1. For men in which I want to show character, starting with a color digital image (normally I work with Tiff but Jpeg will be O.K.) I begin with Lucis Exposure with the strength selector set on the third from left and then adjust the slider to 40. I follow this with conversion to black and white (I use the conversion in CS3) and adjust the skin tonal values using the yellow and red sliders. I adjust contrast in the facial tones by using image/adjustments/levels (globally) and image/adjustments/curves (locally)
2.I next do a high pass sharpening on a duplicate layer at .9 pixels and blend it with hard light. (create a duplicate of the background layer than with the duplicate active go to filters/other/highpass)
3. Next I blend the background to the image using the gradient tool at a setting of 9% opacity making sure that black is my foreground color...making several passes as required. I sometimes make a selection around the face and then inverse the selection so that the gradient tool does not intrude into the face area.
Next I do smart sharpening at 150% and 1.4 pixels radius.
From this point on the workflow for women and men is the same...
4. I make two duplicate layers (cmd and J for PC users) and I hide the top layer by clicking on the eyeball and select the middle layer by clicking on it. I set the blend to darken and go to filters/blur and add a 40 pixel gaussien blur.
5. Next I make the top layer selected and active by clicking on the eyeball. I hide the middle layer by clicking on the eyeball and then select lighten as my blend mode and add a 60 pixel gaussien blur in filters/blur/gaussien blur.
6. Next I click on the middle layer to unhide it by clicking on the eyeball and select the layer by clicking on it. I next adjust it's opacity to 40%.
7. Next I hide the background layer by clicking on the eyeball and I create a new layer (create new layer icon at the bottom of the layers pallete). I drag this layer to the top of the stack. I hide the two middle layers by clicking on the two eyeballs. I then make sure that the top layer is selected and while holding down the alt key (on PC) I select merge visible from the flyout menu in the layers pallete. While the top layer is still active I lower it's opacity to 40%.
8. I add a layer mask to the top layer (add mask icon at bottom of layers pallete) and using a medium hard brush with black as my foreground color, I paint on the image to bring back the eyes, lips, and hair...(all that is not skin tones).
9. For a sepia tone, I go to actions/default actions/sepia and run the action. I flatten the image and go to image/adjustments/hue and saturation and desaturate by about 55%.
I realize that there are lots of possible workflows...just that this one is pleasing to me. Hope this helps someone. This can be automated by creating an action in PS if one does much portraiture.
P.S. This workflow will also work in color by deleting the BW conversion and Sepia toning steps.
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