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Deconstructing Lara's Post Process Part 1

Lesson 20 from: Experimental Portraits

Sue Bryce, Lara Jade

Deconstructing Lara's Post Process Part 1

Lesson 20 from: Experimental Portraits

Sue Bryce, Lara Jade

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Lesson Info

20. Deconstructing Lara's Post Process Part 1

Lesson Info

Deconstructing Lara's Post Process Part 1

I am really excited to show you guys my techniques and photo shop, especially because the themes yesterday was so my style. Firstly, I want to just go over why I chose thes twenty shots is my favorites and just kind of go through to kind of give you an overview, and if you're just joining us, well, just to kind of see what we shot yesterday, I was going to drag these open, okay? All right, so we started with the ballerina shot and dish was shot with the modeling light with the stroke, which obviously gave a very soft look to the skin. So obviously this is something I would enhance further in photo shop, and a lot of people ask me about that. How do you paint on skin technique? And this is such a good place to start having that wide aperture on the skin there's not so much detail in the pause, so you don't have to do as much skin work and it's, easy to kind of we touch and top of that. So I'm going to go through and just kind of give you an idea of what I shot and why this one I liked b...

ecause of the distance around her. Um I like the fact that there's a bit of space between the legs at the bottom is a bit of space on the side and there's a bit of space of the heads that when I'm not shooting a lot of editorial work, this is something I would kind of go over and choose again I'm not really focusing on the clothes with this kind of shoot, but I'm kind of figuring out a way of what could be interesting with this is it's got enough room to even add in a background it's great because you can have some movement there's a lot of different options with this shot in particular and this one I favor just because of the ribbon on the leg, so sometimes I'll choose two different shots, so it'll be one shot all I loved the expression on that, but I like don't like the fact that you can't see the legs, whereas this one I can see the ribbon at the bottom so I take a part of one shot and place it into the other a swell just a few more from that and I really like this one because again this is about emotion this isn't a fashion show you say I wanted to try and get some motive shots from there so I love the way she's looking down on this the debt for field is very shallow you have faces sharp everything else is kind of thrown off, so this gives me a great start. Um, and I really connect with this image when I look at it. There's something about it that kind of brings me in a swell. This one I loved office because it's a ballerina's sheet, we've got the really obvious ballerina shoe there. I love her expression. I love the soft bali hand. The arm slightly bothers me. How it's kind of moving here, but that's something we can fix quite easily with a liquefy, so that wouldn't worry me too much. Then we're going on to the floor. Oh, shoot, which we did with we have one octo box on the strobe, which has a lot more detail in the skin. This is something great I would do. This is a perfect light setting up for a lot of my fashion. It was perfect for beauty because obviously got the pores, which is obviously what clients want in the fashion industry. But it's also a really great shot for me to work from because it has that right background. And actually, I'm going to be showing you how I took this one into more red, black and white, because when I saw this initially, I had the idea of shooting in blue. But when I came to process them and just edit for them for you guys ahead of time, I was like, this is a perfect kind of tone to take to a black and white, so I'll be showing you that in a second as well. Then we get onto my favorite, which was the gatsby shoot. Now I've been wanting to shoot this kind of concept forever with team mary so I was really inspired by this and we shot this purely with the natural light exactly this you would do with the window light just coming up with the top coming down here I love the models expression I love that she's kind of vulnerable with the pose I love her chin up because the light's really nice on the face we were shooting with quite a wide approaches to a lot of these there's, a little bit of blood, whereas this one was quite shocked but it still has the interest of the mirror on the side. So if I was placed in this with another shot where it was like the two double mirror and this was an outfit and then I had a different outfit in an editorial, this would make sense because by having that mirror in society ties it into the other shot as well so when you thinking of editing your images and putting them together what is the consistent pot? And for me, it's the gatsby theme and the fact that I'm tying in these kind of element shooting free the glass shooting for the mirror, okay? And a few more this bomb was shot without the glass or mirror, and you can see the kind of difference it makes by just having that kind of interest there. And I do love this thiss actually was before I used remember the crystal I used in front of the lens on what I would probably do with this is even adds kind of like an overlay where it's almost like the crystal kind of adam spots of color into it as well. So it's funny, because as I'm seeing the plane images, I can automatically say, okay, I would add that element in there, or I would even take a part of the crystal ailment from another shot and place it into here as well. Here's another shot from that and I just love her vacant stare there again, we've got her in the pose. She was such a great model that she just kind of felt that gatsby kind of theme and for this, like that kind of almost touching arm, but kind of like a theatrical pose. That's what really drew me into this image and her eyes were so piercing we've got that nice catch light so again I mentioned on set having that catch light in the twinkle in the eyes such a good connection this is where I was shooting into the mirror in the corner of a sea portrayed to different parts I loved the shot and this one I want to try and edit if I can I love the way she's looking obviously from the