I was asked this question by a potential ‘client’ as they had a photograph with two people in it, but only wanted one to appear in a portrait. The portrait subject was no longer with us, so I was unable to shoot a new sitting.
I said it was possible, but there may be limitations as to what could be done, depending on the source image.
The source image was in fact an 8”x6” photo, printed on ‘lustre’ paper.
I said I’d “give it a go, as there was nothing to lose.”
The photograph was scanned into Photoshop CC at 600 ppi. This gave a file size of 45.8mb.
A copy of the file was made & all work was carried out on this image, using layers where appropriate.
The first thing that I did was clone out as much of the unwanted person as possible, using the fence & other background elements to clone from. I then rotated the image to make the woman appear to be stood upright, rather than have her head tilted, as in the original.
The next thing to do was copy the hair on her left side. A selection was made using the lasso tool. It was pasted onto a new layer & then flipped horizontally & moved into position on her right side. It was a bonus that both ears were showing in the original as this allowed me to position the ‘copied’ hair piece into the right place to start with. A little bit of rotation was required to make the hair look like it was hanging naturally.
Then, the unwanted parts of the copied hair were erased, to allow the correct ear to show through.
A few minor touches with the clone tool helped blend in the hair, to make it appear more naturalistic. After that, the person behind the fence, in the background, was cloned out, so as not to distract the viewer’s eye.
On a new layer, I adjusted the eyes & the catch lights in the eyes, to make it appear that the subject was in fact looking at the camera & not ‘past it’ as in the original.
After this work was completed to my satisfaction, the layers were ‘flattened’ & the image was cropped to a more suitable ‘portrait’ orientation. A high key vignette was added as a final touch to concentrate the viewer’s eye onto the subject & also to help hide the distracting background. It was saved as a jpeg & prints were made to the client’s request.
All in all this was a very fulfilling project that I was tasked with. The client was very happy with the result, which makes it even more satisfying.
The ‘Before’ & ‘After’ images are shown below. They can also be seen in higher resolution in the ‘commisions’ portfolio, by clicking on the images.