Sometimes it’s hard for the untrained eye to see all the issues that a trained photographers eye can see. First and foremost, your photographer should be able to see and read light. There should not be massive shadows across the face. There should be light in the eyes. The color of the skin should be true to life. And the picture should be edited (and by “edited”, I do not mean thrown into Picnik and changing the saturation levels from normal to eye blinding). That is a huge one. If your photographer hands you your pictures on a CD without editing them, you need to run away. Far away. Shooting is only about 25% of the work, editing/culling/organizing is the other 75%.
I can already hear the shoot-and-burners (You know, those “photographers” who use their low-end cameras to take pictures, then throw them immediately on a CD and sell them for pennies to the dollar) screaming about how editing is “fake” and their artistry can be seen without the use of Photoshop! If anyone says this to you, I again advise you to stay far, far away.
Photoshop and Lightroom are digital tools that now replace the wet darkrooms we had in film days. In film days, the film had to be developed by hand and that was an art in itself. Then the printing of the pictures in the darkroom was an intricate process where you learned to manage exposure, light, brightness, contrast, and highlights and shadows. The digital age is no different and while getting the picture correct in-camera is a necessity, it is also a necessity that the pictures tonal ranges and WB are managed in proper editing software.
So enough of my preaching about good photographers v. bad. I want to do a quick tutorial on editing outdoors when there is a lot of green bouncing everywhere. It can be tricky to manage white balance when your shooting around a lot of grass and trees because the green can be overwhelming. Here is my SOOC and my final:
As you can see, there is a lot of green to manage and the temperature from shooting in the shade is very cool. Very first thing that needs to be dealt with is getting correct White Balance in your RAW editor (You ARE shooting RAW, right?!)
Using the WB tool, don’t bother clicking on the white area of the shoulder which seems like the obvious choice. It’s pure white, right? Well, your in the shade and that white is really blue. Click on the shadow part of the white of the shirt. In the shade, that will look blue/purple (as noted in the screen shot above. You can see the WB tool rendering the white as a very blue-ish purple.) Clicking on that part of the shirt, I got a much warmer picture and that immediately brings you closer to where you need to be. It brought me TOO yellow, so I slid my temp slider back towards the cool side just a tad. Important to note: Look where my tint number is: +23 for magenta! Usually, my tint stays around 0. However, when your in the shade and that close to the grass, you will definitely need to watch your tint to compensate for all that green.
I’m done with Lightroom, now. For me, Lightroom is more of an organization tool than an editing tool so I’m moving on to PS now. Export out. First thing in PS is sharpening, cropping, Portraiture.
I want to take some cyan out of the green, deepen it and make it a more true green. Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Selective Color. This is where artistry/your eye comes into play. I worked on most colors individually. Remember your primary colors and how green is made (yellow plus blue) and change THOSE colors before fussing with green. The exact combination is not important because it will be different for every picture. You might need to mask skin. Play around!
Soft light @30%
Next is some selective burning with the burn tool and selective saturation with the sponge tool. I never set either of these tools at more than 3% and always always do them on their own layer so that you can reduce opacity.
The rest is touch ups. Under eye bags fixed with the patch tool. Cloned out the bit of sky in the upper left corner. Her skin was pretty red/orange from tanning so corrected that a bit. And that’s it! And here’s the final shot.