Portraits Demystified: Creating A Classic (But Stunning) Black And White Portrait! | Paul Wilkinson | Skillshare

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Portraits Demystified: Creating A Classic (But Stunning) Black And White Portrait!

teacher avatar Paul Wilkinson, Portrait Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

15 Lessons (57m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Client And The Brief

    • 3. The Planning

    • 4. The Studio Setup

    • 5. Getting The Best

    • 6. Workflow

    • 7. Post Production - Cleaning The Image

    • 8. Post Production - Darkening The Background

    • 9. Post Production - A Little Healing Brush

    • 10. Post Production - Lightening The Eyes

    • 11. Post Production - Color-Switch The Sweater

    • 12. Post Production - Easy Vignette

    • 13. Post Production - Smart Layer and Black & White

    • 14. Post Production - Subtle Warm Tone

    • 15. Wrapping Up

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About This Class

In this class, I take you through all of the steps in creating this classic portrait of a beautiful lady called Pauline.


We take you through all of the steps we went through including:

  • The client and the commission
  • The planning
  • The studio lighting
  • The workflow
  • The Post production - Photoshop retouching and creating the black and white in Nik Silver Effex Pro 2

This class is a bit of an experiment for us and we would LOVE to hear what you think.  Is it valuable deconstructing an image and showing all of the steps in this way?  Does it come across OK and are their useful tips and tricks in there?  Let us know so we can tune the classes we're creating!


Paul and the team.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

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!

