Photo Deconstruction: Bounced Natural Light HDR Portrait

In this behind the scenes video I break down how I create a natural light portrait with an “HDR” look and the polish of a studio image.

This photo was taken outside of my studio on the busy streets of New York City. To simplify the background I had my assistant hold a muslin background behind the subject while I shot at an aperture of F/4 to soften the texture a bit.

The model was carefully placed across from a white door that was hit by the sun. This white door acted as a large natural bounce reflector creating a very soft and flat light source to illuminate our model’s face.

While I often shoot these this type of portraits using bounced light, the color grading became an important part of the process in the final results of this image. Currently there is a trend in fashion and beauty for an “HDR” (high dynamic range”) style of post-processing. This means that there is a lot of detail in the shadows, highlights and a ‘gritty’ texture across the image.

To achieve this look I worked with the RAW file and in Photoshop to do the following:

-Bring up detail in the shadows
-Darken exposure but pop the highlights
-Drastically increase clarity and texture
-Add more yellow and desaturate overall

Camera Settings:
1/100 sec F4.0 ISO 100
80mm focal length

Canon 5D IV:
Canon 24-105mm 4.0:

Creative Team:
Makeup: Lijha Stewart
Hair: Mark Williamson
Model: Ana Paula

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