People are unique, and a portrait should really capture that unique element that makes them who they are. For this project I wanted to focus on not only getting great images of the people I was photographing, but I also wanted it to tell us something about who they are through their clothes, surroundings, and expressions.
I have a lot of experience shooting in studios and outside in the summer but I haven’t shot many portraits outside in the winter so it was a really good learning opportunity that pushed me.
Individual – Side Composition
For these pictures my brother was sweet enough to hike through the snow out by Egin Lake early Saturday morning. This is where the really tall dunes are located in the St. Anthony Sand Dunes. With the melting snow, sagebrush, and blue mountains behind it was gorgeous, if a little cold. I set my aperture and iso really low and sped up the shudder speed to help block out some of the light that was reflecting everywhere. I also had Ben stand on a small dune and I on another and then zoomed in to add to the bokeh (blur in the background).
Edits: I copied the original photo and then used adjustment layers to adjust levels and hue and saturation. After that was done I went in on the copied layer and I used the cloning stamp tool to smooth some skin and lighten some blemishes and moles. I left the moles for the most part but I did lighten them a little bit so they wouldn’t be so distracting.
Individual – Head or Head & Shoulders
This is my younger sister. She is a bit of a spitfire, at least around the family. To capture photos of her is to make a collection of masquerade masks because she is constantly moving and changing her expression. This was her “innocent angel face” trying to prove to me that she was the perfectly obedient model. Probably not but she does make you laugh a lot during the process.
Edits: I copied the original photo and then used adjustment layers to adjust levels and hue and saturation. After that was done I went in on the copied layer and I used the cloning stamp tool to smooth some skin and lighten some blemishes. I then copied that layer and used a brush under lighten mode to lighten her teeth and corners of her eyes. I also used a little bit of the burn tool to darken some of her hair. I then added another hue adjustment layer and I changed the color to a purplish red. In the original her hands were oddly white compared to her face due to the cold and the way she was holding them. Once I changed that hue I used the mask layer to make it only show the effect on her hands and I lowered the opacity slightly on the hue layer. Once that was completed the hands no longer detracted from her face. I added another layer and used the brush to darken the edges slightly.
Individual – Full Body
This image was taken in the late afternoon and the sun was still really harsh. This cute girl had a fun date to get back to so we were under a bit of a time crunch. When I looked over the images later I really loved everything about the image (exposure on her face, etc.) except the sky was blown out. I made the mistake of not shooting in multiples so I couldn’t pull from the image itself to make the sky show up. So I pulled another image I took a few weeks ago into the document.
Edits: I started by doing my standard copy of the original in anther layer and adjustment layers for levels and hue and saturation. After that I went to work to fix the sky problem. I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to bring in another sky. I dropped on of my older images into the frame and adjusted it so just the sky of the new image would be in the empty sky space. I adjusted its color and saturation to match my new image. I then added a black mask to it to make it completely disappear. I then used a white brush on the mask to bring the sky back in where I wanted it. It ended up working quite well but I also learned a lesson on preparing ahead of time so that I can draw from another exposure of the same image. To finish the image I used the doge tool to lighten her face.
Group Activity – Two or more people acting candidly
Inspector dad: When my dad went over to start asking my brother about one of the welding helmets I couldn’t help but capture the image. The light was right above my dad’s head however, so I had to use the dodge tool and the clone stamp tool to remove some unfavorable shadows that t left on his face. Beyond that it was only the basic edits.
I actually found this part of the railroad tracks a little past Porter Park. It was fun because the tracks were still partly covered in snow. I did only the basic edits on this image.
Group Posed – Two or more people posing
I am blessed to live with these beautiful twin sisters. They have such a fun relationship and it was fun to take pictures of them together. It was a little different to take photos of twins but super fun. I did only the basic edits on this image.
Individual or Group Environmental
My brother is an incredible welder. He is still in high school, but even as a little kid he would hang out in the shop and watch my grandpa weld. When he got a little older my grandpa began teaching my brother how to do it for himself. When my grandpa passed away my brother was able to get his welder and has made good use of it. He began training under welders in the area and my other grandpa on visits and started all sorts of projects with his friends. He even picks up odd jobs here and there from the community. I am really proud of what he has accomplished and I really wanted to capture him in his element. I knew this would really push me in my ability to control the camera but I was excited for the challenge.
I brought a studio light down into the garage to control some of the lighting and help stop the motion. I had a speed light on the top of my camera but pointed away to trigger the studio light. I started with the light to the side but I later ended up moving it behind him and to the side to help through the white garage door into the shadows. (On the other wall we have an assortment of garden tools that really cluttered the images). These shots ended up being some of my favorite and I am definitely going to try more shots of people in their environment.
Edits: Standard copy of the original in anther layer and adjustment layers for levels and hue and saturation. I then added a second hue and saturation adjustments layer and lowered the saturation quite a bit. I then blacked out the mask and brought the new hue and saturation layer in with white over the rip in the glove. The red of the under glove was a bit distracting from the rest of the image so I wanted to soften its effect. I added another layer and blacked out the edges a bit.
I copied the original image and added levels and hue and saturation adjustment levels. I then went in on the copied image and used the brush under lighten mode to lighten his teeth. I then copied the layer and used the clone stamp tool to clean up acne and moles. I then added another layer to darken the edges.
This image was originally really orange in tone. I wanted to soften its extreme color so I did a color match with the image below (also image used for the individual head & shoulders image from above). To do this I opened both images and then went under Image, Adjustments, and Match Color. I selected the other picture as my source and then faded the effect so that it wouldn’t come out blue. I then just added another layer and darkened the edges a little.
For this image I copied the original layer and used the color replacement tool to change his work coveralls from blue to green, his favorite color. I did this by having green selected in the color swath. It came out a little stronger than I liked so I but a black mask over it and then brought it in manually the way I wanted it. I then used adjustment layers for levels and hue and saturation. After that I decided to simplify the background a little more. I saved all the progress I had so far into one layer by hitting command/option/shift/E and renamed the new layer ALL. I used the clone stamp tool to remove the warning sticker from the garage door. I then selected my brother and his work table. I inversed the selection and added a gaussian blur to the background. It came out a little strong and had harsh lines around the unselected parts so I used the masking tool to soften the effect between the two layers. I went back to one of my older layer masks and brought a little more green into some parts. I then added another layer and darkened the edges.