Project 1: Portrait (Updated)

F I N A L   I M A G E 


In this shoot, I tried to capture an affectionate moment between my friend and her boyfriend. They’re both from Indonesia, but while my friend goes to NTU, her boyfriend goes to the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands. They were from the same high school, went their separate ways, reconnected and became a couple. Being in an LDR, they don’t get to physically meet each other often. When her boyfriend came to visit, I asked if I could take pictures of them, cos I’ve always found them cute together. Stepping into their personal space, I find myself allowed to share and capture this intimate moment between them.


I D E A T I O N   &   E X E C U T I O N

Earlier on the semester I took test shots of my friends, and was happy enough with them that I wanted to use them, but I realised that I didn’t shoot in raw 🙁

So I went on to plan another shoot with my friend, whose boyfriend, incidentally, was visiting. Without getting my hopes up, I proposed the shoot and thankfully, they were willing to do it! I thought it was a great opportunity to have fun, and to end up with something memorable, as we shot on the day that he was leaving Singapore.

We met up in Chinatown and went to a random alley. We planned to do a much more elaborate, experimental look, so I brought a luggage of loud clothes and makeup with me. Due to time, we ended up just taking photos of them in their own clothes, but I think it ended up giving a really nice pop of colour.

Later on, I just randomly tried using the huge sheet of translucent cloth I brought, and though the wind made it challenging, it was quite fun experimenting to see what works.


  1. Cleaning – used the healing brush and clone tool to remove any distinct imperfections. Also used the clone tool (1st submission I forgot what tool to use so I actually used brush HAHA it kinda worked tho) to fill in some parts of the hair to naturalise the edges and fill in emptier parts and the sideburn.
  2. Dodge and burn – brightened and darkened some areas to even the skin tone and lighten lines and dark circles, cos nobody wants to know about how we burn the midnight oil.
  3. Separation frequency – using the Colour and Texture layers, I gaussian blurred the skin out for that healthy glow we love but can’t maintain.
  4. Cleaning 2 – I went back to heal more areas, including the mouth areas (teeth) and some uneven surfaces around the sideburn and the male model’s hairline.
  5. Liquify – I used liquify to smoothen the slight bump on the boyfriend’s nose, narrow it down a little bit, and smoothened out my friend’s chin (a.k.a. removing dat double chin).
  6. Sharpening – I did a high pass layer, but lowered down the opacity and fill to only about 10%, as I figured that I much prefer the blur as it emphasises the glow, and enhances the lighter feel of the photo. Similarly, I added grain to even out the editing processes, but not too much that it would take away the lightness of the picture.

Technical specifications
Shot on Canon EOS 800D, Aperture f/2.8, shutter speed 1/250s, ISO 100, focal length 24 mm


After Critique / Final Submission Improvement

The above documentation and process is of the second try after the critique. I decided to add another cleaning layer and re-do the liquify layer, as I was really irked with how my friend’s sideburn turned out with the uneven skin.

These are some of the additional parts that I decided to edit after the critique:

  • Both models’ necks
  • Both models’ mouth area
  • Area under female model’s nose
  • Area above female model’s eyebrow
  • Removed high pass and grain since it did not contribute to the light and glowy mood of the picture


  • I really enjoyed this project as I like people as a subject matter.
  • It was fun to get to know Photoshop a little deeper.
  • The critique made me realise to be more meticulous.
  • After the second revision, what I think I can still improve on is getting the hair texture right, especially those at the edges. I think I’m still learning to find that natural balance.
  • Also, I am still scared of liquify.

Click here for the Photoshop .psd file