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An environmental portrait—one photographed in a setting that tells a story about the subject—has the potential to reveal something unique and interesting about the person in focus.
In this course, photographer, teacher, and author Chris Orwig explores a variety of Adobe Photoshop postproduction techniques that enhance the authenticity and mood of an environmental portrait. Working with a photograph of world-champion surfer Kelly Slater, Chris steps through each technique, from black-and-white conversion and toning to retouching and more, explaining his creative process along the way.
This is a part in the tutorial where you become incredibly impressed with my creative vision and my eye. Well actually, that's not the case, because I made what I think is a pretty big mistake. And as I processed this file, I've made this mistake. I did the same thing that we're doing here and I got to this point and I was really excited and all of a sudden I zoomed out and then I saw this a black line coming up from his head. I hadn't noticed that the entire time and you know the eye goes to areas of contrast, and you know in some ways I think that these lines are kind of interesting but just the intensity of this it isn't working for me.
It's something that I had overlooked. It was a mistake. So what I want to do now is I want to remove that or retouch that out. So let's go ahead and zoom in on that area of our photograph and we can do that by pressing Command++ or Ctrl++. Before we start working on a new area it's always a good idea to organize what we've previously done. So with all of these texture and grain layers let's go ahead and group them. Click on one layer, hold on the Shift key, then click on another then press Command+G or Ctrl+G for group, and then we'll go ahead and name this mood because these layers really are about mood, or expression, or feeling.
Well now that we have those grouped together, we can focus in on this black line. It's going to take a couple of different adjustments in order to get this right. So let's first create our initial layer that will do that by clicking on the Add New Layer icon, we're going to go ahead and just call this line-1. Next we'll press the S key to choose our Clone Stamp tool. Here we want to use a nice soft edge brush, no Hardness there. We'll take our Opacity up pretty high, we are going to bring this up to about 75% approximately.
And then we'll go ahead and Option+Click or Alt +Click on a nice good area of the background and then start to bring this over. Now I should point out that if you don't see anything it may be that you need to change this to All Layers so that we can do all of our retouching to this new layer here. And what we want to do is you start to progressively get this out. Now the trick with anything like this is that you don't want to create repeating pattern, so you'll need to Option+Click or Alt+Click in a different area and kind of bring in some different texture, so that you're kind of inventing or almost building a new texture in this area, rather than just replicating one texture from one area to another.
As we get closer to the head we want to use a smaller brush here, so I'll make my brush smaller by pressing the bracket keys; left bracket key makes it smaller, right bracket key makes it bigger. And again here we are just going to Option+Click different areas. And it's not going to be perfect but it will give us the ability to start to take this away. Next, we obviously have some problem areas up in here. What I like to do with those is I like to decrease the Opacity even more, make the Brush even bigger, and then Option+Click or Alt+ Click in a few different areas and kind bring in some new textures there, increase the Opacity, bring in a different texture. We are just kind of building or making our own texture for this part of the photograph.
Well that's looking fine. We now need to work on the edge right there, so let's zoom way in. For this edge we'll go ahead and decrease our Brush size, take our Opacity way up and just start to get in really close here. So with a really small brush, I am going to start to take this little edge out here, that shadow. And we're going to go back and forth really carefully. If we make a mistake that's okay. Notice that the film grain structure here isn't perfect in regards to the new texture that I've built, so I am going to try to paint over that again, just kind of building up a little bit more here.
And then select from another area and build this up again. You can kind of see how this takes a lot of back and forth as we start to build that out. Well so far I have this out but I'm not satisfied with the edge or with the line that I created. I'm also not very satisfied with this texture. It doesn't have quite the grain structures I need. So we need to take another step to finish this off and let's go ahead and take a look at how we can do those last few steps in the next movie.
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