Yes. Companies still commission portrait work. And it can be a lot of fun to produce.

 Sometimes I think it's wonderful to be able to share a story about assignments that have gone well and were satisfying to complete. It's a nice antidote to the horror stories about failed shoots and "monster" clients. I got permission from one of this week's portrait subjects to post her image. That made me happy. 

I like to do my post production as soon after the sessions as possible. That way I can look at the images while remembering exactly what I was doing in the moment. If I've made any mistakes this quick "after action" review helps me learn from them. If I tried something new and it worked the happiness of seeing it quickly reinforces the lesson.

I pulled the images into Lightroom, tossed the ones that weren't flattering, tossed a bunch of frames that were nearly identical (keeping the best examples) and then output the remaining images as Jpegs and uploaded them to an online gallery. 

In post I decided to fine tune the background colors and the foreground colors (and densities) separately so I made a selection for my subject and inverted the selection back and forth to work on the different zones. I brought up the saturation in the background with an emphasis on the cyan, blue and green channels. I also used a tilt-shift blur on the background via PhotoShop's filter gallery. The final step for the background was to use PhotoShop's transform tool (skew) to straighten up the verticals. I think that makes a difference...

For my subject I pulled down the saturation on her skin and then did the usual enhancements to create an image that would work well for this firm's continuing look. But I didn't have to do much. A little color blending on her skin, a slight darkening of the tones under her chin (for added lighting contrast) and a mellowing of some specular highlights on her face. 

I just wanted to have some photographic context for you, gentle reader, so you wouldn't get bogged down in my endless writing to understand the look I was going for. 

Yes. We're still working. 

Sigma fp + 85mm f1.4


Anonymous said...

Cool, you always write so compellingly about some of the portrait jobs it does leave us (the gentle readers) wondering what the end results look like. This is a really nice one, the expression is very natural. Great work!


Anonymous said...

And you still got your swim practice in. I'm impressed.


pixtorial said...

a) stunning portrait, and your subject has such a warm smile b) Sigma has some real color magic, c) it has a "something" that I don't see in other photos, there is something about how Sigma cameras see the world (even without a Foveon sensor). Great photo and backstory.

Rich said...

what a natural, radiant beauty! You must feel such privilege and delight to do this. bravo Kirk

Derek said...

A joyful, thoughtfully crafted, portrait. Speaks volumes of the great chemistry between subject and photographer. Nice one Kirk.

Roger Jones said...

As always, you show how it should be done. Beautiful image, Beautiful model. The image is so clean. Let's hear it for the Quirky, but excellent FP and the Quirky, but excellent photographer. You have to Love those Sigma Colors. Hip Hip Hurry!! Hip Hip Hurray!!! :)