Friday, December 28, 2007

Xmas Portraits

OK... Wife wanted pictures of the kids this Xmas... about time I stopped taking pictures of the sea and took some of the family.... OK OK... I guess I better have a go at turning out some half-decent portraits.

I decided to stay away from the typical Xmas portrait and instead take some more radical shots of the kids doing what kids do best... playing.

Here's the first in a series of 3 portraits. Middle son Tim who got a skateboard for Xmas.

Tim Skateboarding Portrait

Here's how I shot this.

The Capture:

Put him in the sun which was lighting him from the back (see shadows on the ground in background).

I sat on the ground with my 12-24mm lens... set at 12mm. My other son held my Nikon SB600 flash that was connected by a cable... He was about 1 foot to my left (almost opposite the sun).

Tim did a few jumps and it wasn't too hard to capture him in mid flight. I wanted the flash to punch in very hard and very low... I wasn't after a soft portrait.

The Processing:

I did a dual conversion (one for clouds and one for Tim)

and then blended the two images together (in much the same way as I did the Martian rock processing described in detail earlier.

I colour corrected for the blue of the flash using curves (I found a really cool "recipe" for colour balancing skin tones... works like a treat). If anyone is interested, drop me a note and maybe I'll post the recipe here.

Then I merged the visible layers into a new composite layer (create new layer) then highlight this layer and "Merge Visible" Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E

Then I did a Bleach bypass effect to create the edgy look. To create this effect, the first step is to do a black and white conversion and put this b&w image on the top of layer stack. Use whatever B&W conversion method you prefer. I used Alien Skin Exposure.

Then change the blend mode of this B&W layer to overlay.... It will make the image look very edgy. You can then use the opacity slider to reduce the amount of this effect. I also used a bit of masking to reduce the effect from some of the corners (it was darkening them too much).

After that I duplicated the layer and blurred it using Gaussian Blur and then used a mask to only apply the blur to the background. I used a Gaussian Blur setting of 5 pixels. This blurring of the background further separates Tim from the background.

Final step was to apply a concrete texture to the blurred background. I went to this very cool free texture site and chose a concrete texture that I liked. Added the texture in as a new layer and then used the free transform function to stretch it to fit my picture (they are a bit small in their original form).

Once the texture is added I just changed the layer blend mode to "overlay", apply a mask and paint with a black brush to reduce the texture on his face, arms and legs and then reduced the opacity slider on the concrete layer until the effect is not too strong.

I then created some dramatic vignetting by adding a levels adjustment layer and dragging the mid-point slider to the right (so that it read a value of 50).

This makes your whole image look like crap, so to fix this invert your mask (Ctrl+I) now your mask is all black and you can just paint with white on your mask where you would like your vignette effects to appear.

Final step was to apply some sharpening (I use Nik Sharpener).

Stay tuned for portrait number 2... Eldest son Ben playing Guitar Hero III.


CJ said...

Awesome as always, Brent. On the background/foreground merge (when you process once for each), what technique do you use to keep the edges (where the two different layers meet) from looking unnatural? I've tried feathering a selection, brushing out the lines w/ a low-opacity brush on the mask, etc., but it's tough. Thanks--these are great.

Brent Pearson said...

Hey CJ

I use a Wacom tablet with a pressure sensitive stylus when I am creating the masks between two images.

This way I can just paint the mask and use my eye to blend seamlessly.

I used make "precise" masks using some pretty complex methods, but now my masks take about a minute or two (maximum) to make and are pretty much invisible.

If you don't have a tablet, I would urge you to buy a Wacom today.

Hope this helps.


Lindsey said...

Wow, there is truly nothing you can't photograph. Very cool portrait and thanks for posting the process! I would love to know the skin tone "recipe" you were talking about.

Thanks again. Hope you had a good Christmas.

Brent Pearson said...

Hey Lindsey

Yes, there are plenty of things I can't photograph well.

Regarding the "skin tone" recipe, I'll see if I can put that up in the next week or two.

Happy New Year


CJ said...


Yep, helps a good deal. I've heard many individuals echo your endorsement of the Wacom tablet. Does your use of the tablet (the pressure sensitivity, perhaps?) somehow allow the point where the two layers meet to look more natural? I guess I'm not clear as to how that transition (from the darker sky to the lighter foreground, say) is made in such a way--using the mask--such that you don't get a weird/obvious hard edge where the two meet like you do if you were to select the whole sky into a new layer and adjust the levels to make it much darker. Thanks again--this time for your patience.

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é . Um abraço.

Brent Pearson said...

