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Portraits: part two (further information)

An introduction to the ‘Portraits: part two’ tutorial

In this tutorial we will take a detailed look at how to post-produce both high-key and low-key portraits from otherwise ordinary photographs. The topics discussed include: how to shoot and optimise your initial exposures, how to repair an otherwise imperfect background (in terms of lightening the background for high-key portraits, and darkening it for low-key shots), how and when to mask different areas of the images, and how to creatively recompose an image by extending the canvas.

By the end of this tutorial you will be able to:

  1. Optimise your initial exposures to produce either a high-key or low-key portrait.
  2. Repair an otherwise imperfect background (in terms of lightening the background for high-key portraits, and darkening it for low-key shots).
  3. Mask different areas of the images to enhance the high-key or low-key effect.
  4. Creatively recompose an image by extending the canvas.

This tutorial contains 7748 words, 59 illustrative images and screen grabs, and has received 6 comments.

Photoshop files included with this tutorial

Each of our tutorials is based around a series of Photoshop files, at the resolution originally posted on chromasia, and each contains all the original adjustment layers that were used to create the final image. The ones that are included in this tutorial, and a brief description of how each one will be used, are listed below – the ‘before’ version on the left, the ‘after’ version on the right. Each of these files can be downloaded after you subscribe.

How to get from this … to this
Image 1
In this example we will begin our discussion of how to transform an otherwise ordinary photograph into a high-key portrait, paying particular attention to how optimise your initial exposure (in terms of background, dynamic range, and optimal exposure), how to repair an otherwise imperfect background, and how and when to mask different areas of the images to create a particular effect.
Image 2
In this example we will expand on the points raised during our discussion of Image 1 but will also consider how to a) create a pure white background, and b) creatively recompose an image by extending its canvas.
Image 3
In this example we will begin our discussion of low-key postprocessing, paying particular attention to how to optimise your initial exposure and how to adjust an image to enhance the low-key effect.
Image 4
In this final example we will continue our discussion of low-key postprocessing by reference to an image shot using diffuse, available light. This will include a discussion of how to enhance the low-key effect, how to effectively darken a background, and how to seamlessly blend the background with the content of the image.
Content overview (the rollover graphics and embedded videos are not illustrated)
page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4 page 5
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Further information

To find out more about our other individual tutorials please click any of the following images. Alternatively, you can visit our main tutorials page for further information on: our annual subscriptions; our forthcoming issues; and our current members’s offers. You can also read through our sample tutorial on Tonal Range and the Curves tool.

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HomeOnline tutorials6 comments 
Portraits: part two (further information)