Back Modifications (4)
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Graffiti eyes before and after

By MacMaghnais
photograph I took about 10 years ago. Since then I have stepped back from photography and photoshop. This is a new edit. I have used some of the new automated filters in PS to alter the shape of the models face and to make it more symmetrical. The model has freckles, so I have removed a few and smoothed the skin a little (again using automated PS filters) I think I either knew what I was doing 10 years ago or got lucky with the capture as it is lovely and sharp in all the right places. My aim is always to take and edit a pleasing portrait of the subject. In this case it was a kind of fashion shoot with emphasis given to the make-up in this image. I have included the unedited image for comparison.

Tags: Model Fashion Graffiti Makeup Portraits and people

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mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.7k 2575 United Kingdom
27 Dec 2021 10:14AM
Hi Gordon. It's not really my area, the likes of John Duder will be along some time to comment more constructively. But I'm here first and I have a few thoughts.

There is a really attractive underlying image, a real person with style, individuality and self-confidence.

Compared with your previous upload here , the crop works well. It places the eyes very approximately 1/3 down the frame, so on the viewer's eye level. In the previous upload we are looking directly at the model's hairline...

Skin smoothing - well you have kept the shadow modelling in the nose, upper lip and the sides of the cheeks, which is good. But the freckles on the left are so delicate, and so much a part of the model's facial character - the result of removing them, to my eye, moves her from being a person to a product.

Oddly, the area where you have largely left freckles untouched, around the mouth, is where I would reduce them, as they complicate the edge of the lips slightly.

The main thing that struck me though was the change in the eyes. Those on the right seem unnaturally large and open. Measuring up, the difference is minute, but significant. I have no experience of this processing except for the occasional removal of blemishes, but I am struck by your reference to the use of automated filters. I shall be interested in other people's opinions.

Is the result more marketable? Probably. Do I prefer it? No.
RobMacormac 18 7 2 England
27 Dec 2021 10:21AM
Before more natural
FabioKeiner 10 111 1 Austria
27 Dec 2021 12:49PM
yes, the first version looks ay more natural, personal and ahows far more impact - exactly because of freckles and some wrinkles (the model may forgive!Smile) around her eyes. photoshopped she looks rather rendered, originally she's - apart from being a very beautiful woman - way more powerful and convincing (especially with regards of that funky eyeliner-makeup)
Robert51 14 11 133 United Kingdom
27 Dec 2021 1:55PM
Love what you have done with this and it's something I often do, going back over old images to see how much my processing has changed.

The mod here is a small amount of sharpening and noise reduction. Small amount of face changes. The main thing was to take the background down a little to bring the face forward and a refective gradident to darken the background. I also added about 2% noise to the image.
Hope you like it...
banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4337 Canada
27 Dec 2021 3:28PM
The original shot is very good, and the modified shot makes it look more like a model shot
Owdman Plus
7 17 28 United Kingdom
27 Dec 2021 6:08PM
Hi Gordon, I like the original and don't dislike the mod, but feel they're a bit flat. I presume the purpose of the extreme eye shadow is to go for impact so I've concentrated on that aspect. I tend to like strong saturation, though I know it's not to everyone's taste and I've gone for that in the Mod. I haven't removed any freckles and I haven't altered the face. Interesting image that certainly provides opportunities for PS Smile
Have a look at Borisov Dmitry's images of the red haired freckled girl, I think they're stunning.
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1975 England
27 Dec 2021 7:08PM
I always cringe at the prospect of automated tools that 'perfect' portraits. They have a place: specifically, where a client is paying you to make them look 'more beautiful' than they actually are (this includes commercial work, where you and the model are just a means to an end). Otherwise, it's almost always better to work 'with the grain' - so if the model has freckles, your final image should have them, and the character that asymmetry gives should stay.

It is a matter of personal choice - I'll just say that I tried, some years back, applying a well-known portrait package to a picture of the sexiest woman I have ever photographed. She wasn't beautiful, but she had a raw, raunchy appeal that everybody noticed. Running her through the software and letting it do its default thing produced a more beautiful woman - but one with far less character and sex appeal.

My best friend always brings me down to earth when I show him an over-perfect image with a cry of 'Kewpie Doll' - beyond reality.