Yes CJ, the pressure sensitve tablet allows you to very easily control the transition between exposures. It is very intuitive.... As you draw on the mask, if you see a halo, you just lightly draw over it until it dissappears. If you go too far, press X and paint with the opposite colour... you can keep swapping around until you get the mask perfect.

To give you a feel for how easy it is, on most of my photos where I am blending exposures (the majority of them), I would spend anywhere from 20 sec for a quick blend, through to maybe 2 min for a more complex blend.... Never much more than that.

It's probably faster than it is to put a Grad ND filter on your camera and then align it.


Anonymous said...

I found this site using [url=][/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

Sorry for offtopic

Anonymous said...

Now celexa Discount colospa Canadian clarinex Online imdur Get tegretol World shippind pravachol

Anonymous said...

[color=red]The Most Affordable XRUMER/BACKLINK SERVICE Online!
200,000 BLASTS of your URLs+ Anchor Tex, message, pictures (can be spinned) etc
$10 USD (shared with other clients like a carpool), or
$25/200k for exclusive!(you control EVERYTHING)
$50 Exclusive @ 500,000 blasts.
(Complete reports will be given to clients)

For orders, questions or concerns? Email: [u]formless.void47 at [/u]
1. For STRICT Whitehat sites, it is advised to create buffers to pass on linkjuice. i.e. social bookmarks, cloaked pages etc.
You can blast the site directly, but it entails risk.
Using buffers are 100% safe, speaking from experience.
2. Xrumer is a very technical tool. Just describe to me what sorts of effects you want and well make it happen!
If you want to buy Xrumer?
>>>>> <<<<<<

backlink washington dc seo seo jobs in noida seo sheffield seo exam bali seo smb seo search engine optimisation seo company salt lake seo management software poker seo meta tags Xrumer Gold xrumer seo seo page analyzer seo software trial Xrumer Working seo altrincham seo company hyderabad buy and sell link seo prices top seo seo traffic affordable organic seo seo optimazation seo blogging software text link best seo tips cheap seo services seo recruitment online seo training course australian seo company online seo software baltimore seo tucson seo seo services pakistan seo company california buy d link wireless Xrumer Review sarasota seo seo dublin seo newbury seo elite v4 seo proposal seo cost web directory seo southampton seo west midlands seo analysis tools linkexchange

[url=]insole king height increase insole[/url]

[url=]secret cure for herpes disseminated herpes false positive herpes test[/url]

[url=]how to increase flexibility[/url]

[url=]top ten male enhancement[/url] [url=]lcd 19 hdtv panasonic[/url]

[url=]secrets Dacorum tooth whkitening roseville michigan teeth whitening Saint-Lazare teeth whitening memphis tennessee teeth whithening teeth whlitening teeth whitening newry teeth whitening dorset[/url]

[url=]Cheap Xrumer Service[/url]
[url=]Cheapest Xrumer Service[/url]
[url=]Best Xrumer Service[/url]
-------- [url=]razer diamondback plasma[/url]

Anonymous said...

Hey Brent, great work, love the fact that this is a xmas card. My only distraction is the tree growing out of your sons back, why not photoshop it out?
I love your seascapes

Anonymous said...


When ever I surf on web I never forget to visit this website[url=].[/url] really contains lot of useful information. Frankly speaking we really do not pay attention towards our health. Are you really serious about your weight?. Research presents that nearly 70% of all USA grownups are either fat or weighty[url=].[/url] Hence if you're one of these individuals, you're not alone. Infact many among us need to lose 10 to 20 lbs once in a while to get sexy and perfect six pack abs. Now the question is how you are planning to have quick weight loss? [url=]Quick weight loss[/url] is really not as tough as you think. If you improve some of your daily diet habbits then, its like piece of cake to quickly lose weight.

About me: I am writer of [url=]Quick weight loss tips[/url]. I am also health expert who can help you lose weight quickly. If you do not want to go under painful training program than you may also try [url=]Acai Berry[/url] or [url=]Colon Cleansing[/url] for quick weight loss.

Anonymous said...

Do You interesting how to [b]Buy Viagra in Canada[/b]? You can find below...
[size=10]>>>[url=][b]Buy Viagra in Canada[/b][/url]<<<[/size]

[b]Bonus Policy[/b]
Order 3 or more products and get free Regular Airmail shipping!
Free Regular Airmail shipping for orders starting with $200.00!

Free insurance (guaranteed reshipment if delivery failed) for orders starting with $300.00!

