This recent portrait of Paul was photographed when I was assisting him in Milan late last year for his 12 Natural Wonders 2015 Campaign. I wanted to create a natural light portrait of him, showing the depth and qualities of light within the location. This image was captured using only available light with his Lecia S2.
IMAGE SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Camera - Lecia S2
Exposure - F2.8, 80mm Contax lens, 1/90th sec, ISO 320
ELEMENTS OF THE RAW CONVERSION
All of my raw files are imported into Aperture 3 for Raw processing. I specifically use Aperture 3 for two main reasons (1) To be able to reduce exposure for the highlights and retain the most amount of detail (2) colour temperature; how the software actually treats my raw file as a base and determine what my "colour temperature" will be. The raw image file was imported into Aperture 3. The image of Paul is slightly overexposed however it doesn't appear to have any highlight clipping warnings. I changed my exposure adjustments of my file to -1.0 recovering nearly all of the blown highlight detail on his face.
Exposure Adjustments Only
The image was then exported as a 8Bit file .PSD file and imported into Photoshop CC 2014 for the remaining bulk of processing and retouching.
With regards to the final outcome of the editing, I typically design or create specific outcomes depending on the image. For this particular image, I wanted to create a very high contrast black and white effect to the portrait. With this in mind, I have to create an appropriate edit with several considerations:
1. Choose a suitable black and white conversion method which is appropriate. Does it give enough contrast to the image? Does it allow you to edit selectively or adjust any particular regions within the image?
2. Does the image require any further refinements? Do you need to even out the skin in terms of lighting? Do you need to edit the skin in any way? Are there any refinements needed to be made?
3. What is the chosen output size of the image? Do I require the image to be printed or is it simply used for web?
With these considerations in mind, I am now able to refine and create the desired outcome.
Step 1. The image was imported into Photoshop CC2014.
Step 2. The image was then processed using my latest Film Styles Action. I selected the Kodak Technidol preset within the action set. This action created the suitable contrast that I desired for my black and white conversion.
Step 3. I then added a Grunge Effect set to Multiply blending mode (set to 60% opacity) to reduce the amount of highlight information within the image.
Step 4. I edited an appropriate channel by darkening the highlights using my Generate Highlights action. This selected the luminosity of the image and closed it down by 2 stops. This was selectively masked onto the image. The Blend-if sliders were also adjusted to target the highlights only. If you are not familiar with the use of Blend-if, you can read more about how to effectively use Blend-if Sliders here.
Step 5. I cleaned up the image by removing the dirt from his jacket using the Healing brush. I performed this adjustment using the new Retouching Toolkit by Conny Wallstrom.
Step 6. A selective brighten curve adjustment with an inverted channel as a layer mask, was applied so that it acted like a Digital Reflector. This allowed any adjustment when applied, to selectively brighten any shadow information. As you can see this was selectively applied to the eyes to create better depth in the portrait.
Step 7. A similar adjustment as stage (6) was applied for the iris.
Step 8. I used the Retouching Toolkit to generate a variety of appropriate Dodge and Burning layers to even out the transitions of the skin.
Step 9. I felt the image needed to refine some of the mid-tone contrast. I simply used the camera raw filter as an adjustment layer, applied some Clarity to the image to bring out this mid-tone contrast detail. The layer was then set to 60% opacity and split using Blend-if so that it only filters through the midtones.
Step 10. The next step in my workflow was to use my custom sharpening method which I originally learnt from Guy Gowan. It has been adjusted to suit my preferences when working with my files and has the ability to sharpen the highlights and shadows independently.
Step 11. One of my final steps within my workflow is to add a level of noise or grain to my images. This was created using the camera raw filter and applying grain to the image.
Step 12.Lastly the PSD was saved to my appropriate backup hard-drive and a copy of the high res image was exported out onto facebook using the Facebook Powertools.
Before / After