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I Heart Faces – Fix-It Friday #108 | Photo Editing Tutorial

I have been a member of iHeartFaces for a while, and love their site and forums. Every Friday, a photo is submitted and members can edit the photo, and re-upload to the forum and/or post a link to its post on their site/blog.  I love doing these – but had only had the opportunity to do one prior to this – when you have a 2 year old, and are trying to run a business, well you get the picture.:)

AAAANyway…This week’s submission contained a sun glare — and well, anyone who has seen any of my more recent photos knows I am a sucker for sun glare:)!

This week’s photo for Fix It Friday was taken by Angie Arthur. (Thank you Angie!)

Here are my edits along with the original.

These were both edited in Photoshop CS5, on a PC (gasp!) and all steps were done manually.

With any photo I process, the very first thing I do is manually adjust the levels and curves. I rarely use the auto settings.

The majority of my own photos come SOOC on the dark side.  I shoot in RAW and for me, it is better to shoot a little dark, than too light.  You can always lighten a photo (you may have to deal with noise – but that’s a whole ‘nother discussion;)) – but once you blow out the light colors in a photo – there’s very little you can do to fix it, if anything at all.

So step one for both photos: Lighten midtones using curves and tweak highs and lows with levels.

I am also a big fan of soft vintage-ishy (?) tones and using levels and curves adjustment tools, and will lighten the values of my dark colors to give them a slight ‘washed’ look.  This also helps when you have blacks that are too stark.

For the first –after adjusting the levels and curves, and sharpening, I created a custom radial gradient to create the color effect.  Initially, it was a linear gradient, but I decided to do something a little different and use the radial tool, dragging the middle of the ‘circle’ to the area that the sun is sitting.  I used the dropper tool the match color tones from the photo itself.The opacity was set to hard light, forgive me, I don’t remember what percent.:(

Afterwards, I created a custom curves adjustment for the photo which enhanced the reds even more.  That was pretty much it for edit #1.

For the second — this one was a whole lot of adjustment layers from selective coloring to custom curves and levels.  I wanted to make the colors match his tie — I know I know…I’m a nut.

First – I created a duplicate layer (which I do ALL the TIME) and brightened the lights, and raised the contrast.  Hiding the layer with a layer mask, I then used a white brush to only reveal the tops of the grass/weeds/lol…plant stuff on the ground – the sections that the sun had highlighted.

Then, once satisfied (which rarely happens:)and after applying the mask, I used the color range selection tool to isolate just those parts. Because the selection was a little choppy, I then used the modify selection tool to feather the edges a bit.

It’s all a blur after this, because when I get going, I tend to try several things before I am happy with the result — but the gist of it is:

I then used hue/sat adjustment layers as well as selective color, color balance and channel mixer to tweak the colors the way I wanted them – simultaneously using layer masks to add/hide sections specific to what I was going for.

I also overlay-ed a bokeh texture at a very low opacity and blended it in the area where the sunlight originates from.

Once I was done, I added a lilac/purplish color layer, set it at a very low opacity, on EXCLUSION in order to get the soft creamy color.

To finish – a little grain and that’s it.

In both edits, I had actually began working to bring out and/or replace the sky with a texture, but decided in the end that it actually detracted from the main subject, the boy and was best left as I have it because it helped to focus the viewer’s attention on him, instead of the pretty clouds I was going to add behind his head:D

And if you were able to follow any of my horrible instructions, you deserve a prize.




CandidHams Photography