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Capture and Edit Classic Black & White Portraits

Lesson 13 of 15

Skin Softening, Dodging & Burning

Jared Platt

Capture and Edit Classic Black & White Portraits

Jared Platt

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Lesson Info

13. Skin Softening, Dodging & Burning

Lesson Info

Skin Softening, Dodging & Burning

so I'm gonna go in and do all of my retouching and light room. So I'm gonna click on the brush because that's where we're gonna do that retouching, and I'm gonna zoom in here onto his face and, uh, we're gonna zoom toe 1 to 2 so that we're pretty close. And now I'm just going to, um, brush in whatever effect I want. So in this case, I want to soften up, see how there's you can see the pores and stuff like that. It's a little too rough. And so and this is more so, Actually, if I were doing this, I wouldn't do it to him. I would do it here. They're So this is the amore appropriate place to do a, um, softening is on on a woman's skin. So we're gonna do softening right here, and we're just gonna take the brush and we're gonna go in and choose a preset. So I've in and I'll show you what the preset is doing so that you can understand it. But I always choose things based on presets because I've worked hard to figure out what the right amount of every sliders, so I'm gonna click on that. And I...

'm just gonna come down into a skin section and notice that I've got these little dividers. I just made presets that don't do anything that have a name on him. See, goes dash, dash, dash hair and makeup Dash, dash, dash So that I can see where the presets start finished. So now I can just kind of scan down until I find hair and makeup and then look for skin and then I could go, OK, I want to just do a little, um, smooth. I don't know. I don't want to do warm edged. Want to do basic softening there. So now I'm just gonna go in and I'm gonna paint that in and you can see if I turn on the overlay, you can see where I'm painting on her skin, and I'm just gonna go in and paint around her skin. And by the way, you can do this on a Grady in. You can do it. You can also do it in a radio filter. So if you want to quickly soften up a bunch of faces like, let's say you have five people in the portrait and they're all ladies, and they all want to look glowy. But you just want to show him really quickly. And then if they order the print, you'll do the retouching. Just take a radial filter, put the skin smoothing on it and just go over the top of everybody's faces and then show it to him. And when they see it, they like, Oh, that looks great there skins all soft or whatever, but you got to go in and fix it later. But don't spend time retouching something before someone's paid you for the retouching. So So I'm just painting in here, and then once I got the skin the way I want it, then I'll go in and I can turn this to erase here. And then I'll come back into her eyes and just kind of make sure that most important parts are still they're not overly soft, and I'll turn it back on here. And by the way, this is all on Auto Mask. So it was avoiding things like eyebrows and stuff like that. So I'm gonna go in a little bit closer here and just paint in right there, below her eyebrows and above her eye glasses. Just trying. Teoh, Get her. Okay, so now that we've got her face, um, selected, basically, now we can go in and kind of play with how much softening we want. So now I can go in and change the amount of clarity. I can also go in and choose an completely different preset. So I could go in and say, You know what I want to do a little bit more softening. So I'm gonna go like this and get a little bit more softening and see how it has a glow to it so I can work on that. And then once I've done that, now I can see where do I need to retouch? So what are the areas that I'm seeing? Where is there's an inconsistency in the skin that will show because I don't need to retouch every little blemish, every little anything. I'm just gonna go in and grab the things that show at a distance. So if I can see it on her face right now, then I'll get rid of it. So I'm going to get rid of that one right there. So I click on it and my opacity is down a little bit, so I got to take it up to 100% so I completely remove that. So I'm just looking for things that I can see from a distance. And by the way, things that aren't her, you know, like if she had a beauty mark right here, not removing that because that's something that would be her, Right? So I am just looking. I remember one time I took a picture and the person had a nose ring, but it was little. So it looked like a blemish in the photo on I removed it and the ladies like what happened on my nose ring. And I was like, You have a nose ring look like a blemish. So it But it is like one of those little tiny ones you know is just too small is, like, where a bigger nose ring. So anyway, so I'm just Yeah, there was something on my screen. I didn't know if it was her or if it was so I'm just looking for things that I can see from a distance. Those are the things I'm most worried about. Um, so I just kind of look for those that are going to be. And by the way, if, for some reason when you click on this, it chooses the wrong area, if you just hit the question mark or the backslash key, if you just hit question, you're basically saying light room, What do you thinking? So you click on the question and it chooses a different spot. And it'll just keep choosing different spots till you find one, or you can grab it and just drag it to the appropriate spot. So just keep that in mind. So then, once we've got that man, not my screen is dirty full of it's like I've been eating crackers over. Okay, so that's good. All right, so now I'm gonna go back to our man photograph, And here is this the right one thinking is we'll find out because Yep, it is. Okay, so I'm gonna go into the retouching tool on this one, and here we're not necessarily going to be removing a lot of like blemishes or smoothing skin. But what we are going to do is get rid of, like, dark shadows under eyes and stuff like that. So we're just gonna go into our hopes gonna go into our retouching tool again, Uh, and I'm going to increase the size of the brush just a little bit. And then I'm gonna paint over that shadow under his eye, and it's going to choose an appropriate place and notice that it just disappeared. But the problem is, is that we all have some kind of like shadow under there, so that would look weird. So what we do is we take the opacity down to, like, 60 year, 50% somewhere in there. And so now what you see is you see the see how there's the shadow there, but it's softer. So now if I were to turn that off, see how it's dark now, it's not so. All we did is just paste over a little bit of some other skin. Keep in mind that you want that skin to be the same focus because if you put something that's blurry over something that's sharp or something, it's sharp over something that's blurry. You're changing the texture of that thing. Okay, so then we'll just go over here to this side, and this side actually doesn't have much of, ah like that. There's where the shadow is, but because it's in the shadow, It might not actually work all that well to do this, but we're gonna try it and just go like that, and it's did a pretty good job. We're just gonna back off the opacity on it, toe like 20%. And that helps a lot. So now it's not just this really dark area, and that takes care of that. So then my rule of thumb with people, especially with guys, is the only things that I removed are like serious blemishes. Um, anything