Digital Darkroom Series


Diamond in the Rough

Please review the tutorial on saving and pre-sharpening your images first if you have not already.

Every now and then you take a photo that has incredible potential if only the light was better or the background was nicer or whatever. In this installment of the Digital Darkroom, lets look at a common photo with the potential to become a real gem with a little cut and polish.

Here is the original image with all the problems of a flash photo “shot from the hip”. fig.1

First lets identify the main areas that need work. Removing the extra image by cropping helps to bring the focus to the subject. Next by using the clone tool and the quick mask tool we can isolate the subject from the background and the foreground elements. fig.2

Now we are free to replace the background with something less distracting and more appealing. I created an abstract background for this example with some gradients and filters (details on abstracts will follow in later chapters).

Now its time to work on the subject, 1st use the dodge tool set to “shadow” in several passes lighten the hard shadow under the right forearm, finish with the clone tool to replace the pink pattern where the shadow was removed. Using the “Render Lighting Effects” filter and “Brightness Contrast tools the subject is re-lighted to accent her face and bring the total gamma in line with the background. A slight color correction dilutes the warm colors of the other adjustments returning the girl to a natural color. Finally the red eye is removed from the left eye and the image transformation is complete. fig.3


fig.1) Source file problrems identified

fig.2) Rremoving the unwanted elements

fig.3) Final image





Michael S Richter © 2000 - 2011 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED