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In this movie, we'll continue our onversaion about how we can improve the lighting in our photographs by working with adjustment layers and masks. And with this particular photograph, we're going to create two different adjustment layers in order to improve the drama or the intensity of this image. You know, when it comes to using these techniques or integrating these techniques into your work flow, it's really about your vision. What do you want to say with you photographs and how do you want to use light in order to say it? Well this portrait, at least in my opinion, is kind of a psychological image.
There's some intensity and strength and maybe even a bit of anger in her gaze. Well, what I want to do is I really want to draw that out. So here, I'm going to zoom out a little bit, so we can see the whole photograph. I want the viewer really to be drawn into her strength and to the presence that she has here in this portrait, so therefore I want to darken down some of the background elements. A quick way to do that is to create a curves adjustment layer and then to click on the curve line and drag down in order to add a darkening effect.
Now in doing that, the background and the jacket, those elements look fine. But the skin tone in the face, it looks a little ruddy. It looks a little bit too dark. I don't really like that. No big deal. All that we need to do is to hand paint on our mask. To do that, we'll press the b key to select the Brush tool. We'll then choose black as our foreground color, because we're going to limit the adjustment in this area. The next thing that we're going to do is choose a brush size. Here we can choose a pretty big brush.
I'm going to go all the way out maybe to 700 or 800, right around there. So go ahead and choose a brush size right in that area. That looks a little too big, I'll just type out the number 800. You can always do that. Just highlight that field and then type a number on your keypad in order to change the brush size. I think that looks pretty good. Then for the brush opacity, we'll take it down. But we don't need to take this down very far, because what we're going to do is just paint over the face, maybe a little bit of the neck there in order to protect this area so that we have this adjustment so that it's affecting most of the image except for the face.
If I'm to zoom out now, you'll be able to see what we've done so far. We created a darkening effect, where we darkened down the edges all the way around this photograph and, in a sense, created a bit more drama. And we did this by adding a curves adjustment, darkening the overall image, and then hand painting on the mask in a certain area. In this case, it happened to be the face, so that we limited or we hid or concealed the adjustment from that area.
And this is a great way to draw someone's attention to a certain part of your photograph. Sometimes it's about adding light. In other situations it's about taking it away. Yet most importantly it's about your vision. How can you accomplish or execute your vision for your photographs? All right, well, with this picture I want to create one more slight adjustment. Here we'll click on the curves adjustment layer. I want this to be a little bit brighter. So were just going to click and drag this up a bit here to add a bit more brightness and then keep those darker tones nice and dark, so drag this down just a touch.
This is a subtle adjustment, but sometimes it's those subtle yet significant adjustments which really help you to improve your photographs. And with this particular file, my hope is that this starts to get you to begin to think about how you can integrate these techniques into your own workflow. And remember it really is about what you want to say. How do you want to write with light? How do you want to use light in order to express different ideas? And, you know, sometimes it's about making just a few simple adjustments as we've done here.
At least, for my own taste, this really helps to improve the portrait. It takes what's there, natural and available light, a strong person here, and then we add to that by changing the overall lighting just a little bit, in order to really draw the viewer in to the subject. So here it is, our before. And then now, our after.
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