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Digital Photography Hacks by Derrick Story

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Soften Facial Lines

You’ve taken great care to capture your subjects in the best light. But sometimes, artistic lighting accentuates facial lines. Here’s how to soften them for a more natural look.

I know from experience that the best light for photographing people comes from the front. [Hack #43] discussed this technique in detail, and it’s a lighting rule I follow most of the time—but not always.

Sometimes, I like the effect of illuminating from the side. Certain models have a personality that is better expressed by more dynamic lighting. The downside is that illumination from a side angle enhances texture. This byproduct doesn’t thrill models when facial lines that weren’t there before now appear.

So, how do I get my dynamic lighting and satisfy the model too? I could spend more time and money on equipment to produce just the right effect. But I’m cheap and like to work quickly. So I go with my instincts while shooting and use a little Photoshop magic afterward.

For example, I used only two lights to shoot the portrait in Figure 6-21: one from the front and a hair light from the top. We worked quickly and finished the entire session in less than 45 minutes. By shooting at this pace, the model stayed fresh and brought plenty of energy to the camera. If I had spent a lot of time fiddling with the equipment, I might have lost her interest.

A two-light portrait

Figure 6-21. A two-light portrait

I really ...

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