The pursuit of beauty – Realistic retouch

30 05 2011

Subtle Shades Photo of leasle standing in lake enjoying the view

There are plenty of photographers that swear to Photoshop, it is part of their arsenal of editing programs. When used properly, it can enhance the beauty of an image. Then again there are those that hate it. They complain that its fake, it takes away from the image and too many photographer do not know how to use it properly. Both sides have pros and cons. I agree that getting the shot correct in camera is the earmarks of a professional and if you cannot get it correct in camera. You should be working on that instead of correcting images. Getting it correct in camera speeds up post processing and getting images back to the client faster.

The methods that I use are not industry standards and if your at all familiar with Photoshop you will know that there are many ways to use the various tools provided.

As a professional photographer I use it. Here is the example of what I do to enhance images:

Below is the original shot captured by the camera. It is already a beautiful shot. But there are problems with the shot.

leasle enjoying the view at the lake original

There are way to many distractions is in the water, the sky could be more blue, the lake looks too brown, and because of the models pose there is a skin wrinkle near her waist where her hand is located. All the problems with the photo are marked.

leasle standing in lake with distractions marked in red

The first thing I did was remove the distractions in the water. This can be done with the spot healing brush.

leasle standing in water with distractions removed

Next, fix the wrinkle on the model’s waist. She is by no means fat…the wrinkle was caused by position on the hand and the pose. Use of the warp tool and the clone tool can fix that problem area.

leasle standing in water with body wrinkle removed

The sky comes next. On the tool bar hit select > color range and select the sky. Mask out what you don’t want affected and paste the selection to a new layer. Use the color balance to add more blue. Don’t go too far as it becomes over saturated and starts to look fake.

leasle standing in with darkened sky

Use the same method on the lake….not too blue as the lake would be a reflection of the sky so they should be very close in color tone.

leasle standing in lake with darkened water

Last, boost the contrast on the image!

subtle shades photo of leasle standing in lake with enhanced contrast

So there you have it! Proper use of Photoshop or any editing program can enhance photos, making them more appealing.

If you’re a client and you are reading this post, test out your hired photographer. Look at his images on his camera, not just the one he shows you. Look at them all! Ensure you are spending your money wisely! Hire professionals!

Thanks to Leasle as she was a wonderful model and to the Eleven 3 Connections group for their part in making this a wonderful shoot!




One response

30 05 2011

You guys did so great during the shoot and were REAL professional! You would take a couple of shots and then when it was time to change something you would let me look at the photos and see for myself what you did. You would work with nature and the lighting you brought to give you the picture and then you make small changes in photoshop to help the picture grow more. All of the photos turned out great from our shoot and by reading this and taking a class about photography, i can see what work it takes to make a better picture. Take out the distractions, color enhance, and make the photo have a smoother feel to it. I appreciate what all of you have done and do. Thank you all!

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