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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.

  • Koes 8y

    thats a pretty awesome patch work, michael. she is very beautiful.
  • bikini sleepshirt 8y

    nice! it ended up looking very light and airy, and not just BRIGHT.
  • ~btezra~ 8y

    I am really interested in your workflow here
  • Peter Collins 8y

    Beautiful work. I love the crop and the way the hair flows within it. Great eyes and skin. If you hadn't said anything I wouldn't have suspected any problems--it looks very natural.

    Thanks for the inspiration.
  • Mon@rch 8y

    This is wonderful in seeing how you were able to work on this one shot! Thanks for helping understand some photo editing!
  • Anca Mosoiu PRO 8y

    I love that you not only take great photos, but tell the rest of us how we can improve our technique. Wonderful and inspiring work.

  • Flickn-Flip 8y

    If you hadn't mentioned the retouch I wouldn't have noticed it. Anyways, I like the way you edit your photos. The results are always stunning!
  • Lyman Green PRO 8y

    Wow. Nice work! So the question I have is, was it worth the editing work? I mean, at that point with that much work to be done, my gut would be to just try and get another shot of her later with more ideal lighting.. :-)
  • Jodi 8y

    Congrats on explore!
    Beauty is in the *EYE* of the Beholder
    Please add your Beautiful Photo to:
    Beauty is in the *Eye* of the Beholder!
  • Luis Loli 8y

    Incredible work...You are an artist.
    Good eye to see the picture
    Good eye to fix the picture.
  • Michael Czeiszperger 8y

    "So the question I have is, was it worth the editing work?"

    If I was dealing with actors, then sure, it would be easier to reshoot. When you're dealing with an event, particularly one with children, you simply can't get them to make the same expression again. I liked this image because of the expression on her face. If you sit a child down for a picture, they're either going to sulk or make a gigantic fake smile. You simply can't just recreate the events that lead to that child feeling that way making a certain face.

    The other aspect to what I do is the event. This was pictures from Easter. If I want to do an Easter celebration picture album, I've got to make the best of the images from that event.

    Lastly, I really like the way this picture turned out-- besides the expression, the look is nice and airy, with a wonderful glow to the skin. If the image had been "properly" done with fill flash the exposure would have been even, but the picture wouldn't look nearly as good in my opinion.
  • Alexander Crosby 8y

    adorable! and i agree with your conclusion about the value of the edit in this case.
  • Lyman Green PRO 8y

    Michael, thanks for the reply. That's pretty much what I expected you to say, but I still felt compelled to ask.
  • Tennessee_Gator PRO 8y

    Nice little tutorial.
  • Raquel Pellicano 8y

    you've got so many sweet pics!!! :)
  • skin 8y

    excellent explanation, i must have a look at lightroom! it's a great feeling to recover such an image from all those images 'lost'.
  • Photo--Graphy 4y

    Nicely composed and shot
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Taken on June 5, 2007
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