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Thread: Advice on Editing Photos with People

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    Member DTX's Avatar
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    Advice on Editing Photos with People

    I just got back from my overseas trip and now im in the process of editing them in Lightroom 3.

    How would you edit the following two images? I find im having trouble editing pictures with people in... just want the colours to pop but adjusting vibrance/contrast doesnt seem to work as it makes everything look fake!





    Last edited by DTX; 14-02-2013 at 12:25am.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    If you want specific colours to pop. rather than over-saturate the whole scene, use the Lightroom TAT : http://www.luminous-landscape.com/vi...room-tat.shtml

    It is a wonderful feature that is much overlooked in Lightroom
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Ausphotography Addict Lplates's Avatar
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    Looks like Vietnam? I'm no expert with PP but I've always found Asian skin looks best with cloudy white balance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DTX View Post
    How would you edit the following two images? I find im having trouble editing pictures with people in... just want the colours to pop but adjusting vibrance/contrast doesnt seem to work as it makes everything look fake!
    Both are shot in soft light.
    One option (maybe as well as isolated increase saturation) is to subtly change that soft light by dodging and burning and bumping the Mid Tone Contrast.

    Apart for the uploading and resizing, the salient points in this quick example are:
    Crop (to place the MAIN SUBJECT and focus of interest ON the jumbled background and not IN amongst it.)
    Selective Dodge and Burn (her face; her clothes; the background palate).
    Increase saturation (slightly - red)
    Increase saturation (slightly)
    Increase mid-tone Contrast

    Original is on top:




    WW
    Last edited by William W; 14-02-2013 at 2:40pm. Reason: made the example bigger

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    Thanks for the responses! Yes, these are pictures from Vietnam. I will try out TAT (I've only just learnt what it was for) and selective burning and dodging. Question is, what do you burn and dodge in a photo? You burn areas you want to hide and dodge areas you want to show?
    Last edited by DTX; 14-02-2013 at 10:20pm.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Burning darkens areas and dodging lightens them. You have to use it carefully, set your brush to about 10% opacity and brush over several times, and build it up, much like a paint artist, rather than using it at 70% and applying in one big go.

    There is also a variant of dodge and burn called 'paint with light'. Paint with light looks at the pixels before deciding how the brush should work. It works by you choosing the black or white colour from the pallette and if you choose black, then only dark pixels are darkened and the light ones are left alone, and alternatively, if you choose white, then the light pixels are darkened and the dark ones are left alone.

    Using Paint with Light can result in a more natural effect, take some broody clouds with silver lining, using burn to darken them will result in the whole cloud being made darker, whereas using paint with light set to black, on the dark parts of the cloud will be made darker and the lovely silver lining will not be touched at all, even if you brush over it.

    You can get a photoshop 'paint with light' action (note paint with light II is better) from the action central site : http://www.atncentral.com/editing_highlight.html

    If you do not know how to install and use actions : http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...toshop-Actions

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    Quote Originally Posted by DTX View Post
    . . . what do you burn and dodge in a photo? You burn areas you want to hide and dodge areas you want to show?
    what Rick wrote.

    I actually used 15% Opacity and 13% Increase or Decrease in exposure on MIDTONES. I used Photoshop.

    The reason I suggested Dodging and Burning was to give the illusion of harder light: the most obvious area you should be able to see this, is around her face.

    Also burning can make a colour appear richer, without necessarily increasing the saturation - but I reckon the idea of selective saturation increase is a good one, also, so I was not suggesting to use either one or the other, but to use both.

    WW

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    Thanks for the advice about buning and dodging.... ending up with the following which is better than the preset actions I had which made the photo took fake:



