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Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

My first serious attempt to improve a image

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  #1  
Old 09-11-2008, 09:07 AM
beezy40 beezy40 is offline
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My first serious attempt to improve a image

Hello everyone, this will be a very long read, but it could possibly add some insight into your
daily photographic routine/workflows. I want to attempt to give you the details of how I created
this self portrait. So I ask that you bear with me, because I created this off of many self taught
theories, and my language may make you say HUH!!!
First off, I used a Nikon D80 with a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 D AF lens, with a SB600 Flash module,
all mounted on a tripod. Also I used a Nikon shutter remote to trigger the shutter. I setup the shot
by looking through the view finder, and adjusting the camera accordingly. f/3.2 @ 1/320sec ISO was 320. WB was set to cloudy, since it was cloudy out on my balcony where I chose to setup.
After about 40 or so shots, I stopped to review them,and decided I had enough decent images
with excellent histogram readings where I had detail across the whole spectrum. Pushed all the images into Lightroom 2.0, flagged the keepers, and got rid of the straggelers. Kept the WB to" as shot". Then I chose this shot, because it spoke the loudest to my heart. Next, I felt something was off with the image compositionally, So I started playing around with the rule of thirds, using the crop tool, where I used a little known trick( If you click shift + L, that will darken everything around the image, and if you click shift + L + L, this will darken everything on the screen, except your image, It's really really cool because you have no distractions, and you can concentrate on your edits better IMHO. But I chose this crop, because I didn't want ant distractions from what I chose as my main focal point, which was my face, and part of my back. Next, I wanted to create more detail in the eye, and lip regions so I created a mask with the adjustment brush, and bumped up the sharpness, and clarity, but not to much to add additional noise. Next I went tothe many Lightroom 2.0 presets I own, and chose within the BW presets "640 Pixels Monchrome 2" that I found from off the net, then I chose in addition a preset named, " WOW-d BnW_04. Reviewed the image, and felt it was time to push the image into PHS CS3, used the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+E to save my image as a PSD file, using the Photoshop colorspace, Pro Photo RGB with a 16 bit, bit depth.
Also, I set the After Export field to " Open in Photoshop ". Immediately after I saved the file, It opened up in Photoshop CS3. Again I reviewed the image to determine that I wanted to see alittle more detail in the eye regions, so I clicked the quick mask button near the bottom of the tool pallette, zoomed in on the eyes, and painted the pupils using white, clicked select/save selection, labeled it eyes, because titles are very important when your'e dealing with multiple software, you want to know where you are at alll times. Next, I created a brightness, contrast adjust layer, set brightness to +26/ contrast -50 that made the pupils pop through the glasses just enough IHMO.
I thought to myself " what would the image look like if the lighting was more dramatic. So I created 2 new layers, filled both with 50% neutral gray, set one up for dodging, and the other for burning. Chose Overlay from the layer popup menu, then selectively painted on both layers until I felt the lighting was dramitic enough. Then I looked at all the layers I created, and thought to preserve all of them while copying them to one layer, simular to flattening the image. So I clicked Shift, Alt, Ctrl, and E to copy all the layers to one layer, while perserving all original layers. I've learned you have to create a exit strategy when you create on this level, or you will get lost, quick. I duplicated the the layer Ctrl+ J then used a final overall effect for gloss, and clarity called " TECHNICOLOR DREAM " which was a action Located in the Totally Rad! Caffeine action folder. This effect actually softened the entire image, so I had to create a mask layer to paint back in some of the sharpness around the collar, ear, cheek, lips, eyebrow, and mostly in the glasses regions. Then I selected both layers, and clicked Ctrl, Shift E to merge both layers, while still perserving all the original layers. Double clicked the final layer to pull up the large layer style box, selected stroke/structure with these values: In the structure region, size=6px, position= inside Blend mode= normal, opacity=100% Fill Type region: color, which I set to black. I saved this as a Tiff, PSD, and a Jpeg for the web. Thank all for sticking around for this long, hopefully you guys got something out all this. I still have a long way to go before I'm even near the creative person I envision myself being in the future, but sharing with you guys is a great start. Thanks



Nikon D80/ AF Nikkor 70-300mm 1:4-5.6G/ Sigma DG 28-70mm
1:2.8-4/ Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor/ Nikon SB600 Flash
"Truth is the light illuminating my images"


"Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly." - Robert Schuller
"You don't take a photograph, you make it." - Ansel Adams
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File Type: jpg ORIGINAL-IMAGE.jpg (76.9 KB, 105 views)
File Type: jpg Blaque-n-Breezy.jpg (57.8 KB, 119 views)
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:50 AM
_Steve_'s Avatar
_Steve_ _Steve_ is offline
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Re: My first serious attempt to improve a image

not krystalclear...but i like it alot!...very nice!
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Old 09-11-2008, 12:59 PM
beezy40 beezy40 is offline
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Re: My first serious attempt to improve a image

Steve, as someone who is still seeking to be in the know, I'll take your
critique positively, because alot of what I have been studying, has been applied here. I feel this image is a great start for me. Thanks for looking!!!
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:04 PM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: My first serious attempt to improve a image

Very dramatic B/W.. it looks good!
To me the horizontal makes it look like you were running and just happened to look in the direction of the camera when shot..
Just a quick suggestion if you wanted a portrait, a vertical crop on a head shot sometimes looks better.. ( I used your color shot as an example crop because I couldn't even try attempting to replicate your nice B/W)
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Old 09-11-2008, 02:12 PM
beezy40 beezy40 is offline
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Re: My first serious attempt to improve a image

Thank you so much for the insiteful comment 0lBaldy, I was in the moment through that whole experience, and really felt the horizontal crop, but I agree, normally I would use a vertical crop for portraits. IMHO the image could work both ways.
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Old 09-12-2008, 11:51 AM
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BagLady BagLady is offline
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Re: My first serious attempt to improve a image

Hi Beezy40,

Nice job! I like Olbaldy's vertical crop but in this case, prefer the horizontal crop... If you're interested in learning new techniques, you might find the following tutorial (posted by tutorialbucket) interesting:

http://retouchpro.com/tutorials/?m=show&id=325
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Old 09-12-2008, 01:05 PM
beezy40 beezy40 is offline
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Thanks BagLady, that tutorials instruction has enhanced a few of my Photoshop skills.
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Old 09-12-2008, 01:10 PM
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BagLady BagLady is offline
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Re: My first serious attempt to improve a image

Happy to hear so... every little bit comes in handy sooner or later!
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