I have recently been working on a project for a local hair salon in my home town of Ely, The client wanted some portraits with a difference and suggested sepia, we added a twist with a selective sepia post process. The results turned out really good, and the master images have been sent away for print.
The process was fairly simple but a little time consuming, but if you ask me it was time well spent. These images have turned out just how we had in our minds. Choosing the black background sets off the hairstyle and headshot, the large flower setting the scene well for the selective colour. If you would like to lear more on the post processing side of things just click the jump link to read how it was done.
First I set about with the standard work flow, Exposure corrections, white balance, cleaning, skin tones, blemishes were are treated as normal, I use Apple’s Aperture for all my RAW processing as I find it intuitive and easy to work with, it is not the fastest program out there but it is reliable and produces great results. One I was happy with the overall technical quality of the images I exported into PS for the sepia and selective treatment. For the sharper bunnies out there yes I know that Aperture is more than capable of sepia conversion but I also need to remove the sepia conversion from the flower area to reveal the colours and I am not able ( or have not worked out how to) colour select on a sepia version in Aperture ( If you happen to know a way then please write and tell me how).
So I opted to use Photo shop I am using CS3 just for clarity. I have set this to “edit with” direct from Aperture, this makes saving back to Aperture a no brainer. Once open I start with the usual “duplicate” this now is a default action for me, I have made the mistake of starting on an image without duplications making a has of it and starting all aver again way to many times, Duplicate first thing !!.
Once duplicated select the top version in the layers pallet and bring up “black and white” conversion pallet. see here.
Next select “tint” fortunately Photoshop automatically selects a tint that is sepia, just adjust the %age of tint as required, I choose 31% for these samples, but feel free to experiment. Click “ok” when you have the look you require. Now the top layer has the desired sepia look. Staying on the top layer in the layers pallet now select the “eraser” tool so that you can “rub out” the sepia layer in the desired area, you may need to zoom in to ensure you have accurately cleared all of the edges, this takes a little time and its not easy using just a mouse, I think if I were doing this type of thing on a regular basis I would invest in a touch pen and pad to help with this type of work. Once your happy you have erased all of the sepia in your desired area just hit the save button and your completed selective coloured sepia images appears as a new version in Aperture, and that it all done. The results are unusual, I am sure not unique but its a great, easy technique with stunning results. here is another example.