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Help with high school senior picture

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Old 12-10-2007, 09:37 PM
grannysdc's Avatar
grannysdc grannysdc is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Kansas USA
Posts: 281
Re: Help with high school senior picture

For giving it a try,.. I think you have done a great job!

Even the sky looks good..

The Degrunge technique is a convenient and a good way to smooth skin.. just make sure you get the radius and computations right and follow the instructions and don't over-smooth..

You might try a small soft healing brush and/or use a soft clone tool at a low opacity to build up repairs slowly.. Generally a soft, small healing brush just a bit bigger than the pimple or freckle you are trying to get rid of and sampled in a good area in close proximity to the repair will suffice.. If you leave a round spot or dis-colorization that you don't want, then go back in history or undo and try the clone as outlined above.. OR do like the rest of us and do whatever you are comfortable with that you can do well while still practicing the other, newer techniques until you are comfortable with them..

Work on getting your retouching looking smoother and and try not leave behind traces that you did any retouching... as the added wrinkles where the liquify tool was used.. and whatever you did to the hair on the forehead, don't do that, it looks painted.. it looks like you added little spot on the neck.. the face is a little blotchy and needs a general clean up and blending, like on the dis-colorization on the cheek under the eye..

All in all I think you have a great start here, it just needs some final touches and on its way to being a well executed retouch..

Remember, when you say you are taking your own Grad pictures that someone else is behind the lens and may not see things the same way you do.. so have them take lots of photos beforehand to get a sense of their style.. Also, any of these "Practice" shots are candidates for your Grad photo(s).. It is a lot better to have everything correct in the camera and not do much retouching.. where all you might have to do is get rid of a zit and be done with it..

Keep up the good work and Practice, practice, practice..

You have jumped in and got your feet wet now so we are looking forward to many more submissions from you..

This is just my way of saying WELCOME to RetouchPro and letting you know we are glad you are here..

Keep looking around at the tutorials and all the other places here..
Most areas here will be helpful in some way or another to you (well they have been to me anyway) and feel free to ask for any help you need
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Old 12-10-2007, 11:01 PM
AdamZx3's Avatar
AdamZx3 AdamZx3 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 194
Re: Help with high school senior picture

I would concentrate on getting your color right first, the beginning image is really flat. I hope the colors ok in my pic, I haven't calibrated my monitor yet (just got a new workstation) so OSX is using a canned profile. Anyway...

I just started out in levels and bumped up the shadow slider until it met the edge of the mound on the histogram, this started to help the photo, then I finished in curves tweaking bit here and there. Adjusting the midtones with a slight S curve gave the image more saturation and color without using the saturate command (I almost never use it to boost sat.)

There was also a color cast so I used the white stripe in the shirt as a reference to make the average samples 232,232,232 (RGB Values) again using curves but in the individual channels. Getting the curves down will take a lot of practice. Next I cloned out all the geese, I found them extremely distracting. Next I brightened the eyes and removed the redness from the eye whites.

As far as skin I just cloned a couple of blemishes out and thats it, I wouldn't blur it as some have, I personally think it looks horrible on guys (well blurring skin in general is horrible but especially on guys!) Next I added some sharpening as the whole photo was a bit soft. I used approx: Amount 70-80%, radius 1.0 and threshold about 7-8 or even 9. Using a higher threshold will leave low contrast areas such as the skin un-sharpened but will hit the stripes the hardest, the part of the lips just slightly and the eyes, as well as most of the background. A more relaxed pose and cracking a smile might add to the photo as well!

On your last attempt it is looking better, color seems to be closer but the image is very flat, try starting with the original and try bumping the shadow slider (left one) to the right to make the darks darker, and try and play with the curves some. Also when you made yourself smile the ends of the lips became pointy, I would take the point off just a bit as it looks a bit feminine. Keep it up!

Hope this helps
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Last edited by AdamZx3; 12-10-2007 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:24 AM
Enkay's Avatar
Enkay Enkay is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 61
Re: Help with high school senior picture

Hey, this is my first post on this forum and I figured i'd give this a try...

I didn't have much time so there's still a few things I would change... The water on the right on the right is obviously blown out and needs to be fixed (too lazy to go through my layers to see which one is causing it!)... Still a few overtones I'd like to get rid of but once again this is just to give you an idea.

I would also remove the "wrinkles" in your shirt to make it seem like it's a tighter fit rather than floating over your shoulders like it is now.

The idea when you're a guy is to go for "tall dark and handsome" as they say. For that you need to add contrast and accentuate "manly" features.

At your age you can remove blemishes but I don't think you need to actually smooth out your skin. It looks efeminate and that's not a good thing in this case haha.

If you have questions about what I did let me know. Comments would be nice too.
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Old 12-12-2007, 05:59 PM
Sistere Sistere is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 49
Re: Help with high school senior picture

Hi Kevster,

First off...congrats on graduation! Thats fantastic.

The question that is in my head, does not lead directly to an answer to your question; but I must ask.

Why are you taking your own SPs?

I know pro SPs can be expensive, and can be a source of frustration for those who want a pro look...but pale at the pro price. I do a lot of work with the graduation age bracket, so I completely understand the problems, desires and hopes for those wanting great SPs.

Now, if you are wanting to learn photography and retouching because you have a natural desire for the craft...great! You are on the right track by being here and asking the questions you are asking.

But, if you are trying to learn the craft in order to save some cash on SPs...although I understand 100%...let me suggest from experience that you will probably regret the decision.

