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Image Editing in Alien Skin

Lesson 31 from: Powerful Portraits using Mirrorless Cameras

Miguel Quiles

Image Editing in Alien Skin

Lesson 31 from: Powerful Portraits using Mirrorless Cameras

Miguel Quiles

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Lesson Info

31. Image Editing in Alien Skin


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


What is a Mirrorless Camera?


Mirrorless Camera Advantages


Mirrorless Compatibility


Live Shoot: Mirrorless vs. DSLR


Live Shoot: A7R II, A6300 & A7ii


Compare Mirrorless & DSLR Images


Posing Techniques Overview


Lesson Info

Image Editing in Alien Skin

The Fuji Pro 800Z, for me, actually looks kind of cool. I'm kind of digging the look of this particular shot. It did do something to the shot, which again, if you look at the highlight side of the face on the left, you'll notice that the preset actually made the highlights a little bit brighter, and I kind of liked the exposure on the original raw file for that side of the face, which is totally cool, because you can go and there's a couple ways to do it. Now, I'm in the actual, and I'm gonna close this down, because we're done with the presets. It's a good idea for you to, basically, as you're done with each panel, close it down, so that you have more real estate on the screen to work on the image, and now, we're working in this pane. There is one thing that I should mention, which is that, just like you do in Capture One or in Lightroom, you have your histogram, so if you want to check to see if anything is blown out or if there is a loss of detail in the shadows, you can actually ju...