last shot I really love the posing that but I love the fact that it's slightly ofus well in this one and it just really adds some interest to the image and if I was editing the shot I would process this one the same as I would this with the skin with the tone I actually have a few previews of how I edited this as well to show you this is where I use the crystal on the side and I'm not as favorable as the pose as I am in the previous ones I do like it but I think that there's not as much it doesn't draw you in this much she's kind of withdrawn in it isa clothes, which is great, it shows emotion but there was something about her eyes in particular really like their strike in I like the way she looked at the camera so I would probably take the element if I had to off the crystal from this into another one. This is when we were shooting again with the natural light. We replaced the background with the rusty metal type background. We had a facing towards the windows. The light was coming in here. Um, I love the pose on this shot again. She has that kind of actress vibe to it. Just kind of pulling back. And I told you, yes. I'm all about the hands, the way the hands, that kind of move. And I always have this finger kind of like point in theatre one kind of hidden. I don't like cans that it kind of sticking out if I can help it. S o I always favor shots where everything kind of looks in line with the body angle. And I just love the fact that this that's like a classic portrayed as well. So for me, this is one of my favorite. I think the clothing is well portrayed. And I think, you know, the stylist will be very happy with this. It shows the model in the makeup and the hair really well, too. And then we have what we put the gasoline on the perspex place that in front of the model and you can already see how much of a difference that makes just from place in that and that was when I was a little further back and then felix was wafting just slightly with the wind on dh that makes a huge difference to the move mint and having her arm just kind of come out, it throws your I a ways you kind of look at the image overruling doesn't really draw you in for me. I'm immediately drawn into the center of the image of my eye goes to the hair and the dress and what I loved about this natural light is the light kind of came in and really come omitted the clothes now if I was shooting this with flash, I don't think it would have been as dramatic with the light the light coming in on the crystal and the glow on the skin was just perfect for the theme I was going for another one from that and I love this one again just because of that pose I love the way her fingers a kind of moving like this the arm just kind of supported and cradled underneath and the way she's kind of got ahead thrown up and looking office well, I really think that's an engaging shot and that the the perspex in the vast when it is not too much here, it's, kind of when I shoot with things in front of the lens, it's almost like they don't know you're there, which is I love, because it's like it's like the image over here with the girl with the yellow flowers. I love the fact that the girl is almost like unaware that I am kind of photographing her there's something beautiful about that, that I'm always drawn tio this one I love just because of the sharpness on her faith in the blur on the right side. This was the one where she was moving from side to side quickly add that movement to the dress. And if I was shooting this for a designer, they would love that that isthe selling that government. If I was shooting this obviously for purpose was, which was a motive portrait. I'm looking for the expression and she's kind of got the sense of anger in her eyes here, which is not necessarily one of my favorites. But I think that's some kind of emotion, and over a to chart where there's like dead eyes, I would definitely go over this more and again the hands are kind of sway their very kind of delicate and that's what we mean to this shot I'm just a few more this is when we added the old chair, and I think that just having elements in a studio because, you know, we shoot against the plain wall. Sometimes people forget that by just adding a simple prop, such as a stool or a chair or an apple box for someone to sit on, it changes the shape and composition. Now she can sit into the chair, move her elbows, move her shoulders and kind of lean into the chair and feel that space is well, so for me, I love the way again. This looks like a classic portrayed whenever I'm shooting conceptual portrait's, and especially now with my work, I'm always drawn into shooting that kind of vintage fashion, and I'm referencing back to the era and for me, this is perfect to the area she's got and the composition and the light on the face, and this is something that I would work towards. The bottom here in the corner slightly bothers me that you can see that realistic floor, because that takes my eye away from it being a on unrealistic element remember conceptual portrait says all about something or the worldly. By having that real floor that kind of takes my eye away, I would go in and just edit that, either by going through some of the previous images and taking apart if it away but remember this is also a room and you can see the chair legs so we would have to think about the perspective the way we'd have the texture in there as well I chose this one again because if I didn't want to go in and I did that one this one's a lot easy and I just did this one for the preview as well so you can see that I think this is one of the last ones I love this because of her expression she's kind of looking towards the comet but she's looking past it's got that sparkle in the eye it's engaging she looks like you know she's in love which is you know all about the gaps the air it's about you know, the kind of that sadness the beauty the drama to this for me really speaks gatsby and again I would just go in and edit that bottom okay this one I loved because you can see the dress really well we haven't got a father with editing the bottom too much the lights beautiful it's just a great image for me to work on and take into photo shop and then work from I love the ringlets of the hair her stare is engaging and it's almost as if she doesn't know that you're there when you're looking into the shot as well okay all right