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Working with Portrait Professional without Sculpting!

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I love the skin smoothing of Portrait Professional and the clean brightening of the eyes.​

However, sculpting to me is a very dangerous habit as one will start to think it’s normal to have focus-group preferred body features become our beauty standard. If The appearance can be duplicated by makeup and lighting, to thats an acceptable limit.

Here is Melissa untouched from Photoshop CC 2020 RAW processing.


3592


Asher Kelman: Melissa with Drum
Fuji GFX 32-64 mm lens
ISO 200 Godox lighting in Large Mola
Process in ACR Photoshop CC 2020


...and here after Portrait Professional



3593


Asher Kelman: Melissa with Drum
Fuji GFX 32-64 mm lens
ISO 200 Godox lighting in Large Mola
Process in ACR Photoshop CC 2020
Portrait Pro Studio Max 15


Your comments and own examples very welcome!

Asher
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
One more pair

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Asher Kelman: Melissa with Drum #2
Fuji GFX 32-64 mm lens
ISO 200 Godox lighting in Large Mola
Process in ACR Photoshop CC 2020





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Asher Kelman: Melissa with Drum #2
Fuji GFX 32-64 mm lens
ISO 200 Godox lighting in Large Mola
Process in ACR Photoshop CC 2020
Portrait Pro Studio Max 15


Critique my offerings or just your own portrait pictures + favorite enhancement process!

Asher
 

James Lemon

Well-known member
One more pair

View attachment 3596

Asher Kelman: Melissa with Drum #2
Fuji GFX 32-64 mm lens
ISO 200 Godox lighting in Large Mola
Process in ACR Photoshop CC 2020





View attachment 3597

Asher Kelman: Melissa with Drum #2
Fuji GFX 32-64 mm lens
ISO 200 Godox lighting in Large Mola
Process in ACR Photoshop CC 2020
Portrait Pro Studio Max 15


Critique my offerings or just your own portrait pictures + favorite enhancement process!

Asher
Asher

Oh she is attractive! I am not a fan of flash photography nor fixing skin texture. If she had cleavage showing with goose bumps would you smooth that out too? From the pictures presented it would appear that your program does a really good job at subtlety. I prefer a north facing window.

Best, regards
James
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Asher

Oh she is attractive! I am not a fan of flash photography nor fixing skin texture. If she had cleavage showing with goose bumps would you smooth that out too? From the pictures presented it would appear that your program does a really good job at subtlety. I prefer a north facing window.

Best, regards
James
She’s a great art collaborator.

As to lighting here, it’s expected and standard for pictures for actors and models. They need a portfolio of headshots and lifestyle pictures which then become the table currency for various casting projects, where scores of candidates are screened by their looks on these pictures.

Without headshots, a new actor simply doesn’t exist.

One cannot change the shape of the face as that really doesn’t do the person any good when they arrive and don’t match their pictures.

Glamor is expected, de jour!

Here Melissa has scant make up. We had no makeup artist nor hair stylist this time.

Now I do have windows for Southern morning light, and that’s superb for still life.

I have one bedroom for Northern light, reserved for nudes.

Al my portraits are with studio lights and I am able to deliver what the actors need and yet be creative.

Asher
 

Nicolas Claris

Administrator/Moderator
It happens to me to use PortraitPro, but as Asher I don't use the "sculpture" feature…
  • This could contribute to create a pseudo universal style and would destroy the particularities of each person. Creating a "norm" about humans seems to me to be a very dangerous idea...
  • From a more practical point of view, it allows me to work on a layer and to "diminish" globally or partially the result obtained with PortraitPro.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Good point on layers, Nicolas.

Here, I admit, the PP action is global without any changes. I can’t be so diligent with many shots from several shoots and get time to eat and sleep, LOL!

However, the final work for printing, the change is always on a layer.

During correction of any facet of a picture, there is a danger, (to me at least), of over correcting some flaw. Often only a minor fraction of the enhancement will be needed and the “natural look” is preserved. To reset the mind, I take a break and work on something else.

This, discipline, to me, is so important for the one picture of a major shoot that represents all the teams work.

I can believe that others can achieve this in one session.

