Dragan Drop

I was going to close for November but as I was in experimenting mood I thought I would have a go at the Dragan style. I had of course heard of Gangnam Style but I confess until I saw this web page here I was unaware of the work of  Andrzej Dragan. Supposedly I am trying to find my individual style not copy that of others but it was also a useful learning exercise, seeing how this was done and indeed how simple it is.

I chose a picture from my Cambodia trip. I have had several goes at this and all have disappointed me. Possibly the raw material is simply not good enough. I am not sure yet whether this succeeds in my mind or not. That alone probably tells me it isn’t a success but for what it is worth, here is a visiting monk, who kindly agreed to let me take his portrait.


Comments appreciated.

NB: following Steve Gingold’s helpful comments I removed the background spots and the yellow cast that the original processing produced. This rework has much more of a traditional sepia tint to it whilst retaining the accentuated detail. I think this is better and less like something that lights up when you take the kids on the fairground ghost train. Thank you, Steve!

12 thoughts on “Dragan Drop

  1. I really like this treatment. It would be interesting to see the original in comparison. I don’t see any background spots – some skin blemishes – which I think are part of who he is, I’d leave them. I quite like the sepia tones too. I have to knuckle down and start learning Photoshop. My library is all on iPhoto – and I am a little daunted by the thought of moving all the images – or in trying to manage two libraries.

    • Rod, depending on your level of commitment you may want to consider other image processing software. Or at least start with Elements rather than full blown PS CS6. CS6 is expensive and – at least to me initially -quite challenging to use to even a fraction of its capabilities. You can try something like Picasa, Google’s free programme. I think it was Leanne Cole who recently reviewed a whole range of available software. The biggest issue for me is backing up things that I want to keep. I was useless at this – no discipline whatsoever. No I have a MacBook Pro I use Time Machine but I also have a second hard drive that I copy all my images to occasionally so I effectively have an original file plus two copies of most files. For cataloging I use Lightroom, do my basic processing there then export to CS6 or Silver Efex, whatever. Its a lot of fun.

      • Thanks Andrew. I already have Photoshop elements 9. Just haven’t gotten into it. I have used Picassa but want to use photoshop as it can do much more. Once I figure it out. I use a MacBook Pro with time machine as well. Had to use time machine to rebuild the iPhoto library when I upgraded versions! It worked well.

  2. Well, for what it is worth. I like the monk in all his glory. Maybe adjust the tones as Gingold suggested. I think you should do three versions of him: Color, sepia, and black and white. Post all those and ask for a comment again. Personally I like the portrait a lot. It has much going for it. Lots of character in his expression and eyes. It would also make a great painting.

      • Do not feel alone. I have always wished that I could paint and I took lessons for about a year or so. I needed way too much help for my little pea sized brain and decided that I should put my energy into photography.

  3. Hi Andrew,

    I like this portrait and I think you’ve done a good job with what you had. The 6×6 format crop adds the contrast and dead space of the crimson robe, and the natural side lighting makes for a pleasing effect. The difficulty is the glasses. This monk obviously has a very strong prescription, and there is some weird distortion going on in his right (viewer’s left) that almost looks like there is water on the lens. The other lens has distorted his face, which throws the balance off.

    The moles and bumps add tons of character to this portrait, and I love his expression, it’s just too bad he didn’t take off his glasses.


    • Hi Stephen, for some reason this got caught in my spam filter and I only saw it today. Yes I have struggled with the glasses in every attempt at getting something good out of this. He was quite ill at ease and I didn’t want to press him to take his specs off but that’s why this hasn’t previously seen the light of day and probably never will again. Thaks for commenting.

  4. Portraiture is something I have never tried and have no plans to take up now. So I have nothing to base my impression on except an immediate response. The monk has an enigmatic personality in this image. He appears thoughtful and kind, but also seems to be somewhat stern in his demeanor. If he is a teaching monk I would expect him to be quite demanding. I find the lighting a little unpleasant in it’s strong yellow toning. I wish those spots were not in the background and would probably remove them if possible. I don’t know if anything I’ve mentioned is of any help or even intelligible in assessing a portrait. Critiquing is not a strength with me.

    • Thanks Steve. The spots can be removed. The toning seems to be a function of the processing style but I saved the layers so I might be able to adjust the hue to make it more palatable. It was an interesting experiment but I’m not sure it’s one I’d use habitually. I think you read his character well.

      • I felt the same way about using the Orton Effect. Interesting but not my style.
        Among the sample images in the link you provided, I especially like the Jawa look in the Dodge tool sample.

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