st hover over that and it'll show you. So for example, you can see that these areas that are highlighted in blue, that's basically saying there's no detail in the shadows at all. It's just pure black, so you have to make that decision. Is any of these areas that's pure black something that should not be pure black? Now is a good time to know, and it will actually tell you that, so this is something that's new for this program, which is super helpful, but let's go to the basic tab here. So again, exposure, we can adjust that up or down to try to play around with the look to get it the way we want it. So usually, for a lot of people, they're kind of surprised when they see my retouching because if you go from one thing to the other, the changes are very subtle. It's not like any one slider, you change it, and then all of a sudden, it's like, oh, there's my shot, I'm done. Sometimes it's like that, but for the most part, the tweaks are all extremely, extremely subtle, so same thing with the highlights. If I wanted to make the highlights brighter, I can go ahead and brighten that. If I go in the opposite direction, now I can bring back some of that detail in the highlights, and if I go ahead and I click on that, before, or the unaltered image, and look at that, now the highlights are a little bit more inline with the way that they used to be, so kind of digging that. It did make the shadows a little bit darker as well, and when I evaluate my images, I see in highlights and shadows. Like, I see highlight/shadow first and then I start to look at color, and I look at the sharpness and the detail, and in this case, I can see that this has added quite a bit of, basically, it's dark and it's added a lot more to the shadows here, so what I can do is I can go to my Shadows slider, and I could go ahead, and if I go this way with it. Actually, let's go back here. Let's click on this. And so, I can go ahead, and I can play with my Shadow slider to basically be able to either bring out more detail in the shadows or try to make the shadows even denser. If for some reason, I happen to make an adjustment to the image, like, let's just say, I go really crazy with the exposure. If I double-click on that, it'll go back to zero, which kind of makes it a little bit easier. So you can actually play around with the shadows. A part of me kind of says, like, I like the, I like the dense shadows, you know. Some of these things are kind of like decisions that you make as a artist where somebody might look at it and say, like, well I like to see the detail in the back of the head, but in my mind, I'm kind of like, I really want you to focus on his expression and on his eyes, and anything extra that's not drawing you to that, I really don't want you to look at. Unless he had like fireworks going off in the back of his head, that might be interesting, so I may want to bring back the detail from that, but in this case, I really want to keep you kind of here in this area with his expression, and I'm able to kind of manipulate you by how I retouch the image. For this particular shot, I kind of, I don't know. I might go back to that, but I kind of like the way that looks. The Clarity slider is something that a lot of people will tell you you don't really want to play with the Clarity slider for portraits, and again, I'm not the photo competition instructor. I'm the guy that will tell you artistically what I think looks good, and I could tell you that adding clarity to beauty images, which we're gonna do in the next segment, or especially if you're photographing a gentleman with a great beard and a interesting face, adding clarity to the shot will really make a big difference, and so, I'm gonna zoom into this so that you can see. We'll click that one to one. And what I want you to basically be able to kind of evaluate is what the clarity is doing to the skin, so we'll go to a before and after, before and after, so it almost adds this like extra detail to the skin, to the eyes that wasn't there to begin with. Now, this particular preset, because again, it's a film preset, so you might be looking at this and you see the before and you see that it's more detailed, and there's like a grain that's now on this photograph, and so, that grain is being added by the preset and this is something that I know it's part of the preset and I'll fix it once I get to that point, but looking at the clarity, that's definitely something that I add to each of my images. Usually at this point, I'm done with the basic tab, so I'll close that out. When you open up the detail tab, you can actually sharpen the image through here, so you have options to go ahead and further, you know, sharpen your image. I tend not to do too much in terms of sharpening on a global basis on the image, where it sharpens everything, because it's a little off putting, especially for a really close-up portrait. If you take an image where, let's say you shoot at a very high ISO, just like you can with a program like Lightroom, you have noise reduction, so if you're taking a shot at like 12,000 ISO or something insane, and you have like a really noisy image, it's super powerful that within Exposure X2, you can go ahead and you can basically clean up the noise that you're finding in your image, so for a shot like this, it's shot at ISO 100, so you know, I don't have to worry about noise and all that stuff, so we close that. Move on to the color, and these are sliders that honestly, unless I have a, like if I'm trying to make my own look, I usually don't mess around with the color slider unless I have like a preset where the color is really different than what I want. This is when I would go in here and I'd be able to go ahead and there's a bunch of different presets for this as well, so you can use like cooling filters. Sometimes, like in this case, the color is actually good, so any of these is gonna make the color pretty crazy, but if you had an image where, let's say the preset made the image have like a pinkish tone, you can go into this color filter area and you could go ahead and you can adjust those colors to get the actual colors that you're trying to create. Same thing with color saturation and you can customize this, so there's different presets here, where you can boost mid-tones, fade highlights, fade mid-tones, and these are gonna give you different looks, like fading the highlights gives us kind of like a different look. I want to say I kind of like that, but I'm not gonna make that my edit. Maybe I might do a variation, where I do something like that, where I fade the highlights to give it a, just a different look. Maybe if I'm giving this to a magazine, or a billboard, or something, the way I would retouch that might be different. But I'm not gonna actually mess with that, so here you can actually adjust the saturation of individual colors on an image. Again, this is all stuff that is just like you working in a program like Lightroom, or Capture One, but you actually still have the power to be able to do that all within this one program, so I can increase the saturation, for example, of reds, so it's at negative 13 now because that's what the preset dictated, but if I said, no, I want it to be more red, I can do that, or if I want it to be less red. Now, that's the skin tones, so I know there's still a lot of people that like doing this like a, you know, black and white image with something else being in color, so if that's your style, there you go. You can have a black and white head shot and his shirt is still blue, but the skin tone usually resides in the red and the yellow channel of an image, so if I play around with these, like his skin doesn't have as much yellow, but if I take the yellow all the way down, you can see what that does to the skin tone, and if I add more, you can see what that will do, so you can kind of tweak this to be exactly the way that you need it. I'm gonna go ahead and basically leave it right there. Same thing with greens, blues, cyans. You have to look at the image and kind of figure out what colors are in the image and which ones you want to change, but you have complete control of the saturation of those colors in this little color tab. Moving on, let's look at the tone curve, so here, you can, again, you have presets that kind of help you to make this a little quicker. You can brighten the highlights, crush the blacks, overexpose, underexpose. So these are all like little quick things, so sometimes you're working on an image and you don't really know what you're trying to do, so sometimes you'll kind of play around and all of a sudden, you'll land upon one. Like, I think I brought that detail on the highlights before but now when I hit, brighten highlights, I like how that looks, so let's do before and after, and I think if you hit spacebar here, it also does the same thing, so if you want to make it real quick to see the before and after, so I kind of like what that brighten highlights just did, but you can add contrast as well here. You can go ahead and slide these up to kind of bring up the detail in the shadows. So again, if you decided, okay, I really want to see the back of his head for whatever reason, lift up the Shadows slider and you can kind of bring some of that detail back. Same thing, mid-tones. If you want to bring detail out of the mid-tones or darken them, you could do that as well, and highlights, same thing. So all of these things are things that could be quickly and easily adjusted here in that tone curve tab. Going to split toning. So if you wanted to do some kind of a split-toned image, you can definitely do that. I'm gonna command + Z that. I'm not gonna use that, but if you are shooting like an outdoor type of shot, or maybe an environmental portrait, sometimes split-toning will give you kind of like a cool type of look. For this style of portraits, I don't use split-toning ever, so I'm not really gonna go too far into it, but I'll just tell you, if you shoot an environmental portrait, try it out, because you might find something in there that looks really cool. Any questions at this point before I go to this last little half? So I'm gonna breeze through these here 'cause I want to show you the skin retouching part of this, but the vignette is something that you can also add to the image. This is a dark background image, so you really, you know, the vignette, you're not gonna see too much, but you can definitely add vignettes within Exposure, which is pretty awesome, and the overlays we kind of talked about already, so those are all the different lighting effects that you can add to a particular image or the textures that you can add, or the borders that you can add to a shot. So these are all things that basically you can add and if you wanted to turn these off, again, you could just click this little button next to it, 'cause sometimes you'll basically will say like there's no change being made, but you can see it on the image, and if you really want to make sure that it's completely turned off, you can just turn off this switch. So we talked about overlays already. Focus, we talked about, so this is how you can sharpen your images. You can add the Barbara Walters glow, if you needed to.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Miguel's Exposure X2 Alien Skin Presets

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I want to commend you for hosting Miguel Quiles. He is beyond competent and knowledgeable. Light is Light, but It is encouraging to see incredible minority photographers on your platform and to see diversity in the presenters. It is inspirational for minorities to see themselves on the center stage. I sincerely thank you for that. I am buying this course although I am not a mirrorless shooter because of my support of Miguel and the quality of his instruction of which benefits all photographers. He is a great addition to the Creative Live Family of Presenters that I have supported as well. Kudos Creative Live!

Danae Khan Jones

Wow! As a Newb and someone looking to get into portrait/studio photography, this course was perfect and comprehensive. SO MUCH GOOD CONTENT. Miguel is so approachable about questions, positive, and thorough in his explanations. This course broke down the gear and technical side very well. I recommend going to a class live. It was a great experience with food and beautiful facilities. The facility has a positive vibe and really encouraged me to be creative. Thank you for the experience and knowledge!


WOW!!! I LOVED THIS CLASS!!! I learned so much. He made lighting soooo simple, I finally understood. I liked the way he explained the why of his camera settings and how to overcome ambient light. he explained and made everything simple!!! I liked the way he talked about connecting with your clients. I am so happy I purchased this class. I finally understood lighting What a great teacher!! Thank you!!

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