There’s a simple way to make your subject’s eyes pop in a portrait, and it doesn’t involve touching vibrance, saturation, luminosity, or any other color-based edit. In fact, you can make the full edit in 30 seconds.
This quick Photoshop tip comes to us from photographer Mathieu Stern, who uses a simple sharpening technique to make his subjects’ eyes stand out. Here’s the step by step:
1. Duplicate your background layer (your portrait).
2. Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and apply a High Pass filter with a radius of 10 pixels.
3. Set the layer blend mode to Soft Light
4. Alt+Click on the layer mask icon to create a black layer mask
5. Use a soft brush to pain white over just your subject’s eyes.
That’s it. Done right, the filter will take your subject’s eyes from this:
Helping them to stand out without that “nuclear eyes” look that so many saturation-obsessed shooters have accidentally created before. Check out the full demo in the video above, and if you like this video, head over to Mathieu’s YouTube channel for more.
Photographer Mathieu Stern made this 2-minute video walkthrough on how you can remove fungus on the glass elements of a camera lens.
Stern recommends removing the affected glass element, cleaning it with dishwasher soap, pouring white vinegar on it, drying everything off, and reassembling.
A few months ago, we also shared a much more detailed article by photographer Tom Leonard showing how he removed fungus from his old lens using hydrogen peroxide and ammonia instead of dish soap and vinegar.
Keep in mind that these are simply examples of do-it-yourself routes that some photographers take — techniques that may not be very safe or friendly to your lens — if you have a precious and/or pricey camera lens you need restored, it’d probably be wiser for you to hand it over to a professional repair service.
Usually, getting some beautiful swirly bokeh on the cheap means looking to used Russian lenses like the Helios 44-2. But if you’re determined to get more creative, weird lens hunter Mathieu Stern has an idea for you: try a military grade night vision lens.
Stern got his hands on just such a lens, a C-Mount 75mm f/1.3 to be exact, and the results it produced surprised him. Here are a few portraits and video stills he captured using this lens. In full-frame mode, you’ve got some serious vignetting, but if you switch into APS-C mode you can capture the complete frame:
This manual focusing (duh) lens has no brand name attached, but Stern says you can find “equivalent named Goldinar or Navistar 75mm f/1.3” lenses online.
You can see more sample shots and learn more about this lens over on Mathieu’s website here. When he posted the video, similar lenses could be found for about 90 euros (~$94 USD) online, but you’ll have to do some digging.
Image credits: Photos by Mathieu Stern and used with permission.
Photographer Mathieu Stern has based his YouTube channel on reviewing cheap and unusual lenses, but for his latest experiment he went a different direction. Stern created his own lens using 3D printing to see what results he could achieve.
Since he didn’t have any experience in 3D printing, Stern created a cardboard prototype using glass from a 1890s lens he had. Using the prototype, he took measurements and created a 2D design.
Stern then got in touch with a 3D printing company in France called FABULOUS, which turned his 2D design into a 3D one and printed it out with a 3D printer.
The resulting lens is roughly a 135mm f/1.8 lens that uses a single glass element in the front.
To test it, Stern mounted it to a full frame mirrorless camera and shot these photos:
“In the end, I really like this lens,” Stern says. “Even if it’s not perfect, it’s a first step in designing your own lenses…”
“You don’t need to buy ultra expensive lenses to make great images,” he continues. “A $4 plastic lens will make great results; what really matters is your vision, ideas and creativity.”
Everyone’s digging that “faded” film look nowadays, but here’s a secret: you don’t have to have a VSCO preset pack to get it. In this short tutorial, Mathieu Stern will show you three very quick and very effective ways to “crush the blacks” and get that popular look using just Photoshop.
Plenty of people hate the faded fad, but if you’re a fan or just want an easy film emulation look that you can pull off in a couple of seconds, this tutorial is well-worth a quick watch. Each of the three techniques adds its own “look,” and when you combine them all you get a result that looks something like this:
Not bad… Check out the video up top to see how Mathieu does this, or read on for a quick step-by-step breakdown of all three options.
- Add a Curves Adjustment Layer
- Move the leftmost point slightly up and to the right
- Move the top-right point down slightly
- Adjust opacity to preference
- Create a solid color layer filled with color code #4B4B4B4B
- Change blend mode to “Lighten”
- Adjust opacity to preference
- Add a Selective Color Adjustment Layer
- Select Blacks in the Colors dropdown
- Reduce the Black slider
- Increase the Cyan slider a bit
- Reduce the Yellow slider a bit
- Adjust opacity to preference
As you can see, each of these options is a distinct way to crush the blacks in an image, making it look more filmic, or at the very least more faded. Check out the video up top to see Mathieu perform each of these, and then give it a shot yourself if you wanna join in on the #faded fun.
If you think a 50mm f/1.2 lens that captures sharp portraits with gorgeous bokeh is hundreds or even thousands of dollars away, think again. If you’re willing to get creative, you can have one for just 20 bucks.
That’s what Mathieu Stern—YouTube’s patron saint of weird lenses—discovered when he adapted a 51mm f/1.2 Bell and Howell projector lens to his camera using a macro ring. For $20, he created a setup that yields portraits like these:
And creamy macro photos like these:
Of course you can’t stop it down, and being fully manual it can be very difficult to use for a beginner, but we’re talking about an unbelievably fast lens that produces beautiful results. It might be a one-trick pony, but for $20 that trick is worth every penny and then some.
Check out the video above to see more sample photos captured with this simple little hack.
(via Mathieu Stern via ISO 1200)