Asher
 

Peter Dexter

Well-known member
One thing that annoys me about Portrait Pro is that it always lightens the skin tone over the original. Nice shots of Melissa but did she not sleep well before the shooting?
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
One thing that annoys me about Portrait Pro is that it always lightens the skin tone over the original. Nice shots of Melissa but did she not sleep well before the shooting?
Peter,

You have, I know a good eye! What flaws did you notice that I missed!

Asher
 

Peter Dexter

Well-known member
It had never occurred to me but once a girl I knew commented about a photo of another girl that she showed way too much gum above her teeth in her smile.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
It had never occurred to me but once a girl I knew commented about a photo of another girl that she showed way too much gum above her teeth in her smile.
Do you see that problem here too?

Years ago I showed my son a picture of an exotic pretty woman, (like Frida Kahlo), who, I thought, he’d love to meet. In one word his elder brother, face horrified, dismissed the girl with the utterance, “Unibrow!”

I then studied the picture and realized she did indeed have strong eyebrows which likely close met, prior to immaculate trimming!

I would never have imagined this as an issue either. For the boys, the girl had an immediate flaw that anyone who knew women should have recognized!

3604


Frida Kahlo's 1939 oil painting “The Two Fridas”
Photograph shown in “Fair Use”

Explaining about the elegant and remarkable Frida Kahlo, was to no avail, as I was already dismissed from the boys conversation!

Asher
 

Robert Watcher

Well-known member
Pretty girl. What bothers me much more than any fixing that can be done in post - is poor posing.

Especially when it relates to an area that is an essential for portrait/headshot/people photographers to be aware of. The hands. The chopped off finger in the first pic, does not work for me. Generally showing the back of the hands is not considered flattering and I would try to have the sides of the hands showing in a graceful natural manner. Having the hands closer to the camera than the face, exaggerates them and is best avoided.

Unless it is a hand model, trying to feature the hands, focus shouldn't go there. Control of lighting hitting the hands, will also not allow them to be the focus. That can be done by controlling the light source so that light falls less on the hands, or by adding gobos or introducing boards to block light. Having your light much closer to the subject (even 2 or 3 feet away) would also help with that - as well closer lights would also improve the shaping of the flat directional light. Placing and posing hands well, is a challenging skill to learn - but worth it as not giving hands consideration can make or break a portrait.

The flat lighting required for model/actor headshots, would hardly ever be produced by a single pin point light source positioned at some distance from the subject. As an example, look into the eyes of the women in the link and try to imagine how they were produced. Most are what would be considered flat lighting, but do not produce a dot in the eye, hotspot on the tip of the nose or hotspot and bright areas on the gums, that accentuate them:

https://peterhurley.com/photography/headshots-women

If you are looking for suggestions on ways to improve your portraits, those would be a few of my suggestions.

Nothing wrong with using the software you mention, but I would want to get everything right in camera, and then use software to enhance - not fix. ;)
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Actually, Robert,

The real headshots are later. These earlier ones are just meant to be pictures of her dressed to share with her family. She and her mother are so happy with these as the pose is her!

In this case, the light source is indeed far away, (about 10 feet or so) from the largest 43.5” Mola, Mantii.

My other key light was switched off! The hair light and backlight to then.g. We’re off too. Just a folded 8 reflective V on either side instead. Headshots have all those lights.

..and yes I do like Hurley. He’s accomplished.

She is proud of the “Love” and “Crucifix” tattoos and was delighted to show it off, while playing the drum. That lighting was no accident.

I believe she means that she is guided by love from Jesus!

However, the bright spits on her face are important points you make.

I don’t recognize as yet, 3 “cut off fingers” as I see a natural hand position while she was drumming. But I will take note of that general dislike you have strongly articulated for other cases.

Asher
 
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Robert Watcher

Well-known member
——-
In this case, the light source is indeed far away, (about 10 feet or so) from the largest 43.5” Mola, Mantii.


it is very easy to recognize Asher. A change in your distance would make a huge difference in the light quality, and even eliminate much of what you discussing about fixing in Photoshop - like the high gums accentuated by hotspots.


