OK this post is on the back of the comment of a friendly Vancouverite who, on seeing the last photos I posted (see blog entry below), said:-
“either you are the most blemish/wrinkle-free person I’ve ever met, or you polished these to perfection! Tell us your secrets!”
My secrets, old stick, are:
- drink at least 3 litres of water a day
- avoid the sun
- avoid alcohol and caffeine
- never smoke
- live a chaste life
- become a vegan
OK so that’s all lies (haha and I don’t follow any of those, well not by choice… nuff said).
Anyway. This raises an interesting subject as I do tend to edit photos before putting them online (of everything – places, locations, people, basically – whatever the subject). To me, the PP (post processing of photos) is as important as the photo itself. This is a ‘new school’ way of thinking and I’m sure the old masters didn’t think like this. I just love the whole ‘digital darkroom’ and there is so much you can do (including using free applications – it doesn’t all involve esoteric high-end software).
Anyway, back on topic. Below is the before/after of the pics I posted earlier. Hmmm. In retrospect, quite a difference I think you’ll agree! This didn’t take hours of painstaking editing, it was done very quickly with a few clicks in Lightroom.
Personally I prefer the edited ones! hehe. That said, bear in mind that the lighting is totally wrong on the originals (well, underexposed I mean) and if that were fixed (easy enough) the difference between that and the edited one wouldn’t be quite so pronounced.
If you want to do similar:
Download the new Adobe Lightroom 2 Beta (this is on free trial)
Download the presets from this page. They’re called LR Promo and there is a whole load of them zipped. Some of them have some very cool effects. The preset I used for the above is called ‘Outstanding’.
Now for the subject of blemish-free skin. I don’t believe in getting the subject to have plasticky/fake looking skin. My current favourite way of doing it is to go for the ‘degrunge’ look. Grunge in this context means blotches/blemishes (as opposed to repetitive detail like pores which we wish to keep in the picture).
I’m using this de-grunge method for Photoshop at the moment and it’s very effective and very easy. Scroll right to the bottom and start at ‘The Quick Degrunge Technique’ unless you want to read all the detail behind the technique which isn’t necessary. It takes this to this VERY quickly:
The best thing is that it’s quick, really quite easy when you get the hang of it, doesn’t look too fake and doesn’t require any expensive 3rd party plug-ins (the downside is that it does require photoshop but any old version will do). If I posted it higher res you’d see that detail is intact and it hasn’t gone plasticky (which is always the sign of a cheap and crappy retouch). The key thing is that, like with any retouching, the effect is made on a new layer and you just turn down the opacity of this layer to water-down the result making it blend-in and look far more realistic.
I should add – as an aside – that as I like doing this kind of thing, if anyone ever wants me to edit a picture or ‘glamourise’ them, just let me know.