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    Dramatic Lighting: how to create stylish portraits using simple Photoshop effects

    | Photoshop Tutorials | Tutorials | 11/06/2013 00:01am
    3 Comments

    In our latest Raw Tuesday tutorial we show you in-depth how to tweak your raw files and use a range of simple Photoshop effects to recreate the look of dramatic lighting in your portrait photography.

    Dramatic Lighting: how to create stylish, on-trend portraits using simple Photoshop effects

    Back in 2006, Jill Greenberg’s stunning portraits of crying children attracted plenty of controversy. To provoke the gut-wrenching emotion on display, a lollipop was offered then taken away, which some critics felt was tantamount to child cruelty.

    But another thing that stood out about the images was the stylised, intentionally over-the-top enhancements and dramatic lighting.

    Here we’ll show you how to give your portraits a similar stylised treatment by using a range of digital techniques to replace the background and enhance the face.

    Along the way we’ll learn a host of key Photoshop skills, from selective Raw tweaks with Camera Raw’s Adjustment Brush, to replacing the background with a colourful gradient.

    We’ll employ non-destructive techniques with Smart Objects, Layer Masks and Adjustment Layers, so each part of the effect can be tweaked at any time. Don’t worry if this sounds complicated, because the technique is very simple.

    If you’re using your own portraits, the effect works well on faces that have been lit with a combination of front and side or back-lighting. We captured this baby with one light behind him to the left, and another in front, above and slightly to the right.

    This gives the face depth by creating lots of highlights and shadows, which can then be emphasised in Photoshop with some intensive dodging and burning. Here’s how it’s done…

    How to create dramatic lighting in Photoshop: steps 1-2

    How to create dramatic lighting in Photoshop: step 1

    01 Make Basic tweaks
    Open Adobe Bridge and navigate to your raw file, then right-click it and choose Open in Camera Raw. Alternatively, download our raw file used in this tutorial! Now go to the Basic Panel on the right and set Temperature 5200, Tint -9 to correct the White Balance. Next, set Whites +8, Blacks -20, Clarity +9, Vibrance +18.

     

    How to create dramatic lighting in Photoshop: step 2

    02 Adjust colour saturation
    We can use the Targeted Adjustment tool to lower the dominant yellows. Grab the tool from the Toolbar. Right-click in the image and choose Saturation. Drag downwards on the background wall. The HSL Greyscale Panel shows the colour values as you drag. Set Yellows to about -35 and Greens -24.

    PAGE 1 – How to create dramatic lighting in Photoshop: steps 1-2
    PAGE 2 – How to create dramatic lighting in Photoshop: steps 3-4
    PAGE 3 – How to create dramatic lighting in Photoshop: steps 5-6
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    PAGE 5 – How to create dramatic lighting in Photoshop: steps 9-10
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    PAGE 8 – How to create dramatic lighting in Photoshop: steps 15-16
    PAGE 9 – How to create dramatic lighting in Photoshop: steps 17-18

    READ MORE

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    34 Photoshop effects every photographer must try once
    Crop photos the right way: classic mistakes and how to avoid them
    Adobe Lightroom: what every photographer needs to know about the ‘alternative Photoshop’


    Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 at 12:01 am under Photoshop Tutorials, Tutorials.

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