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How to dramatically improve your portrait images - video lesson

Updated on September 4, 2009

Add some WOW to your Portraits!

Well here I am today to write about how you can take an ordinary portrait image and give it some magic using Adobe Photoshop CS3 or 4. I run a camera review website and on that site I also started putting up some video lessons to help with processing in the "Digital Darkroom".

First of all, if  you shoot digital I HIGHLY recommend shooting your camera in RAW mode. This will let you alter the images much easier AFTER you take them. In any case, if you have some portraits that need some magic or some WOW then watch my video showing you what I do to add this to my portraits. 

But before you watch, here are my recommendations for getting the shot right in the first place:

1. Make sure you have some nice light. I like natural lighting the best. Soft window light can work wonders for your portraits. 

2. Get  the exposure right. Meter on the face. I like to use either spot metering or center weighted. This way the camera will expose for the face and not the background.

3. Do not always center the image. In other words, try some cool angles. With digital you can do this easily! Centered is not always the best solution!

4. Interact with your subject! Make them laugh, make them sad. Get them to show some emotion.

3. SHOOT IN RAW mode if your camera lets you. 

OK, on to the video!

Processing A Portrait for Maximum Drama

As you can see in the video the before and after image shows a pretty big difference! All I did was alter the image during the RAW conversion and then added a filter in Nik Color Efex Pro. This is something I do on a regular basis and it takes me less than a minute per image these days. Once you do this a few  times it gets easier and quicker. 

Photoshop is a GREAT tool and a must have for any serious or amateur photographer. Just like the old smelly darkrooms of the past, today we get the pleasure of sitting in front of our computers for hours on end fixing images! 

Thanks for viewing and I hope this was at least a little helpful. 


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