Time for another fix-it Friday, with I Heart Faces.
This was the SOOC for todays photo:
My first steps are to crop in closer, simple unsharp mask and noiseware.
Before I start jumping into color issues, I want to make sure I have my exposure right. Exposure affects White Balance, and White Balance affects exposure. It’s important to work with the two in harmony. I don’t want my eye to be tricked right now into thinking that I see some red, maybe orange color issues going on. So I’m going to fix my exposure first, by running my own action called “Make it Brighter". My action simple adjusts midtones and brightens the overall picture. I adjusted the opacity to about 50%.
It’s pretty amazing how those red and orange issues aren’t there anymore. I don’t have to touch color at all, which is wonderful. I am now finding the crop to be a little to wide, so i cropped down to get her eyes in the ROT.
There is a lot of distracting background elements. I feel like it could be stronger in black and white because that red and orange background would fade back. For this shot, I used Pioneer Woman’s B&W Beauty action, which is simply a gradient map with a curves bump, so easy to do by hand if your so inclined. The action’s curve bump didn’t give me enough contrast:
That’s too much middle gray for me. Other’s might like this conversion and could stop there. I selected the curves adjustment layer, which is titled “Bump”, and right clicked on it and duplicated it.
A full duplication was TOO much contrast, so I lowered the opacity of that layer to 62%. I don’t want to blow the red channel in her face. Her cheeks are getting “hot” so I double checked that they weren’t over 245 (my comfort level). 255 is completely blown, so if you see any of those spots, back up and remove the curve.
If you don’t know how to check for hot spots, go under window>info and the info tab above will pop open. Then in your tool bar, choose your eye dropper tool and just hover over the areas you believe to be blown. The RGB values will come up in the Info tab. There are various schools of thought on what is too bright, what prints well, what doesn’t etc. So all I can offer here is my own opinion which is- I try not to get my skin tone values anywhere past 245, and definitely not past 250.
Next, I thought the shadows in the back could be pushed farther back to keep our eye on the cute subject. So I used my burn tool, a huge soft brush, at 4% and chose “shadows”. I lightly went over the picture, probably less than 5 seconds altogether.
I still feel like the background lacks some contrast. So I duped my flattened layer, and on my background copy I chose “Soft light” from the blending mode.
Clearly, this will blow out her skin. So I went down my Layers menu, chose Layer Mask > Reveal All. This puts that little white thumbnail next to my picture. On that thumbnail, I chose my paintbrush, chose black, and “painted” back in the face. It actually is removing the soft light from the face, but keeping it in all the other areas of the photo, which is what I wanted. So, now I’m done!
If you have any questions, please let me know, I’ll be happy to answer them.