It's useful in that you can do things like lean people against you. Which is why I have a white wall rather than just a white paper background I'm trying to show is that you don't need really expensive kit. There's nothing clever about this. This is from Wicks, and I'm sure if you, in the rest of world weeks is just a D I y store. This is a trade white mat, which has the fastest drying time. You can paint it on anything on. It's pretty consistent. If you buy a tub of brilliant white trade paint, you'll always get the same, and we always keep a bucket of it around so that when Children kick it, I can repaint it. Take a couple pictures like this, just to show, and all I've done. I've done exactly same things I normally do, so even though in a minute I'm going to light the background, I'm starting by lighting Emily and I get would exposures right for her. Now, as it happens, we've only just finished photographing her. So when I set the camera up, the lighting should in theory, be exactly the same. Okay, and that is the makings of a hike image. And what you'll see in this image is of lip Emily's face correctly. I'm getting some light on the background. If I want that to go to a very clean white. I know after, like the background on it. So this is where everyone groans and said, It's all right for you. You've got expensive equipment. Yes, I have. But I can show you how you can do. This is relatively cheap equipment to this unit here. This is a pro photo D one from the same series of the B ones. But this is a mains powered one because it sits at the edge of our studio. I have got on it a big self box. Okay, you can do this without a big soft books, but I just find it very easy. This is the simplest set up I found to do an effective, high key portrait of one person. What I'm going to to is this light is light in the back wall. Here's the trick. Firstly, you must make sure that your model doesn't get court in the light that you like in the back wall. With that happens, all too often, people get a little bit too close. You're working in a narrow space. You get bleed out of one of the lights on your light parts of your model with your secondly light. And because these are so bright to make the lot background white, trust me or notice if that happens, what you do is just make sure that's placed behind the model Kate, that I show you some different ways of doing that. This is very simple. I'm gonna move it in 30 close. I use quite a long lens and stand further back, which means in the final short, you won't see this light. What does happen, though, is the black side of it creates a shadow, sucks light out of the sea on the side of Emily, in this case, Emily's cheek. And that's what I'm deliberately doing that I'm creating some density in skin tone on the side of them. Close now, At this stage, I don't know what that has to be set to offset it to seven. As a guess, I'll take a test shot and I look at the history. I've got everything set up. I've got my the one pointing at the background with a lot of soft box. It's close to end, so I'm creating some darkness down inside of her cheek, and I've got my original set up with my be one. My main light pointing. Emily, I'll take a quick test shop in shoe arms. Okay? And there's the shot at this stage Now, I'm pretty certain that background isn't yet pure white, but it's pretty close now. If I wanted to be pure white, I just look at my history, okay? And you can see that I still have space in the background. All of these tones here, the dark tones that's Emily's T shirt and jeans. Big density gap in the middle. Then it goes up. And when I have their skin tone and then eventually background, So what I need to do if I turn this up trying one more stop, start in it from 7 to 8, which is one stop, but everything else stays exactly the same. Okay, now you can see in history and I'm starting to approach whites. If I put the blinking filter room so I can see what's going on, you see that I've got to nearly Why now at this stage are some decisions to make. So I want to light it'll completely purely white. Or is it better for me to do that in post production? One thing you have to be very careful off I show you. Here is if you look at these little fringes of hair around the edges, they must not bleed out. So I've got really good hair all the way around. So the detail is all in there. And that means I've got that like about right. I could not get up a little bit. I could angle it a little bit, but actually, all I'm really doing is risking blowing out the edges of those hand. If that happens, it starts to look like a fake cut out. So I know at this stage I've got that lighting pattern about right, having just created high key pictures but with a very contrast e outfit, black outfit on a light background, which is not normally something I would do and I'm gonna show you what it looks like when all of the tones are harmless again. If you look at em, the darkest tone in this picture is gonna be ems hair. So we need to make sure we get some light onto there so it shines. Just go a little bit dark in the shop. Okay? So exactly. Same thing again, starting with my main like, key light called Wherever you want to do. This is the light that's lighting. Emily. You have beautiful eyes. Emily Prime. Just keep looking to make for a minute for me. About you. Take Yeah, okay. Uh huh. Creeping up behind me. Cases of history, right? There's