    Im not a fan of blurring objects but had to do it for the background and decrase the saturation of it so that it does not take the focus away from the lady. What do you guys think of this edit? I'm still unsure of what the correct exposure/brightness is, even though I shot it in Manual with close to EV0. Also, what is the correct WB? I usually select "Auto" instead of "As Shot" and when I shoot, I just leave it on AWB.
    Last edited by DTX; 16-02-2013 at 8:25pm.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTX View Post
    ....... Also, what is the correct WB? I usually select "Auto" instead of "As Shot" and when I shoot, I just leave it on AWB.
    If using RAW WB can be adjusted later.
    A bit of a read ....... http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...lance-for-mugs
    Daylight works 90% of times for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTX View Post
    Thanks for the advice about buning and dodging.... ending up with the following which is better than the preset actions I had which made the photo took fake:
    Im not a fan of blurring objects but had to do it for the background and decrase the saturation of it so that it does not take the focus away from the lady. What do you guys think of this edit? I'm still unsure of what the correct exposure/brightness is, even though I shot it in Manual with close to EV0. Also, what is the correct WB? I usually select "Auto" instead of "As Shot" and when I shoot, I just leave it on AWB.

    The blurring works for me. I think it is good. Especially the tree in the centre of the frame at the background – for example, your last edit is much better than mine at pulling the lady away from that tree, (although I was not interested in blurring at all I was just making the point about dodging and burning – it is a good comparison to use.)

    On the colour balance – your lady seems to have too much orange in her face.

    There are two (probably three distinct processes/choices you might consider):


    • the White Balance (Colour Temperature) you set in the camera: typically I would use AWB (Auto White Balance) for that shot



    • the White Balance (Colour Temperature) you might RESET when you begin to Post Process the file



    • the Colour Balance you might change (subtle tweaks usually for individual colours, hues & densities) during Post Processing


    Note also that most cameras (all?) have a ‘tint’ or ‘white balance correction’ function and also there is a ‘tint’ control in Photoshop, as well as the Colour Temperature Slider.


    The “IN CAMERA SETTINGS” for White Balance and Tint settings for most cameras (all cameras?) only affect the JPEG file, as the raw file can be opened and those values adjusted: also most (all?) cameras have something akin to what Canon term “Picture Styles” which is an in camera post processing of the JPEG file – for example to make it more ‘vibrant’, etc.

    You mention that you are unsure of the ‘EXPOSURE” and that you shot using MANUAL MODE with almost EV0.

    That statement doesn’t make sense – but I think I understand what you might mean . . .

    Firstly I think you are referring to EXPOSURE COMPENSATION (‘EC’), not ‘EV’.

    (EV is ‘Exposure Value’ – which represents a value on a scale, typically we speak of; “the EV of a scene”, probably the most common one is EV15, for which the abridged description is: ‘front lit sunlight’ and this is what the “F/16 Rule” is based upon.)

    Next up, if you were meaning ‘Exposure Compensation’ – then EC doesn’t really have any meaning of you are shooting in Manual Mode – because there is NO AUTOMATIC exposure for which you will compensate.

    What you might be meaning is that you used Manual Mode and you chose not to set the exposure indicator in the centre or ‘0’ of the scale: but it was a fraction of a stop, one side or the other of that middle position.


    About using Manual Mode to make the correct exposure for that scene: the METERING MODE you choose will be most important. If you have a Canon or a Nikon camera then either “EVALUATIVE” or “MATRIX” metering modes, respectively would do a very good job of making a good exposure of that scene.

    However, there are other methods: for one example one might choose to use Spot Metering (I often do) in this case the Pavement seems very close to ‘Photographic Grey’ – and form experience I know that most grey pavements/ grey cement/ light shale and slate in SOFT LIGHTING will be a very good facsimile of a GREY CARD – so I might to choose to use a SPOT METER READING on the pavement and use that as my exposure.

    Also some photographers (who use Spot Metering often), might take a meter reading on the FACE of the SUBJECT and adjust that reading according, depending upon the SKIN TONE of the person (i.e. White; Brown, Black skin tones).

    But those are just other examples – I suggest you use the EVALUATIVE or MATRIX Metering Modes for the time being, when using the camera in MANUAL MODE.

    But importantly - note HOW THE METERING MODE actually works as you make different shots – for example (if you have Canon) the “EVALUATIVE” metering mode can be ‘wrong’ for some backlit scenes. – That’s all about the learning process.

    The point I want to make is: knowing how the METERING MODE works is probably the MOST overlooked and unlearned element, by most Photographers.


    WW

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    Sir Rattus79 - The Proclaimant
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    Can I suggest converting the second image to Black and white? I think it would suit it quite well.
    Greg Bartle,
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