Retouched for the Very First Time
This is my first attempt at a formal portrait. Not bad for a first try, if I say so myself. If you don't count some test shots learning how to use the gear, there are a lot of firsts for me with this one: First time seriously using off-camera flash. First time using light modifiers. First time using portrait retouching software. And like I said, first time I seriously attempting a formal portrait. The lighting is a speedlight mounted on a stand to camera right and shot through an umbrella, with the window light in the rear acting as a hair light. The speedlight was set as an optical slave triggered by the built-in flash on my camera (which was set to manual and as low power as possible to minimize it's influence on the lighting). This and other shots have convinced me that I need to get a Nikon SG-3IR to block the built-in flash, or when I get some more money some wireless triggers, because even at minimum power, the on-camera flash still affects the shot more than I'd like. The re-touching software is Portrait Professional 10. Man, what a great piece of software! It is mindblowingly powerful and a huge time saver. It is not, however, perfectly seamless (there are some uncool skin artifacts when you pixel-peep), but it's very good. The default settings are way heavy-handed, but it's easy to figure out all the controls and dial it back. My face is a challenge for this sort of software because I have a mix of acne scars, big pores, and general blotchiness. Or, "character" as I euphemistically call it. Check it out (you'll need to enlarge it to really appreciate what the software is doing):
|Click to enlarge|
Pretty amazing, huh? The before/after capture is from when I was fooling with the trial version. I dialed things back and tweaked some more settings for the final image after I purchased the software. There's this weird brown patch of skin on my forehead that I think I'll work on at some point in the future. Interestingly, when I look in the mirror I don't see the patch, but it turns up in about every photo of me except sometimes it's red. It's my poltergeist patch. Maybe someone out there knows the tech story behind things like that?