Looking for retouching suggestions

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by dan_catinella, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. So I'm new to drastic retouching techniques. I use Lightroom 4 and do mainly photojournalism so my photos tend to be true to life without much artistic expression outside of composition and contrast. I can adjust contrast and white balance and things like that very well and create nice looking photos and portraits, but I have this panoramic photo that I would be really interested in seeing if someone would be able to make pop. I've messed with saturation and clarity quite a bit and have an interesting looking photo but would love to see someone elses magic. If anyone is willing to give it a shot real quickly and maybe post a copy online or something I would love for you to email me at catinella@gmail.com and let me know. I can send the file over or you can download it from my server.
  2. I don't know if anyone has responded to your request, but here are three suggestions to increase your chances:
    1. Be a regular Photo.net contributor. OK, you can't change this now.
    2. Make it easy. Post the link to the image here, don't make us do extra work to get the image. I'm not going to give my email to a stranger, and it doesn't appear that you put a valid email in your profile so I could sent an email through Photo.net.
    3. Make it a learning experience for all. Allow us to post the results for all to see (low resolution).
  3. For a very quick way to make images pop in LR, download the free presets from onOne and pick Clarity-1 or Clarity-2 from onOne Perfect Presets Vol 3. The details might have changed as I think I first downloaded it for LR 3 but no doubt little has changed.
  4. Hey Matt,
    Thanks for the suggestions. I am definitely a new contributor to photo.net. I have usually just tried commenting on people's threads on fotoblur and sites like that. I haven't really joined any photo forums and spend my time on some food and baking forums instead. I studied a little bit of photography and recently graduated and realized I am going to miss the back and forth and crowd critique so I googled what sites were recommended and this came up. I know I'm new but I'm not just looking for someone to retouch images and than disappear.
    I uploaded the files to my server for easy download. I have three file types, .tif .psd and .jpg. The .tif may be a little compromised. I exported the PSD as a JPG and then opened the JPG in Lightroom for adjustments, which obviously isn't the correct workflow but I was just messing around really. I already sent a version out to be printed, but I would really love to see how far retouching can be taken on a simple image. The image is quite old, but I've always loved it and had it sitting on my server for years.
    Feel free to post results. If anyone has a high quality image they would like to upload to my server to be shared that's completely fine as well. I just ask that no one uses any portion or version of the photo for commercial use unless I give permission.
    I took the photo as four separate photos. Imported with photoshop ---scripts ----stack and then auto blended and layered. Some of the original files can be seen at

    You have to right click ---save as or else it may open in quicktime for you.
  5. Hey Hans,
    Thanks for the reply. The presets that were shown as examples are all things I'm capable of now using lightroom. Have you used the presets yourself? Are they capable of more then the things the sample photos show?
  6. Here's a link to Adobe TV that may help you with your goals: http://tv.adobe.com/watch/whats-new-in-lightroom-4/lightroom-4-develop-module/
    Generally I prefer to critique photos posted in the critique forum. You might consider posting there with a request for help to improve the image.
  7. The original, cropped quite a bit to fit in 700 pixels without shrinking too much, retaining the essence of the image. Your crop is fine, I wouldn't change it.
    I think it is too light and needs more saturation.
  8. I just realized you use LR and I use PS, but I think LR has curves. Your image has the full tonal range so it is just the mid-tones that need tweaking. Grab the center and move it up or down as necessary.
  9. Curve setting.
  10. Finally I increased the saturation +12. More looks unrealistic to me.
    There are people here who are better at this than me, someone can probably tweak it more.
    These adjustments should be make with 16-bits if possible, in Raw if possible.
  11. 2. Make it easy. Post the link to the image here, don't make us do extra work to get the image. I'm not going to give my email to a stranger, and it doesn't appear that you put a valid email in your profile so I could sent an email through Photo.net.
    I uploaded the files to my server for easy download.
    ...and had it sitting on my server for years.​
    Read that Adobe link. Things can get embedded in images when you least suspect. So you'll see there's more to #2 than most want to risk from a stranger we know nothing about and who can't seem to bother to read Photo.net's simple instructions for uploading images which need to be reduced to 700 pixels on the longest end whether vertical or horizontal to have them appear inline within this thread.
    There are some here who've been encountering strange things with their own websites like hacks and some here have been victims of ID theft in the most unusual manner with no explanation on how, when or where.
    The less risk you provide the better off many will feel in doing retouch freebies for a stranger.
  12. I'm not looking for freeby retouches! I just want to see what some people with more experience are capable of and learn what programs, plugins and techniques they use.
    I have no problem with someone retouching and uploading a photo with a crazy watermark or a terrible crop just so I can see some ideas.
  13. I'm not looking for freeby retouches!​
    Sorry, my misnomer. I meant freeby post processing tips.
    But you see for any of us to offer any meaningful tips that are specific to your images we'ld have to twiddle,tweak and experiment on our system and software to figure out the best options for you otherwise we're just guessing. There are folks here including myself who've been doing that online for several years and we enjoy sharing our experience. But you seem to not want to help us out with our simple request.
    I take it from the focus of your response to me, the security thingy and your wanting folks here to just enter your URL's to your images to view from your server without knowing anything about you isn't going to be a part of your focus or concern.
    Good luck with that POV.
  14. Dan, I think the main problem with that image is that the camera must have been set to Auto White Balance. AWB will ruin anything like a sunset, because it tends to make the average of all colours a neutral grey - not what you want in a sunset! A bit late now, I know, but try setting the WB to "Daylight" next time you want to capture a sunset. In fact setting the WB manually isn't a bad habit to get into at all times.
    I had a quick play with the Jpeg version of your pano, and the result is posted below.
    Recipe was:
    1) Use curves to increase contrast in mid to highlights (downward drooping curve with pivot point at around 180).
    2) Duplicate layer and blend using "hard light mode" with 100% opacity. Used curves on new layer to raise black level in order to prevent original shadow tones from being changed too much.
    3) Merge layers down.
    4) Use Hue/Saturation to selectively increase red, yellow, magenta saturation and decrease blue & cyan saturation and lightness.
    Trouble is that the red and orange tones were pretty weak to begin with. Getting richer colour at the camera stage would definitely have helped.
  15. Well I had a mess around in photoshop touch on a tablet.
  16. I just adjusted the color balance to make it more orange, increased saturation and sharpend a little.
  17. wow thats a very cool effect.
    This picture was taken a long time ago. If i remember it was with a POS and not an SLR. I really didn't know anything about photography at the time. Now I'm shooting a D7000 with some nice lenses and some training under my belt. I use grey cards and whatnot for white balance or I'll adjust in post with Raw files.
    I appreciate your guys time on this
  18. Why not try converting the RGB image to L*a*b mode. From there make a curve adjustment layer and within the "a" and "b" channels, take the top point and the bottom point and bring them in at equal amounts ( on BOTH channels). From there I used an ACLE extension to increase the contrast. It seems to work better than curves

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