STE P BY STE P / A win­ning shot

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 The setup

Po­si­tion one flash­gun in front to light the face. We at­tached a sil­ver um­brella to the frontal light to spread it out, while the rear flash was left bare to give a hard edge light down one side of the body. Set both to man­ual power, the front one at ½ power, the rear at ¼ power.

2 Find an ex­po­sure

Start in Man­ual mode. Be­fore turn­ing the flashes on, ex­pose for the am­bi­ent light, then un­der­ex­pose slightly by in­creas­ing aper­ture or de­creas­ing ISO. Turn the flashes on and ad­just the power un­til you’re happy with the light on the sub­ject. We used 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO100.

3 Shoot a back­ground

Once you’ve cap­tured the sub­ject, the next step is to shoot a likely back­drop, sky and any other el­e­ments you might need. Keep ev­ery­thing con­sis­tent: the cam­era height, fo­cal length of the lens, fo­cus point and light­ing. We also cap­tured a golf ball up close to the cam­era.

4 Se­lect the sub­ject

Open your por­trait in Pho­to­shop (or use our im­ages), then grab the Quick Selection tool and paint to se­lect the sub­ject. Click on Se­lect and Mask (Re­fine Edge in older ver­sions). Paint over fuzzy ar­eas like the hair to im­prove the edge. Choose Out­put: Layer Mask and hit OK. 5 Fine-tune the mask Zoom in closer, high­light the layer mask thumb­nail in the Lay­ers panel, then grab the Brush tool and hit D to set colours to black and white. Paint with black to hide parts of the layer or white to re­veal them. Spend some time per­fect­ing the edge of the cutout.

6 Add a back­drop

Open the im­age of the back­ground, then go back to the cutout. Use the Move tool to drag the cutout over to the back­ground. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T if you need to re­size the layer. Once done, make a selection of the sky and Altclick on the Add Mask icon in the Lay­ers panel to hide it.

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