Wednesday, 13 May 2009

One more from the jazz & blues fest

Sylvia's hair and feather clip looked stunning. I wanted to make a candid shot so didn't want to draw attention to myself - a long lens came to the rescue.

I hope I've done her and the shot justice :)

Feather Fascinators are chic

I had no idea what those feather things were called until I did some searching on the web.

Why am I not surprised to find that feathers are the new chic for Spring 09? Trust our continental friend to show the way!

Anyway, I made the shot of the natural pose I wanted, showing off those cascading, glorious brunette locks and the beautiful feathers she had chosen.

In the digital darkroom

The bw conversion

I was fairly careful in the treatment of this shot. Sylvia was wearing a red coat and the bw conversion I needed to use for the rest of the shot was making the red too dark -- as processing continued I was losing the shape and texture of that area.

There are a few ways to deal with this. Before conversion you can change the red hues of that area to something that works best when using the settings needed for the rest.

Alternatively, if you're too far down your processing when it becomes obvious this is the case, as I was, you can select the offending area with the lasso and a smallish feathering, and then change the saturation (using a saturation layer) of the range of colours that need it (within the selection). Fine tune the result by backing off the opacity of the layer.

Other tweaks

I did the usual slight contrast adjustment using curves, a nudge on the levels and a soft-light vignette.

Dodging and burning

I created a duplicate of the background layer to do some dodging (lightning) of the highlights. When I was happy that I'd done justice to the hair and the feathers, dodge-wise, I copied that layer so I could do the burning (darkening) on the new layer. That way, if I messed up the burning, I'd be able to delete just that layer and not lose the previous one where I did the dodging.

I burnt the mid-tones, often in the areas where the dodging had brought the mid-tones too close to the highlights, providing richer tones for those areas.

Finishing Touches

As part of the conversion to jpg, in preparation for web upload, I flattened all my layers, used a tad of unsharp mask and gave the contrast a very slight boost using a little known technique for contrast on the macro scale. (A tip I'll write up on another day.)
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