Friday, May 8, 2009

I'm in a Little Bit of a Pickle

You see, I have TWO different "carnivals" (is that the right word? I'm so out of the bloggy loop) I want to participate in today. And I simply cannot decide. So I am posting twice (!!) in one day. Don't get too excited now.

First of all, I Heart Faces is having a constructive feedback thingy today (not sure that's what they call it exactly) . . .
and I would really love to get better at taking pictures. And they have some GOOD picture-takers over there. Sounds like a winning combination to me.

Here's the picture I took this morning. This is SOOC (I just learned today that means "straight out of camera")

Now if I knew anything about my camera, I could tell you the "settings" and sound more intelligent than I actually am. But since I don't really have a clue, here's all I do know: the little letter at the dial on the top was "P" and the ISO was 400.

Clearly I am a marvel of photography expertise.

Now here's the same picture with a few changes in Photoshop.

I started by cropping it a little. Then the image felt a little warm to me, so I used PW's 'cooler' action. I lightened slightly, and ran CoffeeShop's "little perk" action.

And then I uploaded the picture and it looked almost the same. So I changed the coloring to make it a little 'edgier.' Because if nothing else, I like to give off the illusion of being cool.

Clearly I need help.

I was talking about with my picture. Geez.

*Edited to add: sorry my edit is awful. I was trying to hurry and post this because i thought "oh no they can only take the first 50 to link up and 500 people entered the contest this week!!" But clearly I had time, and this is no excuse for poor photo editing skillz. . .


  1. I actually like the SOOC version better - is that allowed? I need to start learning more about my camera. I have a DSLR, but all I do is point and shoot!

  2. um i think your SOOC is precious!

    Also, I totally hang my head in guilt for clogging your reader. I'll try to limit my posts to twice a day (i'm so pathetic!)

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  3. seriously now that I look at I really dont like my edit. but whatever, i was struggling this morning.

  4. I agree that the SOOC is quite good. (I think the other one may be slightly over exposed) On the original, maybe try to lighten the shadows slightly. Might brighten up her face. You could also try to lasso her eyes and sharpen them a bit - will help them sparkle! You could play with the saturation and either bump it up a little or lower it to get a soft feel. I love this photo and she is so cute!!!

  5. if you took this picture this morning, that must mean...YOU FOUND YOUR CAMERA! Wahoo!

  6. What a sweetie, with her thumb in mouth and that cute headband! Your edit reminds me of when I was new to PS and just found actions. I used them full tilt on the entire picture. And sometimes that is way too much! (It is funny for me to look back just a year!)

    I agree that her face is a touch warm and dark. Very easy remedy, no actions involved: lasso her face using about a 125 pixels feather. Using curves, raise the midpoint of the curve to a brightness you like. While the lasso is still in place, go to hue/saturation and reduce both the red and yellow saturation levels. I move the slider rather drastically just to see what the extreme looks like, then back it off to an appealing level. Now, invert your selection so the background is now in play and not the face. Use levels to enrich/deepen the background colors...I move the blacks and mids to the right to a point that I like. Deselect. Now, the only thing remaining, aside from some crumbs under the mouth that you can clone out easily, are the deep undereye lines. Make a duplicate layer of the background, use the patch tool to draw around them then drag that selected area to clearer cheek area. Reduce the opacity of the layer to about 75-80% so she doesn't look fake. Voila, you are done. Or, rather, I am done! :)

  7. I love your SOOC version (all those layers of pink - how delightful!), and Julie's workflow will make your image AWESOME!

    My only suggestion is actually regarding setting the portrait up, in regards to finding the most flattering light. When you have your daughter in place, try her at different angles to the light and away from the light, til you find the best combination of flattering light and shadows.

  8. He he he! I agree...your SOOC is very good! I wouldn't say your edit is "bad" though, edgy just is maybe not the best for that photo of a sweet little girl. This is all about trying new things though, and that's what you did. I really do love your your original image though!