my history. So I got plenty tones, No blacks, Tiny bit just pushing into the white speed. Expect that with white t shirt s. If I zoom in limbs face, that's possibly just a little bit bright. So what I'm gonna do is just from go from 6.7 f a a just half a step down and take the same shot again. Okay, that's a little better. I got some gaps in in there, and I know from experience her face is really well Okay, now we're gonna put in our second light. So from the previous set up, we know that the light ratios are close. We're going to do is put this life really close to just sits just behind her. And I'm using again this psychic of black just a great shadows. Now, what I can do if I want to use I can just lower it a little just to bring the shadows down with Ryan Had dark Ralph it, Of course. The shadow did make an awful a difference. But in the light colored outfit where hits the skin and the white T shirt, it will make a difference. So I'm just working on that a little bit more people what you may have noticed I haven't really done an awful of posing of them. And that's because whenever I stop, whenever we just chatting the bits that you don't see in the video I've been watching Emily and how she stands naturally and all I actually ask you to do is just stop. Remember that I'm gonna photograph it again. Is a portrait photographer in time to capture the natural nissen someone by doing by lighting it and changing angles of May, the camera and her. Then we'll get it, so she looks utterly perfect. But it's not unnatural. It's not lots of this, which drives been quietly crazy, mostly because I can't shoot when I'm doing that. And if ever you see your kind smiling in the background, take a picture of it now when she's wiping tears from her eyes because you get those shots , you get the shots that asi make life just really lovely. So now we're going to do is create a very similar high key image, but this time using just fluorescent tubes. If you look at the set of amusing now, you should see a couple of things. I have a pair of fluorescent tubes lighting a background. Why, if I got doors in the way, just They're just painted doors stuck on stands covered in black, because that creates a little bit a shadow around Emily. My main light is my old, trusty £50 umbrella soft box within the first tube in it, and because all of these are fixed power lights, the only way I can control the ratio and it's only the ratio you're interested in. You're not really interested in how much light you are interested in the ratio of the lighting? Or do I mean by that? Well, you know, whether I'm shooting at hundreds of a second or 200 of a second or 52 seconds, except for a little bit of camera, Shake makes no difference at all. What does make a difference is whether my background is lighter than Emily s. So it's the ratio you're interested in, and I can control that simply by moving, lighting, removing a light act, not pulled it away alone, throwing less light. Of course, the quality of that light is just a little bit harder. So soft box, very close to a service. That's the softest light you can get is you bring it back. You see the shadows just get a little bit sharper. Only ages in this instance there were throwing lighter weight. It doesn't really matter, so I'm quite comfortable. I'm still lighting Emily with a very soft, effective like to never feel that way. Just a little. I can see the Catholics in Emily's eyes, fresh on itself. You have a very simple set up for lighting someone with three lights peaceful 5. Edit Your Low Key Portrait in Photoshop: So I brought the first of our images of Emily into Photoshopped. I'm gonna go through some very quick retouching techniques that we would use all of the time. Now, obviously, I'm not gonna go through through a full retouch them because it takes a north a lot of time . And then we're trying to keep this brief into the point. If you're curious about what a full fashion retouch might look like, then, of course, drop us an email in the notes and we'll see if we can create a video to show that the first thing I'm going to do that if you can see this here is you can see I've left a little bit of background where it rolled up a little bit frustrating cause I quite like the race of the proportional have of the chair here. First thing you do is create a new layer. I'm going very quickly select the region above that on then I'm just gonna transform it down using So it's going to select this region here, Goto edit, edit free transform. Just gonna drag that down alone. Getting a slight stretching just in the genes, it won't be noticeable in the finished image, but we just get rid of that really annoying little shadow at the bottom. Now the other thing going to do is because I quite like this. It needs to be a square of format. When it is at the moment, I'm gonna just do a quick crop crop out. Just it feels a little bit more the old five by four ratios, I could have zoomed out in camera, but I find it easier to visualize what I'm doing when I can see a finished cropped image. I don't like toe have extraneous details in the finished image, and I just know I've done this a long time, so I know I'm going to extend it out to the edges. That looks about right to May. I've got these two bands we're gonna do again. He's in the marquee. Tool is I'm gonna just select a bit, so I want to go to me, edit free transform and distress