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Today I thought I’d discuss a bit about the post processing techniques behind my new portfolio.

The first step is choosing the right photos. For the high-key shots it is necessary to have a mostly light photo with some detail on your subject being dark and just the inverse of that for the low-key shots. I find that this leaves a fairly wide selection for the high-key shots, but I could only get side-lit shots to work well for the low-key.

After choosing the photo comes the fun part. In Lightroom, right click on the photo and choose edit>edit in Silver Exex Pro2. For the high-key shots I start with the fine art high key preset. I immediately delete the border, I’m not a big fan of borders being hard-baked into my image files. Then I apply one of the white border vignettes. Then tweak the settings to accentuate the overall light feel to the image, while making the detail in my animal adequate. This might mean amplifying the blacks or often a little localized editing using control points. For example, place a very small control point on the eyes and increase contrast and structure to taste.

For the low-key shots, I use one of the lens-falloff vignettes. Tweak the image to get a mostly dark image with some part of your subject light. If detail falls too dark on the subject, use a control point placed on the dark side of the subject and increase the structure. This brings out the detail on that side without lightening it too much. You then might decide to increase the brightness as well, but I typically don’t. This increasing structure on the dark side works similarly to detail extractor in the new Color Efex Pro4 plugin – my favorite filter in that plugin.

Another very important thing to remember is your choice of the color filter to use in Silver Efex Pro 2 has a big influence on this effect and can get you a long way to where you want to be in just one click, remember to experiment with them.