that I can see on you while I'm talking to you, I'll probably leave. So if you have freckles or something like that and I notice it while I'm talking to you, I'm gonna leave it. But if it's something that I don't notice because we're just talking like we never see each other's blemishes all that much, unless you're just a pizza faced teenager, you know, like then you notice it. But unless it's that we don't know this, each other's blemishes and things like that. We were talking to each other's eyes, were looking at lips we're looking at. Eyes were not paying attention to things in the flux of time. And so if I don't see it in the flux of time, I don't remove it. Okay, so in this case looks pretty good. The only place I think I'm gonna work on is right down there in his beard. So I'm gonna zoom in, just go down to the beard right there. I just don't like the way that stands out. See that one little clump of hairs? It seems to attract my attention too much. So I'm just going to click on it, and then we'll see how I'm just softening it because I don't need to remove it. I just need to soften it. So I'm just kind of now when I zoom out that that area is not gonna be a dark. So I was just I was my attention kept going to it. Okay, So now once I've done that, I'm gonna start burning and dodging and burning and dodging is some of my favorite activity when I'm working on a photograph. So I'm gonna click on my, um, on my painting tool, my brush tool, and I'm going to just increase the exposure just a little bit and I'm in a decrease This the black and the shadow. The reason I'm doing that is that if I accidently spill over like an eyelash, I want the eyelash to stay where it is. And just the mid tones is what I want to bring up. So by taking the exposure up, it brings the shadows in the blacks with it a little bit. So if you push them back down than when they come up, it stays where they are, so you can spill over things like it's more forgiving. So then I'm gonna go in, and I'm just gonna brighten up this little area on his eye a little bit. So I'm just going to kind of go like this. Brighton that up. Let's look at the actual brush that I'm using its auto mask. I don't want that turn off the auto mask, in most cases, because Auto mask, when it hits these transitions does weird things because it sees pixels that are dark and then pixels that are light and it tries to go around him, especially on faces. It will see a poor and try and skip the poor, so you'll have these weird, like digital pores. So So I'm just kind of brightening up that little area a little bit. And then I'm gonna go with zoom out and I'm gonna look at his scarf. I'm gonna brighten up this scarf just a little bit. Want that toe kind of pop out a little bit more. I'm gonna brighten up his hand a little bit and the crest of his arm do that. So I'm just I'm just working with things that I think should pop out a little bit more. And what I'm doing is I'm always trying to add volume. Everywhere I go, I'm adding volume, so I'm painting the natural highlights brighter. And then what I'll dio is after I finish and paint the natural highlights brighter. And once you've done that, by the way, you can then go like this. Um, and we're just going to trying to make this the biggest possible so you can see it. Um, what we're gonna do now is we're just gonna take our exposure and our shadow and blacks and stuff. We're gonna increase the effect or decrease it. So the way we're going to do that's hold the option key down and flow over the pin that represents this burn or this Dodge And I'm just gonna hold over and click on it. And then when I increase it, see how everything the exposure goes up the shadows and blacks go down. So I'm increasing or decreasing the total effect of what's going on. So and if I go all the way here, I go to zero. So now I'm just going to kind of bring it up until it looks perfect. Too bright. Bring it down and they're So now I like that and I'm hopping out of there. And now I'm gonna go in and create another brush, and this time it's going to just be exposure down. So now I'm just gonna do a little bit of burning. So I'm gonna come in here and I'm gonna burn underneath his arm there a little bit inside of the crevice here. Underneath that I'm going to do so. I'm burning the natural shadows so that I popped them out a little bit more so the shadows are gonna get deeper, so they're gonna fall in, and the highlights are now popping out. So I'm just looking for ways to increase the already natural, um, texture of the photograph by burning and dodging that. I can't tell you what amazing experience. It was the first time I had the ability to burn and dodge digitally because I was pretty good at burning and dodging in the dark room. But it's hard to get like, really my new details, like you can get someone's face dodged out and whatever, but it's It would be very hard to go in and like, burnin or dodge out someone's eyeball. You know, you just couldn't do that. So But now I could come in here and say, Okay, I like his eyes, but see how I like that I That's glowing but his other eyes not glowing. And so what I'm gonna do is I'll go in and create a new brush and just brighten that up and add a whole bunch of clarity to it. And then I'm just gonna go in and brighten up that I so that the natural look that we're getting out of this one is coming into that one as well. And then I can just kind of play with it and say, You know how much of that do I want? And then that's probably too much. That's about right. Zoom back out. See, Now you can see. See how that one I glows, and so does the other. Okay. And then the last one, the last thing that I want to burn on this one is just right on this side of his face. Just a little bit. I want to bring that down. So I'm just gonna right on his hair and right at the edge. They're just going to do a little bit of a burn, and then I'll play around with that, and I always do that. I always play around with the final burn, so you burn it first. Then you take the final slider and move it around to make sure it works, right? Yeah. Unnoticed that you still have the, um the blacks clipped on the image. So the blue is showing? Yes, that intentional. It helps me to see what is going to be dark. So I'm leaving it there. And then when I want to see the final photo, I'll just hit F key, which makes it full screen. And that disappears so I can see what it actually looks like now on this screen, you're seeing a lot more. This is much more contrast the screen. So you're not seeing the detail that's really actually there. So those air warnings, they're not They don't That what? They're They're not saying there's nothing here. They're saying, warning. You got 5% before There's nothing here. And so I've got detail in there. I can see that, but it gives me warnings. Don't go any further. Don't go any further. Right. So I want to see those. So when I come back in and I look at him, that helps me to see where my darkest areas are. All right, Okay. And then if I want to And I found, like, ah, those airway to, you know, dark or whatever. Then I can always right at the end so I can turn off my tools up here right at the end. I can come in, say, Okay, now that I've done all this burning and dodging, do I need to take my shadows up or my my blacks down more blacks up? So just play around with it until you like what you're saying. All right? Okay. And The more we bring these shadows down, the more dramatic that whole situation is gonna look. I Okay, so now that we have that already to go, I like the image. What do you think? Do you like that image? You're good. All right.

