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Purpose and Technique to Desaturate Fashion Photo

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  #1  
Old 08-17-2008, 09:42 PM
davidpz888 davidpz888 is offline
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Purpose and Technique to Desaturate Fashion Photo

Hi all,

Sorry for another topic, but I am wondering if anyone can give some advice or comment on the purpose and some techniques to desaturate fashion photos?

I have heard from a lot of sources it is very common for a fashion photograph to be desaturated in some shape or form in post-production. My question is what is the technical purpose? I know it looks better, but why does it look better? I've noticed by reducing red or yellow, it makes the skin more even... I personally think it looks better but I just cant wrap my head behind the color theory of it.

Secondly, I have heard many different techniques to desaturate a photo. Such as using curves, color balance, hue/sat, and selective color, etc. Are they just different techniques to get to the same result? Or are there a lot of difference?

Some examples from Renat Touichev, a photographer that I admire:
http://www.renat.ca/photos/glamour/f...0/001_7971.jpg
http://www.renat.ca/photos/glamour/0...um/005_026.jpg

The above two looks almost b/w, but they clearly look different. The 2nd almost looks to have a sepia tone...

http://www.renat.ca/photos/glamour/0...ry/00_2141.jpg
http://www.renat.ca/photos/glamour/0...um/001_008.jpg

Two more examples above. Both look desaturated, but different. The 2nd looks warmer... I dont think its just increasing the white balance. But even if it was, I would not want to have to go back to edit the raw file after I've retouched a photo lol

Thanks,
David
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  #2  
Old 08-17-2008, 11:27 PM
Insensitive. Insensitive. is offline
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Re: Purpose and Technique to Desaturate Fashion Ph

In the first photo, i think different elements of the photo are desaturated more/less than others to get that look. The rest look pretty simple. And the desaturation adds drama and emotion. You can take a photo of a sad puppy in color, and that same photo in black and white makes you go awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww somehow adds depth to the photo.
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:15 AM
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MaximMorin MaximMorin is offline
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Re: Purpose and Technique to Desaturate Fashion Ph

I think their the desaturation thing is more a trend of those time... look for exemple the 80's and 90's, it was the opposite... so i dont think their is a technical matter, exept that most printer give much more best result with desaturated photos then saturated one (they can't print at a certain level of saturation). so i think its more an emotionnal matter

the warmer look of the second one can be had just with some little yellow add in a curves or on the highlight of color balance... but it mostly done during the shoot i thing ;-)
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:16 AM
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MaximMorin MaximMorin is offline
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Re: Purpose and Technique to Desaturate Fashion Ph

(and sorry for the bad english, i'm a french guy so....)
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Old 08-18-2008, 12:08 PM
apstudios apstudios is offline
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Re: Purpose and Technique to Desaturate Fashion Ph

I love the examples. Remember, there is always more than one way to skin a cat, though it may look different in the end. I have achieved those results adjusting individual color saturation and luminance in Adobe RAW (HSL/Grayscale tab). Most skin tones are primarily red, orange and yellow. Use a combo of desaturation and increased luminance to get stuff like that first pic (no blonde=desat. yellow, no tan=desat. orange, and balance tone with luminosity). The third pic is just not as intense (possibly overall desaturation w/ increased blue sat and decreased blue luminosity). It is tough to reproduce exact results (esp. if the pictures look different) but most of it is tinkering with the sliders. With the last pic, open a hue/sat layer, find an interesting tone (warm), select the colorize box in the hue/sat window, then adjust the layer opacity to taste. Good luck!
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Old 08-18-2008, 05:18 PM
davidpz888 davidpz888 is offline
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Re: Purpose and Technique to Desaturate Fashion Ph

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Insensitive: do you have a preferred technique to desaturate selective colors? I am currently experimenting with hue/sat in PS. What I'm doing is selecting colors with the eyedropper, such as on the face/cheek and desaturating those reds and yellows a bit to even out the skin a bit. And I also selectively desaturate strong colors in the background that may be distracting... Not sure if there are better ways... And also I've noticed I cant really change the overall color tone(?) of the image by using that technique.

