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Faces with Character

Henning Guenther Brings Portraits to Light

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Henning Guenther has been a photographer for over 10 years and today he is here to show FotoTV viewers how to create some very unique character shots.

In portrait photography most photographers are familiar with soft, evenly lit light set-ups, for example in beauty photography. Guenther will take a different approach from the norm and demonstrate how to create a stark portrait suitable for male photography.

After demonstrating how to photograph this style, Guenther moves on to show how to digitally edit these images in Photoshop to achieve the typical character style. Guenther lists all the things needed for this type of shooting. A relatively soft light, today he chooses a beauty dish, an appropriate model, and Photoshop. The soft light will be implemented in a way so that it does not have any distinct shadows in the portrait, because he will add the “hardness” to the portrait using Photoshop later.

After several lighting adjustments and example shots, Guenther arrives at the shot he is looking for, except for inadequate light reaching under the area beneath the chin, so he remedies this by placing a reflector underneath. It is a simple piece of Styrofoam board available at most hardware stores and it’s more than adequate for this application

After completing the photo-shoot segment, Guenther moves on to editing the image in Photoshop. He begins by creating a copy of the background level, and a simple black and white conversion using the channel mixer. The next step is raising the skin contrast. Guenther achieves this with the following steps: Select – then color range, the goal is to select the skin in its entirety. Then using the shift key to add values, and click the uniformed skin tones in the photo accordingly.

After enhancing the contrast of the skin with the help of the unsharp mask filter. To darken the model’s beard Guenther simply uses the lasso tool and roughly selects the entire area and then using the shortcut command + L, Guenther effortlessly arrive to the levels window and input his values always using the preview box below as his visual guide. Now the beard is much darker in comparison to before.

After completing the entire essential steps for his shooting, Guenther shows viewers with before and after photos the major differences he has made. And judging the photos side by side, it is clear that Guenther has really created a character shot from his original photo.

In conclusion, Guenther uses a relatively soft light for the portrait shooting, then with using unsharp mask and the darkening of specific areas with levels, has given the photo the typical character shot look.



Great and easy editing. Thx for this video!

I love it

Would be the next thing i try out ! Thanks a lot !

Very Nice

A quick way to get nice results. A different very fast way to get a more grunge feel is to crank up the fill light slider and the blacks slider in camera raw. And lower the saturation slider a bit. Don't overdo it do. Play with it!

I don't have a studio, but

I learned a lot from this video that I can use. The photoshop workthrough is great. Thanks!


thanks for sharing all the useful information !