Class Description

Black and White portraits are not simply photographs without color. Making a great black and white portrait requires a completely different mindset and a different set of techniques. Jared Platt will walk you through the process of creating beautiful, classic black and white portraits. From shoot through post-processing, you will learn every step of the process: lighting, camera settings, exposure, editing, retouching, and printing. 

You'll learn:
  • How to see in Black & White for a portrait shoot
  • Reading exposures -Lighting for Contrast
  • Classic Black and White Style 
  • Basic Black and White Adjustments in Post 
  • Getting More Out of Your Black and White Image 
  • Going Dark Room Crazy in a Lightroom World
  • Printing in Black and White

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017, Adobe Lightroom CC 2015

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



This course is a good overview and I love the way Jared teaches. But the course mixes basic lightroom handling with intermediate portrait photography and really expensive gear. Which person, that doesn't know the basic importing and editing in lightroom, has three studiolights from profoto with grid or a calibrating system for the inkjet printer?? And be aware, it's only about LR-editing and nothing about photoshop. But over all it's a good overview for beginners - alas not for intermediate users.

TIm Smith

I usually don't write reviews, but thought Jared did a great job presenting the material. Clear, concise and didn't talk excessively fast. Material was well organized and reasons were given for why something was done a certain way. The fill lighting technique was something different and plan on using. The discussion on tones, textures, clothing and background were also helpful when discussing black and white.

Amy Vaughn

I haven't shot much with the intention of turning the photos black and white, but this class piqued my interest in trying it. This class isn't just about how to turn any photograph black and white, but how to think about the photo as you're shooting for black and white. I especially appreciated Jared's explanations about the importance of texture, creating drama and carefully targeting lights.