First Post: Editing Tips to improve photo

mrvgson

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Hi Everyone:

I am new to this group and this is my first post. I am hoping to learn from feedback and suggestions from others in this group.

Introduction: beginner/amateur photographer. I have a Nikon D70, 18-70mm and 70-300mm lenses.

I shot these 2 photos at a recent Xmas party and I am trying to learn some photo-editing techniques that I can use to improve this. I am attaching edited versions of two photos. I am not satisfied with these edited versions.
http://flickr.com/photos/mrvgson/2110742506/
and
http://flickr.com/photos/mrvgson/2109963319/
(I am not sure if such links will work in this forum)

Any suggestions or tips on what techniques I can use to improve these?

I only have Adobe Elements (4.0) and am still new to it. So I would appreciate if you could explain things in lay man terms.

Thanks,
mrvgson
 

Sideburns

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You could have just used some light fill flash and that woulda brought out the faces like I think you wanted.

Less post processing and a better result that way.

If you're unsure what fill flash is, just ask.
 

ANDS!

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The first one is actually a nicely COMPOSED photograph. Dunno where all the grain is coming from though, and yea you need a bit of light in there - you should easily be able to add some light by adjust the "curves" or "levels" (Google for info on how to accomplish - not hard at all).

The second one - uhm. Yea, lets focus on that first one for now.
 

BuZzZeRkEr

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Wow the D70 is some nice hardware there and great lenses to compliment...so thats not the problem. I think these pictures actually turned out better pre (post) production, but kind of got butchered in the post production process. It seems as if you flored the brightness and contrast to hide blemishes on the subjects complection as to disguise them completely. Unfortunately this cannot be done by manually adjusting contrast and brightness without completely destroying your picture integrity. If you want to edit out dark spots or blemishes it is critical to use a better post production software such as photoshop to actually paint over or blend accordingly.

Here is your original picture........
XmasCoupleFixer.jpg


I readjusted the curves to reveal a brighter bluer picture, which I'm sure was the orginal phot before post production, however I adjusted the curves and altered the color balance to give it more of a warm color tone and feel. Hope this helps.....

XmasCoupleFixer1.jpg
 
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mrvgson

mrvgson

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Thanks everyone for the responses to my post.

"Sideburns - You could have just used some light fill flash and that woulda brought out the faces like I think you wanted. Less post processing and a better result that way. If you're unsure what fill flash is, just ask."

Sideburns I guess what you are saying is that I should have used "fill-flash" while I took this pictures. (Just wanted to confirm that you are not saying that there is a technique to add "fill-flash" in Elements). I did some google on fill-flash. Note that I do not have an external flash unit. If I remember right, even when taking this picture, I did use the in-built flash, but then put my hand in front of the flash so that it does not over power the xmas lights in the background. Anyway, I will have to read the D70 manual to see if I can use the in-built flash and set it to some sort of "fill-flash" mode.

ANDS - "The first one is actually a nicely COMPOSED photograph. Dunno where all the grain is coming from though, and yea you need a bit of light in there - you should easily be able to add some light by adjust the "curves" or "levels" (Google for info on how to accomplish - not hard at all)."

thanks ANDS. I will look into curves and levels. I have not used these so far. The grain is from the high ISO that I normally use in indoor settings.

Buzzzerker, I like what you have done with the picture. I had used layers to reduce the wrinkles. I need to learn how to make the skin tone nicer. I have used the "Adjust skin tone" feature in Elements but have not had good results with it.

Thanks again for your responses. This is my first post and I already feel like I am learning a lot.

happy weekend.
 

Joves

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Well you D70 has a flash output level adjustment in the Menu. If you readjust your ISO to say 800 and, set the flash to a level you like. Try a couple of test shots. That is why digital is great if you dont like the result you can delete it. And Light room is supposed to be the best. Also go to http://www.adobe.com and, see if there is a RAW Plug in for elements and, shoot in RAW+Jpeg you will have more flexibility in adjusting with Raw and, have the Jpegs for instant posting if you have ones that dont need adjusting.
 

JenR

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I am putting off the things I really should be doing and played around with photo #1

party_filtered.jpg


What I did:
-create 3 'screen' layers all at 100% to correct for underexposure
-auto color correction
-slight levels adjustment
-soft light layer at 60%
-Noiseware
 

mrodgers

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I'm new here, and have a new extremely crappy camera :(

I know nothing about photoshop/photo editing and just want to say that is amazing what you can do to fix a photo. That one from the post above here is awesome. I hope that I can do stuff like that eventually. Wouldn't have a clue where to start.
 

MACollum

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When I use flash I always reduce the ISO. I don't see the need to shoot at high ISO when flash is being used. The goal is to use the lowest ISO you can get away with for any lighting situation. Flash provides the light that is lacking in many indoor situations. If you use flash, lower that ISO! I would drop the ISO to 100 or maybe 200, then adjust flash output. Of course, I realize that in certain situations you might want to use a higher ISO in order to allow for less flash output. Generally though, you'll get much less noise with lower ISO. HTH.

BTW, I really love the shot. Great composition. I liked how you were able to capture what was surely a fleeting and intimate moment.
 
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mrvgson

mrvgson

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JenR Thanks for taking time to edit my picture. I reall like what you have done here, especially with the woman's skin tone.

MaCollum, thanks for the Iso vs flash tip. I have never thought about lowering ISO when using the flash. Something I need to think about and try out.
 

Neuner

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I am putting off the things I really should be doing and played around with photo #1

What I did:
-create 3 'screen' layers all at 100% to correct for underexposure
-auto color correction
-slight levels adjustment
-soft light layer at 60%
-Noiseware

Very nice job. Wish I knew how to do that. Oh well...
 

JenR

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Very nice job. Wish I knew how to do that. Oh well...


Thanks! :D For the most part I have learned by fooling around with Photoshop and lots and lots of practice.
 

hyakuhei

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Meh, filtering out noise looses you detail and often looks like your trying to make the best of a bad situation...

Embrace the noise!
A quick crop, contrast bump and desaturation leaves you with something like this:

2123042821_a13a1292c5_o_d.jpg

it might not be great, but its not bad for 2 minutes work...
 

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I'm using Photoshop for years but using capture NX1.2 is a breeze to me coz changing color is so easy and fast. It can also adjust the White Balance of your picture.

If you are looking for software that is user friendly and easy to use thus provide excellent result. Go for Nikon Capture NX 1.2.

Please let me know if you are interested in Capture NX 1.2. You can have cheaper prize than the original price.
 

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