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1. Introduction: For me, portraiture is by far the most exciting, the most exhilarating, the most intriguing genre of photography. The characters I have met, the stories, I've heard, the beauty, the emotions, the very essence of people. And I have always, always been drawn towards it. In particular to the character and the depth in people's eyes. I'm Paul Wilkinson from mastering portrait photography.com. And in this video, I'm gonna show you how I created this image of the beautiful pooling, the what, the how and the why all the way through from the planning to the post-production. At the end of this lesson, you should grab your camera, take those ideas and go create your own portraits. And when you do, upload them as projects, so we could all have a look and enjoy them. I cannot wait to see what you create. Hello, I'm Paul Wilkinson. I'm an award-winning portrait photographer from Oxford, right here in the heart of the UK. In this video, we're talking about just one specific image, that of the beautiful Pauline who came to our students to be photographed on behalf of a longstanding client. Not only is this abuse will image of a simply wonderful lady, but it also won me the title of classical portrait photographer of the year with the master Photographers Association. At the end of the video, you'll understand some of the techniques and the motivation behind this award winning MH. And you'll be able to transfer those ideas into your own photography, whether you're an enthusiast or like me, a heart and pro. So let's dive in and talk about how this image came about. 2. The Client And The Brief: So a little bit of background. One of my longstanding clients was an espresso bar. It it started as a coffee ran in a station car park and had grown into a chain of pin down the land. He had a really strong Norwegian influence because well, the homeowner, Katrina, was Norwegian. Her and her husband Simon, wanted to create some really special and with the imagery, they wanted big, beautiful, dramatic images, monochromatic, big faces, hard crops, very Scandinavian in nature, but they did not want just models for their flagship espresso BAR. They didn't want it to be anonymized stock images. They wanted each and every image to be one of their very own clients. And to be honest, it was so successful that we had a queue of people wanting to come to the studio to be photographed for these images. And apparently Pauling had asked to be included and she was, I understand, very excited about it. 3. The Planning: So I'm one of those photographers who rarely pre visualizes an image, certainly not preplanned an image. I love to meet the person. I love to see them find out what they're wearing and have a look at the light and the context and get to know them a bit and shoot as I go. But for this slightly unusually, I really did pre visualize the end goal is going to be black and white. Obviously it's going to be striking, obviously a hard crop. It goes without saying strong eye contact. But in particular, there's one thing I did not want, and that is I did not want to create when those gnarly pictures you see of fishermen or sailors or farmers. I wanted this essentially to be a beauty shots, but a beauty shots of someone in her eighties that said, I did not know what to expect, but I had been wound that she always wore a barrier and that Barry had to be in the picture. And when she arrives, we had the candles lit. It was calm, was we had soft music playing. I opened the door and she looked at me and she said, I don't know why I'm here, which I thought was hilarious. Problem is it doesn't necessarily make it easy to take pictures. So I did what I always do. We made a pot of tea. Myself and her daughter Frances. We helped her up to the stairs, towards the studio where I've already set out lighting as I want it. And we sat and we chatted and shoot like this report, take photographer, the experience is as important as the images. It's the memories your clients take away. The actually in the end drive your sales. Think about it. How many times have you said to someone what's your favorite picture? And they show you a fairly rubbish picture, but of an event or a moment in time that was so special, they can't see that the picture itself isn't wonderful. What they say is the memory inside it. That's really important and we worked that throughout is really crucial for us, that our clients have a magical time. And of course with someone like Pauli who was simply lovely, I really wanted to genuinely to have an amazing time. So we're headed up into the studio to create some pictures. 4. The Studio Setup: So welcome to our studio. This is where the magic happens. This is where I create nearly all of our students images. I very rarely go out and location and shoot in other people's studios. I'm always at home here. It's a small studio. It can feel a little bit cluttered. There's a lot of kidney and of course, in the image you're seeing right now, I have the lighting to be able to film this video. So let's get rid of some of the clutter. Wouldn't it be great if it is always that easy to get rid of the junk that's piling up around you when you're working. When I'm working, I am forever bringing stuff out and getting lights out and getting stuff onto their studio floor. And then at the end of every session, well, I have to tidy up and it drives me crazy. I wish I could just click my fingers and it's gone. Now one key point to note throughout this conversation is our studio is pretty small as about four and a bit meters wide, 6.5 meters long. And the ceiling is quite high in the middle, but it has eaves. The ceiling is wooden walls or white. Why my telling you that? Well, of course, I get light reflected in now if you have the luxury of working in a Calvinist studio where you get nothing but Encke black from the surroundings, then why not invest in some studio flats? They're simple, they're effective, and they just give you a little bit of light around the sea. And just all it does really is reduced the contrast. Now if you want to enqueue black, of course, don't use those. Or if in a small studio like me, paint knows or one side of those flats black. For me here, we actually use wooden doors. I went down. A builders merchants bought half a dozen wooden doors. The cheapest I could find, or about 19 pounds each was about $24 each. And then a painted them white. Why did I use doors and not the usual styrofoam or foam core? Well, primarily because they take an absolute beating and whereas foam has those bits missing and eventually they break. Dawes never do. I just repaint them whenever I want to. The other advantage is if ever we have an exhibition here in the studio, I can hang pictures from them, which has a secondary benefit. I just use carpenters stands underneath them the same standards that the carpenter uses when he's playing a piece of wood. That cheap, they're effective, they're ultra reliable, and they're readily available. When I want black, all I do is I Drake black velvet down the sides of them. And of course that just soaks up the light and gives me essentially the same effect as if I was photographing, photographing in a very large space. But I'm not I mean, this small space. And the first thing I wanted to do when I had Pauline got pointing up into the studio was to Sita in the middle. So I just placed a chair in the middle of the studio. I took a bet that this would work. It's an old chair, wasn't anything special. I just placed it in the middle of the studio, but I didn't want it facing front on even back then in my head, I had an idea that it would be sideways on. She sit with her elbow jointly over the side. And I take a thoroughly modern image of an elderly lady. So I had just turned the chair through 90 degrees. It's an old chair. There's nothing exciting about it these days. I have actually got better stuff, but we had not long moved into the studio. When we did the shoot and so it was one of my earliest shots in here. Well, I then did was I placed some lighting. Now, what I wanted really was