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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Anatomy Lesson....Veiled Princess

I mentioned in an earlier post that studio lighting terrifies & intimidates me.  That pretty much says it all~
But I've come to realize that if I actually want to create all these dramatic, awesome portrait ideas that I have spinning around in my brain, I'm going to have to learn to be in control of the light.  


So a few months ago I bought an inexpensive light set with 2 softboxes and a kicker light.  {I love saying "kicker light" it just sounds fun!}  
I've been experimenting with them occasionally but decided to do an "official, for real" photo shoot with Princess.  I had a specific look in mind for these portraits and my goal was to actually create the images I had in my brain.  


I'll be sharing more about my set-up on the Texas Chicks blog soon, but today I wanted to share a quick Anatomy Lesson on one of my favorite edits from the session.


I opened my original image in Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac...


I loved the soft yet intense expression on Princess but I was really back & forth on how to edit and crop it.
The composition just wasn't doing it for me but I couldn't decide what to keep and what to trash~  I liked the black space on the right....I liked the curve and the bokeh of the chair at the top and I liked the mix of the cream/white/black colors.  Ultimately, I decided that the focus should be on her and I didn't want the chair distracting from that so I cropped in real close...as usual!


Her skin looked great {6 year old skin is always great!} but the corner of her left eye and the corner of her mouth was too dark so I wanted to lighten those.  I used the Clone Tool with the mode set to Lighten at 23%.


*Sidenote ~ I just started using the Pencil Tool and I love it!  I totally stink at it but it's so fun!  I used it to circle the Mode & Opacity at the top~


Next I softened the skin just a tiny bit with Baby Powder Room then I was ready to decide on the final processing.  And guess what....I couldn't decide!  So I tried 2 different versions...


For the first one, I really wanted to keep that great mix of color tones so I simply ran the Velvet Truffle action from Coffeeshop and adjusted the Color Fill 2 layer to 25% instead of the default 75% opacity.


That's the wonderful thing about actions....most of them are adjustable so you can really make them fit to your style.  Don't be afraid to play with opacities, turning off layers, and combining one action over another.  You never know what you'll end up loving~


So here's my final in version #1...




*I just love her*


And here's my final in version #2.  This is a vintage treatment that I used on several of the other shots from this session...


I'd love to know which version you prefer!  
I'm going to be ordering some large samples for my home and I'm leaning towards a 24x24 of version #1 in a metal print~  Suggestions??


I'll be posting lots more from this session since I learned a ton about studio lighting, but if you just can't wait and want to see more of these shots you can check them out on my Facebook fan page.  


Enjoy~

15 comments:

WeeFaerie said...

Gorgeous photo! I love what you did with both but I think that first one is my favorite, so soft and dreamy!

charlottes web said...

fAntastic shot and editing! I am with WeeFaerie; I like the first one best. It is so ethereal and lovely.
I think that a Deco style frame would suit this photo.

way outnumbered said...

Thanks ladies! It's just so hard to choose sometimes but I'm definitely still agreeing with you...I like the colored version. I never thought of a frame but now I've got something else to consider!

Ashley Sisk said...

They are both gorgeous! Love it.

thatgirlblogs said...

you can't really go wrong, but I'm leaning toward #1 as well. She is beautiful.

Sarah Cox said...

I say #1 as well. The black and white one looks a little to grainy for my taste. I also wanted to tell you that your SOOC are really looking great as well. I have seen a big improvement in them since I first started following your blog. I hope to get there one day. I am finally taking a class to learn how to shoot in manual in May. I am so excited. Because like you I have pictures in my head that I want to make a reality.

way outnumbered said...

Wow Sarah what a huge compliment! As fun as it is to play with actions & textures, I've learned that there's no substitute for a great SOOC shot. I've worked really hard to get my original images exposed as a good as I can then there's less "fixing" to do and leaves more time for "playing". Good Luck on your class, let me know if it helps~

Darlene said...

Your work is beautiful! I really love them both, and I'm usually a b&w girl, but the color version is fabulous and will definitely look amazing blown up big on metallic paper.

Kristy said...

This is gorgeous!

Pamey said...

What lights did you get? I have been wanting to get something but really don't know what to get.

way outnumbered said...

Here's a link to the lighting kit I bought:
http://www.photobasics.net/details.cfm?id=187

The link says $295 but I paid $200 at a local camera store. They're definitely an amateur start-up kit but if I can learn to work with these then I can upgrade later as I can afford it. Let me know if you get some lights and I'd love to see photos you take with them!

Ashley said...

I'm with Darlene - I usually lean towards b/w, but the color edit is just gorgeous! The way you decided to crop really looks great!!

Ashley said...

I'm with Darlene - I usually lean towards b/w, but the color edit is just gorgeous! And the way you decided to crop is great!

Ingrid said...

I'm over from Erin's. You really rocked this session!

As someone else mentioned I normally lean towards B&W but your color version is gorgeous! I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of your photos. (Dang, I really want some lights and studio stuff now, too!!! And I don't do this for a living. I just wanna take beautiful photos of my children.)
~ingrid

way outnumbered said...

Thanks to all my visitors from Texas Chicks! I'm actually enjoying my experimenting with lighting but I have a long way to go....and it's certainly not just for the "pros", anyone can use them just for your own pleasure!

 
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