That image of Sam in front of the fire truck is quite beautiful, at least in my opinion. So of course that makes it the perfect image for an bit more high fashion experimentation. Not too much though, as I don't want it to be a cartoon.
Anyway, the before and after ...
Edit: My sister (who is *not* color blind as I am) commented that the lips are too dark. I had also suspected that, and in fact wanted to do the lips in matching color for the fire engine, so I figured out how to do that and the result looks far better to me ... *sigh* ... there are so many possible variations ...
Edit2: My neighbour, Rene -- an accomplished photographer himself -- suggested that I try this in black and white, sort of a Casablanca rendering is you will. You can kind of see what he is driving at here:
Certainly the expression is already there. Just needs the right lighting. So we start with the straight up black and white, which I convert using an adjustment layer (instead of calculations, which is not all that controllable.)
That's a beautiful image ... soft yet sculpted. I like it. But this is too easy ... Sam's face would look good with the most ham-fisted of processing, so let's see what we can do to move closer to the Casablanca look.
That's interesting ... I used the artistic filter called smudge stick, which of course removes some of the tonal control form the artist. This is pretty nice, with lots of interesting detail remaining yet a great deal of "punch" from the contrast.
Now ... how about a darker rendering? The water color filter (also under the artistic grouping) allows a lot of tonal control, and I like the shades that get close to fresco. Lots of texture here, unlike my earlier renderings using this filter.
I *really* like that one. It's giving me that film grain edgy feel while retaining lovely tone on the skin. The shadows are gone, but that's not a problem for this sort of rendering. In fact it adds a lot of punch.
My final experiment is the addition of a spot light treatment using the render -> lighting effects filter. Obviously the light comes from top left and in front, so I tune the spot light top left and let the shadows go almost dark. This actually requires the use of a layer and opacity, but that's par for the course with most of what we do in photoshop anyway.
Yeah ... now *that* looks like a movie poster. Wicked.