Monday, September 13, 2010

Bounce Lighting + Basic Skin Softening = Cool Photo

Westcott kicked off its nationwide Top Pro Tour yesterday in NJ with yours truly. As usual, I handed over my tethered Canon 5D Mark II camera and let several of the participants shoot!

Oh yeah! Before it was my turn to present, Dave Piazza illustrated the beautiful lighting effects that can be achieved with constant lights (Spyder Lights). So, it was Dave on constant lights and me on flash. :-)

The lighting for the above image was simple: We bounced my camera-mounted Canon Speedlite 580 EX flash into a Westcott large reflector, which softened and spread the light.

Here is one of my favorite images, shot by one of the participants. It started out as a color file, which I converted to black-and-white using Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro. I added the drop shadow and thin black line in Photoshop.

To soften the model's skin, I used this skin-softening technique in Photoshop:
- Duplicate the layer.
- Change the blending mode of the top layer to Overlay.
- Go to Filters > Others > High Pass.
- Press Command/I.
At this point, the entire top layer should be softly blurred.
- Use the eraser tool over the eyes and mouth to sharpen those areas.

Thanks to all the photographers who participated in this fun event! And thanks to our model, Laurence Yang, for helping to make the photographs look great. Tip: never underestimate the importance of a good subject.

I hope you can join some of my photographer friends in the other stops on the Top Pro Tour! You can save $20 by using this code when you register: TPT7231.

To learn more about lighting, check out my latest app, Light It!

Explore the light,

P.S. You can get a 15% discount on Silver Efex Pro, and all Nik plug-ins, here.


renee said...

Thanks for a great seminar. I'm a newer photographer and expected to be lost, and just hanging out with my friends. I was pleasently suprised to learn some stuff and enjoyed your "have fun" look at photography.

Ken Toney said...

Rick, I like this technique and I use a layer mask filled with black and bursh in at about 50% then lower opacity to look good. I also watched Calvin Holly woods new DVD and he takes it a step further by adding back in some of the pore of the skin that is lost by the blur, it's subtle but awesome too!

Peter said...

OK, Maybe I'm missing something but the High Pass filter does not soften the image. In fact is does the opposite! You don't mention what radius to use on the High Pass filter but no setting seems to soften the image?

Rick Sammon said...

Peter.. High Pass does do the opposite. Play with the Radius.. the higher the res, the higher the setting. Don't forget, as I mentioned, to press Command/I

Good luck!

Peter said...

Thanks Rick, I was using Command/I but apparently not at the right time or with the wrong layer selected. I got it now!