that at that age they're exactly the same on the other side. Be careful not to select any of the chair in there at it. Three. Transform for my eye at least feels a little bit more pleasing. So now we're going to go on and look at any basic bits of retouching. There's not an awful it needs doing here. One thing I would like to do is get rid of this little bit of hairs. A couple ways of doing that very straightforward way of doing that is to simply last suit around it quite closely. And then go Teoh edit Phil content aware in return. That's it, that's done on DE. Select it Now you can just put this on to hockey, so I so you exactly the same thing. Now I've set a hot key of F one to do the action of going to edit, feel content, aware if I just f one. It's a very quick way of getting rid of little bits and pieces. I don't get rid of all of it because I think hair is hair. It should look like here. And if you do this too much, it could look artificial. And you don't want that. You don't want people to think that you made has been retouched too much. So we got that should do. Just like no one out there. Okay, we're going to Similarly, just look for any bits of dust that be annoying. See this little bit of hair here on Emily's T shirt sleeve? They're doing exactly the same thing every time I'm just leaping around it content, we're feeling it. You can use the stamp tool if you wish, or the healing brush tool, but this is just a very quick way of doing it. And that will do. Now they're gonna do is do a quick once over any major skin blemishes. He just He's just a tiny mark here. It looks like she's core Alba on something. I'm not doing a full retouch, but I am just going to get rid off. Basically, things that make up could get rid off nothing more than that. So here, if I just loop, learned that carefully, just just remind you if I look around it all, I'm doing a lot of good on a short cut key. Edit Phil. Make sure it's set to content, aware that just does a pretty good job cleaning up and just take out. This is a portrait. It's not fashion work, so I don't want to change the way Emily years. I do want to get rid of any blemishes that she would try and cover it with a couple class. Tried to cover the make up. Indeed. Spots and bits and pieces. Same here. Just getting to those. Okay, so once I've done that, there's not an awful lot left left to do. My so done all of that. Now, this little bit here a little bit tricky. So let's see how we go. So again, I'm gonna look around it. This is where it looks like her watch possibly is just dug into the back of her wrist. And this is one of those things. You get these kinds of marks all the time. I'm going to use the healing brush tool or the patch tour. To do that. You you must Do you want to change in this time, you drag to a piece of skin you're going to use to replace the area you selected us. Better was a little bit better. Okay, so if you those you following this, you select rounds it, you click in the middle and you drag the cursor until the patch inside a bit. You're trying to replace Looks like one looks a similar as you can get it, then release. Then you get a fairly good clean replacement. There's a couple little bits for nothing, major. Okay, just one that So I want to do very quickly. It's gonna get rid of a couple of little bits of shadow here in the eyes. A little bit of bump here in there. So I'm gonna take is creating new calves lambs and set the midpoint in that curve up a bit around about their I'm doing this by I. But if you uplifted to about 100 mid points about 100 for 250 around about that and they're going to fill the mask with black to do that, make sure my foreground color is that on a hit vault and delete. And that will fill the mascot black, which means none of it is showing. I'm then going to de saturate my image. To do that, either Saturation layer put on a saturation to zero reason I'm doing that is it was much easier to see the impact you're having when it's monochrome rather than when it in color. Lingering about that mask on with a very, very soft brush make it quite small. I'm gonna set the flow here to 1% which is tiny color white, some painting into the mask and then, very carefully, any little bits of shadow. I'm just going to paint soften the edges of them so they don't quite so bumpy. There are other ways of doing this, of course, but if you use the clone tool of the stamp tool, you always in danger of it. Looking artificial wears with using, dodging and burning, which is what I'm doing here I'm using is a basic dodge process. And there are numerous ways of doing this, too. Just checking the impact I'm having that's good in our direction. You can use a soft light layer you can use as I am here. Huge curves layer. You can use the levels layer different ways of doing it. You can see for those of you who come from the film background, some people feel much more comfortable dodging and burning on the actual image that I always say you're in danger of creating nasty looking artifacts endings in the fire. If you do that, but pick the way that six year, this one suits me pretty well. Quickly. You can see these two creases in the neck just going to take the worst of that out. It just shadows dimensional and doing exactly what a foundation they were doing makeup or under here in the neck and reflective. So I'm not changing anything. I'm not using walk tools or editing in. All