———-
She is proud of the “Love” and “Crucifix” tattoos and was delighted to show it off, while playing the drum. That lighting was no accident.


sorry Asher, I see nothing special about the lighting on the drum or hands. As for the tattoos showing, that can still be accomplished in a flattering way, without showing the back of the hand flat to the camera with fingers positioned awkwardly


————

..and yes I do like Hurley. He’s accomplished.

I’m not a massive fan of him. But if you think he is accomplished (just as when you refer to me in some posts as being an experienced portrait photographer) and then dismiss what is being suggested, then there is no way to recognize what makes someones work accomplished or worthy and benefit. I posted the link simply to provide a comparison of how small adjustments in the same type of lighting can make a huge difference. It appears that you have all the equipment to do it.


———-

I don’t recognize as yet, 3 “cut off fingers” as I see a natural hand position while she was drumming.

It is very clear to me. First finger of the left hand, pic 1 & 2. Same scenario when photographers stand someone against a wall and have then put their foot on the wall behind them and shoot straight on - looks like the leg is cut off.


———-


Anyway. These are just some helpful suggestions, that hopefully you can recognize and benefit from. I’m not trying to criticize your efforts. Just mentioning what is glaring to me.


———-
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
So,

Robert, you would have me bring my light forward? Well I could do that. Normally much closer.

Hurley is someone I have only admired by his work but not yet studied any of his methods, except chin position.

I see the fingers now as you describe them and totally accept folk might not like that. I admit that it hadn’t bothered me, but you are a wedding photographer and I am happy to learn pointers from you.

The highlights on the gums didn’t attract my attention. Again, I accept your dislike of that detail. It had never bothered me so it must seem that I am very lazy, LOL!

But I have obviously made a great light source increasingly specular by pulling it back. Instead, I should put up an octadome.

I might as well follow the expectations and look at Hurley’s videos and be fastidious in using the light!

Asher
 

Robert Watcher

Well-known member
Actually I’m not a wedding photographer. I shot very few weddings in my 40 years - a select few specialty weddings. I was primarily a people photographer, shooting portraits of families and mostly couples (with my Love Story Sessions) outdoors and in my large studio during the 80’s and 90’s - along with some event, editorial and commercial photography.
 
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Robert Watcher

Well-known member
Yes, pulling your lights back 10 feet or more away from subjects, produces hard specular highlights even with large light sources. Your Mola beauty dish works when moved in close as well. A large 60“ octabox may be more appropriate for full length shots. Even then, you may wish to keep it just a few feet away from the subject or just out of view of the camera - for beautiful lighting.

the third picture is where the specular highlights accentuate the gums. They would not be quite as noticeable without those spots (our eyes are always drawn to the brightest areas).

You or others, may only wish to watch Hurley videos if headshots are the type of content you are wanting to shoot or his style is the type of lighting and posing that appeals to you. The link I provided, was based on this comment of yours:

As to lighting here, it’s expected and standard for pictures for actors and models. They need a portfolio of headshots and lifestyle pictures which then become the table currency for various casting projects, where scores of candidates are screened by their looks on these pictures.

Without headshots, a new actor simply doesn’t exist.

My observations that may help with your posing of hands and lighting, were based on this comment of yours:

Critique my offerings
If you were only referring to the software, then feel free to delete my replies.


——-
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Yes, pulling your lights back 10 feet or more away from subjects, produces hard specular highlights even with large light sources. Your Mola beauty dish works when moved in close as well. A large 60“ octabox may be more appropriate for full length shots. Even then, you may wish to keep it just a few feet away from the subject or just out of view of the camera - for beautiful lighting.

the third picture is where the specular highlights accentuate the gums. They would not be quite as noticeable without those spots (our eyes are always drawn to the brightest areas).

You or others, may only wish to watch Hurley videos if headshots are the type of content you are wanting to shoot or his style is the type of lighting and posing that appeals to you. The link I provided, was based on this comment of yours:




My observations that may help with your posing of hands and lighting, were based on this comment of yours:



If you were only referring to the software, then feel free to delete my replies.


——-

Yes, that remark was merely in response to James Lemon, explains the role of studio lighting as an expected choice for professional headshots, (although natural lighting skills are expected too).

