The Secrets of the Photographer’s ToolBox

Some secrets and tips directly from the developer’s desk // by Nir Kaufman

In real life, we usually don’t treat people as products. However, when using PSKiss Photographer’s Toolbox, I encourage you to give it a try…
First, a few words about the techniques behind the scripts:
The “Product Photography Toolkit” (which is included also in the “Photographer’s Toolbox“) contains two “different” scripts,”Jeweler” and “Colorize“, that take advantage of the powerful LAB color space, which is a kind of a mystery for a lot of Photoshop users.
High key” is based on a complex of Blending Modes techniques, while “Edge” uses professional masking extraction, to protect important areas.

So what does it  do with portraits?

A good portrait shot contains tons of subtle details and texture, much like a good product shot… So the techniques that make a product shot shine, will probably work with faces as well.

Improve Dull Skin Tone with Jeweler

Human skin-tone (a healthy one…) is a mixture of Red and Yellow colors, with a lot of variations in between. Jeweler contains two sliders: “Stone” and “Metal“. When it comes to a portrait shot, you can replace (imaginary…) the “Stone” slider with “Reds” and the “Metal” slider with “Yellows“. Now, it’s simple and fast to add vividness to skin tones, just by pushing the desired slider to the right. You will notice immediately, how color variations improve the overall look:

Creative Tinting with Colorizer

At first glance, “Colorizer” has nothing to do with portraits. It works like magic when you need to quickly change colors of a product, what it was designed to do. But, there is an easy way to make some creative, gentle “Tint” effects with Colorizer. The rule is simple: drag both sliders half way. At this point you should get a Grayscale image (no color). Now, gently offset one of the sliders (right or left) to get a “Soft tint” Effect.

“Dreamy Light” Effect with High-Key

The High-Key script is based on an original technique that uses Blending Modes. That’s the reason it gives you a very unique result, that doesn’t affect resolution (or blow out details completely). The “Dreamy Light” effect is very popular among wedding photographers, and works for studio portraits as well.

Emphasize Eye-Lashes & Lip-Gloss with Edge

Edge” is designed to sharpen the edges in the image, while protecting large color surfaces around them. Most of the time, you can use it “as-is” to sharpen your portraits, while protecting skin-tone. You can use this script to emphasize eye lashes and even create a “lip gloss”, as part of your retouch workflow. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Product Photography Toolkit or Photographer’s ToolBox and click on the Edge button.
  2. Push the “Amount” slider all the way to the right and set the “Radius” slider to about half the way.
  3. Click OK to create the Edge layer.
  4. Add a black mask for the “Edge layer” and use a soft white brush, to paint over the eye lashes and lips.
  5. Reduce opacity of the layer if needed.

Conclusions

Although the Product Photography Toolkit was originally designed to improve product shots, it can bring creativity to your portraits, mainly because the techniques behind the scripts were aimed to emphasize details and texture. The intensive use of LAB color space and Photoshop’s Blend Modes, creates great results at any resolution.

Happy Photoshoping,

Nir Kaufman

Senior Developer @ PSKiss.com

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