Lillian Bassman Style Tutorial

Lillian Bassman was an amazing photographer, who shot Fashion photography for Harper’s Bazaar in a new and exciting way from the 1940’s all the way til the 1960’s. Her black and white images are striking, due to her developing techniques in the darkroom, using tools that included tissue paper, bleach and spatulas.

Open your image up and identify the gender.

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The software will mark up the face for you, but you can tweak it to make it exact.

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Under ‘Presets’, I chose ‘Full Lighting’, as it gives the face more of a glow.

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Under ‘Skin Smoothing Controls’, using ‘Master Fade’ to apply the changes to all areas, go quite high with the slider as image will be in black and white and this will help with the contrast.

Also I changed the around mouth in this section with this image, but this is just personal preference.

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If the lighting isn’t quite right you can change the direction that the light is coming from, we want the light hitting the front of the face, leaving a slight shade on the other side.

Under ‘Make up Controls’, I have added red lipstick, mascara, highlighter and blusher just a little, this is to create more of contrast when made black and white and makes her features stand out.

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The last change I make in PortraitPro is have the ‘Baby Skin’ slider all the way to the top, this makes the skin as smooth as possible. The facial features will now looks slightly blurred, don’t worry.

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I also crop the image slightly under ‘Picture Controls’. Save the image as a Jpeg/Tiff/Png and then open it up in Smart Photo Editor.

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In Smart Photo Editor the first thing I do is to apply a Black and White effect to the whole image. The effect I pick is called ‘Portrait’.

To do this, you click ‘Effects Gallery’ on the right hand side at the very top, then on the left hand side click ‘Color’>’Black and White’. Then pick with effect you like best.

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Blurring the background is the next step, click ‘Select Area’ button on the right hand side, click ‘Background’ and work your way around the person.

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When you have completely done around the person, click the ‘Bucket’ that appears to fill in the rest of the background.

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Now click the ‘Confirm Selection and Browse Effects’ button.

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We want a blurred background, there is a small search bar, just type in blur, the effect I picked is called ‘blur’. You can change the strength of the effect by moving the slider. Click ‘OK’ when you are happy.

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My image isn’t quite right, so going to crop the image again, click the ‘Crop’ button on the right hand side and resize your image.

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After Cropping the image I apply two effects to the whole image, firstly ‘Constrast f6′ followed by ‘Brighten faces 2b’.

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Now just save the image.

Finished image

This is the end result. With the background blurred and the facial features smoothed out, you can really see the effect the strong black and white colors have against each other.

To try this tutorial for yourself click here to buy PortraitPro and Smart Photo Editor, or download free trial of PortraitPro and Smart Photo Editor.

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