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Editing In Photoshop® CC: Senior Portrait

Lesson 37 from: Capturing Story in Portrait Photography

Kelly Brown

Editing In Photoshop® CC: Senior Portrait

Lesson 37 from: Capturing Story in Portrait Photography

Kelly Brown

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Lesson Info

37. Editing In Photoshop® CC: Senior Portrait

Fine-tune the senior citizen portrait inside Photoshop. Work to draw the eye to the subject using a gradient tool and layer mask. Dodge and burn with a layer mask to continue to draw the eye when working with a busy environmental portrait.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


The Power of Portrait Photography


Introduction to Newborn Portrait


Find Inspiration for Newborn Portrait


Create The Scene for Newborn Portrait


Prepare & Pose Newborn for Portrait


Shoot: Techniques for Photographing Newborn


Newborn Image Review


Introduction & Find Inspiration For Child Portrait


Create The Scene for Child Portrait


Prepare Set for Child Portrait


Shoot: Capture Child Portrait


Image Review for Child Portrait


Introduction & Inspiration For Teenager Portrait


Create The Scene for Teenager Portrait


Building Set for Teenager Portrait


Shoot: Portrait with Teenager


Shoot: Pose Teenager for Multiple Looks


Image Review for Teenage Portrait


Introduction & Inspiration For Adult Portrait


Creating The Scene for Adult Portrait


Lighting for Adult Portrait


Tell Your Subject's Story


Shoot: Lighting for Double Exposure


Introduction to Senior Portrait


Create Storyboard & The Scene For Senior Portrait


Connect With Client to Create Portrait


Shoot: Lighting for Senior Portrait


Shoot: Be Creative on Set


Image Review for Senior Portrait


Portrait Shoots Recap


Global Adjustments in Camera Raw®


Editing In Photoshop® CC: New Born Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Child Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Adult Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Teenager Portrait


Editing In Photoshop® CC: Senior Portrait


Introduction to Entering Print Competitions


Process of Print Competitions


What to Consider For Print Competitions


What Judges Look For Overview


Image Impact


Creativity, Style & Composition in Images


Entering Photography Competitions Q&A


Image Lighting


Image Color Balance


Technical Excellence in Images


Photographic Technique


Storytelling & Subject Matter


Lesson Info

Editing In Photoshop® CC: Senior Portrait

So again, opening in camera roll. That warmth is kind of perfect here. We'll just bring it back just a bit more. In terms of the exposure, if I start to darken that, I'm gonna start to darken a lot of these areas in the background here. When you think about the information in a file, you're gonna have a lot more information in those midtones and highlights than you are in those shadows. So I'm going to leave the exposure exactly where it is because I know I've got more information to play with in those midtones and highlights than I do in the shadows. So let's open that up. With this, the first thing I would probably do is give it a crop and straighten my horizon line. The horizon line is always the one thing I look at and I can tell if it's off, in other photographs as well. We're gonna go in and crop this and I'm gonna keep it at that 6 x 4, that 2:3 ratio, as a landscape. I'm gonna rotate it here to straighten that horizon up there. I can bring it across just a bit more, so I don't ...

