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Help Please, Suggestions to Improve Pageant Pictures

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Old 04-04-2006, 09:57 PM
justone justone is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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Help Please, Suggestions to Improve Pageant Pictures

One of my friends had a pageant and I wanted to try to retouch and improve some of the pictures that i took. The pageant was held in a high school gym, so the lighting was horrible and some of the backrounds are pretty bad too... I only had my small compact camera (Canon A520) so i know a lot of the pictures aren't very good to start off with, but i can't take them again so i'd like to do whatever I can to improve what i have. If anyone could give me suggestions on what to do to improve these pics id really appreciate it, BTW im currently using Photoshop 7, I've used PSP 7 before so im not entirely new to digital image software, but I am new to photoshop so any tutorials would be nice too... Thanks:

- This is the picture I want to try to improve more than any, unfortuantely im afraid its also the worst, the lighting and colors are really far off i think, also its look pretty noisy, would the noise show up too bad in a 4 X 6" print? The background also isn't the best, but I would be happy just to get the pic itself looking better

- This is probably my second favorite picture, the subject is exposed much better on this one, and except for the red eye there are no major problems that I can spot, I really think the background distracts from the picture though, i tried to improve it below, but i would appreciate any more tips on this image.

2. (edited)
- This is my first try at replacing a background, eliminating red eye in PS, and improving a subject overall, Im still not very happy with the background, i pasted the original image over the BG and used a mask and paintbrush to erase everything but the subject. Unfortunately her hair provided quite a challenge and I still don't think it looks very good. (BTW i know the background isn't the best but i was mainly trying to see if i could even do it). I also removed some very slight blemishes with a healing and clone brush. I then made a new layer, painted her eyes with a brownish color, set the mode to color dodge and fixed the opacity. Lastly i copied the background, applied a gaussian blur, and then lowered the opacity to try to give the picture a softer look. So can anyone tell me what i did wrong/need to work on?

- these last two i'm not quite as picky about, however i would appreciate any suggestions on how to enchance them, I hate the backgrounds in these pictures, however I don't really want to try to replace the background and eliminate the, personal memories i guess you could say (I want the viewer to still remember the picture was from the pageant and not a studio). Any advice?

- about what i said for the last picture, I'm pretty sure i need to try to crop this? any other ideas?

Thanks for the help, im pretty new at this as you can probably tell, but i really want to learn! I'd also appreciate any suggestions as too different dramatic/visual effects i could add to these pictures to make them more interesting. Thanks!

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Old 04-04-2006, 11:17 PM
leuallen leuallen is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 145
Here is my try for the fist one.

Did not touch background as girls are so pretty I did not notice it.

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File Type: jpg digitalpic7801cx-copy.jpg (96.5 KB, 209 views)
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Old 04-05-2006, 03:30 AM
hitmaniac hitmaniac is offline
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Here's my attempt at this pic. Removed the braces, the glare on the skin, fixed the skintone a bit and fiddled around with the background.
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File Type: jpg girl.jpg (77.8 KB, 144 views)
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Old 04-05-2006, 04:10 AM
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philbach philbach is offline
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Your First Image

Well I only did four things to the first photo. I cropped it, I used a curves adjustment layer, the red eye reduction tool, and Neat image to remove digital noise.

The digital noise was prevalent in all three channels in rgb, and all three channels in Lab.
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File Type: jpg Beauty.jpg (23.8 KB, 155 views)
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:54 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Yorkshire, England
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Had a quick go with the 1st pic.

Cropped for better framing. Adjusted levels and curves to colour correct and adjust contrast/lighting.

Took out red eye and cloned out braces.

Neat Image to reduce noise.

Bit of selective sharpening would improve it further, but I'm short of time at the moment.
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File Type: jpg Girls.jpg (80.2 KB, 119 views)
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Old 04-05-2006, 11:02 AM
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terivon terivon is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 41
Smile Pageant

Lovely ladies. The biggest issue I believe, that most of these images have, is distractions. The chair by the podium for example, etc. It is an ancient gym the pageant was held in. Remove the date identifiers, fan in the wall, electrical cord on the floor etc. Crop down to your subjects and remove the biggest destractions that have little to do with the pageant itself. I'd leave the scoreboard, podium, cleaner lines of the bricks etc. and just remove the destracters.
I think my favorite is the photo of the two girls following the pageant actually. Obviously, they've formed a bond, and that's the "story" of the photo. I removed the boy, the checkered shirt behind the dark headed girl, the light and the box on the wall to the right. Burned in some shadowing, heavy handed admittedly, but to give you an idea how you can bring the focus in on the girls themselves, without losing the "where" of the moment.
Good luck to you! lovely photos.
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File Type: jpg pageant-terivon.jpg (87.5 KB, 117 views)
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Old 04-08-2006, 11:58 PM
palomino palomino is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 91
I had a try with the first photo too-- tried to use levels/curves to fix lighting, noise reduction, lighten shadows on face, reduce noise more...decreased saturation slightly and warmed back up with a filter.

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File Type: jpg digitalpicweb.jpg (99.7 KB, 70 views)
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Old 04-10-2006, 12:49 AM
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bart_hickman bart_hickman is offline
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Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 479
Been fidgeting around with this off and on.

Fairly quick extraction done in three parts--used a path to get most of it, but used contrast masking for the left-most blond hair. Used a smudge brush to wisp-up the right-most dark hair. Pretty much had to do the extraction like this due to high noise and low contrast.

Also (obviously) used brightening, color balance, and noise reduction on the subjects.

Background burst flare is homemade--just something fun.

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Old 04-10-2006, 08:06 AM
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Verywierd Verywierd is offline
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I tried to keep the atmosphere and surroundings intact. Used selective colour layers to correct the colour balance. High pass and gaussian blur layers to reduce noise. Copy layers selectively applied in screen and soft/hard light blending modes to bring out the shine in the hair, jewlellery, eyes, teeth and skin.
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File Type: jpg digitalpic7801cx-600j.jpg (91.5 KB, 67 views)
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Old 07-03-2006, 03:55 PM
Prairiemaiden Prairiemaiden is offline
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Location: Midwest
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Just for fun

Used levels to brighten eyes and teeth. Removed red eye. Extracted girls and put on a new layer which I filled with solid color and used various artistic brushes. Added a drop shadow and softened edges on the girls layer. Please note just did this quickly for fun. Not perfect by any means.
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File Type: jpg 2pageantgirlsa.jpg (84.4 KB, 57 views)
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