Jump to content

Portraits by Olaf: Before & After


Olaf_ZG

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I started doing portraits again, although for now they are more headshots, as this is my current audience: people from the office wanting a decent image for their profile.

Though I don’t mind polishing someone, I don’t want to alter the body, so I made a promise to myself not to use photoshop: all edits should be done in LR.

As I am relearning the whole process of portraits, especially the editing part, I thought it is nice to show you my journey.

Comments are very welcome, but please keep them related to my part, not the model.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

A recent one. Sl2s with the 24-90 and one strobe. The before is not a real before. It is a proof, so basically a sooc with a preset, cropped to 4x5 and exposure adjusted.

 

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yesterday’s edit. Same setup as above. Had to tune down his ear and adjusted the background color.

 

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

This one is from earlier this year. SL2s with 24-90 and one strobe. I used my regular preset (see separate thread from @evikne in the other forum), and applied certain local adjustments. Main time spend was on “cleaning” her face.

 

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

And a boy who needed quite some cleaning on his face. This time taken with two strobes, one obviously gelled blue. I really dislike cleaning faces, but it is a necessary job. All other adjustments I actually enjoy 😎

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

And some info about the workflow: after the shoot, I select the keepers with photo mechanic. The rest I delete. The keepers are mored into my LR folder.

There (LRC) I select them and create proofs with my custom preset on all images. Then, each image I crop (4x5) and adjust exposure if needed. The proofs are uploaded on my site and my subject can choose upto 5 images to be edited. I create one before/after so the sitter gets an idea.

Regarding my preset: it is based on Visual Flow’s preset, but I added local adjustments by using AI masks: softening skin, some clarity on clothes hair, brightening eyes, standard vignette etc. AI masks ensures this is done nicely there where needed, a great timesaver.

I have a proofing preset for females and males, as smoothing of skin will be different as well as treatment of lips (females) or facial hair (male).

Being able to create proofs in five minutes is a wonderful thing. Who wants to spend time on proofs?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is great to see - thank you. I look forward to seeing more before and after shots.

I probably do less face 'clean-up' than you, but like you, all in Lightroom. My workflow is to upload all images to Lightroom, then skim through them, clicking 'x' on all immediate rejects, then select 'all rejects' and delete them. After editing individual images (and deleting a few more) I sync them all to Adobe CC, and send the person a link for downloading. They receive them at around 2000px on the long edge (more than good enough for online use or smaller printing), and offer them at full res via Wetransfer, if they want them.

For headshots with flash, my default is a medium contrast curve, a slight increase in 'clarity' (+5), and a vignette. If the background is messy and uncontrolled, I will use an AI mask (to desaturate, de-texture, de-clarity, lighten or darken). I also check/adjust white points (usually not black points).
Many of my headshots are of students, some with perfect skin and some with acne. I do the best I can with temporary blemishes (Content-Aware Remove), but leave permanent ones alone. For students who have poor/blotchy skin 'texture' (and may have covered it with 'unfortunate' make-up with the texture of concrete) I reduce Clarity. Although I want to show people as they are, I don't see why their photos should be saddled with features that are not a permanent part of them.

For headshots by natural light, unless it is horizontal window light, I put more work in, especially around the eyes: lightening the eye sockets and making the iris shape and colour clearer. The latest AI people/eye masks are wonderful for this. Adjust one and copy to all the others - done! Similarly an AI mask for hair allows lightening, increasing saturation and increasing clarity.

For headshots of older actors I will break my rule (of not hiding natural/permanent features) - I usually reduce Clarity considerably to reduce the impact of wrinkles.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, SL2-s, 24-90 and a strobe. Again the skin took the most part of the job, but I like it can be done in LR. No more need to switch apps, which make life so much easier.

PP: visual flow preset, local adjustments on face, hair, clothes and background. My preset is rather pushing the pinks/reds in skin tones, so this I need to tune down a bit.

For this kind of posing I prefer less dof, so to me, here the 24-90 isn’t sufficient. It wasn’t meant to be, to be fair. So, I decided to add a “real” portrait lens. 

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

For comparison, a portrait with a 50mm lux on the m10m. Being shot in monochrom, processing was much easier as colors were left out. 

The tighter dof I really enjoy. Ofcourse this is my personal view. The sitter loved his portraits though.

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Karlo, sl2s, 24-90, one strobe. An edit from some shoots ago. I need to tone down the reds, although I like the feel more of drama it gives here.

 

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Another one, actually my first headshot this year. Setup as above.

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ivana, setup as in post #12

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Looking really good!

like you, I like to keep my edits very minimal. No skin retouching, no modification to face shape or body shape. Only basic exposure adjustments and some vignetting for the most part.
When using strobes I try to get close to a finished result on the back of the camera, and with that in mind the only thing I would suggest with your portraits is to spend some time working on your lighting. Using a single strobe, usually you can get within 1/4 stop of your desired highlights / shadow ratio with careful positioning of a reflector. I’ll occasionally use flags or scrims to shape the light on a head shot as well, but Lightroom can emulate the effects of those pretty easily so sometimes it’s best to keep the flow of the session going and plan your edits before you click the shutter. 
 

I used a software called set.a.light.3d to learn about strobes and reflectors, it’s invaluable for this type of headshot work and with the pre-planning done in the software you walk into your shoot with a literal map of where to position everything. Well worth playing around if you get the chance. 

Edited by Stevejack
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Dalibor, SL2s plus 24-90, two lights but the second one wasn’t placed that good, so I had to darken the ear in post.

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Amando. SL2s plus 24-90. Two strobes.

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Finally I did another headshot today. SL2, SL lux and one light.

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Before" is always better, it does not look artificial, post#10 is almost a different person, keep the originals, just don't underexpose that much. Try 1 1/3 stops brighter and see the magic.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...