Portrait Editing with Photoshop

Photographers strive to capture images that have no need for major edits, that’s why we spend so much time adjusting settings and creating the perfect lighting (check out my post on portrait lighting here). However, when it comes to shooting portraits and our imperfect subjects, a little bit of editing is usually required. Here are my tips for a quick and effective retouch.

For starters, I use photoshop to edit my photos, it is the easiest and most advanced editing software (and honestly the most widely used). With all kinds of photography, we want to edit in a nondestructive way, so the first step will be to duplicate (Cmd + J) your first layer.

Retouching skin

  • Create a new layer and name it blemishes.
    • This is where you will fix any spots on the skin.
    • Have a separate layer gives you the ability to reduce the opacity of concealment.
  • Use the healing brush or the spot healing brush to conceal any blemishes on the skin.
    • Make sure you specify to sample from “all layers”
    • Select areas with similar skin tones, do you do not have discoloration
    • Blend mode = normal; diffusion = 5

* remember not to conceal permanent blemishes, like beauty marks and scars

Stray hairs

  • Create a new layer and name it hair.
  • Use the spot healing brush to erase any out of place hair, whether that be fly aways or hair across the face.
    • Remember that removing too much of a flyaway will just make the next section look odd.

Whiten teeth

  • Using the lasso tool, select loosely around the teeth.
  • Make a hue/saturation adjustment ( this will create a new adjustment layer, name it teeth).
    • Select “yellows” and desaturate.
    • Occasionally, I will also lighten the selection during this time.

Whiten eyes

  • Press Cmd + Shift + N to create a new layer as an “overlay” and fill with 50% gray.
  • Paint with white at a low opacity (10%) and a soft-edge round brush.
    • Remember you can build intensity, don’t do too much at the start.
    • Paint the whites of the eyes, and a little bit of the center of the iris around the pupil.

* I will often need to lower the entire layer to keep the photo looking realistic.

Darken eyes

  • Cmd + Shift N to create a new layer as an “overlay” and fill with 50% gray
  • Paint with black at a low opacity and a soft-edge round brush.
    • Paint the pupil and outer edge of iris
    • You can also use this method to darken eyelashes giving them an extended look.

Skin softening

  • Composite all layers together (Cmd + Opt + Shift E)
    • It is important that this is done after all your individual edits; You will need to re-composite the layers if you need to make additional edits.
  • Duplicate composite layer (Cmd J) and name it skin soften.
  • Filter > High Pass filter
    • Adjust (to the left) only until you see the outline, when you see skin texture you have gone too far.
    • This will create contrast and is actually sharpening the image.
  • Change the skin soften layer to “overlay” and inverse the entire layer (Cmd + I)
    • This will soften what you sharpened
  • Now add a layer mask to the skin soften layer
    • Paint with black anywhere you want to hide the softened look
      • The sharp details like: mouth, nostril, eyes, eyebrow, and jewelry (jewelry will depend on the depth of field for reality purposes).

And voila! Of the two images below, the top is my before and the bottom is my after, following these exact instructions.

Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 1.37.42 PMScreen Shot 2019-03-14 at 1.38.31 PM

10 Ways to DIY Your SEO

In today’s digital world, understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is everything for anyone relying on social media or websites for exposure.

Here are 10 ways YOU can enhance your SEO:

  1. Master Keyword research; try out Google Keyword Planner
  2. Understand your competition
  3. Plan your site; make sure to use long and specific keywords
  4. Optimize your site; make it mobile responsive!
  5. Produce regular content; attempt to post everyday 
  6. DIY public relations; build relationships
  7. Build your social media network; maybe try boosting posts
  8. Understand Google Analytics; or really any search engine analytics
  9. Read an SEO blog; like Search Engine Roundtable or Webmaster World Forum

2019 Portfolio Show Campaign

Each year, Southeast Tech hosts a showcase for the graduating Media Design and Digital Media Production students. And each year, Media students design a campaign for the event in hopes that their designs will be chosen. Here are a few of my pieces, including (in the order you see them): Promotional Poster, Guestbook: Cover and Inside Pages, Invitation: Front and Back, Lanyard ID Cards, Email Reminder, and Website Comp.

P.S. Keep reading to learn why I designed the way I did!

posterguestbookcoverguestbookinsideinvite frontinvite backlanyardeblastwebsite

Throughout the campaign, the lighter blue from Southeast Tech’s logo serves as a background for each piece. Doing so quickly grabs the attention of the viewer. This is great for stopping a passer-by with a hanging poster, or creating “staying power” for an invitation. The thick, black type used in the logo also grabs attention as it is darker and more bold than any lines used in the graphics, immediately informing the viewer of what the piece is promoting. The graphics shown on the poster all signify what makes a graphic designer. First, the coffee cup, as all designers work towards a hard deadline and most rely on caffeine to power through late nights. The monitor is obvious, as all of our work is done on a computer. The headphones mean multiple things, both the importance of sound for Digital Media Production and the inspiration of music while working. A designer’s best friends in post-production are a stapler, ruler, and razor. Camera’s are more important than I originally thought, as they are used to create original content and also photograph your end product. Next comes the clock, another testament to the hard deadlines designer’s face. The sketchbook signifies the pre-production stage, as it is always important to sketch ideas out before jumping into the software. Of course you also need writing or drawing utensils for that important step. Finally the magnifying glass, symbolizing the amount of detail and attention that goes into each and every designer’s work.

5 Tips for Growing Your Social Media Presence

Social media is an ever growing, ever changing platform for anyone out there with an internet connection making it one of the most powerful tools for a designer to get their name out there. However, navigating it can sometimes be hard and creating a large, interactive following can seem impossible. But here are 5 awesome tips to chase that feeling away and grow your social media presence:

  1. Post similar content within your feed to create a brand if who you are. Have a purpose for each and every post.
  2. Follow similar accounts who have similar interests and content as you do. Build and interact with this community as much and as often as you can!
  3. Be sure to use hashtags on all of your posts! The maximum number of hashtags you can have on a post is 30, try to stick to 20 or less. Be very specific on your hashtags, using only hashtags that have 500k or less posts.
  4. Know when to post. Study your analytics to determine the best time to post, according to when your followers are most likely to see your post.
  5. Reply to comments within your post as soon as you can. Interact with your viewers!