Sort of a tutorial on portraits!

I have had a couple of requests asking me how I do my portraits.
I may not do this the right or the most effective way, but this is what I have learnt from playing around so far, only just a newby to all of this.

FOR STARTERS, BACK DROP AND LIGHTING
Sheet on the good ol’ hills clothes line for the backdrop, and the sunshine for my lighting. I havent used reflectors before, but would like to get some eventually.

Other than that, I cant really say what I do, I just shoot.

PHOTOSHOP
Using one of my shots ‘Blue’ as an example, using 4 steps to achieve, the eyes, the skin tone, converting to mono, and selective colour. The way I bring out the eyes is something I do for all my portraits.

TO BRING OUT THE EYES
To start with, use the lasso tool, and select the eyes and mouth, then apply the unsharp mask.
To help bring out the eyes even more, use the dodge tool, set for midtones at about 7% using a small brush.

*I never sharpen the entire image in portraits, just the eyes, and mouth, sometimes the hair.

SKIN TONE
I use a program called ‘Neat Image’, a noise reduction program, which helps smooth out skin tones. This is the only shot i have used on a childs portrait, as I dont really think its necessary, and it can also effect the eye and mouth area, so careful not to overdo it.

CONVERTING TO MONO
Layer – New Fill colour – Solid colour – set mode to color. In color picker set all values in RGB to 28.
This is the way I convert most of my images to mono, much more effective way than desaturating image.

SELECTIVE COLOUR
Select the second layer and using a small soft brush eraser tool, delete the parts you want in colour.
For the edges change the opacity to about 20% to avoid a harsh line and to blend between mono and color.
Then going back to the first layer, I play around with the levels
and colour adjustment until you get the effect you want.

I think thats about it. Hopefully this helps, and if anyone has any other tips, corrections, or better ways to do this, would love to learn.

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