so laura yeah I just want to check because people are blown away by these images oh thankyou the's are straight out of camera yes the's a real story out of camel show you in a stocking my my edited options for them. Yeah, unbelievable. Thank you. All right, so I just did a few edits um today just to kind of show and they're not perfect if I wanted to spend another hour on them well, because of my edit and I'm so used to spending so long with retouching that people have to tell me stuff this isn't about that, you know, don't retouch the skin it is about textures and layers so I was like, okay, so they're not perfect but you can see here what I'm what I've been up to you so I want to show you guys first the floor shot so we were saying yesterday the text you where it's the line free the texture I placed that texture and I placed another one and I'm gonna open those p s t s and show you the layers in a second so you can see how that was made but going from this image which we shot in the background and originally I had in mind okay blue background I'm gonna de saturate it but it was something about it was to shop so when I came into photo shop I was like okay something with this image is missing right now what is it and I thought it's the grunge it's the emotion you know she's given some kind of emotion she's kind of pulling herself in I want to try and make something happen with the retouching that kind of enhances so I went in and played around like I usually do with a different kind of we're going to alien skin are going to be using curves radiant maps and all of a sudden I put it in black and white put a quick curve and I knew that this would work mainly because of the contrast the white clothes against the dark background okay and that was such a simple technique used in a few different teddy so I'm going to show you that in a second when I opened the psd the second shot so this was the one we were just going through so the one on the left here is the original straight out of camera shot the middle one I've gone in and retouch the skin slightly to that painting field of use non destructive dodging burn toe add high light and darkness to the skin in areas that I need I've highlighted the hair I've gone in and edited the bottom of the shot he knew with the background and then I gave myself an option I was like, okay, this looks good but there's something about her hair blending into the background that maybe let's try a different option and see so I went in selected the background changed the hugh saturation and immediately I saw something there on I think it's because gatsby is more of that kind of sad kind of tone. It's got that for me it's more cold than it is warm. So when I was editing this and I saw her fiery red hair, I was like, okay, let's, go towards cold with it and I like both of these but something draws me in more towards the blue image and I think it's just because she stands out more she's got that hair she's got their beautiful red lips and these are just really simple techniques that will take your work to the next level and take your techniques to the next level. A swell. So I'm now going to go in and show you the ps teas and just deconstruct my layers and I have been good and named them for you home. I'm gonna open the floral one first, laura, before you get on with that one, we have some questions around. This one is from orange fields again about choosing and cooling the image is a lot of us agonize over that. How did you go about selecting these ones, or what is your process, your thought process? Are you mentally okay? Are you I've got quite a good eye now for knowing what works and what doesn't. The first thing they look for, I go through and edit the shots that t blurry the compositions off the model's eyes are closed, all those really obvious things. So when an average shoot, I take about twelve hundred, fifteen hundred images, I shoot a lot because I give myself a lot of options on job see no clients want to see a lot of options have a lot of outfits for this I think I had about was it six and nine hundred something like that, so no, I think it was nine, so I went down from nine hundred I then went down, teo, I think it was one hundred, so I chose if I thinking outfits it's like one. Yeah, so if I have ten outfits and a hundred shots, so I'm choosing, you know that many different outfits for that. So for me, it's about trying to go down first, cutting out all those ones, that just obviously not great. The second thing is ok, what works with that shot? What works with this shot? And I'm always trying to tell a story so it's all about the story it's all about. Generation in that if it's for a designer it's about what clothes look good, I sometimes with clients so really love a shot and then you know there's a composition and the beauty in emotion but then a client will say but my clothes don't look good in that and I'm like because then they'll choose they're really basic shot that you know just works for them but they don't have the eye that I have and that isn't my star, so I think it's just about training your eye also getting an opinion from someone else is also a good idea when I've had problems in the past, I'll send them to my photographer friends my mom is also really great helping me with that aunt has been in the past sometimes all like sense of then over to our own shoulder are sent on facebook because she's not to use email and she'll be like yeah, that one's gray I love that one and you know, there's people that you really trust to kind of get an opinion on this well okay, is there any more questions or we oh, good. All right, so I have just opened my floral shot into here and I have named my layers hand is gonna meet things I am the most unorganized person with tabs my boy from watches me at it and he's like give me a tap that left authority funny, laura because wax wing ireland literally just asked how do you organize your workstation really? You should see my desktop usually I hid it from you guys today. Well, it's usually like all over the place I need to spend a week organizing that and this actually when you put in the present the cable it throws everything off on my screen so if I am a bit scotty with it it's way okay, so I've opened my psst here I'm gonna take all those layers are for you and go back to basics so the first thing I did was a simple black and