Tibet a separate pooling from the background for this shot. Actually, I used gray paper. I thought that would harmonize. I've thought it would give me the most beautiful black and white. It would have upgradation. He would have lights and shades. But as you'll see in the Photoshopping sequence at the end, I didn't judge that quite correctly, but gray paper nonetheless is what I had. And then I used a couple of strict boxes. One here lighting her left-hand side, one here, writing her lighting her right-hand side. Why do I use strict boxes? Well, very simple. They give this beautiful soft light. You could, of course, because there are a lot cheaper and most people have them, use a couple of simple dishes on your life's just everyday, spatial kills or dishes. And they're great. The only thing you have to be careful of is they can give a very hard light. As it happens, I was watching Akami, which one it was dei, another day or one of them golden I maybe a James Bond film anyway. And each of them seems they had to a lit using a cheek light. The lighting on the cheek was incredibly harsh, incredibly harsh. Now of course, if you are James Bond, the Eukarya, that really well, but if you're an elderly lady, you might not. So just be very aware of that if you use a point light source, you are going to have really hard edges, any case lighting you create. So why not try what I do, which is to simply spin them around into the corners of my studio there behind the background so that the light is coming from random background. And effectively what I've created is too big streetlights one either side of the backgrounds. It's a simple trick, but very effective if your background is hanging right on the wall and put a couple of cdf Flats up and bounce light off those. That way you'll get a softness analyte, but it will still be coming from the edges. You are still creating that beautiful wraparound that's going to help separate your subject from the background. When he came to the key like, well, that was pretty simple. I just had a big soft box just to the right of polling and just catching the light across her face. Now this is a big soft box, but it's not pointing directly at her. It's just off to the side so that the soft light, the software of the edge of the box is called feathering. The light is just, it's not like that's lighting has now really in reality, I have no evidence that the light off the edge of a soft box is softer. But what it does do, particularly in a small studio, is it allows more light to ping around. So you get the ratio of light pinging around the studio to the ratio of light hitting the face directly changes. You get just again, a little bit of softening. I haven't got those deep, dark, aggressive shadows. The box is actually in pretty close, but it's pointing almost across her face rather than at her face. Then all we did was we drank tea lots and he sat I sat patiently and there was a moment there was a moment during the shoot when I could see that I was captivated. She could see that I was captivated. And at that moment, she connected with a camera and it allowed me to take the 20 or so Shots of which I think we've shown you five here. There were lots of tiny tricks, lots of subtlety. That most important thing for a shot like this is when you have your clients sat down, get the lighting right. Be gentle, but maneuver the light until you see those beautiful cat sites in the eyes. In the end, the magic, the real magic of this short reporting or there are two components. I think. The first is that she's relaxed and she's comfortable and she's confidence in her environment as she knows that we're gonna create a beautiful picture. And the second component is those campsites in her eyes. They make her eyes shine and make a highest Gleason. And the combination, very simple lighting, the beautiful expression, the catch lights in the eyes and the engagement with a camera. There you have it. You have the most beautiful picture of someone who was honestly my privilege to photograph. 5. Getting The Best: So you've seen the studio setup and the lighting, and you've worked out that it's actually really straightforward, but it's incredibly effective. But during that session it was all about the eye contact and the stories and the laughter. And in fact, I'm actually looking for the shots between the shots, the moment, between the moments. I'm not really interested in staging a shot and getting it to look at me and then take it I'm interested in staging a shot and then getting her to react in some way. I'm talking, I'm listening, I'm being good company. I hope anyway, maybe I wasn't nothing that was being good company. And the whole idea is that the engagement that she has with the camera is genuine and personal. Now, I'm a big believer that you use your camera. I use my camera in my hands. I don't put it on a tripod. I don't believe in this idea that you have the camera below your eye line so you can hold a conversation. I understand the logic that nothing comes between you and your client, but the problem is the eye contact is always to you. It's not to the camera, in which case it's not to the end image. So I always have my camera. I put it down when I'm chatting, I scoop up, I shoot, I put it down when I'm chatting. And I can move really quickly and that's important, get practiced and being quick because to get those shots between the shots, you're going to have to react very quickly. But if you are good at it, if you are able to talk, spot the moment, Get the camera uptake the shop, get the camera down. People don't even notice the camera. It's not a barrier. It's simply the tool of your job. It's like somebody adjusting their classes, nobody ever notices. But you have to be quick and you have to be practiced with your camera angles. Practice those too. For me. I love it when the camera line is flat. And basically what that means is the camera is at the same height as the mid-point of whatever I'm photographing, the camera is horizontal. I love that angle. I don't often shoot from above. I very rarely shoot from below. I just like that flat angle and you can see that in this image, my camera is pointing straight at Pauling's knows. I love that. So practice without and also, as you saw in the studio, let us a very simple lighting rig. Move the lighting around. Don't be afraid of stopping and say Just hang on a minute, you've just moved or I've moved or the lighting is not quite right or I'd like to try some different grab the light stands and bring it around a little bit. Most of our lifetimes here on wheels, those aren't. It's a slippery floor anyway, and so I can literally move very fast. But the subtlety and the lighting is important. Get the hang of that. Because if you do, it'll reach huge rewards. Do not be afraid of making the very best of each and every moment that you get with someone. And that's they leave. Well, just reinforce what a wonderful time that you had to. The better the memories they take away, honestly, the more they're like the pictures. And if like me, you're a business that's premised on creating pictures that people are gonna buy. Those memories are incredibly saleable. It's the memories they buy. It's the experience they buy. It's not the pictures. I'm not stock photographer. I'm creating pictures of people, four people. And those memories really, really are important. 