A Unique Semi-Black and White Glamour Composite

Presented here is a unique method for creating a black and white glamour composite that contains just a little color. Three MacPhun (Mac only - sorry!) Photoshop plugins are used. For this look, I chose this image of Andrelica, photographed in a studio environment on grey seamless paper. Please note the shadows around her feet:

The background is an HDR image taken at Clarke Quay, Singapore. Notice that the vertical lines are vertical, This is because it was photographed with a Nikon PC-E (perspective control - otherwise known as a tilt-shift) lens:

This technique uses two versions of this background, so duplicate it to get two identical copies. On one copy, run Intensify CK's Gloomy Day preset at full strength to achieve a "punchier" version:


On the second copy, run Tonality CK and use your favorite preset. I used Barcelona from the Architecture presets:


Naturally, the grey studio background must be masked away from the model. After creating this mask, I save the file as version one. On version two, combine the layers used to retouch the model by selecting them and hitting Command-E, resulting in two layers: the layer just created containing all the retouching, and the layer of the model with the background masked out. Insert the black and white version of the background in between these two layers:


The bottom, unmasked layer of Andrelica, with the shadows, is completely hidden. Simply change the layer blending mode of the black and white background layer to Overlay to get back those shadows around her feet:


Here is how the layers stack should look:

Screen Shot1.png

Shift drag the color version of the background over the black and white version. In Normal blending mode it will completely hide the black and white layer and the shadows. Set the layer opacity to 30% to drain most of the color, and also set the layer blending mode to Overlay. It should look something like this:


At this point, you should be able to see where we are going with this technique. We now have a punchy, background drained of some of its color, whereas the model is still in full color. Next, create a stamped layer at the top of the layer stack (Option-Merge Visible from the Layer Panel's flyout menu). I used the Luminar plugin and its Noble Beauty preset to achieve this nice black and white look:


To get that desired semi-black and white effect, simply reduce the layer opacity of the top layer. I went to 70% (= 30% color) but this is simply a matter of taste. Realize that when doing this, you are adding much less color to the background than to the model, because a lot of the color has already been drained from the background. Here is how the layer stack should look when done:

Screen Shot2.png

The final image: