CASE STUDY 4
high end hair editorial | concept, retouch & colorization
This image has been kindly provided by TUSH magazine and international photographer Rankin.
general idea / briefing
The concept for this hair editorial image was to give the model Sam Rollinson's hair a light pastel tone color palette over the series of images. This is an exceptional difficult task, since her original hair color is dark brown.
Therefore is has been crucial to create an insanely precise hair mask. Having this mask, I was enabled to build the effect by making use of all tools in my repertoire as a hair retouching specialist. I loved this challenge and the results speak for themselves. Should you be interested in the printed images, you can find those in the anniversary issue no.50 of TUSH magazine.
The main focus for the post production of this wonderful fashion editorial was, to bring all images of the series into one family. The models have been shot in various outdoor locations over the course of the day and the lighting situation and color temperature have changed naturally.
Therefore is has been essential to first create a master color grade, that Ava and me committed to prior to the retouching process of the whole series.
first step - starting from RAW
This image needed to match the typical look of international photographer Rankin, strong contrast and vivid colors. This was already taken care of during the raw conversion in Capture One. A conversion with neutral colors was the base for the upcoming retouching phase.
second step - cleaning up the hair texture
The hair was retouched in a very natural way, only taking out the texture, that is not smooth and roots in temporary imperfections or criss crossing hair, that takes too much attention. The main focus in this image lies on creating a flawless and healthy hair structure.
Since a drastic colorization from dark brown to light pastel purple is briefed, I need to make sure no distracting cross hair or holes in the hair structure is emphasized by the new color.
Aside from pixel work and filling gaps and holes with texture from this image or other source images, non-destructive techniques such as dodging & burning (painting with light) are applied to maintain the original hair structure, while enhancing the overall appearance.
third step - precise masking, color correction and colorization of the hair
As explained before, having this pristine mask, I was enabled to build the effect by making use of all tools in my repertoire as a hair retouching specialist. Slowly building up the colorization, making sure all details remain.
Especially the depth of the hair needed special attention. Here it was essential to keep the dark areas above the ears and at the parting of the hair (crown).
Due to the drastic color change the luminosity has been affected as well and needed readjustment to keep the natural feel.
fourth step - introducing a harmonic color scheme by adjusting the eye makeup
In order to have a harmonic color scheme in this image, it has been crucial to adjust the color of the eye makeup to the new hair color. By bringing shifting it to a more pastel green, the balance was reestablished.
fifth step - applying final contrast adjustments to match Rankin's style
Final contrast adjustments were applied to give the overall color adjustments to the models hair a realistic and natural appearance. Stronger shadows and slightly brighter lights underline the realism of the image and match Rankin's iconic style.
sixth step - applying final contrast adjustments to match Rankin's style
In order to make sure the final image has a natural and convincing look and feel, I love to introduce a very subtle and flexible grain layer, that adjusts automatically to any format change or crop desired.
I use my grain patterns on individual adjustment layers, that I have extracted from original analogue film.
The final image can now be delivered to the client for further use.