Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Using A Fan With Portraits...

The use of a fan can do a lot for a photograph.  There are companies that make fans specifically for professional photo and video use, but they cost a pretty penny.  So, I decided to use a standard box fan for this demonstration - something that most anyone can pick up for under twenty dollars (if you don't already have one in your closet).  

The above photo is our model without any fan.  She is very photogenic, and this photo is just fine on its own!  These three photos are not touched up, so you can better see the effects of the fan.  The only adjustments were a basic crop for continuity and a basic contrast adjustment - the same adjustment was done on all three frames to maintain continuity.  

The above frame has some mild air blowing... nothing too strong or wild.  There's just enough wind to give the hair a little lift.  It is a very appealing look.  I prefer it over the first image, though ANY fan may be out of the question for more conservative subjects.  For example, when I photographed the President of the United States, I didn't even consider using a fan.

This is what I would call the Farrah Fawcett look.  Lots of lift on the hair, which is very pretty - but way too much if you're taking a conservative photo, like a corporate head shot.  Of course, I have never used a fan for corporate head shots, but I could see the mild fan setting being acceptable for just the right CEO.  

Now, if I were making some other post processing adjustments to this photo, I'd probably do the following:  The hair in the red circle looks too thin.  I'd clone that area to fill it up.  The stray hairs in the blue area are a bit distracting, so they'd be cloned out.  The highlights in the green circles are a touch too hot, so they'd be brought down some.  The freckles in the yellow circles could be removed or softened.  Also, a general softening of the skin and a minor vignette would be added to bring more focus to the model's wonderful smile.  You can see these minor adjustments below...  

 Of course, you can keep going and going with all sorts of post processing tweaks, nipping, tucking, liquifying, and adjusting until the photo looks like someone else entirely!  I prefer to keep my images looking very natural and real, so I usually avoid going overboard.  I think she looks great already, so why mess with success?!?


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