After attending a workshop by Glyn Dewis at The Photography Show last year, I was hooked on the idea of composites & creating characters and stories within a picture (usually very imaginative and full of life).
I thought of ideas of how to create a "Red Riding Hood" esque photo so started with an image of a fellow Photographer friend, Jess (she has this beautiful red coat, perfect for this image).
Although the posing, equipment, lighting etc is important to discuss, I'm just focusing on the retouching for this blog (check-in at a later date for more helpful blogs on all aspects of photography).
So I first started out with retouching the face, hands etc - removing unwanted artifacts & blemishes with the patch & clone tools. I then used a low opacity brush and used the eye dropper tool to select the skin tone, then I painted over the skin a little to remove dark patches under the eyes and skin. I then used the lasso tool to select around the eyes to which I then added a high pass layer and changed the blending mode to soft light to make the eyes sharper and more defined. I then brought in my background, this being a very dark forest with lots of blue and cool tones.
I focused on curves, levels & selective colour at this point, just to get my tones spot on for the model. It was at this point I used a new layer to cast the blue wash over the entire image, this is essential for blending the image with the background and creating the same tones and lighting to make it believable that the character was at this location.
Once this was done, I then spent some time bringing out the red in the coat (using hue/saturation and selective colour on adjustment layers) and using dodge and burn to bring out the highlights and shadows, this created a lot of contrast to the scene. I used these same processes with the hair, also using a shadows/highlights adjustment layer. I painted in a little more red to the lips at this stage as well.
From here, I finalised the image by surrounding the picture with a dark vignette and I added a little blue lighting around the model. Throughout the process I used a lot of adjustment layers, to fine tune each tool to my liking and used a non-destructive retouching process so that at any point I can come back to it and tweak when needed.
As you can see the final image is far from the original raw picture. I spent a few hours creating this and even though it was my first character composite, it's actually my favourite retouched picture I've done at this stage.
What do you think? Any comments or critiques you have on my image would be much appreciated and will always help me grow.
Thanks for reading!