Creative Portrait and Retouching Techniques with Lindsay Adler – WPPI 2012 Notes
Lindsay Adler is a professional portrait and fashion photographer based in New York. She regularly contributes to a variety of major photo publications internationally, including Professional Photographer, Rangefinder Magazine, and Shutterbug. Her editorials have also appeared in Bullett Magazine, Z!NK, Fault, Papercut, Fiasco and dozens more.Online, you may have seen her as a featured guest instructor for the popular (and free!) Creative Live for one of their extensive 3-day streaming seminars.
It’s funny that I have just recently wrote an article with SLR Lounge on the Five Great Fashion Photography Blog to Follow where I featured Lindsay Adler’s blog as one of the must-follow blogs for aspiring fashion photographers. Now that I got to attend her workshop live at WPPI 2012, I can see why she is one of the young rising stars in the industry.
This WPPI workshop, Creative Portrait and Retouching Techniques, covers some of Lindsay’s favorite retouching techniques that she uses for her professional work. Here are some highlights:
Liquifying is the not-so-black-magic art of subtly shaping a model’s features like slight tummy tuck or a slight enhancement to a woman’s breasts and hips.
The trick is to make it look as if it was like that out of the camera and not making it obvious that the the person’s body has been altered. Another area that Lindsay suggests to liquify include lowering the shoulders and slimming/lengthening the neck on a female model for a more attractive and more feminine look.
As you can see in one of my photos, the main brush is the Forward Warp Tool (red circle). Use a large brush size in order to get a nicer smoother shape change. Also, make sure you’re not pulling from the same pixels every time, since when you do this, you’re stretching the same pixels and it will make it look more artificial. Control is the key.
Also be sure to use the freeze mask tool (green circle), which is the fourth brush from the bottom on the left side of the window. This will mask out certain areas from getting pulled.
I haven’t really used Portraiture myself prior to this workshop, but I have to say that the method that Lindsay uses it is pretty powerful! Since the workshop, I have switched over from Portrait Professional to Portraiture because of Lindsay’s technique and also because Portraiture creates a lot less artifacts than PP.
Most people would run this plug-in and similar skin retouching plugin just once on the entire skin. Lindsay said that the problem with that is that different parts of the skin have different textures, lighting and imperfections (blotchiness, acne, shine, etc). The great thing about Portraiture is that you can export each corrected skin area as its own transparency layer. So first, youÂ select a portion of the skin by using the eye dropper to choose the general skin tone like the forehead. Don’t worry if it selects other areas outside your intended target zone.
A couple of tips in getting a cleaner, but still realistic looking skin: Under Detail Smoothing, don’t touch the Fine slider because retouching at this level diminishes skin texture and makes the skin look plasticky. Play around with Medium and Large slider to get the best balance of smooth and realistic skin.
After you’re done,export it as its own layer by going to the Output drop menu on the right side and choosing “New Layer” and checking the box for “Create Transparency Mask”.
Then,erase everything but that intended skin portion. Finally you go back to the original layer and run Portraiture on another part of the skin.
This is a style technique that makes for a fantastic fashion photo with either a Caucasian or an Asian with light skin. It is a relatively quick and simple trick involving using Photoshop’s Hue & Saturation adjustment layer. First, create the adjustment layer over your image. Then, go to the red and yellow channel and desaturate both channels. For light-skinned individuals, this is where most of the information for their skin tone lies. Now, if you do end up affecting other parts of the photo, like the red hair on Lindsay’s model above, you can mask it with the mask that is automatically created when you make the adjustment layer. You can “hide” anything in that layer by painting with a black brush and “reveal” anything in that layer by painting with a white brush.
The Selective color adjustment layer and the Hue and Saturation adjustment layers are powerful creative tools in Photoshop that allow you to be more creative in post-processing. I find that the selective layer creates a more subtle shift that doesn’t affect the highlights as much the hue and saturation layer. The latter can be used to add more saturation for a more dramatic color shift.
Although it’s usually a great idea to get all your color in camera, sometimes making it happen on the set or on location would involve too much time and/or money. Take a look at one of Lindsay’s editorials here.
The cost to bring that much red flowers to a location would be very high. Instead, Lindsay knew what she wanted to do in post and shot the scene against mostly yellow flowers in New York’s Central Park. Once she brings the photo into Photoshop, she creates the Selective color adjustment layer and in this case, choose the yellow channel to affect the yellow flower. She then play around with the slider until she gets the right color combination. Of course, I know some of you readers are already thinking that our skin tone also have some yellow in it. Just like the porcelain skin, all you have to do is mask out the parts of the photos that you don’t want to have a color shift.
It’s great to see someone who started fairly young and really made a name of out of herselfin the industry. What is better isto see her give back to the photographic community by sharing her creative techniques that make her images stand out.I always feel that as an aspiring fashion and commercial photographer myself, I’m always trying to learn from those who are succeeding in the industry.To be able to get these techniques under my belt will only make my craft better.
Joe Gunawan | fotosiamo.com
Joe Gunawan is a commercial and fashion photographer based out of Los Angeles, California. Check out his work at fotosiamo fotografie