Family Portraits: Create a modern look

Give your portraits a modern makeover using Photoshop

In recent years, a distinct style of commercial family portrait has increased in popularity – shot against a pure white backdrop and processed in striking high-contrast mono. Here, we’ll demonstrate that there’s no need to pay through the nose for commercial photography. With Photoshop Elements, you can recreate the effect with a little judicious image editing.

We’ll start with a typical family portrait shot, desaturate the colour, and then perform a little Levels magic to generate the super-high-contrast tonality. By using Levels, you can compress the tonal range of your desaturated image and shift the distribution of the highlights, midtones and shadows.

Of course, as with any really effective graphic image, you’ll need to do a little bit extra, tweaking the final image with some manual dodging and burning. The Dodge and Burn tools enable you to selectively lighten and darken particular tonal ranges – in effect you’re able to paint with light. The Exposure setting controls how much the tools lighten or darken your chosen range of tones. You’ll get brilliant results, and save a fortune too!