Improving interest via PP

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May 1, 2007
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Ashburn, VA
I have the following image:



(Click on image to go to Flickr Page with 6MP jpg)
RAW NEF

I think it has potential, but I can't get the vibrancy and the interest I would like without the photo feeling unnatural. Also, this was taken in strong light, so there is a very strong contrast between the areas in direct sun and the shade. I am undecided as to whether I like it that way, or if I should try to bring up the lightness so some of the details come out at you.

I have Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CS2. I may have Nikon Capture 4 somewhere around here, as well.

--Ron
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
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St. George, Utah
Thanks for posting this image and for your interest in getting post processing help. I have kept my changes simple without going into layers, masking, etc. I first started with the Shadow/Highlight adjustments to bring up the shadows without unduly affecting the highlights. The adjustments I made here were Shadow Amount 50%, Highlight Amount 25% and Highlight Radius 5px. Next I went to Brightness/Contrast control and increased contrast to +15, then adjusted the right slider in Levels to 247. After doing these adjustments I cropped the image to place more emphashis on the bird and then sharpened the image. Sort of as an afterthought I used the blur tool to further blur the background, being careful to not blur the bird while I was doing it. I converted it to sRGB before saving it.

Tweaked image:

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Commodorefirst

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Hello Ron and welcome to the cafe!

Gordon presented a lighter image, I will try a different tact and try to create some interest and pop and keeping most of the image details but keeping it a bit darker, just a different mood.

I did this one in Nikon capture, since you mentioned you might have a copy around somewhere, but remember you could do the same thing in PSCS2 also.

I first took your JPG image and did a D-lighting adjustment in Capture, not to much as you can see, but just a little bit to bring out some of the shadows a bit, in advanced high quality mode 50% top slider and all the way to the right for the highlight slider, with 60% color boost.

In levels I moved the midrange slider down to .95 and the black point on the left slider to 8, right highlight slider I left alone, I did an overall saturation boost of 11%

I sharpened with settings of 30, 11, 3 and cropped to bring you in closer, then saved then resized for web.

Hope this other thought helps you out in your vision.

Wade

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Ashburn, VA
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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Here's what I ended up with:
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I used Curves, Curves, and more Curves... ;)

1. Lightroom to adjust color balance.
2. Lightroom Tone Curve sliders to bring up the shadows
3. Lightroom Saturation Sliders to help the green and yellow pop

Here's where I had a problem. I couldn't lighten the hands without losing contrast in the rest of the image.

-Moved to Photoshop CS2-

4. Use Lasso to select dark parts of hands. Feather 10px
5. Create a new Curves Adjustment Layer.
6. While in curves click on the hands with the eyedropper to find the point in the curve for that tone.
7. Click that spot and increase tone slightly with arrow keys
8. Levels
9. USM

I see a definite improvement over the original :) I'd become excited and entered the original in a photo contest. It was shoddy, though, and didn't make the first cut :(

EDIT: Added some levels
 
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Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
33,099
Location
St. George, Utah
The great thing about it Ron is that you learned that there are a number of way to skin a cat (pet a bird) so to speak. You have done well and congratulation for teaching yourself. Each of us took a different route and yet the image was improved in all three. Thanks for bringing this to the Photo Clinic.
 

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