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How to remove harsh shadows from mounted flash?

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  #1  
Old 09-01-2010, 11:12 AM
doescher.km doescher.km is offline
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Unhappy How to remove harsh shadows from mounted flash?

I had a photographer do my wedding photographs that had PHENOMENAL work outside, but when she did stuff inside the harsh shadows were absolutely awful. I could have done better shots placing an index card underneath my flash of my point-and-shoot to aim it at the ceiling. They were to the point of blacking out everything behind the subject. How can I reduce the darkness of the flash shadow without blowing out the original photo highlights? My wedding photos are practically unusable.
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:59 PM
mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: How to remove harsh shadows from mounted flash

Doescher.KM. welcome to RetouchPro.
The shadows behind the people are not you only problem. If they were you could clone them out. The issue is that all of the dark areas have been clipped and are almost pure black. So for example the darker hair is basically pure black with no detail and the shadows around it are pure black with no detail. There is no way to delineate the hair from its shadow unless you are a good artist. Lightening or trying to Dodge & Burn will not help because there is nothing to recover in those areas.
By any chance did the photographer shoot in RAW or does the photographer have original unretouched digital files? If this image is representative of the camera output, unaltered, then there will not be a lot you can do - at least not without other images to source parts from these people and only then with a huge amount of work.
Hopefully your photographer has some better news for you.
Best wishes, Murray
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:41 PM
doescher.km doescher.km is offline
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Re: How to remove harsh shadows from mounted flash

Yuck I've contacted my photographer to see if she still has the RAW formats. Any suggestions on editing in RAW? I have Adobe Master CS4.
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Old 09-01-2010, 02:12 PM
mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: How to remove harsh shadows from mounted flash

If the RAW files are available it is likely that you will have a lot of recoverability because non of the camera's jpg settings would have been applied to the RAW file. I suggest you post a link in this thread to one of those RAW files and we can take a look at it and provide you with some more detailed suggestions.
Regards, Murray
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Old 09-01-2010, 02:14 PM
doescher.km doescher.km is offline
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Re: How to remove harsh shadows from mounted flash

As soon as I can get the RAWs, I'll let you guys know Thanks for the support!
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:35 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Re: How to remove harsh shadows from mounted flash

Hi doescher.km,

welcome to RetouchPRO from me too!!
Agreed with what Murray said about the RAW files, the fact that "all of the dark areas have been clipped and are almost pure black" and that "there is no way to delineate the hair from its shadow" ... or, at least, it is going to be very difficult ... (Attachment 1)

On top of it, you probably had to compress the image you posted quite strongly and that, for what details are concerned, makes things even worse!

I had a go at your picture to see what could be done just in case you won't be able to get the RAW files, in which case, maybe, scanning at higher resolution and working on the full size image could help ...

I used a Curves adjustment Layer to lift the heavy shadows in the lower part of your image while leaving the Highlights unchanged (Attachment 2)

I then minimized the shadow around your heads (leaving just a hint of it to make it look more natural) (Attachment 3)

All this to show that, even though it's not going to be perfect, (or impossible for some shots), it can be done even without the RAW files.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SNAP-057.jpg (92.8 KB, 72 views)
File Type: jpg SNAP-058.jpg (144.7 KB, 81 views)
File Type: jpg F_retouchproweddingpic.jpg (198.6 KB, 98 views)
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Old 09-02-2010, 07:40 PM
doescher.km doescher.km is offline
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Re: How to remove harsh shadows from mounted flash

Oh wow, what a difference. How did you minimize the shadow? I'm still waiting on the RAWs, the photographer said she'd send me the files by the end of this week.
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Old 09-05-2010, 02:19 AM
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Flora Flora is offline
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Re: How to remove harsh shadows from mounted flash

Hi again,
Quote:
How did you minimize the shadow?
..what I did is:
  • Merged visible after the Curves adjustment layer
  • Duplicated the Merged Layer and set its blending to 'Lighten'
  • Moved the Lighten Layer until it covered the heavy shadows around your heads etc. (Attachment 1)
  • Created a Black (= Hide All) layer mask for the Lighten Layer and painted around your heads with a soft white brush to uncover the effect of 'lightening' in those areas. (Attachment 2)
  • Adjusted the Lighten Layer's Opacity until just a hint of the shadows was visible. (100% Opacity = no visible shadows)
  • Corrected the 'wrong' bits with the help of the 'Heal Brush' and a Blank Layer* set to Lighten. (Attachment 3)
* Here a Tutorial on the usage of Blank Layers ... just scroll down the page to the BLANK/EMPTY LAYERS SET TO.... part.


Hope this helps ...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SNAP-059.jpg (166.7 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg SNAP-060.jpg (196.7 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg SNAP-061.jpg (163.0 KB, 29 views)

Last edited by Flora; 09-05-2010 at 02:36 AM.
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