There is one thing that I would suggest, and both Robert and Norm have taken it up in their mods - the pupils of the model's eyes could be a little darker, as could her eye makeup in general. Burning shadows and dodging highlights in the eye area is a sure-fire way to increase impact without falsifying reality too much.

Orientating myself with a quick look at recent shots in your portfolio, I note that you emulated Iain Thompson's style in one image - while his lighting is always flawless, much of his output has been of high volumes of images in sets, and videos, leaving little scope for extensive editing of every image. Set the lighting well, book good models, and relax would be my advice.

But each to his own: I don't have to sell my images, which makes things much easier for me. It may be relevant to state what audience you want to impress with the picture: yourself, a paid model, a client, club judges - or even Ephotozine members?
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1975 England
27 Dec 2021 7:10PM
A footnote: again, in terms of Iain T's work, the aim is to sell to a conventional glamour market, making even light all over the subject very much to the point. It's fine for an occasional shot, but shadowless lighting - which you've achieved really nicely here - soon palls, which may be why IT has, I believe, changed direction in the last year or two.
MacMaghnais 12 10 Scotland
27 Dec 2021 8:25PM
Can I thank you all who have taken the time to look at, consider and comment on my image. As always I really enjoy reading your comments.

@Mrswoolybill I think you make a good point about the freckles around her mouth and they should be removed.

I haven't earned any money from photography in over 5 years now so there are no clients, no one to please but my own sense of aesthetic. For a shot like this that would be heavily influenced by the type of image you might see in a beauty magazine. Soft, even lighting tends to give more flattering results in a beauty portrait so that is what I used. Facial beauty is closely linked to facial symmetry so that is why I have copied, flipped and switched her right eye. The models skin is very clear with only a few very small actual blemishes. The decision to reduce her freckles, even more than the make-up already does, is one that could have gone the other way and I can imagine a version where the freckles are burned in even more.

I realise that some are opposed to digital enhancement or altering of the image and feel the key attribute of a photograph should be that it captures the reality of the subject. I feel that a photograph is a manufactured image just as much as any painting. So for me digital (or darkroom) alterations are fair game.
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1975 England
27 Dec 2021 9:10PM
Thank you for the extra information, both about how you processed this, and your intentions.

I agree that it's entirely acceptable to treat a photograph as a starting point for a work of art: it's a different but valid approach.

That's not the same as using editing techniques to enhance what's there (or sometimes suppress it). I have no hesitation in cloning out temporary blemishes, but wouldn't want to remove freckles from a model gifted with them. If I wanted a freckle-free look, I'd book a model with flawless skin... But that's my approach, and you are entirely entitled to your own style of image-making.
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.7k 2575 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2021 7:45AM
Thanks for coming back to us, I wish more Critique posters would enter into a serious conversation like this. It makes the CG worthwhile...

Re freckles, interesting that you say the decision could go either way. I see a lot of freckles in advertising, I think it's maybe something that has been appreciated more in recent years. But I can see that they don't go with heavily stylised make-up.

The flipping of the eye was the aspect that jumped out at me, perfect symmetry does not look natural. But I will admit to having done it...
Robert51 14 11 133 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2021 3:53PM
Sorry I couldn't stop myself, so it's another mod. Please click on image.
chase Plus
17 2.5k 669 England
1 Jan 2022 12:02PM
Her freckles are beautiful and very much part of her, it seems such a shame to remove most of them.
You have addressed the darker circles under her eyes nicely and, for me, the flipping of her eye has improved her look, although we are not symmetrical to start with but eyes are an important facial feature, look at her ears, they are not symmetrical.
Love the eye make up.
Did your model like the 'after' results ?
MacMaghnais 12 10 Scotland
3 Jan 2022 6:47PM
I can't remember if the model liked it or not Chase and I can't remember her name to check now. One of the reasons I have removed most of the freckles is that this was a process that was started by the MUA.
paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
5 Jan 2022 4:57PM
I quite like both of them! they are quite similar really and it depends what you want. Most photographs have some post treatment and always have. In my darkroom days we dodged, burnt in and changed paper grades on a regular basis, thus 'changing'the original exposure to produce an image satisfactory for purpose.

More and more, these days, i modify images - especially skies. digital as made it so easy to do that, remove items, clone out rubbish, and so on.

Everyone will not like everything. All that matters is that the image serves the purpose intended.


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