Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Improving and duplicating the portrait, part of Changing a Background for Dramatic Effect in Photoshop.
In the previous movie, we did some initial work on our background photograph. In this movie, we'll shift our attention towards the portrait. And this portrait image is a raw file as it appeared straight out of the camera. And in order to prepare this particular file, we're going to need to take a few different steps. What we'll be doing is we'll open up the image in Camera Raw. Then we'll duplicate the file and create a duplicate version, which we process a little bit differently. This eventually will give us some flexibility with how we can create our final effect. Alright.
Well, let's begin with a simple step. Click on the thumbnail for the portrait.dng file. Then navigate to the File pulldown menu and choose Open in Camera Raw. Again, that's File > Open in Camera Raw. Alright, well, once we have this image open in Camera Raw, what we need to do is to make some simple adjustments. Here, because we know that our overall color palette is going to be much warmer, what I want to do is increase the color temperature. So here I'll drag this over to the right. I'm also going to increase the tint.
Now this is something similar to what we did before. And before we get too carried away with our other sliders, let's do what we also did with the other photograph, and that was we went to the Split Toning panels. Let's click on the Split Toning tab to open up the panel and controls for split toning. Here, remember how we brought our Hue slider over to the yellows and then increased the saturation. Well, let's do the same thing. We also brought in some deeper reds in the shadows by leaving the Hue slider right where it was, and increasing the saturation of those darker tones as well.
And really, what we're trying to do here is to begin to change the color that we have, so that these two images will fit together. Here we're making a little bit more subtle adjustments than we did before, yet nonetheless, this is a good starting point for shifting the color to a warmer color palette. Alright, well, let's go back to the Basic panel. Here in Basic, one of the things that we may want to do, say, is increase the exposure. Yet, as we increase the exposure, do you notice how we lose all of the detail, all the edge detail? So to make a selection on a photograph like this would really be near impossible.
We'll just keep that in mind. So for now, what we'll do is we'll increase the exposure, later we'll come back to those edges. Then let's increase our contrast a little bit. For the highlights, let's drop those down a touch, so they aren't quite so bright. So go ahead and decrease our highlights there. Shadows, we'll leave where they are. Blacks, we'll drop down just a touch here. And then we'll add a little bit of vibrance, perhaps. And I think that's probably good right there. Alright, well, this is one of the photographs which will be really helpful for us.
Perhaps even a little bit of a brighter exposure. And this is going to be the exposure, out of the two images that we'll work with, which is obviously much brighter. Well, in order to advance to our next step, what we're going to do here is simply click Done. Yet, before we do so, let me review. With this photograph, we changed our temperature and tint by dragging the sliders to the right. Then we navigate it to the Split Toning panel where we change the hue for the highlights and increase the color saturation there to increase the yellows or the, the yellows we have and brighter tones of the picture.
Then we left the Hue slider for shadows right where it was and brought up the saturation. After having brought in some of the color, we went back to the Basic panel, and here we made some adjustments with our various sliders. Exposure was increased, contrast was increased, highlights we brought down, blacks we brought down as well, and then we added just a touch of vibrance. Alright, well, after having made those adjustments, let's click Done in order to apply those settings to the photograph. Now, back here in Bridge, we'll see that the image appears differently.
And this is going to work really well for us, especially now that we can see how these warm colors are going to begin to connect together. Now one of the problems, of course, is that we don't have very good edge detail to be able to select and then remove the subject from the background. So what we need to do is to duplicate this raw file. To do so, navigate to the Edit pulldown menu and then select Duplicate. You can do this with any file in Bridge. Again, you just click on it, then choose Edit and Duplicate.
Go ahead and click on that, and you'll see that what we'll have here now is a second or a copied version of this photograph, and you can see this right here. Now in doing this here in Bridge, this doubles our final size, we literally and physically duplicated the file. So you just want to be caution of using this technique, and know that when you do this you are increasing the overall file size that you're saving on your hard drive. In our case, that's fine. It's only one file, no big deal, let's keep going. Or rather than having this one be as bright as it is, let's go back to Camera Raw by going to File and here, choose Open in Camera Raw.
And again, we're now working with the copied photograph. File > Open in Camera Raw. With this photograph, we want to decrease the overall exposure. And I want you to do is to decrease the exposure until you have really good detail, edge detail in the picture. Let me zoom in a little bit so we can see the edges that we have here on the arms. If we press the spacebar key, we can click and drag around too to see the edge detail that we have on the shoulders and on the hair. Again if we increase this, notice how those disappear, as we decrease this, they come back.
And herein lies a really valuable technique when it comes to building selections. Sometimes if your exposure isn't perfect, or if it isn't a studio lit portrait, what you can do is change the exposure as we've done here in Camera Raw, which, in turn, will allow us to build a good selection. And eventually, what we'll be able to do is to use that selection in order to remove the subject from the environment. Alright, well, I think that simple adjustment will do well here. Let's go ahead and click Done.
Again, all we did was decrease the exposure, then click Done in order to apply that setting to the photograph. Now, if we click into this image, hold down Cmd on a Mac or Ctrl on Windows and click into the other, and then click to expand that dividing line so we can see these two. You can see how we now have two versions which are similar in regards to their color and their overall look, at least with the color palette, but very different when it comes to exposure. Well, in the next movie, we'll take a look at how we can use these two exposures and combine them together, so that we can begin to remove the subject from the background and create our dramatic effect.
- Combining multiple exposures in one Photoshop file
- Selecting and removing the subject from the background
- Using masking to combine images together
- Improving color, details, and tone
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why do the exercise files contain extra images?
A: The exercise files folder for this course contains the images for all three courses in the Portrait Project series .