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portrait-origportrait2

The original portrait (left) was taken in my office using  two 100-w (equiv) daylight energy bulbs inside adjustable silver work lights (described here) that I used to shoot some product shots. It was an impromptu portrait taken for possible use on her future website where she plans to sell her products.

I only took 4 shots, and this one was the best of the four in terms of lighting, pose, and lack of glare from her glasses. Still, it wasn’t studio quality, and I would not have thought it worthy of going on a website.

I played with it a bit in hopes of making it at least worth considering using as a professional portrait. It gave me opportunity to use Christy Shuler’s photo retouching techniques to smooth her skin without losing the texture, which is often the result with many techniques that use surface blur. Her tutorials are awesome and definitely result in natural looking instead of plastic faces.

After one round of modification, I posted it for review on DPS and got a few additional suggestions; specifically, cropping and reduction of the hot spots on her face caused by the lights.  Using the clone tool at low opacity set to darken was a technique I’d never tried, but worked wonders in minimizing the glare and hot spots from the light. Definitely a technique I’ll use again.

After adding a darker texture (credited on flickr), the end result (image right) turned out to be, IMO, one that someone might consider using as their portrait on their website. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out, but would definitely not want to put that much time and effort into correcting every indoor portrait I ever take. Maybe someday I can afford to get a speedlight and shoot through umbrella, and will, at least, be able to balance my lighting better from the jump. In the meantime, I’ll keep practicing with my cheapo setup from Lowe’s.

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