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Exploring Low-Key Portraiture

Lesson 11 of 15

Creating Different Interpretations in Lightroom

Chris Knight

Exploring Low-Key Portraiture

Chris Knight

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Lesson Info

11. Creating Different Interpretations in Lightroom


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Class Introduction Duration:12:53
2 What Is Low-Key Lighting? Duration:11:11
3 Bringing in the Subject Duration:05:01
4 Lighting Patterns Duration:19:21
6 Giving Your Light a Job Duration:12:07
7 How to Create Separation Duration:06:58

Lesson Info

Creating Different Interpretations in Lightroom

I have the image. And before we dig into the local adjustments, we're gonna talk about creating different interpretations of the same file. Your files are very, very flexible, super flexible. So you can do a lot with these images, especially for shooting in the studio, especially for shooting at I s 0 100 because you can push it a lot. You're basically manipulating the I s o relatively in in post, right? And so you can get a lot of different interpretations out of the same file if you remember the real adorable picture of the dog. Same kind of an idea. Now, we're not gonna get high key image out of this, But I do want to show you really briefly how you can create different interpretations of the same file. So I'm just gonna create a virtual copy, which is, you know, just ah, a white room copy of the image. And I'm gonna brighten this up pretty heavily just to kind of show you what can be done out of it. Okay, I bring this down a little bit, So if you want something that feels, you know...