I'm really doing is just using essentially digital make up, just looking for any little bits and pieces on the arms crease. If I turn that situation, they back off and show you the difference. You see it services subtle. That's off. That's on offer. That's on. It just takes the edge of things. Nothing more than that. Okay, Final Mile, then is I'm going to put a very gentle vignette on here and the best way or doesn't again. New Miss Ways of diminishing music curves. Liar. I like to use the exposure Lyon, and all I do is I'm going to set the gamma correction 0.75 notice I'm not using exposure. Amusing gamma, which is essentially the same, is using a curbs layer on moving that midpoint down. But I like the way this particular filter renders. It seems to suit my photography. You need to pick whatever suits you once I've done that while I'm going to do is get a very big again. A very soft brush, but big this time set Teoh flow of about 20% notice I'm using flow to control. Have softer, harder brush renders in. I was gonna paint in black the bits that I don't want the vignette to touch And all I'm doing is exactly what we used to do in the old days using vignettes and old lenses and things Just a guide your eye to the bit of the image that I'm interested in, which is, in this case, Emily's face. Very gentle, very easy. And if you look at the mask here So if I hold down the old Kate and click on the mask, you see which bit to be unmasked in which bits or not don't click to come back out. So just gonna finish that up If you're worried it starting to see slight bands and things little stripes in there Just select the mask Gonna filter, blur Gaussian blur such a nice big valley just to take the edge off it, make it and that's more or less done now. I would always leave the image un cropped at this stage, and I return it back to light room to produce the cropped image. That way, if I decide later, I want to square image for that. So instagram or are too tall image of a book? I can always re crop it I could always generate. I could always just produce the final file. There's a J pic file without cropping it all, of course, but it's useful toe have access to finished cropped files, but that's a that's they go one finished Loki portrait. 6. Edit Your High Key Portrait in Photoshop: so, having successfully navigated our way through a low key image, let's have a quick look at high key image again. My starting point is in night room, and I want to get all of the colors right, so I will always start with a quick check of any spots and background. There shouldn't be any in this one, because I'm lighting the background anyway, and that will tend to diminish any sign of spots. But let's just have a quick look again. Use the spots tool and then use the visual eye spots. 21 major. Okay, possibly reflection from the war, I think. Just a gap. In the past, it was a few. Here they're All I'm doing is just finding those little marks. This is the plaster down the bottom of the walks way shot this against a straight wall, and he's just little shadows in our plastering. I'm not too worried about them. I think in the final image they won't show. Let's just get rid of the worst of them. Should do nicely. Okay, Now we're gonna get the white balance about right. So again, I know my light. So 5000 Kelvin, I think that still looks a little bit blue. So as we did in the previous image, is gonna warm that up slightly. So Emily's skin tones about right 85 again nice and bright. 85. That's where I'd like those highlights to be give or take 85%. So again I'm reading the numbers that come appear on a roll of Passover. It could be a little bit brighter, so I'm going to turn on highlight on shadow warnings to bring about explosions. You are so the image processing. Just see. I'm starting to create pure white in the image, even in a hike image. Unless it's for a particular reason. I always avoid doing this. I'm just gonna bring that down using the whites, slide up goods, and it just makes it nice and smooth. I want tone in the whole image. If I can get it, just bring the blacks down. And so I start to see Shadow deep here into bits where there's no light striking that's a little bit strong. So just a little maybe just bring the shadows in a tad. So the memories hair has a nice glow to it, and that's that night, so I haven't really used to clarity, vibrance and saturation. I need the special effects tools at all in like three minutes, because I'm saving as much scope as I can for editing later in photo shop. If, on the other hand, you're someone uses like room for their entire process, and there are plenty people who do and of course, just get your image exactly how you want it in light room, and then you can run it straight from there. So, having done that, but let's open it up in photo shop. McCain. So here's Emily and friendship. We're gonna do pretty much the same process as we did earlier. So nice smiley face thing that high key lighting like this is it tends toe reduce. Any sign of blemishes on the skin is a natural process, anyway, so to create duplicate layer again, I'd quite like this image to be a wider image. So gonna go to the crop tool that's the capital. Just here. Just widen that out slightly. This time. I'm gonna do it slightly differently because I've got quite a lot of space around Emily is I'm going to check here on the top over dropped all this content aware