It is amazing how photographers will take a photo and shelve it based on small little errors when in reality you can use editing software to create something wonderful that makes your subject truly stand out. In this blog I will do my best to give you a blow by blow blog about a Photoshop edit from a recent photo I created.
This photo was taken at recent shoot I did for a city council hopeful and the venue was amazing. I want to first thank The Royal Hotel for allowing me to shoot in their lobby. I am really looking forward to going back there to capture more photos. I would also like to thank my subject Menu who is a super lady and a whole lot of fun. Now onto the edit.
This first photo is the original shot. I have said it before and will again a great edit starts from a great photo and I really like how this turned out. It has all the sharpness I need, the skin tones are nice and even and there is an interest that has been captured. That being said there are some negatives about it as well. I find the leaves dangling in front of the window very distracting, I don't like the sign poking out from her shoulder and lastly the phone cord drives me nuts. Finally there will be a little enhancing of Menu's already perfect smile and hair. Let's get into it.
Whenever I am editing a photo I always change what I dislike the most so for this photo I didn't like how contrasty it was. When this photo was shot I was using a flash with a 6x8 inch soft box which mounts to my speedlight. Even with the flash I still shot quite high ISO so the flash did not have to fill in so much light as to make the photo overly bright.
Step 1 the first thing I did was soften it a bit with a bit of noise reduction.
Step 2 was to bump up the exposure about 1 stop of light; it was just a bit dark but still had so much detail in the highlights and lowlights.
Step 3 was to replace the window I had a photo of this window in my catalogue of stock photos and I thought this would dramatize the photo just a bit more. Replacing the window is just a matter of cutting it from the original pasting into this photo and blending to make it look right.
Step 4 I used the clone tool to remove the phone cord
Step 5 grab the brush tool, sample the colour of her lips and "fix her lipstick" Now this step could have been done before the shot was taken but it was spur of the moment and neither of us thought about the fact her makeup was fading that late into the evening.
Step 6 is perhaps the most important. I used levels to brighten the photo and then with a layer mask I blocked out the section I didn't want brighter. What that equates to is just highlighting her hair and face.
That is pretty much it, now some purists will say that I changed the photo and they are not wrong. What they will fail to recognise is that I could have done the same things in a darkroom with film and hours upon hours of dodging and burning. Photos have always been manipulated to one degree or another and even the most amazing photographers in the world spend time cleaning up irritations in their photos. The difference between film and digital is time. What I can do now in my post editing software is instant, whereas what I did in film could take hours if not days.
Anyway here is the after post photo. As I said before, this photo had all the elements of a good photo to start with; I just perked it up a little. Hope you enjoy and please comment below and like my Facebook page to follow everything I do.