1st Update: 21.12.15
2nd Update: 23.12.15
3rd Update: 16.01.16
4th Update: 27.01.16
Early Stages & Planning
Portraiture has been the most challenging genre for me, in terms of visual coherency with my landscapes. I took a long while to finally understand and realise the visual elements I was looking for in my works, which I could effectively apply the right technique to portraiture. My research shows although there are many styles and approaches to portraitures, but hardly any references to the high luminosity and translucency similar to my landscape.
My original plan was to explore the oriental use of colours and structure. Gathering oriental costumes and props were a big challenge, and the consideration of using outdoor lighting in winter time did not feel feasible to me. Despite exploring with the M&M sweets from still life to inform my portraiture and the many lighting setups and subject postures in the studio, I did not find what I was looking for. The December break proved to be helpful for me, as I took some time to reconsider and plan carefully my next shoot.
This was the result of the analysis of countless failed attempts and still life to inform my work. One workshop session on lighting with gels had opened up a whole new possibility for me, which I managed to imitate the backlighting more effectively than my previous attempts.
I omitted the use of sweets, replaced blue with a grey backdrop and used two lighting gels and a snoot light to create the luminous green background. I added a butterfly lighting on my subject, and two blackboards to prevent light spill. After the right lighting was achieved, I went on to explore the subject pose and expressions.
On post process, I did minor exposure correction and cleaned some unwanted details. I then used frequency separation to even out the lighting on the surface of my subject skin and did slight colour balance adjustment on the image.
Finding the right props to compliment portraiture had been a difficult process. This was the earliest portraiture I have explored. I was tied between a few contenders and eventually settled with one which had the closest colour coherence. The other rationale for picking this image was that the close up were also consistent as a whole set.
On post process for this image, I did minor exposure corrections and used frequency separation to clean out unwanted details. I applied colour balance adjustments and added more contrast to the image.
This piece of portraiture came as an opportunity of a moment in time. Taken in Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona team, during a school trip to Barcelona, Spain. The young lady took out her Brazil flag and started posing for photos with her boyfriend. I politely ask for a snap of photo of her with her flag, which she agreed.
Upon post process, I realised this image worked nicely with my third set; the primary colours were all congruent. What I have not previously thought of in searching for translucency in portraiture, was the use of flags as props. Similar to the landscape counterpart, there is also a narrative element in this image.
On my raw file, the original exposure settings were least ideal to begin with. The strong sunlight at the back of stadium created a huge exposure contrast on the subject. I had to do a lot of heavy post processing.
First I push out the shadows and find the correct image exposure utilising the graduated filter option. Next I even out the noise on the image using noise reduction function. noticing the lack of vibrancy in the colours, I went back to HSL to push the colours out. Last but not least, I cleaned out the small portion of the stadium roof on the top right corner. This was to omit distractions from the image.
All in all, I am glad this worked out well.