Tuesday, January 8, 2013

On-Location Portrait Fixes

We all enjoy creating on-location portraits.
By Rick Sammon Published in Quick Fix
On-Location Portrait Fixes
We all enjoy creating on-location portraits. Often, we want to go beyond the straight portrait and add a little digital darkroom magic to enhance the photograph, to create a more dramatic image.

In this column, I'll share techniques that you can use to add some color and drama to your portraits—techniques that can also make your pictures look more professional.

Here's the original RAW file that I used to created the opening image for this column. As you can see, it lacks strong color and needs a bit of cropping.

After cropping my image, I added some color by using one of the Bi-Color filters in Nik Software's Color Efex Pro. Several different color combinations are available in this filter, and you can adjust where in the frame you want to place each color and how to blend each color.

As an aside, I got the starburst effect by setting my aperture to ƒ/22. I carefully positioned the sun so that it was just peeking out from behind the cowboy's boot. I also carefully posed the cowboy and the horse so they were backlit. And, so the cowboy could be identified in the photograph, I asked him to look off to his right so that I got a strong profile in the image. Had he been looking at or away from the camera, he would have looked like any cowpoke.

In portraiture, one technique is to make the subject stand out from the background. In the field, we can do that by using a telephoto lens set at a wide aperture.

In the digital darkroom, we can quickly and easily blur the background using a variety of blur techniques and filters.

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