My initial image is from a recent studio workshop, here is the Raw file:
This is a raw and un-doctored image, as you can see it is well lit but is not flattering to the skin or eyes as the high resolution of the camera picks up every skin imperfection and throws it at us in a more unashamed way than the naked eye ever would.
So my first edit is to smooth out the skin tones remove any blemishes, brighten up the eyes and pick out the detail the eyes. I have also done a square crop to bring her portrait more into frame and make us focus on the face more.
I have also sharpened the lips and fixed the contrast in the eyebrows.
The next edit was to convert this to black and white, in this image I have lowered the structure while sharpening the eyes and lips and balanced the red and yellow channels to give the definition to the bone structure.
Now we ski off the trodden path, I thought to convert the black and white image to sepia however that was such a small thing I decided it would be nice to imitate a wet plate photograph that is old and damaged.
To achieve this I first converted to sepia and changed the balance and vignette so that the edge burned out.
I then applied a wet pate texture over the image and blended it in and finally added a distressed and scratched texture and blended that in to achieve the final result.
Raw files are rarely nice straight from the camera, there is always a requirement to adjust the image. of these images I prefer the Black and White one which I am sure is of no surprise to Helen 🙂 The wet plate is fun but it is less useful I think.
What did I want to acheive and did I succeed, lets take it image by image.
My first image was a colour image where I wanted to produce a colour glamor image with smooth skin and striking eyes, I used a high pass filter followed by a Gaussian Blur to soften the skin while leaving the texture, I hate plastic skin so a straight blur is nasty, this process worked well and if you zoom in you will see her skin pores are still there but the blotching and imperfections all skin has is gone giving a pleasing smooth skin texture. This I think worked in this image as my goal was a glamor style image this would not work in a documentary style image.
The eyes are lifted by a bit of lightening some contrast and sharpening I also brightened the whites a little. Close inspection of the eyes will show I increased the separation in the iris using a light and dark layer to create the bands that bring the eyes to life.
I think this was very successful and the final image was a pleasing glamor image.
Black and White
Using the colour image as a base as it already had the smooth skin and highlighted eyes, I created a black and white conversion.
In this conversion I took the structure down so that the tones blended more smoothly I increased the contrast, bring up the highlights and the blacks then balanced the mid tones to compensate.
Then I balanced both the red and yellow channels to give me the bone structure and high/low lights I wanted.
Wet Plate Conversion
The brief asked us to be imaginative in the way we did these conversions, the first two were commercially serious edits that might be done to any studio shoot, so for my last one I decided to wear my underpants on my head and tread a path outside the accepted norm, I was just going to do a sepia conversion, this however is really easy and is just a brown version of the black and white image. so for this i tried to make the image look like one of the old wet plate images.
To acheive this I did a sepia conversion and applied a vignette to the image that blew the edges out to white, or very light brown in this case 🙂
Having done this I applied a wet plate distressed texture and blended it over the top.
Next I added a scratched and damaged texture and blended that in too.
The final result is an image that does indeed look like an old photograph, to be totally authentic I think it needs to be cropped as a rectangular portrait and printed on a thick post card but thats more than we need for this assignment.
I am happy with the conversion in as much as it achieves my intention, it is however my least favorite of the the three images.