6. Workflow: So I've captured the images next step off the memory cards on, onto the Mac. At this stage, we import them into Lightroom and then we give them before we do anything else, we give them a unique number. And for us we use a very simple number system. It's YY, MM, DD, And then four letters and then four numbers. So the y-y is the year, the nm is the month, the DD is the day. Then there's four letters. So let's say it's pooling for Little Italy. That would be PFLA, full lettuce, doesn't matter what they are. They just have to be different to any other letters on that day. We use them a little bit so that if I spot something, usually we can find out what the shoot is just by seeing the letters, but they're there just to make it unique. And then there's an underscore the file name and then a four digit index. We always do this when we've got them on to the Mac. I always do it before we've done a selection because every image then has that unique identifier for the rest of its life, it never changes. I've heard people say that you should remember them when you show the client. I don't subscribe to that. They say that if you don't do that, then people will ask you to see the images in-between. That's happened once in my career. And it was very easy to explain why that's not possible. So we do it this way. It means that those images are consistent when I put them onto a database of backups or anything else, they will always have exactly the same numbers at this stage though. Well, that's the end of my involvement for a moment. I hand them over to my wife Sarah for selection. Why do I do it that way? Why don't I, why don't I did well, I'm too close to the images is to personal. I will like someone and taking images are great simply because I liked them and that's not very useful. Similarly, if I've had to work really hard for an image of up to lie in a puddle to get a reflection. Then of course I'm gonna think that's a great image because it was tricky. But it doesn't mean it's a good image. It just means he was tricky and I've got wet. So say Rick does it and she's looking for three distinct things. Firstly, we'll have client like it. What a simple question, of course, that's what we're after because we want the client to buy it. Secondly, we'll I like it. She's no, me a long time and she knows what I'm looking for and she will look to see that is an image that a photographer created. It has something about it that shows the craft of being a photographer. And then finally, is a on-brand for us, a poor Wilkinson photography. And that's really important because our images are operand by your priorities, your signature, your brand is your imagery, your brand is the T-Shirt clothing you wear your brand as to why you toe the priorities, your website, the brand is every single thing about you. And of course at the heart of that or your images. And so we brand control and we make sure that our images that we display always represent the values we have in our brand. And if you look through my website, if you go to Paul Wilkinson Photography dot code at UK, you'll always see that each image that we're showing you and showing people on the blog and showing people in the portfolios. Every single image is well within our brand, it looks consistent, even though the images have varied. I've got a wide, wide portfolio of clients, but the energies have something about them. They're recognizably mine, and that's a brand thing to do. And Sarah is a master at that. So we always look at the images from that point of view. So at this stage, Sarah is whittled down the images of pooling down to about 20, and then I take them back, I split them up and I start to color them. Work out in this particular instance, which three or four I actually wanted to work on because I knew I didn't need to have ten that's going to sell a client. This client wanted one big picture to go in the war. And in fact, in the end, they put five on the wall. The pictures are so nice. They put all five up as a set, and I just loved that. But at this stage, of course, I knew in my head I wanted that slightly dark background. I wanted that really nice black and white. And I also know new thanks to the gray paper IDs in the studio and the red jumper that Pauling had been wearing, that well, possibly that was going to be a little more tricky. So to do that, let's head over to Photoshop. 7. Post Production - Cleaning The Image: Right, so here we are, sitting in front of this beautiful image of our friend pooling. Everything is lit pretty well. I've been asked to get the moment that was looking for and everything about this image was about on the money. But as you can see, it's not yet there when you're doing retouching SNCC, the way I view it at least is that when you take the photograph, That's like lifting a diamond, the ground. What you do in Photoshop and what you do in post-production. That's the cutting and the polishing of the diamonds to bring it out to be absolutely beautiful. You can't do that to a lump or rock. You've got to have a diamond. You have to take a good picture first. You have to take the picture that you wanted to in the first place. But then if you do that, the opportunities in Photoshop and Lightroom and other post-production apps is just amazing. So we know where we're headed. I assume I've shown you earlier in the video exactly what the final picture wants to look like. But here are the steps that I would take to do that. And they're not particularly complicated. They're not complicated because I've done most of the work in camera, but you can see I still have a little bit of work to do. But firstly, let's have a quick look at where we are. So I've got a light gray background or mid gray background. I've got my rim light around the outside of pointing. You can see that on her shoulders and on her jumper. But Pauling's wearing quite, quite a set of vibrant colors, which is actually why I chose to create a black and white image in the first place. So step-by-step and let me take you through what I would normally do on an image like this to create the magical finished version. Well, the first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna do a quick spot removal. So I'm going to copy my background layer. So just go to layers, duplicate layer. And this is going to be the layer that I take out all of the dust spots in that. There are lots and lots and lots of ways of doing this. But the most efficient way, really, in the current versions of Photoshop, I'm on version whatever CC in 2020 is. The latest versions is I'm gonna go to the camera roll filter because the camera roll filter has a pretty effective Spot Removal tool in it. And so I'm gonna go to my healing brush here. I'm going to hit visualize Spots. I'm going to turn off the overlay. So overlay if you turn on over I so let me just put a couple in and if I turn off the overlay hides the spots that I've already hidden and I don't want that. It just clutters up if I bring the backing it up very quickly on a, on a busy image, I'm going to start to get cluttered. So I always turn that off. I turned the visualized spots up, sometimes all the way up. In this instance, it's going to bring it back a little bit because this is shot in an older cameras caught, I think this was shot and a d 3x, so 24 megapixel, but an older sensor. And as you can see, even at ISO 100 or whenever I shot this out, the short lit shot this at, it has brought up the grain in the background. So only I do it very quickly. I'm just going to click on each of these spots and work my way around. Because I'm not showing the overlay. I can see instantly whether I've got rid of that spot. These days. I clean my sensor a lot. I will clean my sensor probably, I don't know. Once a week, something like that. I use the magic butterfly system which seems to do the job. Invisible dust and all of those things. I don't like doing it, freaks me out. But I do it nonetheless because then I don't have to sit for hours like this, cleaning up two spots on clean gray or clean white backgrounds. Let me just move this around so you move the visualized spots. Slide around a little bit just to check you haven't left anything. There was pretty good. You get the gist of it and you do whatever you think is appropriate for what you're up to. You can also blur the background layer, but I don't need to do that here. There's plenty of separation between pooling and the background, which means it's not pin sharp anyway. And then on top of that, it really was just some dark spots that had crept in. 8. Post Production - Darkening The Background: So what we're gonna do is we're gonna darken that background down a little bit. And to do that, the first thing we're gonna do is gonna go to select and we're gonna go to subject. The new subjects select. In Lightroom is phenomenal. It's