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

Help with Natural Pro look

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  #1  
Old 02-17-2011, 02:54 PM
photolo photolo is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6
Newbie Help with Natural Pro look

hello everyone, can you guys please help me with this?

I have been playing around with photoshop and lightroom 3 for a while trying to get my photos to get that PRO look (clean, correct color, crisp, etc.). here's what i've come up with... I feel it just does not have that quality. it seems so simple yet so hard. What am I missing?

I find this photographer has that pro look:
http://www.mikelarson.com/blog/

I've attached jpegs and links to raw files with corresponding file names.


http://www.4shared.com/file/D9HBtNCT/IMG_6419.html
http://www.4shared.com/file/ax78s5en/IMG_6453.html
http://www.4shared.com/file/b3ihTC3d/IMG_6517.html
http://www.4shared.com/file/RYxoQqjd/IMG_6723.html
http://www.4shared.com/file/3zDThcrA/IMG_6755.html

any help is greatly appreciated!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_6419.jpg (66.4 KB, 87 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_6453.jpg (72.4 KB, 72 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_6517.jpg (88.2 KB, 70 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_6723.jpg (97.6 KB, 70 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_6755.jpg (80.6 KB, 78 views)
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  #2  
Old 02-17-2011, 03:59 PM
drode drode is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Aurora, Ohio
Posts: 70
Re: Help with Natural Pro look

A skilled, creative retoucher can take a good photo and make it better. However, retocuhing will rarely make a mediocre image great. It all starts by creating a great photo. A thoughtful composition with an intriguing pose and well crafted lighting cannot be added after the fact. The photographer you linked to began by taking very good images. The retouching didn't make the images good, it simply improved upon what was already there.

I'd hazard a guess that his shots looked really nice right out of the camera.
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:17 PM
photolo photolo is offline
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Re: Help with Natural Pro look

Thanks Drode. I do try my best to get my exposure and composition right. But some pics that i want to use do come out under or over exposed. I guess i was hoping there is a way to save it in photoshop. my photography is mediocre.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:03 PM
fraiseap fraiseap is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Birmingham UK
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Re: Help with Natural Pro look

The problem with the photos are that they are poorly lit and, in the main, underexposed. Drode is right, retouching can't really sort out this problem. You need to study lighting, learn to use reflectors and fill flash, learn what an accurately exposed image looks like and learn to adapt your cameras exposure readings for the type of light. You may need to invest in better lenses. Once you have done that you can start to make the most of your images using Photoshop.
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:41 PM
photolo photolo is offline
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Re: Help with Natural Pro look

now that I look at them again they are embarrassingly under exposed. For some reason I get this problem a lot; I take the picture it looks correctly exposed on the little camera screen and after it is dark on the monitor. any idea why this happens?
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:26 PM
pellepiano pellepiano is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 393
Re: Help with Natural Pro look

I changed to tone of the color with Color balance to a more sun flavored one. Added a flare to the left,
Attached Images
File Type: jpg rp1_test.jpg (95.5 KB, 62 views)
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  #7  
Old 02-18-2011, 04:34 PM
photolo photolo is offline
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Re: Help with Natural Pro look

Thats a cool effect pellepiano! I enjoy your photos, they are so interesting and fun. the quality is great!
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  #8  
Old 02-18-2011, 04:57 PM
onesh0t onesh0t is offline
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Location: Belfast, UK
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Re: Help with Natural Pro look

Play about with warmer tones (works better on people), selective colouring, luminosity masks, etc. Oh, and first and foremost get the RAW right, so there's more to work with.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_6453_web.jpg (96.9 KB, 39 views)
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  #9  
Old 02-18-2011, 06:19 PM
matu matu is offline
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Re: Help with Natural Pro look

Photolo. The LCD screen is a great tool for sure but you can't rely on it to give you an accurate representation of the final image: 1) it's only a 3 inch screen!!! 2) it's a very cheap LCD display (don't know the price but it can't be much, manufacturers still have to put a lot more inside the camera to have it take pictures) 3) what's your LCD brightness settings?
LCD get you into the ball park. Get to know your equipment. If the picture looks good on your camera's LCD but is underexposed when you look at it on your calibrated monitor then you need to take that into account when you shoot (your photos should be on the overexposed side).
Like others have said before you should pain more attention to the light when you take your pictures. And I'm not talking about being properly exposed here.
Hope this helps.
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  #10  
Old 02-19-2011, 09:36 AM
fraiseap fraiseap is offline
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Re: Help with Natural Pro look

Matu is right, the LCD screen is not very high quality and should not be used to evaluate exposure or white balance. It is also a representation of the JPG settings on your camera so, if you shoot RAW it will not be very accurate.

The best thing to do (and most photographers I know do this) is to take a load of test images, bracket like mad (+/- 0.3, 0.6 and 1 stop) check them on a calibrated monitor and work out whether your cameras exposure meter reads high or low. My SLR reads 0.6 stops out so I need to overexpose by 0.6 stops. A hand held meter may be more accurate but still needs checking (my Sekonic reads 0.5 stops out).

Also, get used to looking at the histogram and expose to the right;

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...se-right.shtml
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