THE BEFORE AND AFTER.... see full retouching video below
Well no secrets here... sorry ! This is just basic elementary portrait photography that has worked for millions of photographers around the world for decades... EAK! No fancy photography equipment or lighting here either. Which goes to show its not the equipment ! Its how you use it ! Ok I promise I will stop using exclamation marks from now on....
So as you can see, there is very minimal editing on this image, a bit of skin retouch and a contrast boost. For me the most important part of my photography is getting it right in camera, and even then I achieved this using some less expensive creative lighting gear.
This image of my gorgeous girl, was shot with a Canon Speedlite ! Yup, a one light set up with a speedlite. I get the painterly look from diffusion and feathering. So I double diffused my speedlite with two modifiers. Firstly with a Garry Fong globe and then with an 80 cm single diffused umbrella. I had the speedlite facing the back of the umbrella for additional softness. I should also add that because I am using a cheap umbrella, I need to mount my speedlite on a boom arm to position the umbrella on an angle facing down, rather than facing the subject flat on.
I shot attempting a one light Rembrandt lighting set up, with the light feathered at 45 degrees. The light was also bounced off a white wall, showing you can create magic in a small room in your home, with low ceilings. My little back room home studio set up that I used on my family and kids (and for my business for many years before) is shown below. As you can see, all I needed was a tiny corner, a white wall to bounce off and a small umbrella to achieve more height with my low ceilings.
I have to be honest. I have tried many editing styles, TOO MANY actions from many many many many different online shops.... only to realise that what I love is getting it right in camera, then keeping the image as natural as I can. I will emphasis the as natural as I can, because I do like a bit of dramatic contrasty effects. But as you can see in this edit video below, even then, its only small edits.
After all the actions I have purchased, I barely use any of them. As you will see in the video, I do a minor highlights and shadow adjustment in Adobe Camera Raw, including white balance and colour toning which gets my image 80% where I want it to be. Then I move onto Photoshop, where I have my own Frequency Separation action that I use with just about every photo. Then I apply Alien Skin, or Exposure X as its called now for my contrasty finish, which I tone down a little in Camera Raw filter.
However, I have recently come across the Sean Archer actions, and I do like them alot! I did not use them in this edit, but I did run the finishing set to sharpen the eyes and mouth, and open up the shadows a bit more with the painterly layer.
The full edit is available in the video below... and keep an eye out for more editing videos coming soon....
sorry, I did sneak in a few exclamation marks in there, didn't it. OOPS!