incredibly good. You don't have to get too involved these days. We're doing Lasso Tools and all the rest of it. This is pretty good. And I'm not gonna go to select again, but this time I'm going to go to modify. And I'm gonna contract that selection by one pixel. And all I'm doing is just bringing that in a tiny amount so that whatever changes I now make their going to overlay the edges of pooling and I'll show you why in a second. I'm then going to inverse that selection. So I've got a select and I go to inverse. Now of course you can do this with the shortcut keys are plenty shortcut keys. I'm trying to do it step by step so you can see exactly what I'm doing. So far. We've cleaned up the spot, we created duplicate layer other cleaned at the spots are then selected the subject of made that selection ever so slightly smaller. I then inverted that selection. Now and I'm going to do, if I have marching ants on the screen, when I create an Adjustment Layer, that adjustment layer will automatically have a mask that is the same as these marching ants. Okay, so what I'm gonna do is go down to the bottom of my latest tab, my Layers panel, click Adjustment Layer. And I'm going to put in a levels layer. Okay, so if you look down here now you can see that the levels layer has a mask. And so what we're gonna do is just adjust those levels. I'm going to take the gamma and I'm just gonna move it up and up to the right-hand side, technically bringing the number down. And he GRC and what I'm looking for is the point where I don't want a pitch black backgrounds, but I did want it darker than I shot. It was my mistake. I should have either had a couple of options, either used a darker paper background or adjusted the light to less like landed on there. I did neither of those things. And so now I have a little bit of work to do just to correct that. It's not hard. I'm just going to bring that down somewhere around there and I'm looking at my main histogram at the top here. And that's telling me what's going on. Let's put it into luminosity. That's better. So you can see I've got this great big lump there. That big lump ease my background, okay, and as I bring this gamma, the gamma up, you can see I'm moving that great big lump of grey around, brighter and darker. So I don't want it to crash into the blacks, but I wanted to be there or there abouts. Now the reason I contracted the selection is so that ever-so-slightly, it goes over the edges of pooling. But what I'm going to do if I click on that mask and you'll see here it's given me a couple of options. It's given me a density option where I can change how much that mask is having an effect on the, on the adjustment. So if you turn the density to 0, the mask is having no effect, is simply everything is getting adjusted. If I move it all the way to the right back to where it was, only the areas in the mask that are white are going to be affected, which is why I want. I'm gonna feather the mask. So we're gonna do is just move this across very gently. And what you'll see is it just allows a soft edge around pooling. I don't want it too big. I'm keeping an eye on it. Let me bring this back out. I just want the mask to just creep in and that just smooth the transitions between her, primarily her jumper and the chair into the background and with her hair. I've got to be a bit careful because there's lots of fine Stan's have hair. And here you can see, for instance, if I look into this little region here, you can see that the select Subject tool probably could have given me a little bit of a mask in there as well. So what we're gonna do, I've clicked on the mask, are going to select a brush. I'm gonna make it relatively small. I'm gonna make it white. I've got flow set at 20%. I always use flow rather than opacity. If you prefer to use Flow capacity rather, that's your call. I find that flow works much better for me. And now what I'm gonna do is very gently just painted in white on that mask. Any areas where I think accede, You know what, that looks a little bit too light. Primarily around the edges. It's never going to be in the middle of Pauline, obviously, because there was no gray paper in the middle of Pauline. I'm just trying to blend that paper into make it look like the paper was always that really nice, dark, rich gray color, not the slightly light gray color that I chose originally. And in case you're wondering, when I went back and decided to do this to an image that I've had around for the past seven or eight years. And I did go back to the original image to look at the steps I took. And these are exactly the steps I took to make the original image. And they've just been updated for the modern version of Photoshop because of course there were things like subjects, intelligence, subjects selection wasn't available back then. I had to do it by hand. So I'm just making sure that all of these little loops where they should have dark in the background, have got dark in the background. Now notice something else I've used. If I click here on the Adjustment Layer, I've used the gamma to move the brightness and darkness around. Well, I've, I used gamma, I've used gamma because it doesn't affect the highlights. And so anywhere where a highlight astray strands of white hair has crept into that background mask. It doesn't matter because the level is not gonna adjust it. It's only going to adjust the mid tones. So I get away with quite a lot doing it that way. Okay, so we've got a little bit of a shadow around her hat. I might just see if I can get rid of some of that. So I've gone back to my brush this time, I've inverted it so that it's on painting and black. And I'm just gonna remove a little bit of where that level has crept in onto the fur or to the wall rather on her hat. Because I don't want it ever to be apparent that this is what I've done. I don't want to admit admit, except to you. Of course, that I've I should've used a darker backgrounds. What I want is the, the viewer or her competition judge to think I've got everything absolutely right in camera. And all I've done is a quick touch-up. Okay, that's looking a bit better. I just could see a shadow creeping in that was a telephone. Whenever you are looking to see if someone's been Photoshopping around the edges, you look for shadows or hard breakpoints. So halos and things around certain areas, it's not perfect. But in the end, this is going to be a black and white anyway. And it probably won't give me too much of an indication of what's made. It won't give the viewer rather too much of an education and what's being going on, okay? 9. Post Production - A Little Healing Brush: Now what we're gonna do, now we've done that is I'm gonna go back to the layer below. I'm gonna go back to my background copy. And I'm gonna just go round the image looking for little things like this, little bit of dry skin and little bits of dust on the wall. I'm just gonna clean up the worst of it. I'm not trying to retouched Pauling. I'm not gonna try and make Pauline look like she's 21 years old in a supermodel. That's not my job here. But I don't equally, I don't want lots of flecks of dirt and dust to be a distraction in the finished image. I'm just using the spot healing brush, spot healing tool, whatever you call it. Very gently. Just having a look and little bits of white fluff on her jumper because they're going to become apparent later, I noticed that the chair was looking particularly. I think the chair I can't remember. I think I dragged the check writer was still room for this shoot. It was an old chair that had been left over by the previous tenant of our studio. And so I dug it out and use it, but it looks like it had been covered in cobwebs, which is obviously not ideal. So we clean those up real quick and not really paying a lot of attention to this. I'm just doing what I do every day very fast. Just taken as nothing too much in the light spots on a jumper. Okay, I'm bound to miss something. Alright, so forgive me. This is a demonstration. This isn't the image that originally, this isn't going to be entered into many competitions again, because of