Tim and Split Processing (#221) 02-19-13

As I saw Tim approaching, I wanted a shot of that rugged face. He was soft spoken and obliging.

     (click to enlarge)

I like the final image, specifically how Tim appears to separate from the background. It’s almost like he pops out. This is for (at least) two reasons.

1. When light on the subject is different than the background, there is usually good separation. Here we are on the shady side of the street, and part of the background is under cover. To the right side of the frame is the street in bright sunlight. And, light is reflected from buildings to the right. Hence, the right side of Tim’s face (his left), is brighter than the other. Differential lighting at the time of capture (photographing) is the paramount technique to get separation.

2. I used different post processing on Tim than I did on the background. Without getting into a lot of Photoshopese, I made one copy of the image contrasty and very sharp, to highlight his face. A second layer on top has a low contrast version of the image, with minimal sharpness. Then I put a mask over his face, so that the high contrast face is visible through the low contrast background layer.

This may sound like gibberish, but it can be very powerful gibberish. The computer is the darkroom of the 21st century.

Note: In a departure from the usual format of this blog, the next three posts will be about overcoming FEAR in street portraiture.