Summer portrait Ideas: how to use natural light for atmospheric people pictures

Summer portrait Ideas: how to use natural light for atmospheric people pictures

How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: steps 1-6

How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: step 1

01 Raw settings
Click here to download our start image, masterclass_start.dng and follow along! Now open the image in Adobe CameraRaw. To brighten the shot set Exposure to +1.00, and set Recovery to 25 to pull back some of the clipped highlights; there are a few blown highlights in the hair we can’t recover, but these add to the summer feel. Set Contrast to +50, and to warm up the colours set Temperature to 5300. Click Open Image to open the image in Photoshop.

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How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: step 2

02 Crop the image
There’s some dead space in the left of the scene, so we’ll crop to improve the composition. Select the Crop tool, and in the options bar set Width to 30cm, Height to 20cm and Resolution to 300 pixels/inch.

How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: step 2b

Draw a crop out from the bottom-right corner of the image until the left side of the crop is just beyond the model’s arm. To boost the contrast of the image add a Levels adjustment layer, and set the Shadows slider to 19, the Midtones to 1.14 and the Highlights to 230.

 

How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: step 3

03 Add a lens flare
Next we’ll add a lens flare effect; it’s best to do this on a separate layer, so create a new layer and label it ‘Lens Flare’. Go to Edit > Fill Layer, and in the Fill dialog choose 50% Grey from the Use menu. Leave Mode set to Normal and Opacity at 100%. Click OK.

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How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: step 4

04 Lens flare filter
To create the lens flare go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. Check the 105mm Prime option, push the Brightness up to around 150% and move the centre of the flare to the top-right of the preview window, then click OK. To tone down the effect, change the blending mode of the layer to Lighten, and reduce its opacity to around 40%.

SEE MORE: Crop photos the right way: classic mistakes and how to avoid them

How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: step 5

05 Mask the flare
To remove the lightening effect from the model, add a mask to the layer and select the Gradient tool. Set the foreground colour to black, then click the gradient swatch in the Options bar and choose the Foreground to Transparent preset.

How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: step 5

Click just below the model’s chin, and draw a diagonal line up to a little way above and to the right of her head to mask the effect. Add a Colour Balance adjustment layer, and set the Yellow/Blue slider to -10 to warm up the shot a bit more.

SEE MORE: Adobe Lightroom: what every photographer needs to know about the ‘alternative Photoshop’

How to enhance and retouch your summer portraits: step 6

06 Reduce the redness
Next we’ll reduce the redness under the model’s eyes. Duplicate the ‘Background’ layer, label it ‘Face’ and zoom in on the eyes. Select the Clone Stamp tool, reduce its opacity to 50% and set the brush size to 10 pixels and the hardness to 50%.

Hold down Alt and click under the eye to sample natural-looking skin tones, then clone these sampled pixels over the red areas, taking care to avoid the lashes.

PAGE 1: Setting up your summer portrait
PAGE 3: How to retouch your summer portraits: steps 1-6
PAGE 5: How to retouch your summer portraits: steps 7-12

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