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This picture was taken at Easter, and the event is between 12AM and 1PM, the worst time to take outside pictures in the sunshine. Furthermore, I hate to go around at a casual family party with flash, as it gathers a lot of attention, and kids start mugging for the camera instead of running and playing.This picture is a good example of the types of shots I got that day.
The sun is attacking from her left, and in the original her nose and left shoulder were completely blown out. The original photo is in the middle, and you can see how dark the face ended up because the spot meter must have picked up her nose. The first step to editing is to try and get the face lightened up without blowing out the rest of the image too much.
The third image down shows the results of using the Recovery and Fill Light settings in Lightroom with did an admirable job, but isn't nearly good enough.
The next step is to bring the image into photoshop. The typical fix for that type of thing is to duplicate the layer in Photoshop in multiply mode, but given there was zero information, the nose and shoulder were still big white spots.The solution was to use the Patch tool which I believe first appeared in Photoshop CS. I patched the bright nose area using skin from her cheek, which required about four separate patches, the first to do the whole area, and the other four to patch the visible edges.
While the skin looked perfectly integrated, it now looked unnatural because although the skin was perfect, it was lighted as in shade. A masked curves layer to duplicate the lighting that was on her nose before did the trick, making the patch nearly visually perfect.
The shoulder fix was simply done using the clone tool, again with a masked curves layer to simulate it getting brighter towards the edge of her shoulder.
To finish the image selective contrast was employed on her visible eye. With the dramatic range of light intensities if you increase the contrast on the entire image it will leave the face deep in shadow, which can be good, but in this case I wanted the face visible and light. Instead, I increased the contrast only in the area around her eye to make that more intense.
I'm still trying to fix the RSS feed at learningtosee.org, and am now downloading the Eclipse PHP debugging package to try and see what's going wrong with the program logic. Unfortunately that code stubbornly refuses to display any error message and continues to malfunction so I'm at a loss for what to do other than a debugger.
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