What Makes a Photograph a Portrait - Post Production

Apr 6


Stan Cox II

Stan Cox II

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What is Post Production, and how does it apply to photographic portraits? This article reveals how important post production is to the creation of photographic portraits. After a photograph has been recorded in camera, there are a number of processes that must be applied to it in order to turn the photograph into a portrait.


What IS “Post Production”,What Makes a Photograph a Portrait - Post Production Articles and Why is it important to the creation of Portraits?

I'm Stan P. Cox II, Photographic Portrait Artist. In this short article I’m going to explain why POST PRODUCTION is Vital to the creation of PORTRAITS

In the previous articles in this series I’ve given definitions of PHOTOGRAPHY and PORTRAITS, talked about ARTISTIC INTENT, PLANNING a Portrait, LIGHTING and CAMERA ANGLES and COMPOSITION. Those are all parts of the PRODUCTION part of creating a Portrait. Now I’m going to talk about the POST PRODUCTION part of Portrait Creation.

Prior to the Digital Revolution Retouching and Art work was done ON the film negative and ON the actual Print of the Portrait! A tedious and costly procedure! Thank God for Digital photography and Photoshop!

There are three primary phases of POST PRODUCTION involved in creating Portraits. First there are the Color Balancing, Saturation, and Contrast adjustments. Then comes the Art Work and Enhancements. And finally the Printing and Finishing of the Portrait.

What used to be done in the Darkroom with color filters, dodging and burning, is now done on a Computer utilizing sophisticated software programs like Photoshop. In Portraiture it is vitally important that the skin tones are correct and pleasing.

Actually I would say it’s more important that they be Pleasing than Correct! The Color Temperature of the Light is a major player in this particular area.

Now in Photoshop it is a simple matter to change the color temperature of the light. Likewise it is a simple matter to adjust the Saturation of the colors, and adjust the Contrast in the image. These adjustments are judgment calls on the part of the Portrait Artist, so it’s a matter of aesthetics, and personal preference.

Then there’s the Artwork. In Portraiture one of the objectives is to make an image that is Complimentary to the subject. So the Artwork will include things like removing blemishes, softening lines and wrinkles, enhancing the eyes, and whitening teeth.

The Artwork may also include techniques that further draw the viewer’s attention to the subject, such as vignetting, or selective blurring. SO, just as Art is in the eyes of the beholder, it is impossible to list everything that an artist may include in the enhancements and artwork to, a Portrait. All these enhancements are indispensable in the process of turning a photograph into a Portrait.

For more information about how You can be sure to have the best possible portrait made for you, go to YourPerfectPortait.net.

In the next article I’ll explain how PRINTING and FINISHING plays into the Creation of PORTRAITS