course it's seven or eight years old now. Now you can just see here you see the where there's a little bit the gray of her skirt. I think he was just rising here. What I'm gonna do with that one, I'm gonna Lasso that or last sue that, go around it like that. Go up to Edit, I'm gonna go to fail. Only gotta content aware and hit OK. And that'll sought out for me. That's all done. A little bit on her scarf. Shed this beautiful silk scarf, which is just lovely. Okay, that's all good. I might just get rid of this tiny little mark there with what it looks like she's put on some foundation and it's just clogged up around one of the little moles on her face. So I'm just cleaning it off. I'm not touching the tech the main texture of a face that's who pooling is or was. And I'm just making sure that I haven't allowed any extraneous rubbish to get in the way normally also, I'd go around the edge of the hat where there's wall sticking out just to get rid of it. Because it can become a distraction later on when you generate a black and white, but not going to bother doing that for this video. Okay. 10. Post Production - Lightening The Eyes: So we have got fairly well, I've got a reasonably good background. Pauling's looking amazing as Pauling did. And then what I'm gonna do, we are going to just have a look at lightening her eyes ever so slightly. Not a lot. She doesn't need it. But if you look, she's got quite strong eyebrow raises. And although I did pretty well at getting the light down and underneath, I didn't want to bring the light any lower because then it gets right on top of the pupils and any higher and her eyebrow ridge would have got rid of it. And so what I'm gonna do very quickly, we're going to put in a Curves Layer, very simple. It's gonna adjustment layer curves. And in the mid point I'm just going to drag up by, I don't know, ten or 20. I've got it. I've thought she I've gone from 128 to 157. On that mid point, you can see the numbers just here in the box. And then I'm gonna make that box black. So to do that, I just go, I've just set my palette, my foreground and background colors to whiten the foreground. Black in the background, hold down the command or the Control key and hit backspace, and that will set that curves mask, it's all black, which means nothing is happening. Okay? Then what we're gonna do is take a white brush again with my flow just set to 20, bearing in mind, I'm using a tablet, so all of my stuff is pressure sensitive. If you're using a mouse, you might wanna think about using the flow may be at 5% because you'll always be hitting it at a 100, basically at a 100% on your mouse button. Whereas I can change the pressure of the pen to see what I'm doing, make us relatively small brush head here and I'm just gonna very gently paint into the areas mostly where it should be light anyway. I'm not trying to fake it. I'm just trying to lift out a little bit of tone where the shadow of our iron-rich had just crept in. There's different ways of doing I retouching, I could have done a really heavily enhance diary talks about because I know the black and whites gonna sit on top of this. I don't want to do too much because it will become apparent. If I'm not really careful, it'll become apparent what I've done. She had the most amazing eyes. They were intense. They were corrects a full ever funny. She told stories and our eyes literally Sean. The other thing I'm doing is notice I'm on a second screen here too. If you want to know how to do that, very simply, you use the window and you go to navigator. So this is my navigator. If I turn it on and off, you can see I've just dragged and navigate across to my second screen and then made it full screen. And that way, I've always got a second copy on the screen. These are both colour calibrated monitors, which means I can look at either monitor and I can see in this monitor, i'm looking at detail. What I'm seeing, what you're seeing on your video is what I'm seeing on here. But when I turn my and look this way, I'm looking at the whole picture so I can see immediately any changes that I'm making, the impact they're having on the whole image. The other thing is if you do things like if I wanted to see the masking, I hit the backspace, so the backslash key. And now I'm in the mosque display mode as a name for that and I don't know what it is. But you see that my second copy still doesn't do that. So while I'm scraping At the mask on my main monitor, I'm still seeing exactly what I want to see on my right hand monitor. It's a really useful trick. If you can afford to monitors or even just get an old monitor, just a spare one, something that you can see the whole picture on. It might not give you the colour accuracy you need, but it should at least give you sort of a sense of the whole, it's like playing individual notes on a keyboard and hearing at the same time how they fit inside the song. And it's really, really useful. So I'm just working away here. I constantly cross-checking between the two monitors. And that looks about right. To say I just wanted to lift them a little. Nothing more. I'm not trying to I'm not doing this isn't a full-on magazine retouched. It's just very gently just letting their eyes pop through. Okay. 11. Post Production - Color-Switch The Sweater: So while we're not far off there at that stage, what I now need to do though, is I know when I go to do the work, I need to on this image in black and white that I'm going to need to better separate, separate out my Reds from all the other colors. Because if you look pulling skin of course is a variation of reds, reds and oranges and yellows. All of our skin is because that's what oxygenated blood looks like. And so what I need to do is somehow figure out how do I bring her jumper into a different color zone. If a colored color hue, so that when I put a black and white layer on it, I can isolate her sweater, had jumper completely from her face. I can actually tune the color balances to knock that jumper darker without knocking her face darker. Because if I put a filter that turns reds dark on this image, her skin's gonna go dark too, and I don't want that. But her red jumper is gonna cause me a little bit of a headache in the conversion later, I could run to black and white conversions on top of each other and then mask out one. That's one way of doing it. But a simple way of doing it really is I'm going to do exactly what we've done already. I'm gonna go to my background layer, select subject. This time I'm going to leave it as as it is. I'm going to click on the top layer. I'm going to bring in a new adjustment layer. And it's gonna be a hue and saturation there. So now if I D saturate that you can see that I'm Dee saturating all of Pauling. That's a good start. Let's put this back to where it should be. So what I now need to do is to take out some of the areas that I don't want to mask. So what we'll do is we'll just nip in here. I'm just gonna get a brush tool. We are going to move around on this saturation till I get, I wanted some blue glass. What I want, I want a blue. But you can see now I've turned against the shade of peeps. And so what we can do with just getting a brush this time I'm gonna painted at a 100% flow. I'm gonna paint in black and just remove that mask very carefully. It doesn't matter if you go outside the edges because you're removing the mask. You just don't want any of the mask on there. So we're just going to work away in I'm going to try and leave her scarf inside the mask. Which is to say what I want is the hue and saturation layer to affect her scarf. I just don't want it to affect to affect her skin and her hat us. I'm going to leave it where it is. Just a couple of bits and they don't have bracelet. Just sort those out. Make sure that I've not Let It Bleed around too much. And then we've got this hand to do in here as well. This one's a little bit more important that I don't go over the edges. But when we eventually turn this into a black and white, it won't notice nearly so much as it does in the color. That's not to say you don't want to get it right. You do want to get