Of all the subjects there are in the world to put in front of your lens and capture an image of, the human face is my most favorite. Be it male or female of any skin tone, ethnicity, young or old. Something about a person’s face really hits home for me. I think it is because everyone is totally different and unique. I really have no preference, a hard weathered farmer can be just as interesting as the beauty of soft female skin. A simple candid shot using available light, to me can be one of the most amazing image captures. I do like to see eyes, although they do not have to be looking straight on at the lens. Other than that there really are no rules I follow. I do have a system I use for post edit and it is as follows:
If the shot is to be for my personal photography collection such as my Facebook album titled “Faces” here is my workflow for the most part. It could vary from time to time, but this is how it goes.
- Shot in RAW. From memory card to Lightroom 4 with lens profile corrections applied during download (no other presets).
- In Lightroom not too much adjustment other than maybe exposure if needed.
- From Lightroom to Photoshop Extended (CS6) as a TIFF 16 bit. I run an action that sets up my working environment with layers for blank image maps, Curves, Threshold, and two base layers to start from.
- First any major blemishes are taken care of.
- Second color cast removal is performed to make the image clear and bring it to what I seen with my eye when I shot the photo.
- Then eyes are worked on (if they’re in view), teeth are fixed (yes I’m a photoshop dentist).
- Check everything one last time and move on to pluggin software such as Nik Color Efex Pro 4. I will use various filters, but my two “go to” filters are Skylighter & Classic Soft Focus. Using Nik’s control points tool works best for me.
- After Nik I may blend the layers, or not, and save back to Lightroom as the TIFF file I started with.
- I will run through some of my Lightroom presets just to see what they could do for the image. I have many presets although there are really about 10 that I would use on a face shot.
- Crop if needed.
- Then some minor sharpening and other minor global adjustments such as Clarity, Highlights and Vinette.
- Export as JPEG with watermark and post to final destination such as Facebook or Flickr.
And that is about it. There are a few other advanced techniques that are used such as creating a path for the viewer’s eye to follow so you can get their eye to land where you want when looking at you image. But too technical for me to explain in this post