white conversion and that was by simply on the adjustments player here going into the black and white I was just a simple is that I moved some of the tabs here it kind of worked with that and that's a simple just a really quick black and white conversion. I don't have any fancy way of doing that. I just want a neutral kind of image to work from because I then go into my black and way and edit with curves because I don't want it to be too overpowering straight away because I'm not decided yet whether I want to go to dark with it or to light with it I then went in and added some time so I'm gonna just minimize all of those so we've got our black and white, I'm just opening my tone tab here tried to be organized. I then went in and added a simple grady in't map that added me some further contrast. So again, I'm experimenting so this this point and I wanted to show you this because I didn't want to edit it all out and go, I and he did these steps. I want to show you how many different options I get because at this point, I'm like, okay, I like where this is going. I like the contrast I like that the contrast now pulls her away from the background on this in depth and to get grady at map and I, by the way, I'm going to be editing one of the shots as well, so you can follow the process and I'll show you all of these. So the great map is a simple adjustment layer onto the radiant map in the grady map, you would choose the preset of black and white, you would okay, that and the public on that. But don't worry about that right now because I am going to be going into that a bit later on and showing you which levels I would use and everything else I then went into a simple curve tone here, which you can see, oh, pull that over I went into that curve turn and you could just see what I've moved it up just moved a touch there which meant it's just bright and just slightly gonna put that on to show you I then I did another curve here if I open that you'll see so that curve here this is light this is neutrals. This is dark times so I pulled the curve up here to add some contrast on the lights this goes down in the neutrals a bit and adds that dark time I then went in again and added a further tone and this one I just kind of pulled down a little bit on the brights because it was too bright on the neutrals and on the dark's a swell and I'm kind of happy with how moody this image looks the skin isn't perfect, the light on her face isn't perfect, but this is usually how it would start off with the contrast before I would've just anything else and it doesn't matter because we're working with layers were not doing anything on the flat layers I'm always working in those adjustment layers above, so once I've done that, I've got my tone of just closed that tab I'm now gonna work on the skill, so I'm just going to quickly put that on and off there and I'm going to zoom in to show you quick skin retouch so I'm going to show you that I'm not going to go over skin retouching too much because in itself it's a lot of work and there's no point shown you fashion skin retouching right now when I used to edit these kind of things and when I still edit things like this I go in and do certain techniques which is more painting skin see get that painted feel I'm going to show you how I do a lot of different things but I'm not going to go into how you edit pores and all that kind of thing because it's just not needed for this particular course so the next thing I did here so you'll see the skin curve so all I did is I did a curves layer I placed on a mask I filled that mask with black so the image is normal again and then I painted in just purely on the skin so the contrast and curves was just coming through on the skin and I'm going to show you that in a second that away as well then we want on tio burn in dodge and by the way these technique usually what I do for every image now take those off so if I zoom in a little bit here you'll say so the dodge was simply kind of going in and editing the catch light in the eye because it is quite dark there and the burn is shadows so when I edit dodging burn I'm not doing it destructively and that means just doing it on top of my background image or on top of the image I'm adding a grey layer and I'm going to show you soon how to do that which is almost like a transparency sheet so I have my image I have my gray layer on painting on top of that so that's just adding the tones to that and then I work with the modes on highlights mid times and shadows and I'm going to show you in depth in awhile how they do that if I zoom out quickly show you the skin and the dodging burn without a case of the skin the dodging burn the next thing I did is I went into my texture library and you know you didn't have to add textures to this but because we are doing experimental portraiture and I want to show you guys how I do textures that's how you would do that and for a lot of images like come in and I play with textures even for about half an hour an hour and then I decide this looks rubbish like let's go back to basics but some marriages work when I did the bird cage image over there with that I love that when I added state and that was just for experiment and I had about ten different layers going on there so it's all about experimenting and just throwing different ideas and if it doesn't work going back and that's the beauty of having these layers organized layers to make sure that you know that you can go back on the steps so the first texture I did I show you here was that one from it was I'm going to go into my textual ivory and to show you that e all right, so it was the blue helium so we remember that from yesterday that was just me inviting it chester I found outside on a wolf so I placed that in and the only things I've done here is placed that onto screen you'll see at the top there I've decided curated it so it's black and white and I've just turned the passage down because it that it's a bit strong at one hundred percent it was too strong so I've gone down here two seventy and that for me works quite well. I remember sue saying some of the text is that you shoot a to shop that this image this was shot with a strobe there was a lot of detail so I don't mind the sharpness in the texture as well now if my image was lighter and shot it like two point eight I would probably blood this texture just a little bit to make