Post-processing a colour portrait

This is a quick walkthrough of my method to post-process a portrait taken with my fuji x-pro2 and 90mm lens. The method works essentially with any camera/lens combination. I use lightroom only.

The portrait I am using is from my collection of portraits from Thaialnd (see here). Here is the original imported raw file:

portrait_import

As you can see, I have not cropped or straightened the photo, the exposure is pretty good too. I used aperture mode with a minimum shutter speed of 1/125s (that I need to change to 1/250s with the 90mm lens to avoid blur). I also use auto-iso set from 200 to 12800 which is the whole range.

The first thing I do in the Develop module is to scroll right down to camera calibration and choose a profile. I hear a lot about classic chrome but personally, I use Camera Pro Neg Hi a lot more. I like the contrast and the muted colours.

calibration

portrait_1

The thing I like about the recent fuji cameras is the ability to change film simulation in Lightroom. You can do this with all cameras in lightroom but the choice will depend on the make of the camera. The list with fuji is impressive and interesting in the different outputs you get. With a Leica M10, you just get one choice : “Leica M10” and with the M240, just the “embedded” option. A bit poor in my view.

The next step in too do a few global ajustments :
Shadows +3
Highlights +12
Clarity +5 (I prefer this to ajusting the sharpness because fuji files don’t sharpen well in lightroom)

As the Pro Neg Hi gives a desaturated colour to the skintones, I go to the HSL tab, click on the button circled in red below and then click and drag upwards on a part of the face where the colours are too muted. This saturates the colours a little while keeping a natural look to the photo.

untitled-2
Here is what I get :
portrait_2

Each step is subtle but it all adds up…
Time for some local ajustment on the face. I always brighten up the face a tad and I rarely touch anything else. After all, in a portrait that is what I want you to see. With the local Ajustemnt Brush, I paint over the face and increase the exposure, clarity and saturation. This is to taste and I can change my ajustments quite a lot from one photo to another. Lately I have taken to drawing a T shape across the eyes and down through the nose and mouth instead of covering the whole face.

portrait_brush

I then add a bit of a post-crop vignette (-17 here) et voilĂ !!

fuji-x-t2-2016-10-26-09h19min54s

 

 

 

 

 

Photoessay : The art of Tango

I had the opportunity to see a demonstration of Argentinian tango recently. The event took place in a dimly lit concert hall. There was a band on the stage and the chairs had been removed to make room for a space to dance. The musicians were lit with spotlights but the poor dancers had to make do with overhead neon lighting.

Tango 2
Fuji x-t1 + XF50-140mm f/2.8 @ 1/125s + f/2.8 + iso 6400

I took some photos of the band (click here), then some photos of the dancers. I sat cross-legged on the floor and did my best to capture the essence of the dance. This kind of tango is not acrobatic and not a show, it is about the relation and emotion between the dancers.

Tango

I used my fuji x-t1 and the 50-140 f/2.8 zoom lens. Focusing was always going to be difficult in this light with the dancers moving at quite a speed around the room. There were some instances where the couple was moving slowly and this is when I tried to grab some shots. I took the photos in bursts and cut down my collection of over 200 pictures to a select few.

fuji-x-t1-2016-02-27-23h25min15s-edit

I edited in black and white in Lightroom because I love black and white photos and I think in this case it helps bring out the essence of the dancers.

Tango 3
Fuji x-t1 + XF50-140mm f/2.8 @ 1/250s + f/2.8 + iso 6400

The camera reacted very well, focus was fast and precise. Very few photos were out of focus or blurry. I culled my collection to keep the few I preferred. The 50-140 lens is excellent with lovely rendering and a very good sharpness.

fuji-x-t1-2016-02-27-23h20min07s-3
Fuji x-t1 + XF50-140mm f/2.8 @ 1/125s + f/2.8 + iso 6400

As you can see, the photos are all taken at 6400 iso, the maximum the fuji x-t1 can take in raw. The x-t2 and x-pro2 can go up to 12800 iso with a usable quality. There was no way to slow the shutter speed below 1/125s because of the movement of the dancers. Sensor stabilisation is useless in this kind of photoshoot too, so the high iso capability of the camera is a great thing to have.

fuji-x-t1-2016-02-27-23h31min16s
Fuji x-t1 + XF50-140mm f/2.8 @ 1/250s + f/2.8 + iso 6400

This XF50-140 f/2.8 is a keeper, it is versatile, fast, precise and built like a tank.

Tango
Fuji x-t1 + XF50-140mm f/2.8 @ 1/250s + f/2.8 + iso 6400
fuji-x-t1-2016-02-27-23h31min25s-edit
Fuji x-t1 + XF50-140mm f/2.8 @ 1/250s + f/2.8 + iso 6400

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Streets of London with the Fuji X100T.

The X100T is small lightweight camera with a fixed focal length of 23mm on an aps-c sized sensor. This is equivalent to the 35mm lens on a full frame camera. The same focal length Henri Cartier Bresson used… But he had a Leica and he was a better photographer…

This doesn’t stop me from trying so here are a few street photos. As usual, I use the electronic viewfinder most of the time and I set it in black and white. I prefer looking at a scene in black and white, I see the contrasts better.

Some indoor photos first. This is taken in the British museum. The camera goes to ISO 6400 with raw files so I’m pleased to now own the x-pro2 that goes to ISO 12800.

Lost in a museum
Fuji X100T @ 1/60s + f/2 + ISO 6400.

This one was taken inside the National Gallery. I enjoy having a small camera, it is discrete and nearly silent. No one gives me a second look, except for when I take a photo (sometimes).

Museum
Fuji X100T @ 1/125s + f/2 + ISO 5000.

A photo in a small pub south of the Thames. I focused on the lady who owns the place. You’d think we were 30 years ago. The place had cats everywhere.

fuji-x100t-2016-03-30-23h32min30s
Fuji X100T @ 1/105s + f/2 + ISO 6400.

A French barber in Kingley Court off Carnaby street, London. Great guy!
http://www.hairgum.com/

Mr Ducktail
Fuji X100T @ 1/125s + f/2.8 + ISO 6400.

Now for some shots on the streets.
Who said telephone boxes were useless now?

Phone box
Fuji X100T @ 1/500s + f/2.8 + ISO 200.

This is Canary Wharf, I settled down in a corner, turned the exposure way down and waited for someone to appear.

Silhouettes
Fuji X100T @ 1/420s + f/5.6 + ISO 200.

Another example where I turned the exposure way down to get all the details in the highlights. The lady saw me the first time I took the photo so I went up to chat and she let me take a couple more. This is the last one I took. I like her smily bag.

Light and shadow
Fuji X100T @ 1/4000s + f/4 + ISO 200.

Still in Canary Wharf, it is lunch time and people are lining up at regular intervals along the pavement to eat, drink and phone.

Luch break
Fuji X100T @ 1/1600s + f/4 + ISO 200.
Important call.
Fuji X100T @ 1/850s + f/4 + ISO 200.

Phones are everywhere but times will change and one day these photos will look very dated.

fuji-x100t-2016-03-30-18h24min22s
Fuji X100T @ 1/50s + f/8 + ISO 200.

The old shell game is still a popular scam on Tower Bridge. Photographers are not welcome. Discretion is a necessity to grab a photo.

Shell game
Fuji X100T @ 1/550s + f/4 + ISO 200.

All in all I really enjoyed using the X100T, but the x-pro2 with the 23mm f/2 lens is faster and more accurate to focus while remaining discrete and quiet.