EDIT SKILLS: EXTENDING HAIR
FIND OUT HOW TO GIVE YOUR PORTRAIT THE FINISHING TOUCHES IT DESERVES AS CAROLINE SCHMIDT SHOWS YOU HOW TO EDIT FOR ENHANCING NATURAL BEAUTY
Tried our overhead portrait technique? Here’s how to fill the frame with your subject’s hair in processing
IF YOU’VE GIVEN our last Photo Skills a try but feel your Raw in- camera portrait lacks punch, here I'll show you how to replicate the look of the final image by following a few simple steps. Red heads are incredibly photogenic, especially those with freckles, so you want to try and bring out their vivid colours and striking details. If, like me, you also underexposed the image slightly for depth, you'll need to know how to control the exposure post- capture. You may also want to fill in any sparse background space, if their hair isn’t long enough or spread out correctly, and that’s what I’ll show you how to do here…
1 RETOUCH As there's not much light to fill in any shadows, there's a little undereye shadowing that could benefit from being filled in to brighten the complexion. To do this, create a new layer ( Layer> New), select the Brush tool and sample the skin tone next to the edge of the eye by pressing the alt key. Draw the Opacity slider down to 20% and brush over the area. You want a subtle result that retains visible texture.
2 ADD DEPTH To increase contrast and desaturate the skin tone, bringing out Emily's striking freckles without oversaturating the image, apply a Black & White adjustment layer from the Adjustments button at bottom of the Layers palette. Change the layer’s Blend Mode to Soft Light and reduce the layer’s Opacity slider down to 30- 50%, or until you reach your desired result.
3 BRIGHTEN AND SATURATE Using multiple Adjustment Layers and their Layer Masks, you can selectively brighten and darken areas of your image to increase contrast. For instance, use a Hue/ Saturation layer to add a touch of saturation to the image, masking off the skin, then apply a Levels adjustment layer to focus on the highlights in the hair and face, and a Curves adjustment layer to increase overall contrast.
4 FLIP THE HAIR The hair on the left- hand side of the frame is a little sparse. To fill it out, merge the edited layers together by selecting them all and pressing alt, cmd, shift and E to merge to a new image layer. Take the Marquee tool with the Feather set to 0px and select the area you want to duplicate, in this case it's the hair on the right. Click Edit> Copy and paste to a new layer, then drag it to the opposite side.
5 BLEND THE HAIR With the new hair in place, use the Move tool to resize as necessary. Add a Layer Mask to the new hair layer, then using the Brush tool set to Black and with a low opacity, work over the new hair to reveal some of the main image below, concentrating on blending the straight edges from the selection. This will be much more forgiving if you’ve shot the image wide open and the hair is blurry.
6 ADJUST HAIR COLOUR To add some ' oomph' to the red hair, add a Curves adjustment layer and select the Green channel from the drop- down menu. Move the Shadows slightly right to shift the histogram and insert a touch of magenta. This gives a boost to the auburn hair but also the skin tones, so you may need to use the Brush tool with a soft edge and Black paint to reduce the effect on the skin.
HAIR EX TENSIONS Selectively editing the skin tone, hair and highlights can give an otherwise flat portrait instant impact.