, a little bit more like this, you can create something that's quite a bit brighter. And this is kind of the importance of knowing how to how to, ah, pull, pull, pull your information or your look or your aesthetic out of the image. It's it's super important. These are very, very different. I'm gonna create another one. Let's say you want to do a black and white, which I think this looks great, black and white. But maybe you want to even more low key. So I'm gonna bring it way, way down, right, Go super dark on it. But I'm gonna recover my shadows a little bit more down here. I'm gonna really bring the whites up. Okay? Now, what's happening is your Actually, it looks real crunchy. That's because even though I haven't touched the clarity slide, you're getting in effect similar to clarity. And so this is one of those few instances I'm really like an anti negative clarity person. But when you do heavy manipulation of the highlights and shadows, it is a kind of looking like clarity. And so I'll basically do a negative just a little bit toe offset that So it looks a little bit more natural. And what ends up happening. Hips want to bring this up a little bit, is you can get a more naturalistic interpretation of that file. Okay, this is just very, very simple stuff In terms of manipulating the image in a few different ways. You can also do it for the greater purpose of accessing different tonal ranges. Now, you can do this with adjustment brushes and local adjustments were talked about in the second. We just want to lighten up part of the image or whatever. You can also do this a duplicate this image with a virtual copy. And let's say I want to do one right. Brighton all of this up like this. Okay? And what I can dio is I can select both of them, and I can edit them in photo shop as layers. And what this is going to dio is this is going to take both of these images and it's gonna open them up into the same file, and then I could just mask him into each other, and it becomes an easy way to create kind of like a multiple exposure image in the same file. And this could be really handy. Just give it a second. All right? I think that it puts them both on the same and we just kind of had a mask toe one and all right, so it just depends on how you want to render these two out, right? So you can lay or different exposures, and you can blend these things together a little bit, so you can also just there we go change the density to dial it back. And so you can combine these two together. Here's where I started. Brings it in. And so it becomes a really useful way to create different interpretations of the same file and then just open them all up together and very quickly masked them into each other. Okay, we're gonna come back to this in just a minute. Within the same file, you can create low, medium and high contrast, and then low, medium and high key to a degree, depending upon the image. Right. So if you want to Loki interpretation of a file, you could do that. Medium Kihei key. You could do that. We basically have a low key here, and we have something that's a little bit more little bit more medium key here. It's gonna edge on air in the little side of dark because of the subject matter, all the dark tones. But it is a little bit more in the middle. Right? Um, you can also do high, medium low contrast of each of the key so you can see there's a lot of different ways you can interpret the file. And it's not that anyone is more correct than the other. It's all about what you want, all about what you want. OK, now I want this. I want something that feels dark, moody, cinematic, little painterly. So we're gonna go with this file. But it's not perfect, Garrison, things that we want to change. We're going to affect this with a few different local adjustments on and these are all found right over here. We've got the linear, the linear grading. We've got the radio, Grady, and we have the adjustment brush. The two that I probably used the most are going to be the adjustment brush and the radio. I just find they're very easy to use, but you can also use the linear. They all kind of do the same thing, which is to say they paint adjustments, and I like to do it here often because you will never have more flexibility in your file than you do as the raw. If you've ever paid attention to this, hissed a gram and you brought it into photo shop and you've noticed that it kind of creates a lot of space is you're actually kind of pulling apart the information in the file and Photoshopped trying to fill in the visual gaps. And if you do that too much, especially in areas of low detail like skies, you'll notice you get these almost definitive dividing lines. This is called banding, and you get that from over processing the image in photo shop when there's not enough information available. Whereas if you do it here, you're way less likely to get it. You can't. It's just a lot harder to have it happen. So I like to do any big tonal adjustments, especially when you're working with these Loki dark tones in light room. And if you're again shooting from a tripod and you have similar compositions, it ties over a lot more consistently throughout other images. So what I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna brighten up down here and around the face a little bit, and then I'm gonna fix this area over here, and I'm gonna dark in this hot spot on the forehead so it's a little bit more consistent, a little bit brighter. I'm just gonna even it out a little bit with the rest of the face. So here's how I'm going to do it. I'm going to grab a little Grady int tool and again, doesn't matter if you like to use the radio or the linear. Um, I'm just gonna grab a little radio right here, kind of put it over this section. I'm gonna reset it by double clicking on effect. I'm gonna come down here to where it says invert mask. So it's now actually gonna affect what's in here instead of what's on the outside. I'm gonna increase that feather a little bit, so it's a little bit less noticeable. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna bring up my shadows a little bit, do you have, and maybe the exposure a little bit as well. But what that's doing is that bringing up the highlights in this section and so I'm gonna bring the highlights down to the idea is that it's really only affecting my shadow tones down here. You can also, if you find that it's affecting too much of the image you can actually erase. If you come to brush and you come to erase, you can actually erase part of this Grady int that you've created and that will also help you hone that in. So people sometimes forget that you can either add add to a linear radio radiant or you can subtract from it like let's say you've got mountains and you wanna bring the Grady it down over the sky. But it's affecting the mountains because you wanted to darken everything. You just erase it over the mountains and you can get get the effect that you're after. So I've got this just to show you something different. I'm gonna grab the adjustment brush, and I'm going to bring the highlights down right there. And I just kind of guessed it was too much. So I'm gonna dial that back a little bit. It looks pretty good. And then tip of the nose just kind of evening out the light a little bit. Okay, I'm just gonna hit this area over here. It's a little bit more than I want. I'm gonna hit new to make a new brush, and I'm going to really bring this down a little bit more. And then if I want, I could hit new again. Reset it by clicking effect. Then we're just kind of equalize it out a tiny, tiny bit here. Is it with and then without, it's just a little bit. It's just to give me a little bit of visual visual contrast over there. You can also maybe increased the clarity a little bit to help out with that good way to create a little bit of separation in these dark tones. Just a little bit of Papa clarity. Now, I mentioned earlier about using clarity in the image, but doesn't look great on the face. Gonna use a radio radiant. I'm gonna go around the face. Okay. So I'm gonna hit invert? Nope. Sorry. Not invert. I don't want invert selected time to reset this. Don't bring the clarity up. You can kind of see how it starts to effect the image, but it leaves the face intact and that's looking a little bit better. Okay, All right. See, that were around the face. And that way you get away with using clarity in the detail areas because clarity usually looks better, not on skin. I'm waiting. I'm waiting for them to do a clarity slider that it doesn't affect skin tones, but will more phone focusing on that. All right, so this is looking pretty good. Here's my before and after. And then if we want to see it side by side, we can see that we have a nice A nice feel happening to it. And this I basically I mean with with few exception, I could link this depending upon how much I moved. I could link this to a lot of different images on and it would translate pretty well. I mean, there's obviously a few things I probably wouldn't want to link over this little piece over here. The clarity, Maybe on and then probably the highlight on the forehead. I wouldn't I wouldn't link over. But generally speaking, I could take most of this and I could tie it to like, for example, I just go to the one next to it previous, and it links over pretty well, and that's that's even pulling the local adjustments because, you know, shooting tripod gives you the opportunity to do that. All right, Before we bring this into photo shop questions, I did have a question that came in earlier from Steven Rasmussen, who had asked, Have you been shooting with s RGB or Adobe RGB? I shouldn't get Adobe RGB. Okay? Yeah. And then you and then also, um, that that takes into account how it renders on with the embedded J peg. But if you go into preferences, what you'll see is there is a file handling. I'm sorry, external editing. And it shows you what? It's actually exporting to photo shop. And so it's gonna give me a 16 bit tiff on I use pro photo RGB. I know some people make your between Pro Photo and Adobe RGB s RGB. You don't really want to edit in because it's for the web. You want to export to that at the end. Whereas adobe RGB and pro photo RGB are much larger color spaces, they were gonna encompass a lot greater tonal ranges. And if you're doing a lot of flexibility Ah, lot of a lot of Ah, photo retouching and editing and moving tones around you want as much flexibility as possible. Pro photo RGB is a little bit of a bigger sandbox to plan, then Adobe RGB profit actually encompasses theoretical colors that the monitor can't even display. So some people argue that there's not really a point to being able to have it if you can't even change the colors. But I just think it's nice to think of it like you get you get a nice ah piece of clothing and then you wish it's you have a wedding to go to and you get it tailored two months before the wedding. And it's exactly where it needs to be and two months later doesn't quite fit anymore. And you just like I wish I had a little bit more flexibility right now and you make it work. But it's not really quite there, whereas if you just had it a little bit bigger and then you could tailor it down, it would be a little bit better for you in the long run. That's why use profit already be. The downside of profit are to be a little bit bigger, a little bit, Um, and 16 bit is definitely gonna be bigger than a bit. But I always recommend doing it because space is cheap. I mean, hard drive space is relatively cheap, and it just gives you a lot more flexibility to the file. And you really will notice the 16 bit when you start printing and you start printing areas of low tonal gradation areas of low detail, skies banding on and very dark shadow tones like this. So when you were speaking earlier about at the very last module, um, the since we're speaking about color and you changed it to camera natural, so could you explain what you were shooting with in your camera? Use of that if you put your camera on portrait or landscape. Um, so where did you start? I was shooting a natural. So that was in your in your camera only affects the embedded J peg and what you're looking at in the back of the camera. It's not actually changing the way the raw file is capturing the information. So when it comes to the retouching element, I like the colors to reflect the tones that I was shooting with because I do actually notice on my camera, there is a big difference between the adobe standard and the camera rendering of colors, especially in skin tones. It was something that I noticed after a long period of time that it was always more work for me to get the colors that I started with. And so I basically, once they incorporated these relatively recently into an update on my camera and to into enough data light room, I could now shoot with the colors and the rendition of colors closer to what I was already working with, and I found that was a lot more helpful to me to work from. There is a starting place instead of trying to get the colors there through everything else.

