Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stacy Revisited

Some of you might recognize this picture from an
earlier version.

I decided to rework this picture for the highlights and make Stacy's skin a little more 'shiny'. The differences aren't obvious, you'd have to do a side-by-side comparison to really notice but this was more practice for me to understand highlights and shadows. I can't say enough about how important it is to have the following criteria to make a good image: 1) Makeup 2) Lighting 3) Retouching. Any two of the three are good but to truly make an excellent image you need all three components. Each plays a part in bringing out the facial features of the model. Good makeup accentuates the cheekbones and the bone structure of the face. Proper lighting brings out the highlights and shadows that the makeup should already be exaggerating. Lastly retouching smoothes out distracting highlights while focusing the attention on the proper highlight and shadow transfers while potentially giving a nice sheen or luster to the texture of the face.

In studying pictures from other photographers/retouchers I've found that the pronounced cheekbones are almost always assisted by proper makeup and obviously lighting. It makes retouching easier when the highlights and shadows exist in the "right" places. No retoucher truly wants to create bone structure that doesn't already exist in the image. They'd much rather accentuate the ones that already exist because it's easier and less prone to error. Choosing this image to practice understanding highlights and shadows was a matter of looking for one that had the proper highlights and shadows on the cheekbones. Then I simply added a layer of dodge and burn to bring out the proper areas.

But I'm not "there" yet. Often times, when I finish I have to take a step back and look at it from different perspectives to see whether or not it feels natural. I have yet to finish a picture and feel like it's 100% natural and perfect in terms of highlights and shadows. Hence the need for more practice.

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