Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Photoshop Fun

Okay, I'll admit it.  I totally botched Kira's Christmas photo shoot. 

Santa was at the courthouse, and on Saturdays, you could bring your own camera.  Fresh from my first photography class at Made in Murfreesboro, I was confident that I could do an excellent job.  But it was a rainy day, we had just fought our way through traffic after having lunch, and we were dreading going back through said traffic for Christmas shopping after the pictures were done.  So, I took a few pictures that I thought would be fine, packed up, and rushed out.  Bad plan!

When I got home, I found that I had set my shutter speed too fast when compensating for the flash.  I ended up with:
The background is terribly dark.  After getting over my initial upset, I got plugging on Photoshop.

First I tried adjusting exposure in Camera Raw.  If you already know how to use Camera Raw, then you can skip the next part.  I'm not pasting the pictures in, otherwise this post will be really long.  To see how to get into Camera Raw, click: Picture 1 and Picture 2.  To see how to adjust exposure in Camera Raw, click Exposure Adjustment.  Anyway, after I played around with the exposure, brightness, and color saturation, I ended up with:
It is a little better, but it still looks pretty unbalanced.  The foreground is quite bright, and the colors look off.  I was okay with this picture, but I wanted to mess around with it more.

Next, I decided to use some of the techniques I'd learned for teeth whitening from the book Photoshop CS4: Top 100 Simplified Tips and Tricks (Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks).  I used the quick mask method to select the area I wanted to adjust.  Basically, after you click on quick mask (Quick Mask 1) and select your brush (Quick Mask 2), you just have to paint over the area you want to select (Painting what you want selected).  My example picture isn't as detailed as what I did for the end picture, i.e. I didn't paint over every part I would want to change; this is just so you can see how to do it.  Once you get the desired area painted, you want to click the quick mask button again, then go up to Select and hit "Inverse" (Getting the area selected).  You'll see the dotted lines around the stuff you want to adjust.  Now, to change the exposure of that selected area, look for a button on the right that says "Exposure."  The last example picture showed you where the button is.  Once you get that button clicked, you can alter exposure as much as necessary (Changing Exposure).  See how drastically different that is?  You can use this same method of selecting to change other things in your picture.  To whiten teeth, you would click the button on the right to alter colors and adjust your yellows.  I think that if you want to do more than one thing (exposure, then color alterations), you have to reselect the area, though.

This is the end picture from using the second method:

I think this picture looks the best.  The background is properly exposed without making the people in the foreground look overbright.  It isn't as good as the picture would have been if I'd have gotten the settings right in the first place (or if I had a professional flash), but I'm happy enough with it.  It is certainly better than no Santa picture at all!

And yes, I'm sure there are easier ways to select part of an image and alter it.  I'm a Photoshop noob, so I'm basically sharing with you my experiments.  This is not the blog for pro tips.  LOL  It certainly is a lot of fun learning, though.

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