Like many photographers, I’m always trying to polish my craft and grow my talents when it comes to both photography and retouching. Tutorials are plentiful on the internet, and sometimes overwhelming with the millions of videos, articles and PSDs. However, I found an unique way to improve my retouching considerably, from an unusual place that I'd never expect.
While browsing the internet, avoiding my work for the day, a makeup artist friend on Facebook posted an article about the contours of the human face, and how it can help you when applying makeup. Now I'm a guy, so I've never really handled make up in my entire life. I don't know the difference between concealer and blush, so I usually will hire a makeup artist for my photoshoots. However, upon seeing the image attached to the article, I immediately thought of one thing -- “That’d be a great starting point for dodging and burning!”
Dodging and burning is the one retouching practice that I do to every image I touch. For those who are unfamiliar with the practice, what dodging and burning is is applying contrast to your image selectively. When done well, you can subtly reshape objects in your image to either bring them to the attention of the viewer, or hide them from others to see. If you’d like to learn more about this practice, I highly recommend Elena Jasic's article on it just a few months ago.
This is the image I came across, and immediately began applying the idea to my images. By identifying the face shape of your subject, you’re able to contour the face correctly, making a cleaner and more visually appealing image. I found the subtle changes on where to add or subtract highlights made for a huge difference in the image. As an example, I've gone ahead and applied all of these retouching principles on an image I recently took.
Britney Simerson is a model that helped me with a lighting workshop that I recently taught in West Michigan. Though this image is not shot straight on, it's pretty apparent that she has an oval shaped face. So when I began to dodge and burn this image, I kept that in mind and used the Oval makeup design as a frame of reference for her face shape.
Now at first glance, I recognize that the differences between the images are pretty minor. However, that is just your mind playing tricks on you. So instead of looking at them side by side in a collage, lets put them together as a gif.
With the gif, the changes within the Dodging and Burning process are far more noticeable. Using these makeup guides, you're able to correctly apply dodging and burning to your images, or using other face shape methods, completely reshape the face of your subject.