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Help with Sister's Photo

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  • Help with Sister's Photo

    I’ve been absent from this forum for quite some time and now I need some expert advice.

    Attached is a photo of my sister I would like some help on. I took this photo in her living room then I placed her in a photo that I took of her hay field.

    I am going to print and frame this photo and I am stumped as to whether this is good or could use some improvement.

    One of the concerns I have is the shadow on her upper lip by her hand. Should this be left along or is there a way to soften it and make it look untouched.

    Any suggestions and examples of what you think would enhance this photo without changing her age would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so much.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Hello Sharon,

    Myself, I would have went with a different angle, perhaps a 45 degree portrait. Seeing this is what you like (which is fine), here are my thoughts.

    I think I understand what it is you want. A simple portrait of you sister, as is, without changing her appearance to any degree and keeping her "real".

    Ok . . . I'll apologize in advance if I'm not on the same page as your thoughts are.

    To start with, I'd change the picture by adding some area to the top. This would make it easier to frame without cutting off any of her head. This also allows a more favorable crop as well.

    I don't really think it's necessary to have her arm in the picture. The camera angle makes it larger than life.

    To keep all of her current features, "without" cloning them out or using a healing brush, I softened the picture by 25 %, made a mask above that and painted the blur only on the hard edges of wrinkles and moles

    I thought the watch was a distraction and not an important part of the picture so I got rid of it.

    Added Nik skylight at 40% to enhance her color, however, not the dress (it made it too bright).

    Cropped the portion of the image that I thought was important.

    I really don't think the hand shadow near the mouth is a problem.

    The example I sent was done somewhat quickly, so forgive the errors.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by LQQKER; 07-23-2003, 12:56 PM.


    • #3

      You did a great job "moving" her from inside the house to the hayfield! I do agree with LQQKER that increasing the space above her head would allow for the photo framing.

      I'm not sure about the shadow, but if you want to reduce it, you can add a layer filled with 50% gray with the Layer Blend set to overlay (so you don't see the gray layer) and then use the Dodge tool set on Shadows at a low opacity to reduce the shadow. This layer could be used to reduce some of the darkness around her eye and/or to reduce the depth of any wrinkle you might be willing to change. I can understand the desire to retain her natural look, but we can make a few changes without making it really noticeable. A copy of the Red channel of her image added above the original layer can be blurred and the layer blend set to Soft Light to enhance skin tones/texture.

      I understand the cropping that LQQKER did, but I was taught that cutting out the joint makes an arm look "disembodied", so I chose to crop from the left side (facing the photo) and from the bottom.

      Sharon, take a look at the Info palette for her skin tones -- there's much more magenta than yellow. You might want to add a bit more yellow.

      Hope that getting different ideas helps rather than confuses your final decision.

      Nice to see you here again -- it's been a Loooonnng time!
      Attached Files
      Last edited by CJ Swartz; 07-23-2003, 05:58 PM.


      • #4
        Looker and CJ thanks so much for taking the time to give me your opinions and offer suggestions. I will try them all.

        CJ, it really has been a long time and so many good changes on RetouchPro since I last participated in a challenge.

        I will use Looker’s version on one photo and yours on another and print them. If I can’t decide which I like best, I’ll give them both to Elanor.



        • #5
          HI Sharon,

          I apologize that I've taken a little bit to respond.

          When I look at the picture, it feels a little "off" to me because of the difference in color temps between your sister and the background. Also, the angle of the light. The hayfield appears to have been taken in late afternoon (or early morning?) - the light is golden and the shadows are long which means the sun is low in the sky to the right of the picture. OTOH, it looks like a flash was used in the picture of your sister and it has a bluish cast to it - plus the light appears to be coming straight on.

          So, I tried to warm up the skin tones a bit by adding more red, magenta and yellow. Then, to help the lighting a bit, I used Render>Lighting Effects and used an Omni light source in the upper right. This had the effect of darkening the left edge of the image and bringing the focus to the face rather than your sister's arm.

          Then, after reading Lqqker's and CJ's responses, I decided a crop wouldn't be a bad idea.

          Oh, and I removed the shadow by the nose, but I mostly did that to see what it would look like. I'm not sure it's necessary.

          Attached Files


          • #6
            Hi Jeanie,

            The photo of the hay field was taken in the afternoon and I did use a flash on my sister. I’ve been studying the photo and I knew the lighting wasn’t quite right but I didn’t know how to proceed.

            I really appreciate your analysis of the light and instructions on how to correct the problem.

            I think I will lighten the shadow a little.

            Thanks so much for helping me out.



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