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Sam Van

Sydney, Australia

Fine Art trained, and left it behind to do what I like. Painting and photography, collage and textiles all fuse into one. / You may have...

Photoshop for my mum. Lesson One. Portraits; goals, light, and DOF.

how cool. My mum wants to learn PS. It’s going to have to be mostly distance-so I may as well share the tips!

One-the goal

Know your goal
Make a plan
Stick to the plan
If the plan doesn’t achieve the goal, make a new plan
Achieve the goal.

Two-the goal

Natural or nurture? Portraits

Let’s pick natural first. Why do we like natural? It’s easy to relate to, we feel close to it, we’re familiar, we feel comfortable. If an image is ‘natural’, we accept it. Anything unnatural stand out. We jump on it.

When using PS, less is usually more. Like film photography-

Aim to get the best results in camera.

That means good light, good subject and good angles. Because;

What you see is what you get.

What you see through the lens is what you end up with.

Exception: the camera’s eye is not as good as our own.

Light-It sees less when it gets dark, flashes drown out backgrounds and artificial light is, surprise! artificial (either yellow or green usually).

example of different light (see dif angles/light-walking around the subject (Lara) in sunlight

Exception-Depth of Field (DOF) this how much of the foreground/background is in focus. For portraits, its best to have just the face in focus. The background is distracting, unless it adds info about the subject being photographed.

With an automatic camera, it depends on how much light. More light will mean more in focus. As it gets darker, the camera might not focus on anything, or it may too close to the subject.

In PS, to get rid of distracting background, blur it. There is a blur tool. Remembering, less is best-use it subtly, and logically. Heavy handed blurring can detract. I suggest 50% to begin with.

go look at portraits on the net and find ones that use varying DOF.

Notice there are very few tips on PS here! That’s because the same thing can be achieved using the camera first, so get familar with the goals first! Then go on to lesson 2

Journal Comments

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