MaximMorin: no worries, I understood you perfectly. Thanks for bring up the printer issue--I never thought about it. And regarding your mention of photographs a few decades back, I notice that film gave these unique color tones to the overall image (which I like) that I just dont see with digital. I've heard that it is possible to simulate certain film colors by selectivity changing the curves of each color. Do you know what I mean?

apstudios: thanks for the info. I apericate how you explained in detail how to achieve similar effects and how each color affects the photo. This may be a simple question, but when do you decide to change sat as opposed to the luminance? I think luminance is related to brightness(?). So are you increasing the luminance in order to compensate for the decrease in saturation?
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Old 08-18-2008, 08:17 PM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: Purpose and Technique to Desaturate Fashion Ph

Its easier to make color harmonize if its desaturated, and there has been a fashion in retouching over the last 3 or 4 years to alter saturation in this way. It all depends on the photographer, some HATE it some love it. The secret is to try and do this in a subtle way and not just to grab the hue/sat slider and whack it down overall.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:21 AM
apstudios apstudios is offline
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Re: Purpose and Technique to Desaturate Fashion Ph

I usually start with what annoys me. Often when you desaturate a color (depending on how drastic the change) a perceived tone change can occur, yellow can brighten, orange can darken, but it all depends on the colors in the file (face), how far you push them, how much color depth there is to support the change, etc... that's when brightness/luminance can even out the look.
Also, mimicking a film look in curves is possible, but difficult, time consuming and can provide mixed results (unless you shoot similar scenes and lighting and find a consistent appearance in your files). I would recommend a film simulator (save time figuring it out so you can create more art), you would have the ability to fine tune (and find) the look, and you would get a much wider range of effects. I invested in the Tiffen digital filter program, and my post-production has gone through the roof. It was worth every penny.
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:05 PM
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Calbeee Calbeee is offline
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Re: Purpose and Technique to Desaturate Fashion Ph

Hello, I am new to this forum and I am a photographer...
I am also trying to achieve this kind of look too, but is there a way I can find a video clip of doing something similar like this? I cant do this at all by reading all the texts.

Examples showed by davidpz888 are very good which preserve all the skin details and I like em a lot.
http://www.renat.ca/photos/glamour/f...0/001_7971.jpg
http://www.renat.ca/photos/glamour/0...ry/00_2141.jpg


Thanks.
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Old 08-27-2008, 12:20 AM
davidpz888 davidpz888 is offline
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Re: Purpose and Technique to Desaturate Fashion Ph

Welcome to forum Calbeee! I am also new to this forum.

I have not found any videos, although I do not think it should be too hard to follow by text. The difficulty seems to be finding the "recipes" in this somewhat secretive industry. I recently found an article on photo.net: http://photo.net/learn/digital-photo...n-photography/

It is written by a professional retoucher and he gives a lot of interesting behind the scenes insight on how he works. However he stops short of stating exactly how he achieves his looks. He writes for example:

Quote:
I’ll share a super secret tip with you on how to create this popular high-end magazine cover color.

Ready?

1. Adjustments—> hue/saturation.
2. Desaturate -100.
3. Change the mode to Overlay.
4. Make another adjustment—> hue/saturation.
5. Desaturate -100.
6. Adjust to taste with the opacity.
7. Add an adjustment color balance.
8. Add some yellow, green, red to get a brownish color.
9. And then, sorry I can’t write the rest, a secret is a secret!
What a tease lol

Anyway, I did find another post on this forum dealing with similar topic: http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/pho...n-retouch.html

In this case, a member called jam1212 gave more complete info:

Quote:
For the "peachy" look, you might try desaturating slightly, then adding a color balance layer. To the shadows, add some blue (somewhere around 10ish) and some cyan (a little less than blue). Leave the mids. For the highlights, add some yellow (again, about 10) and some red (a little less than yellow). This tends to give you that kind of look.
This is the type of info I'm looking for. It doesnt have to be super detailed top secret, but at least somwhat complete and with some relative numerical values for guidance
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