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Easy Tricks To Create Moody Portraits in Adobe Photoshop

The art of creating an appealing and memorable, moody portrait is often in the post-production of that image as much as it is in the lighting. In this short video, you get some tricks for getting the most out of your shot when you're creating a moody edit.

Portrait photography is one of the staple genres of our craft and has a number of popular strands within it. That is, there are common styles that make up the bulk of portrait photography, and one of them is undoubtedly the darker, moodier headshot. This isn't a new trend by any means; some of the greatest portraits of the last 100 or more years have had this approach, but they can be trickier to effectively achieve than one might think.

There is of course a lot of thought that ought to go into the lighting of the person. While you do not need strobes to achieve the look, you do need to control how the light hits your subject and how it falls off too. Typically, you will want the bulk of the light on the face or part of the face, and then the rest of the scene to fade into the shadows. Most post-processing techniques for moody portraits follow this approach as well, increasing exposure on the face and either adding a vignette in post, or lowering the exposure around the face so as to draw the viewer's eye.

In this video, Karl Taylor walks you through some quick tricks to improve your moody portraits in Photoshop.

Robert K Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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