One of the things I do a lot is revisit photos and see something new in them. This time around I was looking of a photo of my model friend Manzanita and deciding what made it interesting. After I figured it out I went to work on stripping it down to it's bare essentials.


Image 1 - Original image.

Image 2 - Negative space is great, I love negative space in photos. However, when a model does an amazing job of posing, sometimes you have to pull the image in and pay homage. So I cropped the photo down to feature that. I then desaturated it to emphasize shape and shadow over colors. I cropped out the eyes to create mystery… it leaves you wanting to see more.

Image 3 - I decided to increase the glam of the photo by dodging and burning it out in CS6. I don't believe in using the contrast slider in Lightroom :) After I smoothed out some shadows and muddled spots on the face. I loved the softness in the lips so I also sharpened the lips and slightly saturated them to draw more attention to them.

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Why I love good models...

First she did a good job of creating structure without looking to structured. Manzanita is a pretty stinkin fit girl. With muscular girls they have to be weary of looking masculine. By leading her shoulder in she released tension along her shoulder line to soften up her pose. 

At the same time this created nice leading lines. The angles catch highlights from the light source and draw a nice path to her face. Likewise the turn of her body allows the first point of interest to be her face on the right side of the photo. If you were to draw a shape with those lines, it would be a triangle with her face being the apex. Last by relaxing her jaw she kept the tension out of her face and made mouth look soft. I find that a lot of models think they have to be smiling or closed mouth… no. She also pushed her head towards the foreground to create a nice focal plane of her head and shoulder.