March 2, 2015

Adventures In Editing - The Eyes Have It

Personally, I measure the success of my people photos by how well I have captured the eyes. If they are not sharp, if they do not draw your attention immediately, I consider that photograph a failure.

Because as the saying goes, "The eyes have it."

My goal, whether shooting an individual or a group, is to make sure the eyes are the focus (pun intended) of the image. And that is not always easy to do. In fact, it is often quite challenging.

The photo below is one I took of my daughter in the bathtub. We were just fooling around. Having recently seen the movie The Song of the Sea, she was pretending to be a, "Selkie." She's not always in the mood to have her photo taken, but in this instance she was. So I seized it.

This shot was my favorite. Here are the steps I took in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to edit it:

Click on image to view larger

As with every image I import into Lightroom, I began by sharpening and noise reduction. I used the heal brush tool to remove a few distracting hairs on her forehead, and some food around the corner of her mouth.

I bumped up the saturation a bit and increased the vibrance. Then I increased the sharpness around the eye area even more. And used my go-to tool, Iris Enhance.

With this image, I decided to play around with the Clean Workflow set of presets I purchased from Greater Than Gatsby. I tried out several before settling on one titled, "Dreamy Edit." I really like the tone of her skin and the overall look of the image. It is dreamy, and I love the end result!

Last week I had someone comment on Facebook, "Editing takes soooo much time!" The process does not need to be a tedious or timely. It can be relatively quick, even fun. The key is to start out with a strong image, know your software and use the tools you have available to you.

Lightroom comes with a number of presets. They can offer some shortcuts to the editing process. You'll find them in the far left menu bar of your screen when in the program. You can even set your own. And, you can purchase and import third party presets as I have.

Pressing the shutter is only the beginning...

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