Senior portraits post-production and retouching. Before and After.




Big kids of our friends asked us to shoot their Senior Pictures for Walton High School Yearbook. During the shoot Alex had a chance to test his DIY Vagabond II and I experiment with several post-production and retouching techniques.
For some of the images I used this tutorial: The Double RAW Conversion Tutorial from Calvin Hollywood. I really like the double RAW conversion method and use it often.

Here is the result:

Studio portraits

Mouse Over to see Before and After

Studio portrait photography, Atlanta, GA

Studio portrait photography, Atlanta, GA

Studio portrait photographer, Atlanta, GA

Studio portrait photographer, Atlanta, GA

Outdoor studio:-)

Mouse Over to see Before and After

Dramatic portrait photography retouching

Dramatic portrait photography retouching

Studio lighting for outdoor photography

Studio lighting for outdoor photography

Studio outdoors portrait lighting set-up

Studio outdoors portrait lighting set-up

Atlanta photographer location portrait using studio lights

Atlanta photographer location portrait using studio lights

Post-production and retouching in Photoshop

Post-production and retouching in Photoshop

Senior portrait retouching in Photoshop

Senior portrait retouching in Photoshop

Portrait post-processing  in Photoshop

Portrait post-processing in Photoshop

Thank you for looking.  Any feedback and suggestions are very welcome!

34 comments to Senior portraits post-production and retouching. Before and After.

  • [...] Update: More photos, and, most important, all of them “before and after” is on PerfectPhotoBlog now: Before and after images from the photoshot. [...]

  • Was it really necessary to photoshop her legs in #4?

  • Great effect! Thanks for sharing all this information. You have a great knack for taking what most photographers would consider great lighting, and making it even better and more creative. Too many photographers shut down their creativity after the photo is finished. We all have to strive to become masters in post! Ansel Adams taught us that. My two cents.

  • Hi Guys

    Whilst I appreciate the PP on these images, but some how I feel that is not complimenting the subject, Post production for the sake of post production.

  • Exactly, Jon. It was an idea to show the technique.

  • I like the before photos!

  • John Fowler

    If I was a customer, I’d be quite disappointed with these results.

  • John, It happens. We can’t please everyone:-)
    Would be cool if you’ll tell me what you do not like in them. Our customers are happy with these photos.
    On this blog I try to show some different techniques of
    post-production. Hope it is useful for somebody.

  • eklipseone

    heavy yellow tones on the female
    and the dude looks super old

  • I appreciate your opinion. Thank you for comment:-)

  • Charles

    I am not overly impressed, I am not a big fan of vignetting and it is so cliche these days to use a lot of it. I have seen so many photos processed in the muted tones, it’s the newest fad. What concerned my was how different they were from the originals, they all looked soft and blah, I think more time spent getting it right the first time and less PP would benefit all here. All the pics of the guy look almost over processed, they are borderline HDR processed photos and just not impressed, of course my 2 cents and if the client is happy than that’s all that matters.

  • I love the post processing on the girl, but the guy looks too cartoonish.
    Please explain the PP work flow on photo #1.

  • Thank you, Charles:-)
    I have no idea why you call this HDR processed. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range image, which can be achieved ONLY by doing multiple exposures of the same subject and combining them into one, extended dynamic range (comparing to camera’s dynamic range) image. If shot was done with one exposure – this is not HDR, regardless of post-production.

  • Thank you, Dave. Work flow was simple:
    1. Raw processing
    2. Cleaning
    3. Dodge and Burn technique (you can find various tutorials and tips in Internet and choose which you like more)

  • Charles

    I know exactly what HDR stands for and you can do a pseudo HDR with 1 image in CS5 as well as PhotoMatix, it will not give you the same dynamic range as the 5-10 image HDR but is doable. As I stated, the processing is pushing the envelope of HDR, should have been more clear. Maybe you should watch your tutorial you learned this from again and listen to what he says when you move the black slider “you get an HDR effect”, so I don’t think I was far off on my original posting about the look, esp. since Mr. Hollywood is going for that high contrast HDR look. :-)

  • I know, Charles, many people name it “HDR effect”, but for me it’s “Tonal Contrast effect” not a High Dynamic Range:-)

  • Thanks for showing these before and after photos. Although not everyone will always like all the looks, it is good to try different PP techniques and do something creative!

  • Thank you, Lloyd. I like experiments:-) It’s a best way to learning for me.

  • Arlene

    I love you post processing particularly the guy. Makes him look like he’s on the cover of an album. It’s photography turned into art. Follow your instincts. A fan. —Arlene

  • Hi Genia!

    I’m glad to see that you are not letting the external or the internal critic get in the way of your exploration. I’m very grateful to you and Alex for so generously sharing your experimentation, results, discoveries, tips and conclusions in precise detail. It is very unusual and enjoyable to follow. You both must have beautiful hearts as well as brilliant minds! – Chikur Heart

  • Thank you, Chikur for good words:-)

  • Richard

    Excellent Work!
    While on some of the photos I felt on the post production you went a little bit overboard.
    Overall I feel that this was a excellent display of skill and artistic expression.
    I would like to thank you for contributing such great content to the photographic community.
    -Richard

  • Thank you, Richard!
    Yes, I know that my post-production looks overdone sometimes:-) It happens when I learn and practice new techniques.
    When I do a commercial work client have a choice between realistic and more creative images usually.

  • shah

    hi..i really love the dramatic effect you placed on 3rd and 4th picture…nice job…will be glade if u could help me where i can get the tutorials you used to make this stunning shots…

  • Cool postprocessing! Of course you can’t please everyone, but I think it’s pretty good. A bit on the extreme side sometimes, but then again.. why not ;)

  • Rad

    Fantastic work!- I love Your style and post processing! Not everyone has the same taste and that’s what makes photography beatiuful! How did You achive that guy’s poster look?

  • Tom

    The shots look great but when I mouse over them they do not change. I am using Internet Explorer 8.

  • Thank you, Tom. I will fix it.

  • Nice work, maybe a little heavy pp on a few but I think part of it is you get to see the before and after. I believe it’s Calvin Hollywood who says not to look at the before and after because you will think it’s to much, I think that’s happening here to an extent for me as well as some of the the other posters. Great blog here by the way.
    Krissy

  • Thank you, Krissy. :-) I remember these Calvin Hollywood’s words.

  • I’m new to photography and i follow Alex on G+ i love his style and the “pop” of the photos. Keep up the good work!!!!

  • Rob

    It’s amazing how sensitive and personal folks can get in these forums. I stumbled in looking for some post tips for seniors. I’m being approached by some of the kids I work with in community theater but I am hesitant to accept the assignments. These pictures will be with them for the rest of their lives and I don’t wan to screw it up. Same reason I say no to weddings. That said the Senior portrait business is lucrative and it would be a shame to pas it up.So about your pics. I like the processing you did for the young lady. As to the calf alteration; sometimes we fix something that needs fixing. Her picture shouldn’t suffer because she happened to turn her foot the wrong way. The young mans pictures are a little to HDRish for my tastes. They are very well taken.The thing about the treatments of the senior pics is that it seems to be fashion driven. The kids want what the other kids have. You can’t just take nice pictures in decent lighting they have to be more noticeable than all the other kids pictures. As a photographer I think it is our job to make them happy but also to try not to bend to far to a fad that will elicit giggles when the client looks back in ten years time. ps. I tried the link to the tutorial but it was broken.Thanks for sharing your process.

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