I, myself, am not available for commercial headshots as for me its a personal gift for actors collaborating in my own art projects.

Why on earth I didn’t put up a main larger light source I am lost to explain. Too long a gap between shoots, (love of the physical look of the Canadian Mola), and distraction, I guess. So your points are so appreciated and friendly reminders!


Asher
 

Robert Watcher

Well-known member
I wouldn’t worry about it. You’ve taken the shots and they are fine and they serve the intended purpose.

I don’t want to imply that your photography does not have value. It does. And you have a beautiful model, so it’s hard to mess up. Just pointing out areas of improvement.

Remember this is a public forum. I’m not sharing my knowledge and experience with just you. I am considering that it may benefit anyone who is viewing this post in the attempts of improving their photography or may even be considering trying to make a little cash from their camera and so out of necessity want to glean a few tips.

There is nothing personal against you, in thoughts or opinions that I express. I’m not really into needing explanations or excuses. If someone can benefit, fine - if they don’t care, fine. LOL. I am a dedicated photographer, and that is the only reason that I visit here.

BTW I’ve seen the same omissions and worse, from people claiming to be professional and charging for their services.

—————
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Yes, that’s all true!

After $14,000 photo package on a wedding in my family, the mother of the bride was ecstatic at the pictures!

However only my few sneaked in pictures showed the actual beautiful pattern of the white veil, the brocade of the dress and the silk lapels of the groom’s tux!

Folk have no idea!

Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

A great shot (with or without the PP).


3609


Asher Kelman: Melissa with Drum
Fuji GFX 32-64 mm lens
ISO 200 Godox lighting in Large Mola
Process in ACR Photoshop CC 2020
Portrait Pro Studio Max 15



Best regards,

Doug
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Thanks Doug.

The key here is to have the model express herself the way she feels she needs to be seen.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I recommend Portrait Professional with the condition that unless you are doing a commercial ad campaign or book cover, the brilliant AI sculpting is a dangerous option to be avoided like the plague.

For those commercials or concepts, the magical AI more “abstract idealized person” might be justifiably fitted to the project’s needs.

But no matter end use, (as Nicolas Claris points out), best use layers, (for example in Photoshop), and then try to choose only limited portions of all the offered enhancements!

Then the image remains natural enough and your project lives!

Asher
 

Nicolas Claris

Administrator/Moderator
But no matter end use, (as Nicolas Claris points out), best use layers, (for example in Photoshop), and then try to choose only limited portions of all the offered enhancements!
It's even easier when you use the plugin for Photoshop...
Create first a copy of the original image as a layer, call for PortraitPro and then adjust…
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
It's even easier when you use the plugin for Photoshop...
Create first a copy of the original image as a layer, call for PortraitPro and then adjust…
Yes, Nicolas, you are spot on!

However, I had an issue with PP being very slow in exact face feature selection, used as a plugin.

I was hoping that it’s faster used alone. But it makes no difference. For some reason, it needs to spin that colored wheel for 4 seconds each time I try to adjust the automatic “blue selection line” to exactly match a feature of her face!

I will check for a later version

I am at 15

Asher
 

Nicolas Claris

Administrator/Moderator
I'm at 15.7.3
Seems to be "obsolete", they are 19…
But 15.7.3 version works fine for me… No more slowness :)
Mac Pro (fin 2013) Running Mojave
Ram: 24 Gb
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I'm at 15.7.3
Seems to be "obsolete", they are 19…
But 15.7.3 version works fine for me… No more slowness :)
Mac Pro (fin 2013) Running Mojave
Ram: 24 Gb
I have been too frightened to run Mojave but have just 16 GB of RAM, in High Sierra, LOL!

Asher
 

Robert Watcher

Well-known member
Thought I would run one of these quickly through Snapseed.

While I used the Portrait tool in Snapseed for some face highlighting, subtle skin smoothing, and a little eye brightening, I didn’t add any glow which might emulate the Portrait Professional software (I do like the look it produces) a little more. So it is a different look. Probably a more natural appearance.

But it was fun seeing what free software on a normal iPad could do, when used with my PP experience.



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