Color toning is usually one of the final touches that I am adding to the photo during editng process in photoshop. Sometimes, however, I will perform color toning more than once during different stages of editing, or stack effects one on another. The key here is not to change the colors of the photo, but to change the mood and make it fit and complement the face expression of your model, the scene, the weather, and bring all elements of the photo together in order to write final page of the story you are trying to convey with the image.
When I color tone a portrait photo, I look at model's body language and its energy. I look at the background and details around the model and instinctly know which direction to go. Think about it in terms of a movie. If you watch a comedy, color toning is usually bright and saturated, in horror movies, war movies or dramas things will be desaturated and gloomy on purpose to emphasise the setting, in sci fi movies usually (though not always) you have crips and sharp contrast and toning, in adventure movies toning will complement the folliage and the environment. The same goes to portrait shots. The photo you see in this article was shot at the seaside in the evening, it was past the sunset. I used one flash to lit model's face and toned down light spill around her in Adobe Camera RAW before bringing it to photoshop. Color toning was performed twice, I started with applying modified filter from Google Software Analog fx pro collection to shift the colors, and then after I finished editing I used curves, gradient maps and solid color filters to amplify the effect. I was going for a quiet yet not so desaturated colors. I did not want colors to be too mellow but at the same time I needed some degree of saturation to add warmth and feeling of peace and tranquility to the image. Editing images is massively important bu it can be broke down to multiple satges, whcih is why if you want to do a good job on editing a portrait shot, you mshould really take your time. Do not be affraid to experiment. Yes it will take you longer to finish the photo, but think how much you will learn. You can learn a LOT about photography composition through photo retouching, and color toning plays a massive part those studies.
If you would like to see how I tone one of my images, I have a full length portrait photo editing photoshop tutorial on my YouTube channel, you can jump directly to photo toning at 30:07
Contact me directly for one-to-one online photoshop tutorials via desktop sharing.
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Ponte Ryuurui (品天龍涙)