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Where to Begin? (Senior Pictures)

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Old 05-02-2010, 11:43 AM
Diabetic Diabetic is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 6
Re: Where to Begin? (Senior Pictures)

I really like the first one, but it seems like the lower half of my body is blurred and I would rather it weren't, but just the background instead. Other than that, it is very similar to what I am looking for. The second picture has a nice shaded effect, and the lower half of my body isn't blurred in that one. The third picture, I believe, makes me look like Edward off of twilight ^^.

Can you explain the steps you took to edit the first and second picture please? Those are the two I most like out of the three.

Originally Posted by palms1 View Post
Out of interest can someone define "Senior photo's" I have seen them mentioned a fair bit and just wondered,
They are not something i am aware of here in the UK! my guess is they are portraits taken at a certain age ?


Senior Pictures are pictures that are taken on the last year of High School ^^. They are used to send for graduation invitations, remembrances to families, etc.

Defined, as far as edits go, they look really similar to Pictus's first attachment, without the lower half of my body blurred, and TommyO's first attachment on his most recent post.
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:57 AM
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Sweetlight Sweetlight is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Posts: 563
Re: Where to Begin? (Senior Pictures)

Baldy, Pictus and TommyO, I just wanted to give you all a round of applause on the wonderful job you did with your tutorials for Diabetic, good, good stuff. I would have jumped in there but I tend to get a bit wordy and I did not wanna take up the whole thread with my verbosity. The three of you put it all very succinctly and Diabetic is very lucky that he had the three of you helping him.

Diabetic, I have been around the business for a long time and I have to say it is refreshing to find someone so eager to learn. You are off to a good start, just listen like you have been doing and in no time you will be teaching us. Great stuff, all of you.

Oh yeah Palms, the senior picture. Customary here in the U.S. for kids near graduation to have "senior portraits" taken. When I was in high school it was more or less just a cookie cutter set up where they sat you down, took your picture, move them in, move them out. These days though it is seen more that the student is giving their ideas to the photographer so that the photos are a bit more personal. I am not nearly old enough to have a senior portrait done yet, are you? LOL...........
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:30 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: Where to Begin? (Senior Pictures)

I think I'll fall back to just the clipping topic, as the retouches can be quite subjective, and again just depend on what you like. I'm better at explaining how to do certain tasks.

Originally Posted by Diabetic View Post
One thing that still bewilders me a little bit was that clipping explanation. If I applied what you said to the pictures you had provided, would you say the area of black was found in the trees, my watch, or my hair, and the area of white was my undershirt?
The whites and blacks fall naturally within any image. To examine the original image for initial clipping (right from the camera) I usually start by opening the image in Adobe Camera Raw, ensuring that both shadow clipping warnings (U) and highlight clipping warnings (O) are turned on. Think of it this way.... if you have only a tiny bit of clipping, no harm done and our eyes have a much larger tonal range to enjoy within the image. If you have a lot of clipping, you have narrowed the possible tonal ranges the image can portray. (see attachment)

In your original for this pose, nearly all the sky was clipped to white. This is quite natural given you were exposing for you, not the background. Your only option in this case is to try "recovery" in ACR, or replace it. There is nothing wrong with how it turned out, it's just that the large amount of pure white will fool our eyes and make it harder to interpret the other colors in the image. Again, you want some whites, just not that much. There are other elements in the image that could provide some whites. You named it... your undershirt. The added advantage of the undershirt being it is near the main subject.

In this type of scene, you may not need much black. But, it's nice if there is some... just to give our eyes that reference. You may have to eyeball what and where it should be. Options could be watch band, where your jeans meet the rock, tree shadows. Again, you saw them.

So, knowing what to do with the whites and blacks... start in ACR. Adjust following a normal RAW workflow. Watch the clipping and see what happens. (You'll have to ignore the sky knowing you'll replace it later.) Target your adjustments best you can to provide just a bit of black clipping in your targets, and maybe just prior to any clipping occurring on the t-shirt.

Then bring it into PS and do the rest.

