Dance, light and retouching

On the SKIN1 Workshop we used the strong sunlight coming in through the back windows at Ark to highlight Georgia’s body. I wanted a sense of movement and so added in the red voile for strong contrast and some smoke from a smoke machine to pick up the shafts of light coming through the window.

BEFORE
AFTER

You can see in the before image that we’ve applied some colour toning, adjusted texture and removed some distractions. How did we do it?

Firstly look for things that may distract from the subject. In this instance I love the lights in the studio but not in this image. I use patch tool to select them, one at a time, and then content aware fill gets rid pretty well. There was also a white ring on the pipe behind G that I got rid of in a similar way.

I wanted to take down the highlights on G and so duplicated the background image and took that layer into Camera Raw. I used the sliders there to apply texture, clarity and bring down the highlights. Once applied I put a black mask on that layer and then used a white brush at 20% opacity to brush the effects into certain areas of the image. There’s no right or wrong really to this. I wanted more texture in the smoke and on the fabric and bring down skin highlights.

Finally it was time to look at the colours. I applied a layer of solid brown, changed it’s opacity to 30% and blending mode to soft light. I clicked on the associated mask and went to Image-Apply Image and ticked invert before applying that to the mask. You can see how it then applies the brown colour to specfic areas of the image. It’s a great tool.

Finally I wanted a little more light on her face and so selected a white to transparent gradient and the reflected gradient style. This allowed me to draw a white line on a blank layer angling down from the window. I used the Free Transform tool to make it wider at the end than the start to copy the way light spills out. I then added a mask and a second gradient, linear this time and going from white to black across the screen so that the shaft of light got weaker towards the end. I then changed the blending mode to Soft Light and got a beautifully enhanced flow of light across G’s face and upper torso.

That was it. Save the image and job done. If you’d like to join us for more in depth shooting and retouching then check out the SKIN2 and 3 Workshops in October and come along to Ark.

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