Today's "Photography Tip of the Day" is Desaturate to Whiten Eyes and Teeth.
Whenever you are photographing people, especially portraits of people, I feel it is the photographers responsibility to make them look their best.
Using good photography technique and good light is important but we are all human and we all have flaws of some kind that can only be fixed in post processing. Fortunately, most facial fix ups are really easy and fast to do if you know the right tricks. We'll look at one of those tricks, applied a few different ways in today's tutorial.
When I was at Comic-Con a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be one of the photographers involved in a Marvel Comics Cosplay Photo Shoot on Friday and the DC Comics Cosplay shoot on Saturday. Hundreds of Cosplayers were there in fantastic costumes and it was an absolute blast. People were not only in amazing costumes and make up, they were embodying that character as well. When someone is not only in good make up and costume but in full character too, they are much more open and fun in front of a camera and that really creates some great portraits.
Side tip: When your trying to learn how to photograph portraits, find people that are comfortable in front of the camera and enjoy having their picture taken. Even for the pros it's difficult to get good pictures of people if they don't like having their picture taken.
There were about 200 Cosplayers in a huge group which made it difficult to showcase any one person. I had a 70-300mm zoom lens with me so I put that on and was able to zoom in on anyone that stood out. One of the Cosplayers that I picked out of the crowd was Kira. She was dressed as Catwoman and really personified the character.
Here's a few of her during the big photo shoot.
I ran into her again later that evening and chatted with her a bit. I also shot a few up close portrait shots of her. It was a really long day for her, most if it in bright sunlight. The long day and constant camera flashes in her eyes had taken its toll and her eyes were a little bloodshot.
Here is the original image I took.
If we zoom in on the eyes, you can see what I mean. They weren't bad, but 2 minutes in Photoshop Elements can make a big difference.
I opened the image in Elements and zoomed in so I'm just looking at the eyes.
First I'm going to go into the Layers Panel, right click it and Duplicate the Layer.
I used the Quick Selection Tool to select just the eyes. The Quick Selection Tool can get a bit squirrelly, so I had to play with it a bit to get the selection area just right.
The object here is to reduce the appearance of the bloodshot eyes and make them appear whiter and brighter. To do that go to the top of the page and click on Enhance - Adjust Color - Adjust Hue/Saturation.
That brings up this control panel. Simply use the dropdown menu and select Reds.
With Reds selected, simply lower the Saturation and raise the Lightness. EASY AS PIE!
Once you have it where you want it, go up to Select and Deselect it.
This is what the eyes look like now.
Now we'll do the same editing but in a slightly different manner. Depending upon the shape of the eyes you are working on, the Quick Selection Tool might just be too haphazard with its selection and frustrating. When that happens, there is another way to do it that is just as easy and you have complete control of where you are de-saturating.
Like we did before, open the image and Duplicate the Layer so you have the Background Copy in your Layers Palette.
Go back up to Enhance - Adjust Color - Adjust Hue/Saturation. As you can see, it altered the color and lightness of her entire face. Don't worry.
Simply Add a Layer Mask to that Layer, so it looks like this in your Layers Palette.
Now, using the Paint Bucket Tool and with your Foreground set to Black, click on the image and it will revert it right back to what it was.
In the Layers Panel, click on your Layer Mask (that is filled with Black).
Now just select your Paint Brush Tool and Change your Foreground Color to White.
Then simply paint over the eyes with white. This will reveal the de-saturation that you did before and you have complete control over where you want it to apply with the Paint Brush tool. You can see the small white spots on the Layer Mask where its been applied.
If for whatever reason you feel that you've gone too far with it and that it doesn't look natural, you can simply Reduce the Opacity of that layer.
Here's the final image.
Another person that I took several photos of was Tara, who was dressed as Harley Quinn.
Her teeth were a little yellowed, so to fix that, the process is virtually the same.
Just as you did before, Duplicate the Layer, go to Enhance - Adjust Color - Adjust Hue/Saturation.
Only this time you want to select the Yellow Channel instead of the red and de-saturate it.
Here's her final image.
So there you have it. Quick, simple ways to fix the most common flaws on portraits.
Michael Greening 2013