Create a Dragan Style Portrait effect in Photoshop

This is a tutorial that I really enjoyed and have used many times for little projects. The tutorial is originally by Nathan Brown on the WebGraphics website. This is the link to the original tutorial –!Bn6abU/

My version of the tutorial incorporates my photos that I have edited using this tutorial. So without further ado, here is the tutorial!

If you’re a photo buff of any level, you’ve most likely heard of or seen the amazing work of Andrzej Dragan. His portraits have a very high contrast and color style all their own. The effect is stunning and eye catching. It reveals a lot about the subject that the naked eye doesn’t get to see. A similar effect can be created in Photoshop with just a few simple steps. Lets take a look.

Layla and Nick Dragan

  1. Open Photoshop and load an image that you prefer to work on (can be an image from the internet or one of your own).
  2. First up, lets add a Levels adjustment layer, and adjust the levels to something close to what I have below. Basically, we’re bumping the contrast with this adjustment.
  3. Now lets add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and take the saturation down. If you like, you can also adjust the color tone in this step using the Hue slider.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.37.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.39.52 PM

4. Now lets add a Curves adjustment layer to further adjust the contrast and highlights. You’ll need to add three dots to the curves line and adjust to something similar to what I have below.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.43.33 PM

5. Now we’re going to increase the sharpness considerably using the High Pass Filter. Make a duplicate of the original portrait layer, and select (Filter | Other | High Pass). Choose a setting of at least 10.

6. Now set this layer’s blending mode to Overlay.

7. For the final steps, we’re going to bring out some of the details in the photo using the dodge and burn tools. You can see from your photo, that their are some spots that are too hot (bright).

8. Use the Burn Tool (O) with Exposure set to 50% to darken the areas that you find too bright. You can also use the dodge tool for this.

9. Below are my final images. Experiment with these techniques on more of your own photos. You will be surprised by the dramatic effect you can add to your photography in a matter of minutes.

Dragan JessDragan Nick

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Remember to go check out the original one on the WebGraphics website!

Tips for Mobile Design

Well, over the semester, we have learned a lot about mobile design and have picked up a various amount of tips along the way. So here are some for you:

Tip 1: Put Navigation for an app on the bottom instead of the top so that its easier for the user to maneuver and within thumb reach.

Tip 2: Make your icons have colours that stand out because they will be amongst a colour war field on the app store and play store.

Tip 3: Always include ways to keep your users coming back for more. Put the carrot in front of their face and keep them chasing it.

Tip 4: Try to incorporate animations because these entertain the user and make it an overall better experience for them.

Tip 5: When all else fails, get a little PMT. If you don’t know what that is, go back to school and take Mobile App Development at Canadore and you will find out.

These are just a few of thetas I have picked up because there are just so many things you can do to make great app designs! Stay classy, stay inspired!

Mobile Industry

I believe that everything is becoming much easier because of the mobile industry. They have made it available so that anyone can access the internet from pretty much anywhere. This industry has made rapid growth in the social media department and has pretty much ruled out watches with everyone just checking their phones now (No one needs an alarm clock anymore). The industry has made a lot of thing easier to do but I am also still wary of what continues to grow in the mobile industry such as paying with cheques by taking a picture of it on your phone and sending it in. I am still very old school when it comes to banking and actually go to the bank to deposit cheques and pay my credit card bills.

Mobile has made learning easier for people through educational apps (Math Trapz….download it :P) and has helped break down cultural impacts and language barriers as most apps incorporate language preferences (Magic 8 Ball…download it too) and there is even and app that teaches you other languages.

My perspective on Mobile is very back and forth because I like how it has made life easier but I also miss the days where you didn’t see everyone around you on their phones and actually talking to each other (mind you, it has helped for people that prefer to social interactions over social media and do not like confrontation).


What I’m working on!

Currently, I am working with Beatriz Silveira on an app for Fish Bay Marina which is located on 502 Lake Nipissing Road. The app will give the user information on the marina and it’s services, it will have aquatic related games, swipe accessed photo galleries, and an interactive map of Lake Nipissing that shows which fish are prominent in the lake based on the season and lunar calendar. This app will come in handy for local fisherman and anyone that is looking to reel in a big catch on Lake Nipissing! We hope to have this published soon, at the latest by the end of April! We will keep you posted.

The road ahead to Design and Development !

So as many of you know already, I am a Graphic Designer! But I took the next step to learn the ways of development for mobile this year and have become very comfortable working with code and creating apps. I am now a multifunctional tool of mass creation (“destruction” would just be working backwards but if this was a comic book, it would be cool) because I have the skills to do great design and now the technical side to the work too.

Over the next two years, my plan is to be living in North Bay with my girlfriend while she attends teachers college. I will be working as a freelance Graphic Designer/Developer until I get a more permanent job. Stay tuned for info on my upcoming app!


Magic 8 Ball

Hey guys! So I just published my second app! Its called Magic 8 Ball and it is just like a real magic 8 ball so when you shake your phone, an answer will appear! And it has a multi-language option so that you can use it in english, french, or portuguese! I would really appreciate it if you would download it and try it out! Thanks guys, your all awesome.