Before & After
I “met” Kelli the other day on the photography board. Shortly after meeting me, she contacted me with a picture of her son – don’t you love the expression on his face? She loves the white shirt and blue background, but the photo is severely underexposed (and apparently the lighting was really bad). In situations like this, shooting in RAW is your friend. She did try sending me the RAW file, but ultimately only the JPEG wanted to be sent.
Blue Before and After
I started this photo in Adobe Camera Raw to adjust the exposure, brightness, contrast and add fill light. I then brought the photo over to PSE7. I then ran Amy McMaster’s Squeaky Clean for a nice, clean image. Be sure that if you’re running an action like Squeaky Clean that you go into each layer and adjust for the image. I always adjust the levels layer and the “more color” layer (usually pulling the yellow, red and magenta saturation bars down so I can avoid oompa loopma land).

I merged those layers, then duplicated my background so I could use the dodge tool to lighten any of the shadows around his face. I used the quick selection tool to select his shirt and baseboard – I clicked ctrl J to create a new layer and set the blending mode to screen and lowered the opacity to 30%. I’m sure I also used a soften layer (duplicate layer, high pass filter, inverse, soft light, painted on at 30% opacity) and I may have used a soft paint brush to even out his skin tone. I then added Amy McMaster’s Berries N’ Cream action and adjusted the layers until I was satisfied with the look. 

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I did straighten the photo and cropped. You’ll notice that he’s now in the right third of the photo. In order to accomplish this, I had to stretch the canvas. To do this, use the marquee tool to trace the blank wall on the left side. Click ctrl T (free transform) and then pull the left side to stretch the canvas (if you need more, Coffeeshop Photography has a tutorial). Stretching the canvas is a great way to change up your original composition such as centered photos that need the Rule of Thirds applied.

Kelli ~ at this point, you can typically stop as this is my typical workflow…pretty blue background still in tact. However, I wanted to add a little something. It’s ironic that this week’s Fix-It Friday used nearly the same background. I promise I was working on this last night before I saw it.

So, my last step (before resizing and sharpening) was to add a damask wallpaper layer that I found on one of the sites I follow – it was a freebie at DeviantArt. I accidentally flattened my image before recording the blending mode and opacity, but I’m pretty sure it was an overlay with a 38-42% opacity…and then painted off of his body and baseboard.

I hope you like my edit. I believe that’s all for today (because I’ve clearly blogged enough). I have one more edit to be done for Kendra over the next couple of days, so if you have anything you’d like me to work on…please don’t hesitate to Contact Me! Have a great Memorial Day Weekend.