February 09, 2010
Before & After
Each week, as part of a photography board in which I participate, we’re given a couple of photos that need a little editing help. If you’re a fan of I Heart Faces‘ “Fix-It Friday,” then you’re already familiar with the process. This week, one of the girls gave us quite the challenge. In this first one, we were asked to fix a back-lit, under-exposed photograph of an adorable little girl (her daughter).  
I thought it’d be helpful to share my “recipe.” Here’s what I did to achieve my after: 
  1. I adjusted the levels and s-curve to brighten the image (to be honest, I may have blown it out a little too much, but I like my photographs brighter).
  2. I did some light corrections on her face using Coffeeshop’s Baby Powder Room. I was careful to lower each layer’s opacity so that she still looked natural.
  3. I added Coffeeshop’s Golden Vintage – again adjusting each layers opacity so it wasn’t too golden or vintagy. 
  4. I adjusted the saturation levels of my yellow, red and magenta to warm it up a bit. 
  5. I added 2 vignettes – I’m not even sure you can really tell since I layer them so lightly that it creates a nice frame.
This second photo’s challenge was to adjust the underexposure and clean up a wrinkled background. 
Here’s my recipe for this second photo: 
  1. First, I selected the background and gave it a gaussian blur to correct a wrinkled backdrop. I suppose I could have added texture, but I kept it simple.
  2. Again, I adjusted the levels and s-curve to brighten the image. 
  3. Then, I used Coffeeshop’s Baby Powder Room to clean up her face a little. As with the first photo, I was careful to adjust the opacity on each layer so she still looked natural. 
  4. Next, I did a little dodge and burn action (made tonal adjustment, added a layer mask, revealed adjustment layer and painted the area I wanted to lighten – which in this case, was mostly the right side).
  5. I added Coffeeshop’s Color Pop and adjusted opacity levels (sometimes it gives too much pop). 
  6. Finally, I added a light vignette to frame out the picture. 
One of these days, I’ll include screen shots with instructions, but hopefully this gives you a little insight into how I go about editing a photograph. I’m open to constructive criticism if you have any, or if you have other approaches that I should learn – I still have a lot to learn! By the way, if you want to see larger images of either set, just click on the picture – it won’t be the best resolution since I’ve uploaded it using blogger, but you get the idea.

Until next time,

4 COMMENTS

    Thanks for posting all your steps!

    Thanks for posting this info. Just curious, what editing softward do you use? I just got PSE, but I haven’t opened it yet…it seems a little overwhelming. But those edits you did look great, so I might have to start learning how to use it!

    I do use PSE and it can be quite overwhelming at first. I found that by identifying other styles that I liked and then hunting down the approach to achieving that style, that I became more familiar with how to edit my own photos. Tutorials can be great but I often learn best through trial and error.

    Love the second photo, so cute! You did a great job on them Ashley.

    Take Care, Melissa


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