it relevant and look more realistic and then I went in and added this texture, which I believe it was one of the black and white textures and it just added that kind of do you see that that kind of painted kind of scroll and that again was on screen and that was at seventy percent? So the good thing about that sorry, you know what I've done have gone backwards, so the first one I did with that one make a right of that. So the first one I did was that one and that was seventy percent of screen the second one and I go through remember I said yesterday the top few I use here I used more to ply I use lighten screen overlay in self light, those few my favorites. So when I went on to this one, I took that down even further because that one was really strong. You see at the top how it's strong there, so that was too strong for me, so I placed that down on sixty, and I put that one to overlay because that suited better. Now, if I put that one on to screen, you'll see how that doesn't work for that particular image and on soft light it does, and all I've done is added a mask and then just mask roughly around her so that it's just on the background, so if you are shooting into a plain studio wall and add in the background this is the way he would do it and you would spend quite a bit of time making sure that you know on your mask that you going into really editing that detail and making sure it's not coming over the hair or the face or anything like that I'd love to move onto the next image, but is there any questions from you guys or yet um when you put that was textures on they didn't mess with your skin because it was screen oh, you know what I did you put it over and then you mask it away from this again master yep yep so usually I mask away from the entire person or I'll just make sure it's off the skin because what you don't want is that kind of gothic or crackled over the skin you always want to avoid the skin, the eyes in the hair if you can see what a screen too screen they're all different modes of say like we put a layer on on the top it's a way of blending it in so they're all different methods of blended why don't we do if you're not familiar with them experiment with them and those five that I mentioned it will become my favorites because of their methods, whereas lightning scream will be lighter on what's also interesting is if I went in and inverted that, as we did with the textures yesterday. So we just click on the image and not the mask. We go into image adjustments, and then we go on to invert you're cia adds an inversion of that so it's worth, always trying the alert and seen the opposite. So actually that's now one soft life if you took it up to multiply theism, or these air, the dark tones, the's a kind of light and contrast in these, and more kind of softer. So on my multiply you would see it's different again, so these are more darker ways of doing it. And you can also what I really like to do is kind of go into that, and even further usage of thes and using the textures going on to curves, and just playing around with the kind of texture with that as well, okay, and building on that about the curves julie belton, art and click madness had both asked for this image. Why were you using three layers of curves and not just one? That was because I was experimenting in the beginning, and instead of me going through and just kind of make him one of them, I went from unedited. Three so that was just showing you my okay let's try this all that worked let's try that that added some depth so I just wanted to show you guys as I was doing it what I kind of did and what steps were that I took fantastic and then we have and merisi who wants to know how do you know where to place the shadows are you following the ones already there or just painting with light that's a really good question because that's something I'm going to come across in a second when I do at dodging burn I follow the light as much as possible because you start to get into that realm of looking to plastic so with their eyes if there's not much light there don't add much light there for the skin for this particular situation it was quite flat on the way it's just like an overall dodging burn for window light if it's coming down like this so I'm outside and the sun's heiress and doctor I'm picking up the kind of cheek bones that knows so I'm always following that so if you not used to that technique it's worth practising that on images and follow in light and kind of getting yourself used to the way that light falls and then adding that with dodge in bern okay yeah I'm going to go into the next one so close that so it doesn't slow everything down all right? Now I'm gonna I pin the gas people I'm really excited about these age I think everyone is accepted all right so this was the gatsby one in the mirror and we didn't need too much retouching on this now I could have gone in and added to the load of textures but it didn't need it because I'd like to do a lot in camera the mirrors the textures in the background there's a lot going on already so I'll just go through those and I haven't put these into the folders because I just wanted show there's not many steps to this so I'll take them all off see you can see where I'm at all right so my first thing was to add a layer and that was from my texture collection this was one of the blue simple textures here and if I can find it because I just want to make sure you guys were following along no and just a quick reminder for everyone that laura did in her previous workshop she went into really in depth on facial like skin retouching eso if that's something that you do want to learn you can definitely check that out you can get a link in the chat room or just search her name on our website and that is on sale right now for life I will mention if you do want to get into high end skin retouch in the technique frequency separation you can find that on youtube. It's, very accessible and it's something I've come across in the last two years following there's, a youtube tutorial by ago. Could elena remember her last name? Begins with j. She has an excellent tutorial on high end skin retouching.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Sues Textures
Lara Jade Textures
Lara Jade Textures for PC
QA Erin OKeefe Stylist
QA Felix Kunze Assisting and Lighting
Sue Bryce and Lara Jade Lighting Guide

