Friday, October 19, 2012

Photoshop Workflows: Photo Filter

Sometimes you might forget to set the white balance on your camera according to the actual shooting conditions. You get really yellow or blue colorings in the image. Sometimes it's just that time of day. They call it golden light. It's right after sun rise and right before sun set. It can be beautiful and warm and all glowing.

This is Nick and Lynn in Europe. Too cute. I wasn't there so don't know the time of day but I am guessing it was in the golden light time frame since it is outdoors. Their skin tone has a yellow cast, which isn't too bad. There is a filter if you prefer it to be more skin colored. In Photoshop, Image>Adjustment>Photo Filter gives you a drop down menu. The first are golden colors which are useful when you have an image with a blue cast. But scroll down to the cooling filters and try one of the three. Just use your sense of correct to choose and manipulate the intensity of the filter with the slider. 

Here is my adjusted image. Still cute!!! Which do you prefer?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Photoshop Workflows: Levels

Photoshop is my first choice for post processing. It is so feature rich that after 10 years I am admittedly still learning this software. I started with PS Elements and it can amazingly do a lot. I migrated to Creative Suites at version 3 and now use 5.5. 

This post is about Levels adjustments, which is always my first step. 

I always begin with a levels check, no matter how the photo looks. Levels is in the Image pull down menu, Image>Adjustments>Levels. The short cut is Control L in windows and Command L on a Mac. It pulls up a histogram that basically indicates the Exposure adequacy.

Here is an example of an image:

and it's Levels histogram

A perfect histogram would be a bell shaped curve with the most data (black) in the center. As you can see, this image has too much dark and not enough light hitting the surface. Moving the white slider, which is right above the number 255, to the left just to the point where the data is beginning to appear (black blob), will vastly improve the image. It has the effect of making everything lighter, both darks and lights. In this case I nudged the black slider as well and usually find that I need to nudge both.  Depending on how the photo looks after these adjustments, I sometimes need to move the middle one as well. The middle slider adjusts mid tones. If you make a photo too light, it often takes on a smoky look. This midtone slider will improve that.

Here is the histogram moves I made and the resulting image.  You can see the lights are brighter and the edges of the leaves become crisper, more defined against the dark background. If I had moved the white slider even more, I would have picked up some of the detail in the background but don't want that. It subtle and very natural looking but markedly improved IMO.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Still Some More Stories...

It's good and nice to capture how people live. 

an outdoor garden... 

the old horse barn... 

peaking in the porch window... 
I need to get going on my own place.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Telling Stories

My MIL and FIL have a wonderful old home. There are many things that create memories here. My niece, Kerry, who is a photography student at Illinois State, has documented some of these things. It made me take a hike around the place and capture some of my favorites and even notice a few that I had not seen before. I will put this one in my memory bank of things to do when trying to tell a story. Capture the home and things that are important to a person. It says so much.

The front door...doesn't it look like a face? 

The key to the grandfather clock... 

The keys of the grand... 

Birds on a planter...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Have Camera, Will Travel

I always have a point and shoot in my purse. My I-Phone is there as well. I also make it a habit to stop when I see something interesting. Or, to pass the time. :(  One day, I was driving through the tunnel at 2 in the afternoon. Rush hour like traffic, backed up all the way to the tunnel entrance. What a bummer! Rather than a primal scream [ :o  ],  I took this photo. It sure beats road rage.

Another favorite is pics from the airplane. You would never see this from down under.

Looks like the tub is emptying. Am I so easily amused. Still smiling.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Caite and Robin Post Processed - LOL!

I took this image of Caite with her cousin's little girl. The image is so-so. The lighting is not great. The background is too busy and too sharply focused. The framing is not top drawer either. How do you salvage the memory and make it into something more interesting. In the film days it would be set aside. Not so in the digital world of Photoshop.

This is a more artistic rendering of the girls. Extracting them from the distracting background, converting to B&W and reducing the saturation produces this image of the girls. Playing around on the layer beneath by adding brush strokes of small dots and them clipping a gradated color to the brush strokes produces the oh so gentle color I have achieved. 

I like the end result a lot more than the original. And your take please...