Hi All! Today's focus is on the editing process. One of my favourite parts of my job and despite it being the most time consuming, one that is often completely overlooked, as no one sees it happening.
We'll be looking at this image of beautiful Eleanor, wearing the Sadie Gown - one of my favourite images from this Autumn.
Eleanor | Fairy Tales
Mum requested a gown for Eleanor, and I put this together with a vintage book ('Fairy Tales', by Hans Christian Anderson), a matching flower crown and a vintage oil lamp. Together with the gorgeous autumn scenery, this was a really lovely scene to create - I had a vision for this one, and Eleanor was the perfect subject! She was dressed in the gown, arranged with the props, and asked to gaze upwards slightly - what a star!
The image was shot on a lightly overcast, mid November day at around 2pm, under the tree canopy, on a Canon 5D MkIII, using only natural light.
Settings: 1/1250sec, ISO 1250, f/2
As you can see, the straight-out-of camera (SOOC) version is still a beautiful image. But in order to really bring it to life, there was considerable time taken in photoshop.
Here's my photoshop editing flow which I use for every image I create, and how it applies to this image.
~ Correct Background Distractions ~
Background distractions are anything that distract the eye from the subject, or make the image unnecessarily 'busy'. In this case, gaps in the background tree cover, a stick emerging from the ground to the left of Eleanor's hem line, a dark tree trunk on the left side of the image, and a dark patch of ferns on the right. These have all been concealed or softened, to create a seamless, even and pleasing backdrop for our subject.
~ Liquify ~
Liquify is a handy tool which can be used to warp or change the shape of elements in the image. Here it has been used very sparingly to 'puff out' the skirts of the gown. It's hardly noticeable, but subtly adds some extra oomph and drama to the gown.
~ Correct Skin Tones & Touch-Up ~
Outdoors, skin tones are rarely correct SOOC. The surroundings reflect onto the subject, as do clothes, and then there's consideration for cold hands, noses, ears etc, which will take on a red or blue hue. In this case there are some unwanted yellow tones reflecting from the surroundings on to Eleanor's hair and skin - these have been removed. Her hands have a red hue, which has been corrected, and her neck, which was in shadow, has been lightened slightly. As for touching up, Eleanor's skin is wonderful, so there was just a small area of chapped skin on her lower lip which needed to be removed.
~ Enhance Details ~
Shooting wide open does a fantastic job of isolating the subject from the background, as you can see from the SOOC image. However, to really make the subject 'pop', I like to enhance and sharpen specific details of our subject. Here, I have enhanced the detail of the flower crown, the lace of the gown, the book, the lamp and Eleanor's hair.
~ Add Magic ~
Now that we have our basic retouched image, it's time for the fun stuff! For this image I have added a light glow to the vintage lamp, to make it look like it has a glowing flame inside. I've also added a few falling leaves to enhance the feel of Autumn - some of these leaves are out of focus, with just one in focus to the right of Eleanor. The size of the leaves and their focus corresponds to how they would probably look if they were falling from the tree in real life at that moment.
~ Tonal Adjustments ~
The finishing touches! I have a secret recipe of tonal adjustments that I use for my images - this has been applied here, followed by a warming brush which has been used on a few areas of the background to create a warm and rich atmosphere.
And that's how this image was lovingly created! It is a pleasure to capture this lovely young lady growing up, along with the rest of her family - I always look forward to seeing you all!
See you soon for the next Making it Magical feature ~ Claire Xx
Musings of a Photography Addict