I know soooooooo many people who thought they could get by with taking their own SPs and not one has been happy with the results; at all. The primary reason is that you cannot possible learn enough in the alloted time frame. Pros 'are' pros because of the amount of time they have invested in mastering their craft and unless you are a modern day Mozart of the other words a prodigy - you just will not be able to achieve the same high level results as someone with years and years of experience under their lens cap.

I'm sure this is a question you have turned over in your head hundreds of times; to do-it-yourself or go to a pro. In your post you mentioned and linked to a pro photographer, so based on that I am assuming you want a certain look and not just a snapshot. And, I DO know how important SPs are. They are highly symbolic of a very special time in your life and cannot simply be 'retaken' years later if you were to regret your first choice of photographer.

I don't know...maybe I have no idea what the fo' I am saying and am merely spewing mindless mental verbiage...

If I may, here is an example of what I am trying to communicate.

I am attaching two photos of the same girl; one she took for a do-it-yourself situation to save some cash and one we took as a favor for her. If you can't tell which is which...please don't respond with such - my ego would weep more tears than I have tissue.

My point is that she worked out something with us whereby she didn't have to pay a lot for her SPs. A little creativity goes a long way and she was a 1000% happier with the photos we took and now has something she can be proud of years later.

Just some thoughts for ya.
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:01 PM
thekevster08 thekevster08 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 5
Re: Help with high school senior picture

Well, I really don't know why I'm taking my own pics honestly. Origionally, all of my friends were going to take ours together one day. I guess we just thought that if they can do it with a camera photoshop and a printer, we can too. I've been messing around with photoshop for a couple of years now, just not much with photography things. Origionally I wasn't even going to get senior pics. They are really expensive, and i have tons of pics of my friends that i just take throughout the year to remember them by, i just didn't really think that it was worth the money to get them (no job = no cash ) but yeah, then I got the idea to just take my own and they wouldn't be as good as if i had them professionally done, but it is better than nothing. Plus I thought that i could do a decent enough job that it would be good enough to compare with professional ones. Plus i do have an interest in photography. I think im getting a new camera for christmas as my old one is very outdated (1.8 megapixels almost 6 years old) These were taken on a 5 MP camera.

I totally see what you mean that professional ones are much better, and by taking my own it has only made me respect professional's all the more. I just think that for me it was not worth it.

Yes I can tell between your two pictures, but i would hope that people would think that mine were better than the ones that she did. If not, let me know, because i am wasting mine and eveyone elses time. That almost looks like a myspace pic

Anyways, here is another pic. I took off the face mask thing and increased dark curve area. I've never messed with curves before, so i dont think that it is done very well, but that is my best of about 4 attempts. I also took out the ducks except for the 2. I couldnt get them to clone out. Oh well, i can researh clone tool on my own, so dont worry about that.

Also, when it comes time to print these.....What do you recomend? I have an inkjet, but would you use that, or would you just go to like a kinkos or something? What type of paper do you use? Its really hard to find professional photo paper.

Thanks for all the feedback. I wasn't expecting this much help, but it sure does make a difference!
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:00 PM
Sistere Sistere is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 49
Re: Help with high school senior picture

Hi Kevster,

I understand where you are coming from. I was pretty sure I understood when I first read your post, but I didn't want to assume too much without asking you. So, cool.

To address your specific questions:

"then I got the idea to just take my own and they wouldn't be as good as if i had them professionally done, but it is better than nothing."

Well, in the end it all comes down to what's important to you and what you can be happy with. A lot of people are perfectly content with any and all pictures, regardless of whether they are pro or snapshot. I horde photos that my friends and I take and I have shots from years ago that look like a blind person took them (no offense to the visually impaired) but they are from a time that cant be relived, so I keep them. I would suggest that you give some real thought to 'whats good enough' regarding your SPs seeing these tend to be pretty important. Of course, whats 'important' completely differs from person to person. All I am suggesting, is that you draw a well thought out conclusion.

"These were taken on a 5 MP camera."

It's amazing what can be done on consumer cameras now. My fiance and I have four different photos that have won 1st place in photo contests out of 15,000 photographers that were taken on a 3 MP camera. I don't mean this to sound ego driven, it's only meant to encourage you in not getting caught up in the whole 'If it's not a million MP...800 megabit raw photo it will suck' mentality. Of course, use the best equipment you can for important stuff like SPs...borrow or rent it if possible. The photo I uploaded was taken on a Medium Format film camera I bought on EBay for a few hundred bucks. In fact, I will take this camera over most Digis in terms of ability to scan and blow up to monster print sizes.

"Also, when it comes time to print these.....What do you recomend?"

Man, thats a tough question. Again, as with the camera thoughts I have seen some nice prints done on consumer printers. From my experience, as long as you stay within the 8x10 print range (Maybe 11x14) you can get some pretty good quality on just about any of the newer ink jets. IMO, whats really important is paper. Invest the extra $ and get glossy or Matte (real) photo paper, don't settle for that $10 for 500 sheets crap.

And I can't speak for Kinkos universally, but at least where I live they are OK for copies but will ream you on prints. And in all fairness, they really aren't set-up for photography prints. I would call some local camera dealers and ask about printing services. In fact, I would do that over trying to DIY. After you put out the $$ on good paper, ink and blow through a few dozen sheets just trying to calibrate your printer profiles to your could just have them professionally printed. Also check some online printing services as well.

Hope this helps.
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