I just returned from Fairbanks Alaska photographing the northern lights, dog mushing, ice sculptures and interesting Alaskan people. One afternoon we set up a portrait shoot (at ten below zero) to photograph one of the staff at our lodge. Paul was classic Alaskan…bearded, fur lined coat and rugged. For the shot we used an Elinchrom ELB500 in TTL mode with a square soft box. I underexposed the bright background to add some contrast and separation. But the final shot needed something else…maybe a washed out border with a desaturated look. This was a perfect job for Alien Skin Exposure X4.
If you are familiar with Alien Skin, you know their preset looks are amazing. They have duplicated almost every film look you can imagine, and a lot more than that…hundreds of interesting presets. They also have a RAW editor and database system. But for my portrait I wanted to use one of their border preset effects. You can select various border styles, choose where to apply and aim them in your image, and then reduce opacity if the effect is too strong. For my shot I choose a washed out beam effect, placed it in the left corner and reduced the opacity about 30 percent. This desaturated the image, and added nice flare in the left corner. If you haven’t checked out Alien Skin recently, take a look. For just over a hundred bucks, this software package is loaded with creative tools and effects. I use it frequently when editing my portraits.