fill. Okay, And all that means is for these regions here where it's creating new pixels. It will look at what's next to it. On fill it in automatically saves me doing later. So I just hit K on that you go pure background and in exactly the same things before. But you know it is this time there's almost no sign of any blemishes or marks on the skin simply because the way the light is, it's very soft. Its not directional because you have multiple light sources, so it's a much less work to do. But I'm still gonna just pick out a few of these tiny little bits and pieces here again. Just look around them and it felt content away. Can't remember. I've got that set to a short cut key of F one on my machine, so I can just very quickly. Luke Burnley's be wondering why shift their five, which is the default key, doesn't work. It's because I've assigned that to a different action. So the menu still listed a shift at five for Fill. It doesn't work. Just using a short cookie, I set up those little bits and pieces that this is a freckle in heaven knows. I think this is a portrait shoot. So I don't really want to take out characteristics of the natural. I'm only taking out things that if I shot someone on a different day, probably wouldn't be visible. Now, this hair here is annoying. So I'm just gonna very gently close around that similarly here, So I'm not fundamentally reshaping changing anything. All I'm doing is just in the same way that when you opposing someone lighting someone, choosing the lens you're going to use, I'm just making the best of the image here. Now, instead of in the previous image, I used the Dodge and burn technique a different way of getting to this creases again just to fill it in, using content, aware fill. So I just think that yeah, come on. That's more in the city when I meet again very quickly and is gonna put in a tiny amount of Tony just to see if I can fix a couple of these creases quite like them. But I know from experience that people so could you don't get with the crease in my neck except except just So let me show you how to do that again. We're gonna correct curves layer to go to down the bottom of your layers Palette. The layers had effects layer curves Just uplift at 1 40 round there something to do the same again. Have a new layer this time saturation layer. Bring the saturation time 20 Now I can see clearly where I have bits and pieces. So I'm gonna fill this mask with black. Do that, make sure I've got black set here. It's my foreground color. I hold down the bolt key my Mac and hit delete and that just feels it with black and then with a very soft brush. So I just bring my brush size down DVD little brush set the flow to 1% Again, I'm gonna do seem in him just painting in White just admitted the worst of it. Not trying to take it out completely because that looked really weird. Skin house folds increases Just taking it off it Same here, which are steps in a little bit to increase and lip off Just a little bit with shadowing here under the eye. It's quite normal to have a little bit of shut under the eye, obviously, with Emily, tilted her head back and smiled or laughed. That killed most of it anyway, because her face tilted back in is facing much more into the light. So if I just turn off the saturation later, an internist later on enough, just just see that's off. That's on off, just taking the edge off it. And then again, I'm gonna finish this image with a vignette. But this time we're going to use the vineyard in reverse. So a new exposure layer, which is the way I like to do it we can use, occurs like if you wish this time, I'm gonna push the gamma correction the other way round. It's an online in whole image and this time with a black brush paint out where I don't want that to be lighter again. All I'm doing it's just drawing the viewer's eye, Emily's face. But this time I'm doing it because the rest of the image will be slightly lighter and Emily's face will be slightly darker. It's subtle, but it does work. It just makes it feel your eyes naturally taken in towards her face. That's it. Now, I actually think this might make a nice black and white image. So again, Nunes different ways of doing this. But I'm gonna add a black and white filter layer. So if I get a filter black and white and then I can tune that here if I wish to, I can use one of the presets Green felt often looks good for skin. That again Absolutely beautiful. And that's it. One high key portrait of Emily. 7. Submit Your Project & Get Feedback: Well, I have loved this video, creating two of my favorite styles of image. The Loki, the Dark, the moody essential. Oh my goodness, Is it beautiful and rich that high? Keep bright, punchy, really exciting. A really nice imagery to end on. Hop across the mastering portrait photography dot com, where you'll find more of this kind of information on these kinds of ideas. Also, why not follow me on Instagram? My name is Paul Wilkinson photography, and we post on there something pretty much every day, the kind of things I do every day in the studio, the kind of things I do out about on some wedding photography as well. If you'd like me to look at your images, either put them into the channel below or if you wish, tag me on the images on Instagram on I will happily have a look on DSI. What? I think I cannot wait to see them until next time. Thank you. Now you have a low key image. I'll do that again