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Skin that looks like it's been painted on

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Hi Damien,

I was wondering if you could show me how to achieve this photographer's post processing work? The photo below is from a recent competition where she placed in the top ten.   Specifically , I love how she gets her subject's skin to look like an oil painting. She recently posted a photo in a closed OCF group that more closely resembles the photo I'm uploading, but she hasn't made it public on any of her other pages.  When asked how she processed it, this was her response " I start by fixing blemishes and imperfections. Then, I move on to light modification, by various techniques because I have no real preference for a particular one. Then, I dodge and burn (this is where the "painterly" look mostly comes from). Then, I add a texture and put that layer in Soft Light mode. And finally, I tweak the colors, usually with a Curves layer combined with a Selective Color layer. Oh, and I add back some details, so it doesn't look as "smooth" ." As you can see, she is really helpful, but the directions seem really vague to me, as I haven't tried many of the techniques she's listed.  (I'm currently on the wait list for your RAW class).  I know the photo I'm uploading isn't of a beautiful young woman and it's just a head shot, but the lighting in very similar.  Thank you for your help!  If anyone wants to see her other beautiful work you can find her at  https://www.facebook.com/WinterwoodPhotography/?pnref=lhc


ask damien.jpg

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I'm proud to say that Andrea is an alumni of my Raw and Levels classes.

First, have you read this?  You say the light is very similar, but in truth it's not.  Every degree further back the light source is, the more strongly the skin texture is exaggerated.  And of course your subject is likely to have much more skin texture to begin with anyway.

Are you at least familiar with dodge and burn?

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That's amazing that she is an alumni of yours! Makes me even more eager to start learning.

I see what you're saying about the lighting being dissimilar.  Her lighting was pulled backed and therefore resulted in a smoother look SOOC vs a more rugged look for my photo SOOC because my light was directly out of frame.  I'm assuming her post processing method will probably not work as well on my photo because of the resulting texture? 

I read your dodge and burn tutorial, I've never done it before, but I'm definitely willing to give it a try. Your directions are very good. However, I just don't know how I would apply the technique to end up with the desired results.  

Thanks again for your help!

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No, sorry. I just started off camera flash photography and I have nothing similar to her work.  The portraits I took of my husband were my attempt at mimicking Andrea's look of a half lit face, but I see the error of my ways now. I also don't think I have the appropriate equipment (softboxes) to achieve her look at the moment.  *sigh* Sorry to waste your time! Maybe someone else will be interested in her work and will post a correct photo? 


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