it right. I'm just saying that you don't have to be ultra precise. This is not like masking out, you know, high-end product product shorts or something. Oh, sorry. Let me just paint on there. So all I've done now is I've created a hue and saturation there. I've added a mask, an intelligent subject mask, which would have included all of her. And then what I've done is I have painted back in, in white on that mask the bits that I didn't want to be blew her skin basically. Okay. So let's see map. And I've left her hat as it was originally because I think there's a lot of greens and things in there that will render pretty well. So I'm not too worried about the red up there. Right? Ok. We're also on that mass going to click on that mask. And again, I'm just as I did before, I'm going to feather it ever so slightly around the edges and add just softens the transitions because I've lit Pauling with these gentle rim lights as you saw earlier in the video. Any areas you can see, if I show you now, any areas that you can see that a slightly red on the jumper won't really matter. Because once the, once the black and white conversion kicks in, they'll go ever so slightly lighter is my prediction. And that will look simply like it's part of the lighting, so it won't make any difference at all. Okay, with there or thereabouts. Incidentally, for an image like this, you really should be working in 16 bits. If you have this kind of very tonal background where the tones move around, it will help you. It slows down the machine and it certainly clogs up your hard drives, but it's still worth doing. I don't have access to the 16-bit version of this file. Well, I backed up somewhere, but I haven't gone back to the original WAR file. I've only gone back to the original Photoshop file as I exported it from Lightroom, suggested to use 16 bit if you can. Okay, the why it looks about right. So I've light into our eyes a little bit. I have turned her jumper and any read bits of her scarf, I've turned them blue as well as the back of the chair that's gone blue because that was picked up by the same effect. I've left a hat pretty much well alone. 12. Post Production - Easy Vignette: Really all I need to do now is some finishing touches. So let's start with a vignette. I'm gonna just do this is the easiest way I know to do a vignette. All I'll do is a lasso or lasso around the area that I want to vignette. And you can turn this into an action. All I'm gonna do now is invert that. So it's the rest of the image, not the middle bit that's going to be affected. I'm going to use in this instance and exposure layer, but you could use a Curves Layer or levels layer. I just seem to get a good result with an exposure, sorry. Yeah. And exposure layer that's going to bring that up. You can see it's dark. You can start to see there's your vignette. They find now click on that mask. I can now feather that really soft. There we go. And now what I'll do is just pick up a brush, invert it. So I'm painting in black. So I'm basically what I'm doing is removing the vignette from bits of the image. I wanted it to be subtle. I don't want it to be harsh. Okay? But of course, the whole thing about this is all, each of these stages is completely non-disruptive because I'm using layers to do it. Each layer adds to the net, to the last, but it doesn't destroy the layers below it. And this I've painted over the top, but it still hasn't destroyed the layer below, which means I can always go back and change things. So if I decide I want a stronger vignette, I simply click on the effect. And I keep pulling it in. So I turn up. And that's without a vignette. With the vignette. And again, I'm just gonna drop it, drop that vignette. I acted the way just down here on the checks. I think I'm going to use the black and white conversion to make the jumper go dark. I don't need too much vignetting tone that I just want some sense of focus in the image. 13. Post Production - Smart Layer and Black & White: So now I'm going to do is I'm gonna create a brand new layer that contains everything. And that's what I'm going to apply. The neck effects, silver effects, black and white conversion to. So all I'm gonna do, I'm gonna hit control a which selects or commands a which selects everything. I'm then you're gonna go Shift Command and see, which basically copies everything that you can see and then hit Command V. So I've now got a new layer that only contains, well, doesn't only contain, it contains all of the pixels that you can see a minute ago. In this instance, I found the easiest way of being able to go back and revisit your black and white or filter conversions is to turn this layer into a Smart Layer, smart object. Okay? And to do that, hit the burger menu here on the layers panel, go to Convert to Smart Object. Now, a Smart Object simply means that all the information on that layer has been trapped inside that layer. So I can now apply things to it. And it will always use the information I've put inside, but it will always remember how I did it. So let me give you a really simple example. This isn't what we're gonna do, but if I put a Blair on here, gaussian blur so you can see it. Okay, I'm here. Okay. Now if you were using a normal layer to do that, there's no way you can undo it where you can hit undo, but you can't change it or adjust it. But here I can simply click on that Gaussian blur. Bring up the settings I had. Try again. Okay, and that's the beauty of smart objects. If you get the hang of any one thing in Photoshop, I suggest you get the hang of smart objects and smart layers. However, of course that isn't what we want to do. I'm going to remove that blur and let's delete that. And then I'm back to where I was before, which again is something you couldn't do if it was just a normal Layer. And I'm going to get a filter and I go to the NYC collection and I got to go silver effects probe to He's still in my opinion, the best black and white conversion tool there is out there. And I did take, I'll admit, I took the liberty of going back to the original Pauline image I showed you and dragging out her, let's have a look. Where are we dragging out her settings from the smart object that I'd used on her in the original file. And you can see that the settings I've used, because I've used a little bit of a filter here to bring out just the strengthen her face is it's not the adjustment of the brightness on their face using a filter isn't adjusting her jumper because a jumper is blue. It's on Broadly speaking, the other side of the color wheel. So it means I've got a lot of control over their relative brightnesses of the area of the image into the black and white. Of course, I knew I was gonna make a black and white, which is why I did what I did. If you don't know that, what you do is you try it. If it doesn't work, you try again. It's really important in an image like this that you don't do one thing or you're not trying to make Pauline look 25, but equally, I'm not trying to look, not trying to make it look like an old tool, a fisherman either. So the brightness, I've upped the brightness a little bit. Contrast. Soft contrast is quite useful here. Soft contrast, if you move it to a negative number, it evens out the terms cross image. If you do the opposite and move it to a positive number, it tends again to help me vignette those edges. And I have brought the structure up. But primarily that's being used to control the tone in her jumper. So structure is basically a local contrast and it's helping keep some tone in the knit of how jumper it's not doing an awful lot to her face because the filter, the color filter I have applied, and I've protected the shadows. So if you go down here and roll over, you can see that I've got some blacks are just pushing that protect homes up a little bit so that there's no blacks except when it deep in the shadow areas under Pauling's arms and under her chin, and the color filter, depending what you decide to do with that. If you go all the way into a blue high jumper will go light and a skin will have a blue filter applied, which I didn't really want. If