To start the week off I thought I’d share with you some images from a recent studio shoot with ‘first time’ model Claire Gladman:
As well as a selection of some of the images from the shoot I’ve also included a ‘walk through’ giving you a breakdown of the lighting used and then finishing off by going through some of the editing involved to take the ‘out of camera’ images through to their final ‘print ready’ state.
As this was Claire’s first time in front of the camera we decided to concentrate solely on ‘head shots’ with a view to progressing towards full length shots at a later stage.
Standing in front of the camera and modelling for the first time can understandably be quite a daunting experience. When working with a ‘first time’ model as a rule I’ll always start with a ‘head shot’ session, then once the subject becomes more relaxed into the whole process and the confidence builds we’ll move onto full length shots.
Lighting Set Up
To emphasise Claire’s strong eyes and great bone structure I opted to use the Profoto Beauty Dish fitted with the honeycomb grid and positioned above and to the front of Claire on a boom. In addition to that a medium sized soft box was positioned below and to the front of Claire angled up slightly to create the classic ‘Clamshell’ lighting set up.
For the majority of the shoot the set up was as shown in the diagram below but only using using the one softbox to the rear for rim light and no white seamless used this time…just the white walls of the studio as we were only working on ‘head shots’:
Editing in Lightroom & Photoshop
As is always the case when in the studio I was shooting tethered directly into Lightroom 3. When importing the photos directly from the camera Lighroom was applying a preset that reduced the red channel by 25%. Nikon’s do tend to run a little hot in the ‘Red’ Channel and I’ve found that a reduction of around 25% is about all that’s needed to give a more accurate interpretation of what I’m seeing.
To take the images from their ‘out of camera’ state to being fully edited, print ready versions there were a number of editing stages I went through and I guess on average roughly half an hour was spent on each. The majority of the editing was done in Photoshop using Lightroom to only check White Balance and exposure.
Apart from a few extra tweeks like lengthening Claire’ neck slightly the editing was pretty much the same throughout and you can find all of the techniques I used in my Beauty Retouch Series 1 – 5 either here on the blog or by visiting my YouTube Page [Link]
I pretty much follow the same workflow stages in Photoshop when I’m editing a portrait and the running order is something like this:
- Remove Dust Spots
- Working on Eyes
- Remove Blemishes
- Tidy up hair
- Body Sculpting
- Soften Skin
- Add Skin Contrast
- Dodging and Burning
- Hair Highlights/Lowlights
- Adding Details
By this stage the images are generally complete and it’s then that I may go on to add a few more little enhancements like the fake spotlight and coloured background, Black and White conversions etc…
Talking of Dust spots: Shooting at f/8 – f/11 showed up quite a few dust spots on my D3’s sensor so first job was to remove them. There’s a technique I picked up from Scott Kelby that is an absolute killer for doing this and I’m going to be posting a tutorial showing it in the very near future.
Last Friday I posted a video tutorial called ‘Colouring the Background‘ and this is the technique I used to add the spotlight behind Claire as well as the blue colouring. The Black & White conversions were done using the only Plug In I use these days…Nik Silver Efex Pro. The default settings are generally spot on but for Claire’s photographs I added a little more Contrast and Structure…not much, only about 10-15% on each.
As always any feedback or questions/comments are always welcome so please feel free to make use of the comments section below.
In the mean time,
BIG thanks to first time model Claire who I’m really looking forward to working with again in the near future.
Oxygen Hair & Beauty Salon, Beaconsfield and in particular stylist ‘Daisy’ for doing a ‘fab’ job with Claire’s hair especially with such short notice.
Make Up Artist Syn
… and of course my Buddy, Assistant & All Round Good Guy Neal Hibbert for helping out with the shoot