To create this self-portrait, I simply used the light from an overhead fixture from the room I was in. I didn't want to have to crank my ISO too high, so I used a pretty slow shutter speed, which ended up working perfectly fine. Straight out of camera the picture was already moody and dark like I wanted, but I decided to give it this interesting red tint.
Before / After:
1- Color fill adjustment
The effect is achieved very simply with a color fill adjustment:
- Create a Color Fill adjustment layer.
- Set the color to pure red: #FF0000.
- Now change the blending mode of the adjustment layer to Darken.
The only other adjustments I did to this picture are lighting up the forearms and darkening down the stomach a bit with curves:
2- Dodging the forearms
- Select the background layer, so that the curves adjustment layer you’ll create will be under the color fill adjustment in the layer order.
- Create a Curves adjustment layer.
- Bring the middle of the curve slightly upwards, to lighten up the whole image.
- Click to select the mask associated with that Curves adjustment layer, hit Cmd+I Ctrl+I to invert the colors and effectively make the mask hide the whole effect.
- Using a Soft White Brush → B, paint around the forearms to brighten them up and bring back the details.
3- Burning the stomach
- Now for the stomach, create another Curves adjustment layer.
- Bring the middle of the curve slightly downwards, to darken up the whole image.
- Now click to select the mask associated with that adjustment layer, hit Cmd+I Ctrl+I to invert the colors and effectively make the mask hide the whole effect.
- Using a Soft White Brush → B, paint around the stomach to darken it up.
- Here I also applied a Gaussian Blur filter to the mask, just to make the effect fade out more subtly. I applied a Gaussian blur with a radius of 190px, but this will vary depending on the size of your image.
Et voilà! A dark image with a stylish red tint with just a simple red color fill adjustment.
🌄 Image info:
- Camera: Nikon D300s
- Focal length: 16mm
- Shutter speed: 1/25s
- Aperture: f/4.5
- ISO: 500
My Suggestions for You
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- Frequency Separation: How to Master Retouching in Photoshop
- Better than HDR – Master Luminosity Masks in Photoshop
- How to Master Dodging & Burning in Photoshop
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Hey there! 👋
I'm Seb and I'm creating Purple11. I'm into photography (duh!), but also music, design, meditation, healthy living and just spending time in nature. You can read more about what I'm up to on my Now page.
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