you go to the reds or anywhere around the yellows and greens are jumping will go black, but it'll apply a really nice, really nice filter to her skin. And it brings out a little bit of texture and a little bit of form. It also lightens her I slightly, but it doesn't create that really gnarly. Fishermen look, you see so often in black and whites, you know, I didn't want that. The film setting I've used Kodak 400 T max probe. Of course, these are just a whole suite of presets. I mean, there's hundreds of them and as a whole load of new ones in the latest version two. So you pick the one that suits you. What I haven't done. I've done no toning at all. In the sewer effects protein. I've left atoning completely flat. You can see my histogram, it's nearly all shadows, but I've got tone up here into those highlights. Just change that. Ok, so I rise up here, non, nothing's blown out to pure white, but the hand knows is just starting to show when a rollover, level 909. So all I'm saying is there are little bits of black in there, but no blocked up blacks. There were tiny amounts of almost white in there, but no pure white. The rest of the tones I've controlled and distributed to give this lovely feel to the image here, okay? And it will save that down. And as you've just seen, I can double-click on that object all day, bring it back up and tweak it and go back. Try again, try again, try again, until it's right. 14. Post Production - Subtle Warm Tone: Now for me, there's a couple of last things to do. One is to tone it, one is to crop it. So let's start with the toning, again, a new adjustment layer. And for this I'm going to use a color balance layer. And a color balance. Say I gives me these three boxes and I just know from experience if you put 2311 and worn 23 fewer red cyan, 11 few magenta green, plus one few yellow, blue. You get this beautiful, beautiful effect. And as long as you select that to be happening up here to the mid tones, then it's not affecting the blacks, not affecting the whites. All it is is toning those mid tones. And for me, that just seems to work really well with the way that I edit images and the way I print images. Of course, it might be different for you. But there we are, we're done. All I have to do now is crop. It makes sure that you're delete cooked pixels is turned off because that way you can always come back to the crop and adjusted. It won't delete the pixels that are outside of the crop. You will simply hide them. I'm going to use. And whenever I got yeah, I've got an eight by ten. I want it to be the other way over. There we go. So classic old school, eight by ten crop pooling up here somewhere. I just push up into it a tad. Just seal that looks like say I've lost the top of her hat. Of course it'll take a second for silver hex protein because it now needs to recalculate. Now you've removed pixels, silver effects probe the as a small layer was a smart filter, will now recalculate itself based on what you've just done. It's useful. But of course it does mean that if it can sometimes just take a minute to sort itself out, they go. So not a million miles away. If I show you the original image, you can see that that's precisely what I did seven years ago when I both finished and produced this image for the competitions. 15. Wrapping Up: So you've seen how we created this image, and of course it now sits in our studio, is a huge piece of Walmart. There really is something so striking about this that when people come into the studio, they can't help but comment. And images really do kind of spring to life when you present them. Well, that's important too. If you're gonna make a business as a portrait photographer, you have to learn to display your images. And it's a really good idea to get known for just a few of your images. Pick out five or six or a really strong really show your character. Always use them. Always have them there on your website. Always have them there. New approaches always have them there when you're talking to a client, have them on the wall? Yes. All right. You do need to develop and progress. Of course you do. This is not a new image. I shot this image in 2013 and I've shot many more. I think probably better images, more complicated images, more beautiful images. But there is something about this one image appalling that so striking that it sits at the heart of our brand. And it's unlikely really that it will ever leave. It's such a nice story and it's such a nice image, but it means people instantly recognized it as me. They go into our website is to show the polling. They come to our studio. There's the shorter polling. And it really helps in starting a dialogue, starting a connection because people say, Oh, I came to you because I saw that shorter poorly. They maybe someone in their twenties, but they fell in love with the idea that you can have a beautiful portrait like that at any age, pick a few images for your brand and really, really hold onto them. So in summary, we've gone through the approach. We've gone through engaging a client in dialogue and making the very best of it. We've gone through the fact that a port of taking its useful. We've gone through the studio setup and how keeping it simple but subtle really can pay dividends. There's nothing complicated about this lighting. I've used big light sources because they give you a very natural effect. I've adjusted the lights really carefully to get those cat sites in the eyes. And I've pitched that camera, feels like I'm having a really nice conversation. I've shown you that it's important to make this session enjoyable, engage your client, make it like a like a conversation, make it January. I was curious. I really wanted to know about her life and she genuinely love telling me. I've shown you a little bit on the workflow and select an image is for your brand. They were haven't gone into that in detail. You can see what I'm driving at. And I've shown you that it's useful to have somebody else help you if you're uncertain how to do the selections. And on top of that, I've gone through the post-production, again, keeping it simple and subtle and trying to fix the problem that I created myself. And he's a quick footnote. When the image one its Award. The local press wanted to run a newspaper where the image was wrapped all the way around it. And it was going to have a very big circulation. So out of courtesy, I rang Paulina just to check. She was still happy she signed a model release. It wasn't a problem, but I just thought it might be a shock to find her face on every newspaper in the area. And she said, Yes, of course. And I said There's a Thank you. Can I give you some signs and mounted prints of this image? It's a really important image for me and I hope you like it. Can I give you so much? She said she'd love it. And I said how many would you like? You can I come back to you? No problem. Half an hour later, the phone rings, I pick it up and it's poorly. And she says I'd like 47, please. 47777. Yes. She said It's for my kids is from my grandkids. It's my great grandkids and it's my great, great grandkids. And so two weeks later, we presented them with a huge pile of 47 signed and mounted prints. It was the biggest set of prints I've ever had to deliver in worn hit. But it made her very happy and that made us very happy to, hopefully you've enjoyed this video. We really hope you haven't. Hopefully, you've had some ideas and things to take away from it. If you have one or subscribe to mastering, portray Photography.com, it's free. It's full. It's full of stuff like this. It's got articles, it's got tech diagrams, it's got imagery, it's got a forum, and of course it's the home of the ever popular mastering portrait photography podcast. We'd love to see you there. And when you go out with your camera to use some of the ideas in this video, why not post some of the results here? Create a project in the folders down below, an upload your images. We would love, love to see them. I cannot wait to see what you all get up to. And in the meantime, of course, please do stay safe, stay well, and be kinds yourself, take care.