February 24, 2011
Shoot and Edit: Week 7, Part 2 – Pink…Edit
Welcome to Week 7, Part 2 of our Shoot and Edit.

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This week’s theme or prompt was to show us one “pink” SOOC  shot (this was just a suggestion, you can show us any SOOC shot). Hopefully you linked up with Jill’s blog earlier this week.

Each Thursday, I will take my SOOC shot and provide some basic editing tips (I will try to keep it basic and work my way up). You can then try these tips on your own photos and link up here. If you’d prefer,  can simply share your own edit and show us what you did to achieve the look. We want this challenge to be a learning experience, so feel free to teach us something new too! Also, it does not matter what editing program you use. Although I tend to work within Adobe CS5 (Photoshop), Photoshop Elements and Adobe Camera Raw…it does not mean that you have to use the exact same program. I hope you’ll be able to take the concepts and apply them in the program you feel most comfortable using.

Once again, here is my SOOC shot:
Building on what we’ve learned in the past six weeks (Week 1: Edit, Week 2: Edit, Week 3A, Week 3B, Week 4 Edit, Week 5 Edit and Week 6 Edit), I started this edit in Adobe Camera Raw. Don’t forget to use your eye dropper to create a custom white balance – in this case, I used the white in the doors behind Caroline. Below, I’ve copied my SOOC data and the revisions I made in Adobe Camera Raw. Here’s what I did:
ACR adjustments
You may or may not remember me telling you about this particular photo session several weeks ago. It was a fairly chilly day in January, so we stayed indoors. Even with my higher ISO capabilities, I decided to use my speedlite at a 45 degree angle pointed behind me (bouncing it off the ceiling).

There’s a pretty widespread attitude among photographers that flash is bad…and your camera’s built-in flash should never be used (in my opinion). However, if you know what you’re doing (start by reading your manual)…an external flash can provide wonderful supplemental light and beautiful catch lights. For those of you looking for tips on how to use your external flash (and in case you missed it a few weeks ago), here are a few of my favorite links: 
ACR Adjustment
As I’ve done in previous weeks, I edited my photo in Adobe Photoshop CS5, but I limited my edits to activities that could mostly be performed in Photoshop Elements. This week, I thought we were ready to talk about facial retouching and ACTIONS (in Lightroom, these are called Presets)!

When I first became introduced to Photoshop (using Photoshop Elements 7), I went action crazy. In particular, I found The Coffeeshop Blog where Rita (site owner and photoshop/photoshop elements action extraordinaire) offers a ton of free actions and presets. I must have downloaded very single one. For a long time, I didn’t bother to really learn how to use Photoshop…I was content with using actions. 

My inappropriate use of actions is exactly the reason I’ve walked you through six weeks of manual editing. However, once you know Photoshop basics, I think that using actions is a wonderful way to speed up your work flow. Over the past couple of years, I’ve collected a number of websites that offer free actions: INSPIRATION (if you need instructions for downloading and installing actions, click HERE…I also found a video for installing the actions HERE). If you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll also notice that even sites like Flora Bella will offer freebie actions on their Facebook page or as part of a special promotions.  

Interestingly enough, I noticed the other day that MCP Actions was offering a small taste of what the upcoming MCP Fusion set offers with the MCP Mini Fusion Action Set. For this edit, rather than going through my typical steps (which you can still follow by looking at previous weeks’ edits), that I follow my ACR adjustments, I decided to use Mini Fusion.
IMG_1632 Mini Fusion RS
Mini Fusion Action
What I love about this action is that it automatically plays my typical work flow with an extra something. Like any action, it’s important to get into the layers and adjust to your taste. For example, with this particular action, I made the following revisions:
  1. Within the tone folder, I turned on “Pink Cadillac” @ 25% opacity and turned on “On Cloud Nine” @ 15% opacity. 
  2. On the Brighten layer (I think it was called something slightly different), I increased the opacity to 8%.
I then merged my layers and applied another one of my favorite actions: Florida by Everyday Elements. Amanda, the owner of Everyday Elements, has done an incredible job of packaging tools that Photoshop Elements users will love. Apparently, I’m not the only one who loves Florida – it has been downloaded over 1400 times since it’s release last July.
IMG_1632 Florida RS
Mini Fusion Action + Florida Action
When working with action recipes (meaning that you’re using multiple actions on one photo), I find it helpful to make duplicates of your image. So, after applying Mini Fusion, go to Image>duplicate image (or I think in PSE, you can right click to duplicate your image). That way, if you don’t like how the next action is applied, you can delete that entire duplicate image rather than worrying about retracing your steps. 

