hairlight - photoshop

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by megan_stone, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. im a portrait photographer and have noticed that something about my work looks a bit flat at times ... i've realized that i often dont add a touch of a hair light, or shoulder etc.
    ive done a portrait that i feel really needs that - is there a way to do this through photoshop ? im on CS3.
    any help would be great.
    thank you
  2. have you played w/ Filter -> Render -> Lighting Effects?
    you can also try to dupe the main layer, blend it w/ hard/soft light, mask all and then paint back in as you see fit.
    There was an interesting Versace video where he took a pretty drab fashion image and re-lit it. Pretty amazing actually.
  3. Hold down alt when you create a new layer. When the window pops up, select "soft light" as the blend mode and choose "fill with 50% gray." Now grab a soft brush and paint, on your new layer, with white to lighten and black to darken. Start with a low opacity-around 10%- and build up. Paint on highlights where you see fit. This is the common way to add structure to a face, bring out hairlights, etc. You can use this method for loads of stuff. Instead of painting with white, you can use the dodge and burn tool on your "soft light" layer, but it can take a bit of practice to get the feel of those tools. You can also use the "overlay" blend mode, but you'll have more of a color shift than you will with soft light.
  4. Jen's technique above is very effective for creating a change in value, but it changes all the values you paint on, which can be problematic if it kills your blacks or blows your whites. A similar technique is to add an adjustment layer and paint on its mask with the aforementioned soft brush and varying blacks and whites, to say nothing of grays. (Note: "paint on the mask" means you click on the mask and paint on your image.) You can fill the whole mask with foreground or background color using ctl-Backspace or alt-Backspace.
    Using a Curves adjustment, for example, lets you pull up your midtones slightly, leaving your blacks and whites where they are--but it doesn't stop there. No reason you can't go into the Blue channel and tweak that to give your subject blue frosted highlights, or add a Desaturate adjustment and paint the yellow out of teeth, or add a Hue/Saturation adjustment and paint the irises to intensify or change their color. There's also adding tats and body piercings, but that's a whole different technique reserved for portrait photographers who are wild women. ;-)
  5. The following simple technique (learned form an episode of Photoshop User TV has worked well for me:
    Create a duplicate layer. Change blending mode to "screen". Alt-click layer mask icon to create a mask filled with black. Paint with white using soft-edge brush at reduced opacity (I usually settle in around 40%) on areas where you require highlight. Adjust opacity of layer to taste.
    This also works well for adding "highlights" to other areas of the hair. I've found that it occasionally looks awkward on fabric, but works well on hair.
    Of course, may I recommend an accent light of some kind while shooting. If you do not have the means or space to add another light, a metallic reflector positioned just out of frame and opposing the main light can often add just enough depth.

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