  9. Becca,

    This really is a beautiful SOOC shot. I would do just about anything to have known something about my camera back when my kids were little. Unfortunately, I didn't start learning until just last year after they were all out of the baby stage. :(

    You really have received some great info already. One thing I noticed right away was that the SOOC shot seemed fairly yellow. Due to that, I worked with the hue/saturation (focusing on the yellows) quite a bit to tone that color down.

    Here is my edited fix using my typical editing workflow (PW's boost, fresh & colorful, bring on the eyes and slight sharpen):

    And then, because of the beautiful pink tones with this photo, I decided to run PW's 70's action over it as well. Beautiful! I think I actually prefer this one over the other one:

    Thank you so much for sharing your photo with us this week!

    co-founder of iHeartFaces

  10. Becca, here's one other thing I just thought of...did you know that within each action you use in Photoshop, you can open up the different layers and then slide the opacity bar to tone them down to whatever is more pleasing to your eye? I'm only mentioning this because I didn't know that when I first started using PS. I thought that an action was an action and you got what you got. Once I discovered that little trick, my editing got a lot better! :)


    co-founder of iHeartFaces

  11. Beautiful picture! You sound like me but with more knowledge:)! I'm just starting to learn but for me it's been a long process that I'm just scratching the surface of. I don't have any editing softwear other than picnik so I have no suggestions for you other than I just love the SOOC shot!

  12. we all do that. Edit a pic, and then decide that we didn't like what we did.

    I actually like the warmness of the original. I probably would have just boosted some of the colors like the greens and yellow, just to make it a bit more vibrant. But, it's still a darling picture, and your edited version is still great!

  13. Well, isn't she DARLING! Being that I don't have Photoshop, there's really no way I could criticize you. But really, I don't think you left much room for criticism. I think it's a beauty just the way it is!

  14. thanks so much for the kind words becca! i really am a complete amateur who just has a total passion for photography.

    if you don't mind - even though it's saturday - i'd love to see what i could do with your photo to get it close to what you're looking for.

    give me a few :)

  15. here's the edit i came up with based on what you said you didn't really like about the shot.

    i've found that these can be the most difficult types of photos to get a nice color on. pinkish colored babies, around pinkish colored flowers, with pinkish colored clothes on. :) it makes it very hard not to have a washed out look and still get a nice white balance (not being too warm like you had mentioned)

    with this edit...i did some basic white balance and level correction in camera raw, then took it to PS4, did several curves layers, did some burning and dodging on the face and background to make her stand out more and bring out the eyes, lessen the harsh shadows, threw a few hue/saturation layers on as filters to get a nice tone, and through on a low opacity black and white layer in soft light blend mode to get that muted look.

    i hope you enjoy it!

  16. Hi...I just wanted to say thanks so much for going out of your way to leave me such a sweet comment on my other blog (since the comment section wasn't working on my i heart photos blog) I had no thank you, I think I fixed the problem) Anyway, as far as your picture goes...I think I like the s.o.o.c shot the best and I also like the s.o.o.c crop better as well. Don't get caught up with always putting your subject in the center of the frame. Read up a little bit on the "rule of thirds" and if you follow the guidelines, your compositions will feel more naturally appealing to the eye. Another tidbit that I have for you is spin your subject around (if you have the opportunity to) until you see a little catch light in her eyes. You'd be surprised how much light reflects off of buildings and other objects. Shoot in open shade as opposed to direct sunlight in order to avoid harsh shadows and squinty eyes, unless you plan on using a fill flash.(Open shade is considered the shadow of a building or structure where the light is even). I think your pictures is adorable. Julie's workflow is almost exactly what I would've recommended! I've never used actions as I do all of my editing on elements 5....although I've had cs3 on my computer for over a year now. I'm trying to make the switch but I'm too scared. I know my advice is kind of general and not exactly geared towards this picture but you already got a lot of really good advice so I figure why beat a dead horse ;) Just remember trial and error...and lots of practice makes perfect! You're already on your way if you jumped ship from automatic mode to "P" I would suggest "A"mode and then straight to manual mode baby! Good Luck.


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