lose that curtain, and we get rid of that V-flat in the background there. Give us a little bit of height. So, you can see Janice is now smack bang compositionally, smack bang in the middle of this image. Her head is going through the middle of those top two-thirds, which is exactly where I want it to. And all of these different elements that are in here are all bringing you back to Janice, in terms of leading lines. They're extremely important. These lines here in the front, I am gonna darken them down because they're quite contrasting and they're bringing your eye away from the subject. Everything else is going to lead us into Janice. Even the line here on this box, that line brings you to Janice. The back brings you to Janice, the curtain does, the frame does, it's on an angle. Then you've got that connection and then the line across the back here, all leads you toward Janice. The line here, coming in, that's a line that leads you toward Janice. These are things that I'm continually looking for in terms of how I place objects within a frame. This is a very busy scene. And she can get quite lost in there. So unless you are using the objects that you place to create leading lines, you are just going to lose the subject. And then how I use highlights and shadows to darken down some areas to draw more attention to those leading lines, that's always what's gonna draw you back to Janice. You'll start to see that the more you look at photographs, even paintings. I recently learnt, Ryan Schembri was showing me, how there are some paintings in art galleries that have got pinholes in the canvases, where artists would direct those lines with string to where they wanted the eye to go. It's the same thing. All of these techniques that we learn throughout our career, really allow us to take our imagery to that next level. So it's fascinating stuff. That's why I love learning, it's really incredible. Okay, so we've got our crop. In terms of darkening down that background, I'm gonna use the exact same technique here with the Multiply, but I'm gonna make sure I obviously select the information in the tones that are already there. Instead of coming from over here and across, I'm actually gonna come from this top corner and down, because I want to darken down the top of the frame and not so much this area over here. I'm just going to, and we're still at about 50%, come down and across the image. Then you can start to play a little more with where you want to darken that down. Now we're starting to see that light come through. Adding that layer mask, using a black brush, we can take it off areas that we don't want it to be on. We want information, though, in a lot of these areas. Let's reduce that a bit more. Even the flowers in the background here. The radio, the top of that desk. The books, Janice's hair and her face, bringing her out. Definitely the photo frame. So you can see the difference that makes to drawing your eye now more towards Janice. You would come around and take it off all of these different areas. It's all about building. And then what I love to do is flip an image upside down, have a look at distracting elements in that photograph, remove them. I can already see here, and you'll be able to see there, that when we zoom out, there are one, two, three, four, five, six really bright elements in there, and Janice is one of them. I'm gonna bring Janice out and darken down those other five bright areas. Still keep detail, but Janice needs to be the brightest part of this photograph. Even without over-exposing the highlights in her hair. I'm not gonna lighten her anymore, I'm gonna darken down the one, two, three, and even this, five, and these little things here in the foreground. Darkening those down to bring in that detail towards her. When it comes to the highlights in the background over here, let's have a little look at those. We'll create another copy layer. And really simply going up to your layer mode, selecting Multiply, adding a layer mask, inverting that. Now with my brush, I'm gonna keep it at about 20%. I'm gonna come in and I'm gonna start to darken down some of the highlights here in the background. I don't mind shadows, they're realistic, but it's the highlights that are drawing my eye towards that area over the frame. Because this is a darkening layer, if this is too bright, you can come in, paint over that, because I'm multiplying the information that's already there, I can darken it right down. And then the paper, don't want that to be too bright. We are almost at our time limit here, but you get the picture. In terms of how we use highlights and shadows to draw our eye in towards the subject. You can see just by removing some of the highlights there on her arms. Here in this foreground, on the book. Over here. Going really quick. I can almost feel a countdown going. Editing is something that I actually really enjoy doing when it comes to creating pieces like this. I know editing can be tough when you're doing client work and a lot of the images are quite similar. And wedding photographers, my goodness, they have to go through so many photographs, so they're always trying to find ways on how they can reduce the amount of time that they sit in front of a computer. For me, when it comes to this, I kinda get lost in that process of bringing something to life. I'm going over some of these highlights in the background. And then down and behind Janice here. You would obviously continue to reduce the size of your brush. And be very careful going around some areas. I just want to show you, very quickly, the difference of removing some of these more highlighted areas. Just removing a lot of those highlights there, we're now starting to really bring Janice to the forefront. So I would add a little bit of contrast. I'm actually going to de-saturate a lot of the tones here and add some warmth in. In terms of that de-saturation, it's just a matter of coming in and bringing back some of the color tones here. And again, using a mask and painting that on, or using a black brush and taking it off. Janice's skin, for example, that's at 100%. Maybe not that much. The colors really do make a difference. If I wanted to add some warmth coming in here, from this direction, really quickly, I'm gonna use my gradient tool. I'm gonna select one of these warmer tones. Over here. And we'll go up a little bit higher here. Let's go about 30%. Come in from this side and darken that down with that warmth. Change the mode from Multiply to Screen. Now I can reduce the opacity of this. Then I can add a layer mask and I can take it off now. Up here. Then have it coming through. Where do we have Multiply, there it is. There we go. So just by adding that little bit of warmth, and removing a lot of those highlights, if we have a look at the before image and then that image, Janice is starting to stand right out for us. Every highlight, every shadow on her jumper, every highlight, every shadow, on all of the different elements are of importance to her, I'm gonna go in and I'm gonna play with those, to really bring out that detail. I'm even gonna come into her hair, and you can see here, we've got detail in her hair. I'm gonna come in and I'm probably going to focus on some of the highlights and shadows in amongst her hair here and how it sits on top of her head. I would, with a really small brush, come in, go over the highlights, go over the shadows. Not increasing those highlights so they become overexposed or lose detail, but just so I add some dimension to the hair so it doesn't look flat. I would spend probably a week on this image alone, purely because of all the different elements that are in here that tell her story. Highlighting those shadows, working on one area at a time. So it is quite a big piece to work on, but in terms of creating an art piece that tells a story, there's so much in this photograph that you could really bring to life and create so much dimension in terms of making it look 3D on, gosh, it's gonna look incredible in print. I can't wait to actually see it.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Mind Map & Prep Guide

Ratings and Reviews


Among a sea of wonderful teachers here at CL, Kelly is the cream of the crop. All of her classes are outstanding and this one is no exception. Amazing teacher. Amazing class. Amazing education. If you are hoping to stretch yourself to create deeper more meaningful stories in your images, or are feeling the pull of print competition but need some direction, this is definitely the class for you. Thank you Kelly!

Melissa Soto

Kelly Brown is a true inspiration. She has been my idol in this industry since I began. This class was amazing. I love how honest, authentic and genuine she was. But most importantly I loved her wise direction and teaching style. Kelly brown thank you for this gem. You helped light a fire in me. I’m so excited to start telling amazing stories with the skills I have learned from this class.

Marjorie Stevenson

Just loving this class! Kelly is one of my favorite instructors. She is very good at articulating her ideas and carrying them to an absolutely wonderful end product. Her images are always stunning. I love that she always puts safety first with her models. Thank you Kelly for sharing your creative visions with us.

Student Work