A high-key portrait tends to be lit from the front, creating a relatively shadow-free image. The over-exposed highlights help to smooth out skin tones and dial down distracting details so that key features such as the eyes and lips stand out more dramatically.
The challenge with high-key portrait photography comes when deliberately over-exposing a shot to produce bright flat skin tones while preserving shadows and midtones on the eyes and lips.
It’s often said that a face is like a visual biography. Deep wrinkles, smile lines and faded scars all hint at a life that’s been full of incidents, regrets and laughter. If you can capture these features effectively, you’re half way to achieving the most crucial aspect of
any portrait – character.
To shoot these details, strong directional light works best (we’ve used the evening sun). Expose for the highlights and you’ll record perfect skin texture with rich shadows.
But Photoshop offers ways to tease out even more detail, so if a face really is like an autobiography, we can make the chapter titles stand out in big bold lettering with a few subtle enhancements.
Sharpening photos won’t just help you to blur out of focus areas, it’ll also help you to create higher-quality prints. Find out how the Photoshop sharpening tool works in this quick guide.
These days, we try to avoid lower contrast and flare, but it’s part of the charm of most retro photography. However, achieving flare is quite a hard effect to replicate unless you’re shooting in ideal light conditions, with the sun in, or close to the edge of, the frame. To save time and effort, here’s how to add a convincing flare effect in Photoshop Elements.
There are many ways to skin a cat in Photoshop and converting to mono is no exception. Here are some other popular ways to convert to black and white for those who don’t want to use the Black & White tool.
W hen on location, your peripheral vision tends to give you a much wider perspective than your camera’s lens, which is why landscape shots often lack the sense of space you experienced at the scene. Here, we’ll show you how to use Photoshop Elements’ picture-stitching powers to combine six shots into a 360° panorama composite that reveals much more about the location. We’ll also show you how to adjust the image to get a more balanced composition, which is especially important when creating an architectural 360° panorama.
When shooting miniature buildings such as those on a train set, the camera’s close proximity to the subject can create a shallow depth of field. This makes some of the model buildings look sharp, while closer and distant ones are blurred; this narrow plane of focus reveals that the scene is a model. You can take inspiration from this focus effect and apply it to life-size scenes for creative results.
Hidden Photoshop tricks can easily be applied to images to enhance atmospheric effect.
The creative use of light can transform almost any photographic scene, helping to isolate detail, enhance colour and form a visual structure. In the quick Photoshop tutorial below, we’ll show you how to you can give new life to your images by emphasising light.
Pale skies are usually much brighter than the land, so if the ground is correctly exposed the sky will wash out. You can use an ND grad filter, but they’re quite fiddly.
Another workaround is your SLR’s facility for compressing tonal range, such as Nikon’s Active D-Lighting or Canon’s Auto Lighting Optimizer. A better solution, though, is to use a tripod and take two shots; one exposed for the sky, the other for the ground.
You can then merge them together using an image-editing program such as Photoshop Elements to get detail back in your skies. Even then, branches and leaves that move between shots can cause problems. The answer is to take a single shot in raw and ensure the exposure is sufficiently dark. You can then process this raw file twice to create two images to merge together. Here’s how to do it…
A zoom burst is a great way of adding dramatic impact to your images. Zooming out with your lens during an exposure can give your shots a real sense of energy. All you need to do is choose a shutter speed slow enough to record the blur of the zooming action during the exposure. This can also be enhanced by adding a burst of flash to freeze and highlight your main subject within the frame.
Doing this in-camera with a static subject takes a little time and patience, but add some movement into the equation and it can take hundreds of attempts to get the zoom burst effect spot-on. Use Photoshop, however, and you can get the zoom burst look you want in a matter of minutes.