Ratings and Reviews


This was my first Creative Live course and I thoroughly LOVED it! While contemplating purchasing the course, I was a bit weary because some of the reviewers commented on how they wished they could have seen Sue Bryce give more in depth information about one of her projects, but there is SO MUCH information that is packed into this class. I LOVE Lara Jade and her work is amazing. The enthusiasm that both instructors bring to the class, their eagerness to share their workflow and wonderful retouching methods are worth every penny and then some. Going into the class, I already was familiar with Lara's beautiful fashion photography and really wanted to know her trade secrets so for me this was everything I needed. For me, the bonus feature was getting an insight into Sue's wonderful mind and how she conceptualizes, photographs and retouches her amazing portraits! Wow, I learned so much and I HIGHLY recommend these ladies and this course. Creative Live just one more thing... please, more LARA JADE courses!!

Kristen Clapham Photography

SO glad I bought this one...!!! Check out Day 2 - "the gospel according to Sue Bryce" - it's absolutely awesome - if you feel like you've been in a creative rut then you've gotta own this and watch it repeatedly!!! Thanks Sue, thanks Lara, thanks Creative Live team... another GREAT workshop!!


fantastic to see Lara in this; she's so natural and inspirational, and so generous with her resources. I would love to see her do another course, maybe with Felix too as I love his lighting and creativity. More, please!

Student Work