Photoshoot & Technique: A Face made for the camera…

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: October 7, 2011

Category: General

Hi Folks.
Had a blast the other night over in the studio where I joined up with my Buddy Noel Hannan to shoot a group of Actors/Singers who call themselves ‘Vocalarity

Now Noel concentrated on photographing the group in a whole series of full length poses and guises whereas for this shoot I concentrated on taking a series of head shots; some of which are included here…

The first series of head shots are of Tristan, one of the group members and someone I’m definitely looking to have modelling for the next round of Workshops which are set to kick off in February 2012
*(I’ll be posting the new workshop dates up on the blog as well as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter real soon)

The set up for taking this series of head shots was real simple: 2 Strip lights from either side and a beauty dish fitted with a honeycomb grid high and to the front.

Now in the studio I’m using the Profoto heads and modifiers but this is a set up that can be pretty closely replicated using 2 Speedlights and the new Lastolite Hotrod Strip Boxes either side of the model with another Speedlight in a Lastolite Ezybox to the front. In fact that is the exact same set up I use if I’m out on location because it’s light and very portable.

The Background
For this particular kind of look, slightly darker than mid grey(ish) background is needed but rather than set this up in the studio each of the subjects were positioned roughly 6ft away from the white studio walls. That, combined with the way the lights were positioned meant that the walls weren’t blasted with light and consequently turned grey.

*If I’d wanted the walls darker I could move the subject and lights further away from the background and if I wanted the background lighter, I’d do the opposite…simple 🙂

The spotlight however is a different story, as it’s been added during the post production phase in Photoshop…

Post Production/Editing
Each of the head shots regardless took no more than 15 minutes working through the following steps…

  • RAW Conversion
  • Tidying Up (Removing Dust Spots, Blemishes etc…)
  • Eyes (Whitening, Colour, Contrast, Sharpening)
  • Adding Texture/Details
  • Dodging & Burning
  • Extraction/Cut Out
  • Background (Add Colour and Spotlight)
  • Add overall ‘Painterly’ Look/Texture
  • Contrast using Unsharp Mask
The Extraction/Cut Out stage is what allows the new background to be put in place and doing so even with lots of fine, stray hairs is a breeze once you get to grips with the Refine Edge Command in Photoshop CS5. But, that being said it can be also done in earlier versions of Photoshop with just a little more knowledge and time. (N.B> I’ll be look at putting together a video tutorial to show this in the near future)
Here’s a few more of the head shots along with one of Officially ‘Top Fellow” and “Jolly Nice Chap” David Rogers (far right)…
A  Retoucher, Designer, Adobe Certified Expert in both Photoshop and Lightroom, Adobe Community Professional and in his own words ‘an all round damn fine assistant’, David’s over from the US visiting family and it’s been great catching up hanging out with him for the past few days.
My good friend Dave Clayton summed it up perfectly when he said “David’s one of those guys you feel like you’ve known forever but just wish you’d met earlier” … here, here!!!

Well, the weekend is upon us so have a great one and in the mean time if you have any question/comments then as always please feel free to make use of the comments section below,
Enjoy 🙂

•     •     •

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  1. Nat

    Love these Glyn. They are fantastic. Can I ask why you added the spotlight in post?

    • Glyn

      Hi Nat. Re the spotlight I do it this way for a number of reasons but mostly because of the flexibility it offers being able to adjust the size, brightness, colour and position at any stage after the shoot as well as showing the client the images with or without a spotlight.
      Hope that makes sense, Glyn

  2. Paul

    Hi glyn! Do you have a specific ratio between front light and side lights?

    • Glyn

      @Paul…No ratios mate. I just work by sight and if the light looks how I want it, then I go with it.

  3. Adrian

    Can you please please teach me how to do this technique, bin trying to do this for a while now but no success

  4. DaveT

    Looking forward to the tutorial on the refine edges bit. I have tried it a few times but without success (maybe because the background was too detailed).

    • Glyn

      @DaveT…Could well be the case mate. Hopefully the tutorial will help out. Cheers

  5. Thomas

    Thank you very much,this is great.

    • Glyn

      Cheers Thomas 😉

  6. Ciaran Cummins

    Thanks for showing this Glyn, I have loved this effect and wondered how it was achieved. As for the “spot” on the top of your own head… don’t think CS5 has a tool for that. Sorry! 😉

    • Glyn

      @Ciaran…I’m holding out, hoping that the next version of PS can help me with the ‘spot’ on my head…lol 🙂

  7. Nicole

    Wow, Glyn these are amazing. How do you create this wonderful paintery like look?

  8. David

    I obviously missed the webinar (I just found your blog last week) Is there anyway to get a tutorial from you on how you created these images? (post production) Just curious to see if the webinar was recorded. I would have loved to join if I had known about it 🙂 This is a technique I am always seeking to learn different ways of doing. Thanks.


  9. Evgeny

    Very cool site! Thank you very much for your lessons! Tell me how you can get a tutorial on editing photos? 🙂


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