In this Photoshop tutorial you will learn how to create fairy portraits in a mystical way.
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How to Create Fairy Portraits in Photoshop
We’re going to do an enchanted forest work for right now and here we have a portrait that I recently photograph of two young ladies and they’re wearing their wings and carry outfits. In our studio, we have a selection of wings and fairy outfits that we carry and we’ve had many of them made at a local dance school supply store and we collect others especially at Halloween, you get of lot of outfits.
Anyway, it’s something we do in a regular basis and we have a regular promotions and specials. So it’s a little bit different than your regular portrait here but a lot of things are the same so let me just start with the typical work flow and I should let you know that I size down the image to 72 dpi just to speed up the work flow and normally I work on the image right off the camera at full resolution but to speed things along, this is the way we’re going to work it.
So as you probably know and if you don’t I’m going to show you our first step is the unsharp mask and the settings are 20, 60, 0. And the reason we do an unsharp mask is you can tell right there that just increases the contrast but it mostly takes away that foggy haste.
Next step is I want to go in and with the selective color in the red channel I want to knock out some of the cyan to punch up the skin tones and it’s arbitrary, totally up to you but I always rule a thumb like to tell people less is more so don’t overdo it. In some images you can add a lot. This is a lot more than the normal portrait.
I’m going to zoom in a bit more because the next step I’m going to go image adjustment and hue saturation. I’m going to increase the saturation and this is you got to be very careful with this particular step because obviously you can ruin the image but what is enchanted for our portrait I can actually give it a little more than I normally would because these have a very mystical feeling to them. We want to give it a little bit of a surreal look. So I went a little more than I normally would.
Next step, I want to go to the burn tool and highlights and that’s good about 20 makes low exposure and I’m just going to gently burn all around. I know this right here. I think my background like it is showing right there and I’m just going to go clone that out real quick and I went right back to the burn tool and I’m going to quickly not overdoing it but I’m going to just give a quick burn in highlight mode. Then I’m going to go mid tones and I’m going to burn a little more. The reason we go highlights first is so that there’s some density in the pixels especially in the highlights for this brush to grab on to.
The next thing I want to do is I want to go in and I want to play with the levels for a second here and I’m going to break it up just a little bit but I want to increase the mid tones in this area. I’m going to go to my history pallet and then I want to go back one state and I want to click on the history brush and I’m going to go select the history brush and I’m going to reveal that stake and I’m going to increase the opacity quite a bit. So I want a light in the water. This is going to be water. I want to make it look very cool like.
These rocks are from studio specialties. They are prominent in Montreal and I think Chicago or New York or something right that or LA league that stores all over North America. We bought the moss, trees, that the water is actually piece in 4x4 plexiglass, mirrored plexiglass. So I’m going to go to blur, motion blur and we’re going to blur the water but I want to make sure we’re going on the right direction here. So we’re going to go back one state put the history brush right there and maybe not that high and we just want to give the water a little bit of blurriness. That’s what like looks like it. It’s rippley one that will look like water like, almost mystical.
That’s almost it. Now, always like to use a bit of softer again the soft the favorite, to continue with the mystical look and of course, it’s part of the audio soft. We’re going to erase the waves and some of the softness. Now for basic image that’s pretty much all we do. I’m going to erase a little more of that background. I want a little more of that background to show up and it’s a little bit too soft.
What I like about the audio soft is you get to reveal as much as you want. That’s it in a nut shell. Now when I work this when I show them to client I often will go in and I will make a Sepia tone print which is 250 in color eyes mode and then I will go edit fade saturation and I will go 50% so I have a half Sepia, half color. So there’s full color and there’s half Sepia.
Everybody seems to love this look, half Sepia, half color and of course I don’t use the exact step I’m showing and I use this all these are setup as actions in their studio so I just click a button in its instance and you know half sepia. All these actions of course are prettier downloads for the inner circle so you should have access to the on the soft tar.
Now, I just want to one more quick thing here, add noise and we can add a lot of noise and a little bit of noise if you don’t want like how much we added we can fade it, knock it back or go back in this step. Give it a bit of a noise gives it a little bit of texture and it’s very appropriate for this types of shots.
Now, there’s a plug in called the other effects mystical lady. It’s something that I do use on occasion and that’s about the only plug in I do use and for these kinds of images if I want light coming in from the sky you know a radiant beam of light that’s about the only aspect of that particular plug in that I will use and when I do use it I use that particular function about 99 or 100% of the time. I don’t use a lot of plug-ins so it’s about the only one that I’ve purchased over the years that I find of use.
So that’s it and I should mention one final thing before I close here. When I’m working this print I usually seldom wall portraits, I have a tendency to go in, spend a little more time and I will do a smudge tool or blur tool, just let me show you blur. We’re going to go to lighten and I sometimes of doing it just kind of start the background and give it a paint really look to it or even go to some of the props and the wings and the flowers and I will go in. I’m not a nerd so if you have a lot of manual dexterity and you’re good with art then you might want to use painter and one of those welcome tablets but I find that those are way too challenging for me.
The smudge tool is very efficient too and again you go to lighten or darken most of the time and you want to get the string top to about 50% and you can go in there and you can just create a nice subtle blurring and if you want to take your time with this types of portraits that’s a great way to give a paint really looks. So it takes hours. So you don’t want to take your time doing the job so and you can also go into filter, liquefy if you want to use the smudge tool in there. It’s pretty much the same and it gives you a painterly look and it’s my way of cheating to get that painterly look which is very appropriate for these kinds of images. So there you go the enchanted fairies.
There’s one more thing I forgot to mention as far as working on these enchanted fairies portraits are concerned, you’ll notice that on some them there’s little glowing crystal balls and what not very simple you probably notice already but I will show you how I do them and a lot of you on this image. Go to filter, render, lens flare and you’ll see the cross hairs and you can adjust the size of the lens flair how ever you want and place as many as you want or wherever you want, click okay and there it is.
Now, sometimes the lens flair is a little too much so what you can do is click on the history brush and the previous date and you raise some of the excess lens flair and you can add as many as you want like I said go in and you can move it in another place and make a little bit smaller and add another one and you just keep adding more and more and more as you need them. So there’s three right there. That’s exactly what I have done for the little crystal ball that the little girl is holding there so just another important element to do enchanted fairies images.