How to Etch for Success

Sheer Guard Staff

Depending on the objectives you have for your staff portfolio, etching may offer an unmatched option that provides you with great versatility in terms of backgrounds and applications. As an example, we recently had the pleasure of photographing the Sheer Guard team in our studio. This innovative business provides premium quality transparent burglar bars and security doors; a brilliant solution for everything from residential to retail installations (including a local police station). By contrast, with security being such a high priority here in South Africa, many of us compromise heavily in terms of aesthetics, living with otherwise lovely views marred by unsightly bars.

Above is an image of the Sheer Guard team with dynamic entrepreneur and founder Ricky Walton in the middle. We took this against a white backdrop (below), which provided a simple base from which to etch the team out. Using Photoshop, we then highlighted their product by layering the team image onto the background of their burglar bars, shot separately through a window frame against the blue sky. We processed their individual images in a similar way, also supplying the etched versions on transparent backgrounds, allowing for these to be used on a range of relevant artwork. An added benefit is that the original white backgrounds constitute an effective alternative as they stand.

Ricky Walton with Sheer Guard Team

Etching can be achieved using your tool/s of choice in Photoshop to select your subject as distinct from the background and then utilising the refine edge tool with a range of settings in order to feather the hair appropriately in the case of people. There are plenty of videos available on YouTube that explain this process, but we’d like to emphasise the importance of ensuring the quality of your original shot and how you can potentially play with it once etched.

This is particularly useful in the case of a franchise scenario such as Sheer Guard’s, because the different teams are then empowered to apply and tweak their images as per their requirements. Of course, this also works superbly for product photography. If you have any questions in this regard or would like to book a portfolio shoot of your own, please don’t hesitate to contact us.