Class Description

Embrace the dark! No longer be afraid of shadow and murky tones. Explore the low-key portrait with Chris Knight. Learn how to maximize the detail in dark imagery through lighting and post-production. Chris will take you from concept through execution covering simple (yet effective) lighting techniques as well as tethering tips with Adobe® Lightroom®. He'll also discuss how to develop the raw image and retouching tactics to make your image appear powerful and purposeful.


Brenda Pollock Smith

Thank you Chris Knight and Creative Live for another excellent class. I appreciate both the actual shooting and post instruction. Right before your eyes you will see how simple applications of light, shadow combined with post production can create gorgeous, dark images. Chris has a great relaxed manner, easy to follow while offering a ton of tips and tricks. I can hardly wait to try my hand at producing some hauntingly beautiful images like Chris.

a Creativelive Student

I don't have a ton of time to spare and largely catch segments of courses on short breaks. One of the things i like best about this course Chris's ability to communicate so effectively and efficiently. He covers a lot of ground in not a lot of time, but the course doesn't feel at all rushed. He's just a good speaker/instructor. One of the other reviewers mentioned that this instructor brings no ego to the stage, and I have to agree. He's a confident and competent instructor without being obnoxious. Rock solid course with terrific instruction. I will definitely check out more of Knight's classes.

jos riv

The detail and order in which the information for this class was presented was just perfect. It was like a perfectly prepared meal with each bite more delicious than the last. It had exactly what I needed to move forward with some of my techniques. So glad to have the class so I can enjoy/learn over and over.