When dealing with retouch (not restoration) I think you'll find your work will go faster if you do 90% of your color work in ACR. It is quite flexible, and very fast. It is also less destructive to the image data, plus more gradual in its adjustments. (All due to working in a linear gama environment.) Then move to PS and do the final elements. Don't forget to do some final review of your color, then some final sharpening.

Originally Posted by Diabetic View Post
Can you go through the edits you did for that one in particular? ... Was there really anything else?
No, nothing else really. My workflow was similar to the above. The only extra stuff I did was to use gradient masks in the blurred layer to keep the grass sharp, trees blurry. Again, mine was really really fast (about 3 minutes). Yours could be much more accurate and realistic.

Best of luck with it. Keep us posted when you can.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Clipping comparison.jpg (66.5 KB, 23 views)
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Old 05-03-2010, 03:23 AM
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Pictus Pictus is offline
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Re: Where to Begin? (Senior Pictures)

Thanks, I did lots...
To explain have to create a tutorial, sorry I am too busy and too lazy to do, I love
doing retouching and hate to write/type anything(English is not my main language)... lol
But I will summarize with some links I got.

-The sky was blow, so I replace with a blue one.
Use Phoposhop calculations, color range or plug-ins. (I like to use Vertus Fluid Mask)
Search Google for “photoshop sky replacement” and look here for a smartway

-Diminish/remove some bright spots in the skin(face/ear/nose)

-The white balance was a bit cold, I decided to give a warmer golden hour look.
Many ways to do, ACR white Balance Tool + HSL controls are very good also
curves and other ways see

-The BG(background) was a bit distractive, so I “lens blurred” with Alien Skin Bokeh
Photoshop have a lens blur plug-ing
There is a free alternative for GIMP
GIMP Focus blur
Some tuto
The problem with artificially blurring the BG is that you must be *VERY*
good with extraction, there is no free lunch...

I also add some vignette and some type of light/mood manipulation

The idea is to accentuate the main object of interest(the guy face) and attenuate the
distracting elements like the BG(background), that why blurred a bit the hand too

Sites you must to check:
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:46 AM
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Pictus Pictus is offline
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Re: Where to Begin? (Senior Pictures)

-Replace the sky
-Take out some distractive BG stuff
-"Lens blur" the BG
-Selective Color add more black to magenta/blue
-Apply a custom curve in soft light mode
By just applying this curve in soft light mode your image will POP
-Little vignette (can use curves/brightness contrast etc)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Diabetic-DSC02138-ps.jpg (99.8 KB, 45 views)
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Old 05-04-2010, 12:31 PM
Diabetic Diabetic is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 6
Re: Where to Begin? (Senior Pictures)

The amount of time all of you put into your replies is astounding - I wasn't expecting SO much help on my pictures in the way that I have received.

I've read through the recent posts, and will read the Guides and the help from you all in the next few days again as I pay even closer attention to it.

This week is AP Testing, so I am spending 6+ hours a day studying, on top of the already 7 hours of school. This restriction on my time doesn't allow for much time to be spent elsewhere, unfortunately.

So if you're wondering if I completely fled these forums, then I want you to know that I haven't! Just give me a few days before I really put much more effort in these pictures as I try the similar effects you all have mentioned and have shown me.

I'm REALLY excited to try all these guides/tips/steps out, and look forward to seeing the results I can produce thanks to all of your help.

That picture in your recent post looks incredible. I love the sky, the contrasts in light to dark, everything. It looks stunning.

I have not read any of the sky guides closely, so if they answer this then just please ignore what I'm about to ask: How do you (everyone included) work around the sky so well? I know I tried this on my first picture, and found that I would get a slight part of a branch stuck, etc, and it wouldn't look that nice at all.

Thanks again for everyone's help - it means a lot.

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Old 05-04-2010, 04:28 PM
bpurvis bpurvis is offline
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Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 217
Re: Where to Begin? (Senior Pictures)

I learn a lot just reading threads, and I agree -- you guy have done a great job explaining and teaching. What a great bunch!

Pictus - I too love that last post. Had no idea that you could apply curves in soft light and can't wait to try it.

Austin - great pics!
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