Photo Shoot (Beauty Portfolio): Technique + Editing

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: November 11, 2010

Category: Videos

Following on from a recent studio session I thought I’d share with you some of the ‘Behind the Scenes’ information such as the lighting techniques and then finish off with a run through of the editing; taking the ‘out of camera’ images through to completion.

This particular shoot forms part of an ongoing project working with talented Make Up Artist Syn Ella. We’re currently working on new portfolios for the new year and having only worked with her a short time I’m really excited about some of the future shoots we have planned.

With regards to this particular studio session we focused solely on head shots and wanting the background to be clean and crisp we went for the white seamless set up; going the whole way setting up the reflective flooring…just incase we opted for some full length shots too.

As you can see from the lighting diagram I used a Profoto Beauty Dish as the main light which was positioned above and to the front of our model. Initially I wanted to use another light low down aimed up at our model’s face creating what’s commonly known as ‘Clam Shell’ lighting but instead opted for a Silver Tri Grip Reflector; reason???…I didn’t have a low enough light stand to hand 🙂

The white seamless background was lit using two Profoto heads either side and aimed ‘give or take’ into the middle. Both were flagged/hidden behind ‘V’ Flats to prevent lens flare and set to light the background at around 1½ to 2 stops brighter than the model to give pure white.

The two images below show the ‘out of camera’ image on the left and the final edited version on the right:

Here’s a video showing the editing process in Adobe Photoshop CS5 taking the image above from the ‘Before’ to the ‘After’ stage; mainly working on skin contrast and adding a bit more ‘punch’ to the eyes.

In real time the editing time was about 10 minutes but I’ve speeded up the video so that you can see the whole process in double time (ish):

I think like most photographers I can never just set up and start shooting; it takes me a little bit of time to get into the right frame of mind and ‘get my eye in’ and this is the same for everyone else on the set including the model and make up artist. This is the time when I’ll set up something real simple and rattle off a few frames. The image below was taken during this ‘warm up’ time and shot with just the Beauty Dish above and to the front of our model.

The images taken during this time aren’t one’s I’ll make use of as a rule but being a bit of a hoarder I’ll never throw them away; I’ll generally practice some retouching on them during a bit of downtime as was the case below:

If you’d like to see the techniques I used in the video (plus ones used in the image above) explained and at a slower pace you can find them in the Technique Category in the top menu, at this link or by visiting my YouTube Page. Oh and incidentally, the techniques can all be done in earlier versions of Photoshop.

Enjoy 🙂

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  1. Alexander

    Super! Super tutorial, i would love to retouch like this.
    BUT! When you do healing, it’s better to slpit layers to hi-pass,and low-pass.
    This one is good quick.

    • Glyn

      @Alexander…Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting; I really appreciate it 🙂
      Interesting what you say about healing…I guess the big positive about Photoshop is that there are so many ways to do things but one things for sure I never tule out looking into new ways so thanks for the tip.


  2. Noel Hannan

    Excellent series of shots – I look forward to the finished series!

    I do like the head shots against the white background , very in fashion at the moment.

    thanks for sharing Glyn.


    • Glyn

      Cheers Noel. Not quite sure when the project will be finished but I guess when there’s roughly 10 or so new studio images for the portfolio.

      Hope all is well with you,
      Speak soon,
      Glyn 🙂

  3. Alexander

    You know, i’am crazy about retouching. So for minus i can say that her hair look not the best way.
    And picture itself looks retouched.
    I think that good retouching should take more than 10 minutes 😉

    • Glyn

      @Alexander…Can’t say I agree with you that good retouching should take more than 10 minutes; it all depends how far you’re wanting to go and what the purpose of the images are. Sure if the single image was for a magazine then yes I do take longer over things like retouching the skin and that could take one or two hours but that is not routine.

      The image you’re mentioning about is intended to look retouched as I mentioned in the text:

      “The images taken during this time aren’t one’s I’ll make use of as a rule but being a bit of a hoarder I’ll never throw them away; I’ll generally practice some retouching on them during a bit of downtime…”

      Working with a good make up artist will reduce retouching time as will getting the image right ‘in camera’ leaving retouching time to get the image to look a certain way however for day to day work I wouldn’t be spending more than 10 minutes or so on a retouch per image.


  4. Alexander

    Glyn,by the way, do you know how to save texture? If it is totally destroyed by Photoshop?
    For example i shoot pragnent woman,and there was a real big problem with stomach skin. And even healing with High Pass destroyed texture.
    How can i recover skin texture?

  5. Cezar

    Hi Glyn, great website, great work!! By the way i’m trying to find slow motion tut? If there is like it? Can u give me some directions where i can find it??? Thank you.

    • Glyn

      Hi Cezar…Thanks for stopping by and commenting. With regards to all the techniques used in this retouch I have videos here on the blog under the Category Section (Technique) that show it all in slow time, albeit on a different model. You can find also find them on my YouTube Page ( under Beauty Retouch Parts 1 – 5

      Hope that helps,

  6. Alejandro

    Hello Glyn! Great work, thank you for sharing this wonderful tutorial.. It’s been very helpful although I must confess that I couldn’t get the part from > 1:50 to 2:00 I understand that you-are treating the highlights in a separate way.. Could you give us a hint? Thank you again!

    • Glyn

      Hi Alejandro…Basically what I’m doing at that point is CMD/CTRL clicking on the RGB channel. This at first selects the ‘highlight’ areas of the image and by then pressing on CMD/CTRL J I copy them onto their own layer. Changing the blend mode then to SCREEN brightens them and I control how much by using the opacity of that layer. Exactly the same is done for the ‘shadows’ but when having CMD/CTRL clicked on the RGB channel this is then inverted so it selects opposite of the ‘highlights’ ie the shadows. This is put onto it’s own layer and the blend mode changed to ‘Multiply’ which darkens them, and again this can be controlled by using the layer opacity.

      Hope that helps 🙂


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