Generic Viagra (sildenafil citrate; brand names include: Aphrodil / Edegra / Erasmo / Penegra / Revatio / Supra / Zwagra) is an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction regardless of the cause or duration of the problem or the age of the patient.
Sildenafil Citrate is the active ingredient used to treat erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men. It can help men who have erectile dysfunction get and sustain an erection when they are sexually excited.
Generic Viagra is manufactured in accordance with World Health Organization standards and guidelines (WHO-GMP). Also you can find on our sites.
Generic Viagra is made with thorough reverse engineering for the sildenafil citrate molecule - a totally different process of making sildenafil and its reaction. That is why it takes effect in 15 minutes compared to other drugs which take 30-40 minutes to take effect.
Even in the most sexually liberated and self-satisfied of nations, many people still yearn to burn more, to feel ready for bedding no matter what the clock says and to desire their partner of 23 years as much as they did when their love was brand new.
The market is saturated with books on how to revive a flagging libido or spice up monotonous sex, and sex therapists say “lack of desire” is one of the most common complaints they hear from patients, particularly women.

Dean said...

greetings to all.
I would first like to thank the writers of this blog by sharing information, a few years ago I read a book called Real Estate Investment costa rica in this book deal with questions like this one.

niz said...

Hello .. firstly I would like to send greetings to all readers. After this, I recognize the content so interesting about this article. For me personally I liked all the information. I would like to know of cases like this more often. In my personal experience I might mention a book called Generic Viagra in this book that I mentioned have very interesting topics, and also you have much to do with the main theme of this article.

Anonymous said...

Reasonably priced SEO all startswith choosing a provider that sincerely knows what it requires to get your site to page 1 of Google in support of the keywords that you prefer. We not only grasp what it takes to find you ranked, although we also own a extended account of applying booming Internet Marketing. Have you always wondered whether the design and growth labors you are using are in fact worth the effort? We can offer answers together with these types of questions. For your customers this might require creating a brand new website as well as an seo arrangement. For additional customers this might mean making changes to their current website to make the website more SEO friendly. Depending on what your concrete goals are we can pilot you every solitary move of the route to ensure that goals are openly established and met. What are you dealying for in the planet of ecommerce. Their is masses of wealth to be completed for a company that is equipped.
You can read more about it here:

Keeping small businesses in mind, we have seen SEO services requires a relatively small investment, so that you can benefit from top search engine placement. Our affordable san diego seo services will give your website the web page drop necessary for you to find for those looking for what you do and where they do it. Our expert san diego seo website offers affordable san diego seo services. We know that your company is expert and it is important for you to find a partner that provides skilled honest, ethical results. The Web Coast is a company that provides affordable search engine placement and investment results not excuses san diego seo website.The site and san diego seo services can provide more traffic to your website than any other online offering. If you use pay per click advertising to reach a page on Google or other search engines as natural biological techniques to dive into a shallow pool share up 14% of traffic for the whole page. If you're not in two or three first places for your pay per click campaigns, you can see very significant traffic using our Affordable San Diego san diego seo Services. Studies show that 83% of people searching on the internet use organic techniques.
We follow ethical and biological basis for all marketing activities and SEO, and the only objective is to get you results.The team of experts from our affordable SEO firm will enable your site to generate highly under attack keywords, so that people who are looking for topics that relate to your content can be found on the first click. We help make your site seem more important to search engines than any other by optimizing certain pages and off page elements on your site. And all this help is to be had at a great rate.You want the whole world of online search to find you, right?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Homeopathic medication is often a healthy form of healing!
[url=]homeopathic remedies for acne[/url]

Anonymous said...

Homeopathic medication is often a normal type of therapeutic!
[url=]homeopathy courses[/url]

Anonymous said...

Hi all! I'm from London but am living in Berlin at the moment.
Gotta like this place!

[url=]Barrater is my life[/url]

Anonymous said...

get registry cleaner online

Anonymous said...

louis vuitton pas cher homme [url=]vetement louis vuitton pas cher[/url] pgtdww Sac Louis Vuitton [url=]Louis Vuitton Pas Cher[/url] tnzmwn

Anonymous said...

[url=]chanel bags[/url]
[url=]chanel bag[/url]
[url=]chanel bags outlet[/url]
[url=]chanel handbags[/url]
[url=]chanel bags uk[/url]
[url=]chanel handbags uk[/url]
[url=]chanel outlet[/url]
[url=]chanel outlet uk[/url]
[url=]chanel online[/url]
[url=]cheap chanel bags[/url]

Anonymous said...

If you can require a picnic lunch time, and avoid feeding on in the park regarding snacks, it will save you a substantial amount of dollars [url=]long term loans[/url] long term loans Usually HELOC are used the kind of risks along with precisely an online application and after that all will be completed by the lending company

Anonymous said...

The most significant information is a persons vision rate; help it become set of individuals who have money but after that cannot match their beloved ones demand Anthony Richard Clarke If you decide to full an online credit ratings application be certain that it is safe and sound