Tuesday, July 28, 2009

If I spend any more time on this picture. It really will be timeless. :)

At least that's what I said on my flickr blog. And it's true. I must have done and redone x5 the dodge and burn layer on this picture. Total time spent on this picture was probably in the vicinity of 5-6 hours.

I've been talking about this in my previous posts how I've changed the way that I'm processing shadows and highlights. Coming from a non-artist (one that draws) background, I now realize that all shape and three-dimensionality is created by light and dark areas on the face. Essentially what I realize now is that bone structure can be either accentuated or even recreated/defined (where it doesn't exist) with the addition of highlights and shadows. Prominent cheekbones and good blush makeup can be created via post-process. For me as of right now this primarily means with dodging and burning.

What makes this difficult for me however is that I must visualize in my mind where the highlights and shadows SHOULD exist on the face before I start processing. Now this is easy if the model's face is already well defined and the lighting is perfect. Then all I have to do is simply exaggerate those highlights and shadows already in existence. If however the lighting is not perfect and/or the model's bone structure is different from the high-cheek-bone-ideal, then I have to "decide" where the highlights and shadows should appear.

That's where the time, experience, vision, artistry, etc. takes place. I'll be the first to admit. I'm none of the aforementioned quality traits. Which is why I have to put in plenty of time to learn this entire process, to master the the way it works. This is the process that I could not verbalize in earlier posts. Every model, lighting condition, and thus image is different. Then you have to consider the photographer's vision. All of this affects how the highlights and shadows are brought out on the picture and thus how the dodging and burning should occur. Ultimately every retoucher/photographer's style will be different. My focus has been on creating that "almost" traditional glamour with emphasis on smooth and shiny skin. That's it!

Strobist info: Single AB800 in beauty dish with 20 degree grid from just above the camera. Then there's a small 28" Westscott Apollo Softbox that's providing fill from lower camera right. Which is why in post-processing I found that the shadows on the right side were slightly different than those on the left. Should have noticed that sooner because it answers a lot of questions. Triggered by Gadget Infinity (Cactus) V4 with a 98% success rate.

Camera info: Nikon D3, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G, 1/160th, f/8.0, 70mm, ISO200

Processing: Lr2 and PS CS3

Model: Mladenka Grgic

Makeup: Mladenka Grgic

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