February 2021 // The Post-Production Edition

5 Key Elements of Portrait Post-Production Workflow | Holly Lund

painted highlights

painted shadows


I have a confession to make. This step is my favorite part of my workflow. It’s also the most time-consuming. I happen to find it very therapeutic, but I also prefer editing to shooting. Bear with me! I’ve started off by using a couple of curves layers to draw overall light to my subject’s face and upper body. From there, I added in two sets of curves layers to start my dodging and burning process. Doing this in multiple layers will give you a lot of control in how little or how strongly you want to define the peaks and valleys in your image. Consequently, I also mask each layer with a low opacity, low flow brush for the utmost control. All I do is follow what is already there. From these screen shots, you can faintly see how I have painted light and shadows on two respective adjustment layers. For extra power, I will add in a 50% gray layer on soft light to enhance how hair shines, strengthen catchlights, or help skin glisten.

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