With Florida, I find that it needs just a few adjustment to suite my tastes:
  1. Turn the shine layer down to 48% opacity (this will vary by the image).
  2. Turn the creamy glow layer on at 2% opacity.
I think the combination of Mini Fusion and Florida make for a nice happy image, but I’m her little face still has a bit too much red in it for me. This is where RETOUCHING comes into play.
IMG_1632 Face RS
Mini Fusion + Florida + Retouching
When I think about retouching baby’s skin, the first action that comes to mind is Baby PowderRoom by The Coffeeshop Blog. But before you start downloading another action, take a step back and ask yourself how much retouching is really necessary. In the case of Miss Caroline, very little. Here’s what I’ve done (after making a duplicate of my photo of course): 
  1. Create a duplicate of your background. Use the SPOT HEALING BRUSH (looks like a band aid) to heal the small spots on her skin.
  2. Create a new layer and use your EYE DROPPER to select a clean spot of skin (an area of skin that you would want to reproduce on the red areas of her cheeks).  This shade will become your foreground. Now, use your paint brush @ 20% opacity and gently paint over those rosy cheeks. If you think it’s too heavy, you can always lower the opacity of the layer. 
In my photo, I did not feel that it was necessary to lighten or darken any part of her skin. However, a simple way to do this (first merge your layers by clicking CTRL+SHIFT+E) is to create two duplicate copies of your background. On the first copy, use a SCREEN blending mode – create a layer mask for this layer and fill it black with your paint bucket tool. On the second copy, use a MULTIPLY blending mode – create a layer mask for this layer and fill it black with your paint bucket tool. Then go back with a soft white paint brush at 20% opacity and paint on the layer mask to reveal light on the SCREEN layer or dark on the MULTIPLY layer. Even easier…download MCP’s Touch of Light/Touch of Darkness action

Now, let’s talk eyes. One of my favorite actions for enhancing eyes is Morgan Kervin’s Eye Love Sparkle. However, you don’t need an action to enhance eyes…it just makes it faster.

So, create a new duplicate of your photo – you should only have your background. Create a duplicate of your background. Run a high pass filter  and set the blending mode to soft light. Open a layer mask on that layer and fill it black with your paint bucket tool. Now use your soft white paint brush at 20% opacity and paint over the eyes. When you’re working with people…it’s not always necessary to run the high pass filter over the entire body because in a lot of cases, you don’t want all the wrinkles to pop…and in this case, you want this sweet baby’s skin to be nice and soft. 

Then, create a brightness/contrast adjustment layer. Your brightness and contrast sliders should be at 100. Create a layer mask on this layer, fill it black, and then use your soft white paint brush at 20% opacity and paint over the eyes. Once you’ve done that, lower your opacity to avoid “ALIEN EYES.” In particular, if your child has blue eyes, really lower the opacity on this layer…otherwise, it will not look natural. In this particular case, I lowered mine to 80%. 

In most cases, I would stop at this step because I think the edit (above) looks really nice and clean. However, for some reason, I was on Flickr the other day thinking about Nelly Nero and came across an action I hadn’t used yet. 
IMG_1632 I Fake Film RS
Mini Fusion + Florida  + Retouching + I Fake Film Action
You’ve probably seen a number of Nelly Nero‘s actions used in my photos, including Ain’t Life a Peach and her Classic Black and White. While I was on her Flickr profile, I noticed that she uses one particular action on nearly every photo: I FAKE FILM (found in the add-on pack). 

My curiosity quickly led to a download…which quickly led to test-driving my “new toy” on this photo. I hadn’t originally planned to use this picture this week, but after using this action, I was too excited not to share! As with any action though, I made a few tweaks: 
  1. Turned the Desaturation layer down to 80% opacity.
  2. Turned Tint 1 (yellow) down to 38% opacity.
  3. Increased the Brighten Midtones layer up to 32% opacity.
  4. Turned the Fade/Brighten/Tint layer on at 42% opacity.
IMG_1632 Final RS
Finally, I merged all of my layers and used the grid we discussed last week to better crop my photo into the rule of thirds. 

So, to recap our lesson, today we discussed the use of actions to speed up your work flow and retouching.  For your edit, I would love to see you continuing using the lessons we’ve covered in the past six weeks as well as apply today’s lesson.  It’s not necessary that you use the exact recipe that I’ve used today…I’d love to see a reflection of your own style within your photo. 

With that said, here is my side-by-side comparison. I hope you found today’s lesson useful. If you have any questions or need more explanation, don’t hesitate to contact me.
IMG_1632 Good to Wow
I hope you all have a great Thursday. I will be at my conference again today, but I look forward to seeing your edits!

Good to Wow