In this exercise ‘Symmetrical Portrait Photoshop Tutorial’ I will show you how to light a portrait evenly using natural lighting and also how to manipulate the image using Photoshop. The Photoshop section is a video tutorial so if you are using your own image or the image I have supplied, watch it after you have read through these notes. The Photoshop video tutorial demonstrates how to take the left hand side of the face and flip it, blending it seamlessly to the opposite side, making a symmetrical portrait. We then repeat the technique with the right hand side of the face. You can then place them side by side to compare and observe how different each side of the face is and how unsymmetrical our faces really are. Its a really fun and interesting exercise to do and I’m really happy to receive your images so please feel free to email them to me once you have completed it.
In the lighting diagram you can see two large reflectors either side of the model with the sun behind them. These two reflectors can be anything that is white, be it sheets or white cardboard. Have a friend or two help you to hold them in place, then you can also use your friends as subjects to try this out on. The reflectors will capture the light that is coming from behind the model, soften it and bounce it back onto the model. This is how you can evenly light them.
It is very important that the pose of the model is straight. In the video I will demonstrate why. Take many images of your model asking them to move their pose slightly till you are happy that they are perfectly front on and have a straight angle of their head. Sounds easy however you will be surprised as to how we usually stand. Shooting a lot of frames can help get it right. Have your model look directly into the camera because we are flipping the image, they will be cross eyed if they look to the side after you Photoshop the image. Once you have taken your images then download them to your computer. Look at each shot and edit out the images where your model is not looking directly into the camera and is not straight on. Then select your favorite image to begin working on and open it in Photoshop.
If you haven’t taken your own image you can use this shot to try it out on. Notice how this portrait is photographed front on and evenly lit, this makes it perfect to use for the Symmetrical Portrait Photoshop Tutorial exercise.
The final result
This is an example of the image I completed. See if it is similar your your image.