Editing Technique

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by s._wilson|1, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. PLEASE help me figure out how to create this effect. This link here- shows an example:
    The author is explaining that photographers edit their images all the time and shows some before/after shots. (I already tried emailing the author, and received no response.) I have seen this professional "look" many times and I am trying to duplicate it with some of my own portraits.
    I am specifically speaking about the third photo down (infant girl on bed, looking directly into camera) her skin glows, eyes really pop, and it overall looks more angelic!
    Please tell me, how do you do this? I'm sure multiple steps are involved, but can anyone provide me any clues to create this look?! I use Adobe Photoshop elements 10, if that helps...
    Thanks to anyone that takes the time to help me :)
  2. gdw


    Shayna, I do not know how this photographer achieved this effect, but you can duplicate it very closely by going to the historgram and pulling the midtone slider to the left to lighten just the midtones. It appears that on some the vibrancy has been increased after making this adjustment. On the photo you mention it appears that the hair, eyes and mouth have been hit with the burn tool on a very low setting to bring them out more after the lightening. Don't know that it will work for you but you might give it a try.
  3. Use the recovery slider in Lightroom or ACR, sparingly. Also try taking Exposure down and Brightness up. Reduce Clarity and add some Noise Reduction (Luminance) and you too can have a plasticized baby. Except for the blown highlights, I prefer the image on the left... t
  4. Hi Shayna - To generally reproduce the effect in the image you cited, you certainly can start with the adjustments suggested (but not illustrated) by Gary W and Tom Meyer, but to accurately reproduce the effect, IMHO, one needs to tweak many of the other settings in LR or ACR.
    Unfortunately, because the before-after image pair that you used as an example was not photographed by you, we are not allowed to post either the original or any tweaked versions of it in this thread. That makes it quite awkward to discuss the details of post processing techniques and/or demonstrate the success or failure of any particular approach.
    I processed the "before" image that you cited and obtained a result very close to the "after" image. Most of the change was made in ACR, but I did do some final tweaks in PS. If you would like, I can send you an xmp file (ie, an ACR / LR "preset" file) which you can load into LR, and it will show you the actual value of every adjustment that I made. If you are interested, send me an email (not a photo.net "message") and I'll send you back the xmp file plus an image which is my approximation of desired "after" look.
    Tom M
  5. There's more than one way to achieve this effect, but IMO the most basic change appears to be more-or-less the functional equivalent of using the curves tool to raise the lower-to-mid values (make them brighter) and do less (but some) of the same for the more extreme values (darkest and lightest areas). leaving the very extreme ends of the curve in place. This has the overall effects of making the image look brighter (more lit up), increasing the contrast in the lowest values, decreasing the contrast in the mid to upper values, and making the shadows more "open" / less shadowy. (There also appears to have been more / extra work done to make the eyes pop--maybe a little too much, because at some point the subject starts to look possessed.)
    Really, the curves tool is one of the most fundamental tools in the digital darkroom--extremely useful and powerful (especially with separate operations on the R, G, and B channels), but probably one of the hardest to master. (I am certainly not near there yet!) Tools with names like "clarity" may be convenient, especially for less experienced digital darkroom workers, but they tend to leave the user with a fuzzy concept about what is being done, and are less of a path to true mastery. I would encourage you to experiment with curves and see what you get.
  6. And here is the curve that was applied in the second version. (Some healing tool use is still to be done where she scratched herself with her fingernails--babies' fingernails are hard to cut!--and a little sharpening.)
  7. Hi Dave - I fully second your suggestion for newbies to start with the Curves tool, and I often begin my tweaking of an image in exactly this way, but one must not forget that adjustments like "Clarity", "shadows/highlights", "Recovery", and the myriad of adjustments possible using a "Hue/Saturation" adjustment layer simply can not be done using only the "Curves" tool.
    Tom M
  8. If you want to avoid having to do any if this, why not get it in camera?
  9. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    If you want to avoid having to do any if this, why not get it in camera?​

    And how would you recommend doing this for such obviously processed photos? What settings would you use in camera to get them?
  10. If you want to avoid having to do any if this, why not get it in camera?
    Because sometimes you want to capture something that isn't a set-up shot--if you're lucky, you've got a minute to grab the camera, maybe tweak a basic setting or two, and fire a few shots. And sometimes you have a subject that is not going to sit still, and remain happy, while you fiddle with camera settings, to say nothing of lights and light modifiers. And sometimes you plan the shot, and then later get a different aesthetic vision. And as Jeff says, sometimes you want an effect that you can't get in camera.
    Insistence on things like always using a tripod, or always setting things up such that no digital darkroom work is beneficial, strikes me as either naive, or limiting on what sorts of pictures you can take, or narrow in aesthetic vision. The digital darkroom has revolutionized the 'how', but not as much the 'what'--maybe you could get a longer but better answer by reading Adams' The Negative and The Print?
  11. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Because sometimes you want to capture something that isn't a set-up shot​
    It's not just that, a lot of the time there are things that can be done to realize a photographer's vision that aren't done in camera. How would one burn the edges of a shot in-camera? How does one do dodge and burn to bring out a sky, for example, in camera? That's why books like The Negative and The Print exist, because doing things in-camera is basically point-and-shoot, and while that's a lot of fun, it's pretty limiting.
  12. Obviously post-production is necessary. Levels tweaks are always necessary as is color correcting You can't retouch a portrait in camera, you can't dodge and burn etc etc, this has always been the case with analog, and obviously has carried through to digital, and for good reason. But the 'effects' linked to in the thread are essentially blowing out the highlights/general overexposure . Pretty easy to do in camera IMO without any setting up necessary...
  13. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    At least in the second one on the linked page, it's pretty obvious that the eyes have been worked over in a way that could never be done in-camera.
  14. It not so difficult, but there is many ways to achieve the result. if you try some of the Lynda.com tutorials for light room or photo shop. Especially Chris Orwigs tutorials is good imho.
    If you google for free lynda pass you can find ways to be a test member för 1 to 7 days and see if you like it.
  15. Then I guess it comes down to personal taste... Why you'd a want a baby to have eyes like that I can't for the life of me figure out...
  16. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    It's not about personal taste. Someone asked how to do it. If you don't like the look, just move on. This isn't the Critique Forum.

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