Video Tutorial: Environmental Portrait in Lightroom

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Portrait processing in Lightroom

The other week I posted some photos from a shoot I did recently with artist Chris Meek. This week I thought I’d show you how I processed one of the portraits in Lightroom. It’s an interesting photo to look at because it looked very different by the time I had finished than it did at the start.

The key to processing this photo was to decide what I wanted to achieve with it long before it ever reached Lightroom. I knew that I wanted to isolate Chris, the artist, from the background. My original visualisation was that Chris would be lit by the natural light coming in from camera left through the open doors to his workshop, and that the workshop would be hidden in shadow. That didn’t work in practise because daylight coming in through skylights and windows to camera right illuminated the interior space. So I had to do it in post-processing, and you’ll see how I did so in the video.

But it all started with the decisions I made on the shoot, which were to use a short telephoto lens (56mm, APS-C) and a wide aperture (f3.2) to isolate Chris by defocusing the background. Because I did that (as opposed to using a shorter focal length or a smaller aperture) it was easy to emphasise the isolation of the subject by making the background darker.

I hope you enjoy the video, please subscribe to my YouTube channel to keep up with new tutorials.




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« Photographer Interview: Andrew Mulvey |  Lightroom 6 & Lightroom CC Launched »

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