How was this effect achieved? You can see a lot of detail on the face, skin, etc.

Is this a post-process filter or can you get this look by only playing with camera options?

Is it possible to do this using a DSLR? I have a Canon Rebel T4i.

Here is the poster for reference: Film Poster

  • \$\begingroup\$ try searching for tutorials for 'unsharp mask'. Even if you don't use Photoshop, it will teach you the basic technique for this post-process technique \$\endgroup\$
    – cmason
    Jun 9, 2015 at 19:34
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @cambraca The look of that photograph is like 95% post-processing. It's more about learning to use Lightroom or Photoshop than about the camera. That photo could easily be taken on a T4i. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 9, 2015 at 21:42

4 Answers 4


The lighting is from the sides, which you can tell from the highlights on his face, and lack of catchlights in his eyes. The light brushing across the face from the sides creates shadows in all the pores and accentuates them (as opposed to front-on lighting, used in fashion shots, that fills the pores with light, removes shadows and hides them).

Another example of side lighting is how you can see more crater detail in shots of a crescent moon than you can in a full moon, where the light is front-on and the detail just gets washed out.

And I'd say the image has been oversharpened a bit to further bring out the detail.

Here is a shot I did using lights on either side, bringing out texture in the face. I did sharpen it quite a bit, but the look is primarily due to the lighting. No make-up, no filters or special techniques, just lighting and sharpening.

enter image description here

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ "oversharpened a bit": just take that slider and see if you can throw it out of the window; and I don't mean the window of the program you are using :-) On a more serious note: the sharpening/graininess/detail adjustment was applied more or less globally, even in the eyes in which it looks very overdone if zoomed in. I assume this is to get a more film like grain texture, too. \$\endgroup\$
    – null
    Jun 9, 2015 at 19:50

I'm a little picky on the use of the word "Effect" I would use the word "look".

In my opinion the main things you see on that look are:

  • Sharpness- If you zoom on the hair in the mustache you can see a white halo arround the black hair. That indicates me that it has somehow an exagerated sharpness filter.

  • The local contrast- Local contrast is not the overall contrast of the white point and the black point of an image, but from small zones. It has being a trend since the tone mapping techniques of Hdr images are being used. This produces that you see the pores of the skin very dark next to the skin itself.

  • The darken look- there are some styles of retouching images based on the style of Andrzej Dragan: https://www.google.com.mx/search?q=draggan+style they are based, again in exagerating local contrast.

  • Add some make up, etc...

In my opinion the look you see is post-process and you can do it with some regular photos and transform them. I would find very hard to achive them by make up and Ilumination (or camera settings) alone.


Is this a post-process filter or can you get this look by only playing with camera options?

This sounds like you are only considering the photography side of this image. But there is very likely makeup involved, which plays a just as important role.

Even if you know how the lights are set up and what gear to use, getting the same result certainly also depends on the subject and the makeup.

Without makeup, people will look horrible, because you will see the tiniest wrinkle and every other ugly detail.

Also, if you take a look at the crew here, you can find the involved photographers. One of them probably took that photograph.

  • Giles Keyte still photographer
  • John Marzano aerial director of photography
  • Aidan Monaghan additional stills photographer
  • Peter Mountain still photographer
  • Mark Patten director of photography: second unit & motion content
  • Daniel Stilling director of photography: Florida unit
  • art directors, etc.

I'm not sure if any of those are sharing their techniques in personal blogs or websites. Or if there is behind the scenes material about photography available online. The cgi/vfx people sometimes show behind the scenes stuff and how they did things, mostly to brag how awesome it is, which it is.


Shoot the person in the shade or on an overcast day and if you are using Lightroom you can use the clarity slider and sharpening slider to bring out the texture in the face. Personally, this looks like it is overdone.


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