While it’s generally frowned upon to use your editing software to save a picture, I totally just did it. :) And I wanted to share with you why.
This is my great niece. This makes me sound so old, but whatevs…it’s the truth. :)
I was in town for a pretty brief visit, and we had about five minutes to wrangle together the kids and get a quick shot. I wanted to “save” this picture since I don’t see this munchkin very often and it seems as though she grows a foot in between each time.
What you see above is a “straight out of camera” shot, or SOOC. The light was very direct and pretty much right overhead, so I turned her back mostly toward the sun, which left an uninteresting background. Since I didn’t have an external flash or reflector with me, I tried to use the flagstone path under her as a reflector, but as you can see, it didn’t work very well.
I catalog all of my photos in Lightroom (LR 4) and luckily I was able to do a quick edit there with some presets and brushes that work really well.
Step 1: I brightened up the exposure just a bit and decided to use a film emulsion preset from Red Leaf Boutique.
Step 2. Since the overall photo looked a bit too cool, I warmed it up a bit (same LR Preset set from Red Leaf Boutique) and applied a tiny bit of grain.
Step 3. I used the cloning brush to remove a couple of scratches and the blemish from her cheek and the skin smoothing brush from OSP on her face, adjusting the clarity so that she doesn’t look unnaturally soft.
Step 4. After warming her up in bit in previous steps, I noticed that her eyes and teeth had yellowed just a touch, so I used the exposure and tint brush in LR to both brighten and reduce yellows; used the “depth and drama” brush to beef up the background and add dimension; and a “sunlight” brush by OSP on her face, shirt, and arms.
Final tweaks: Sharpening and cropping. My very favorite sharpening tool is in Photoshop (I use PS 6), but I have no idea where I picked it up. It’s actually an action and I did reduce the opacity a bit. Cropping the image on a 5×7 ratio to eliminate some of the uninteresting background and using the “golden spiral” composition rule accentuates her body position and allows her eyes, smile, and total cuteness to engage the viewer.
Before and after. She looks giggly, vibrant, bright-eyed, and oh so much like happy Avey. :)