Preparing photo for canvas print

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by gossamer, Nov 15, 2016.

  1. gossamer

    gossamer TPF Noob!

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    Hi,
    I have a picture of my daughter that I took with my new D500 and realize now I should have used a flash. Around her eyes are dark and her forehead is probably too light. I played around with it in photoshop and lightroom, but I really don't know how to do much beyond the basics.

    I thought it was good enough, and had a canvas printed, but it turned out too dark. I'm wondering if anyone knows of any tuning or tweaks that can be done to lighten up the areas around her eyes and face in general?

    I also didn't do enough to create space on the left side of the image, to support a 16x20 canvas.

    I'd really appreciate any tips or suggestions you might have for improving this picture, so I can try again to create a canvas.

    # Original NEF
    Dropbox - _DSC6424.NEF

    # Lower res sample
    Dropbox - DSC6424_Canvas1_30.jpg


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Best I can do I'm afraid; if I pull the eyes up any more they start to look weird.
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    hahah noooo she looks like a lizard person in that edit.
    Just take it as a lesson and reshoot the picture.
     
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  4. photo1x1.com

    photo1x1.com TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    First of all: I´d try to reshoot images like that. Retouching is nice for images that are hard or impossible to reshoot. But in this case, I guess it is easier and better to go and reshoot. I do understand, that your daughter looks really cute on that image, but I bet you can do even better than that and since we´ve spent a little time together in that other thread, I´m know your goal is to improve ;) . Use this drive to create a few more images. That said - I do know christmas time is comming up and relatives want prints - combine that with the weather outside and I´m totally with you and understand that I´m talking rubbish :D .

    Anyway: when photographing your kids, don´t overdo it. Don´t tell them to stand still, sit still, do this or that - let them do their thing. We are in digital age - shoot away and enjoy the liveliness of the images. Shoot them doing what they like. I´m doing a lot of family portraits and kids. I totally stopped telling people - and especially kids - what to do, how to pose, etc. for the first period of the shooting. I tell the parents approximately where to sit and about how to sit. Then I wait and shoot. The kids will be there with their toys, walk around, do what they like. In the meantime I take images of the couple - then kids turn up, and they go again. Eventually we can motivate them to do this or that after half an hour or so, but not before they had their fun. Don´t get me wrong, I´m not one of those "kids can do whatever they want" guy. But we want to have good images of them (they usually don´t) so I think it is fair to give the kids their fun too. And it works. Especially the images I get with them having fun rather than posing, are the ones our clients like best. No wonder - you can´t really tell kids to laugh - they don´t know why they should laugh and it doesn´t look natural. If they have fun, their laugh looks natural. Sure it takes 100s of images per shooting, and it is sure more demanding in regard to camera settings, focus and whatnot, but it is worth it. And it is very, very, very good practice.

    Back to your image: There seems to have been a flash firing, but it wasn´t strong enough. I saw a small catchlight in the eye and checked the exif. It did fire, but it was probably set to TTL which doesn´t always work, especialy if the subject is brightly lit by the sun and the background is dark, the camera thinks the light that came from the flash is already enough, so it stops adding light by flash. Manual mode of the flash or at least flash compensation would have done wonders. But you would have had to reduce the overall exposure a bit.

    Here´s my try:
    _DSC6424.jpg

    Here´s what I did
    1. made some general adjustments in lightroom
    2. added 2 brushes to the local adjustments in lightroom: one to reduce the highlights in the face, and one to bring up the shadows in the face (unfortunately things like that are really tricky, because they bring out the unevenness when a face has such strong contrasts).
    3. added a radial gradient around your girl to reduce the sharpness and clarity in the background.
    4. Opened the image in photoshop and double clicked on the background layer, to put it on a layer to make it "movable".
    5. copied the layer and reflected horizontally (edit-transform-flip horizontal)
    6. extend the canvas to the left - edit - canvas size (3000 width should be fine, you can always crop back in later though)
    7. move the bottom layer to the left so that it looks as if the image was mirrored, that would extend the background to the left (and if you only needed the background to extend around the side of the canvas, that should do the trick.
    8. If you are fine with the result, you could stop by now, and crop back in. If you want the background to extend into the visible image on the canvas, you need to do something to remove that reflection effect.
    9. I duplicated the bottom layer again, and moved the dupicate to the right again, so that the background of the new layer covered the "mirror part".
    10. added a mask and painted the mask black (paint bucket) to hide the layer.
    11. Then I used a medium sized soft brush and painted on the mask (!!!) with white color along the mirror line to bring some of the greens back in to avoid repetitve patterns.
    12. Finally I used the stamp tool to hide a few parts that seemed too obvious.
    13. Then I selected the canvas (Cmd+A), copied the merged layers (Cmd+Shift+C) and pasted it back in again (Cmd+V) - mac shortcuts, I think on windows it is Ctrl instead of Cmd
    14. Well, and finally I did a bit of work to even out the contrast in the face a bit, using the patch tool (J) - I do that on several layers, using different transparencies, so I can´t really explain how I do it.
    15. Finally (again ;) ) I lifted the shadows in the eyes again by copying the layer - shadows/highlight - then add a mask, black out the complete layer and bring the eyes only back in.
     
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  5. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Don't bother, reshoot.
    photo1x1 and tirediron are right on target.
    The overhead light had made bright spots on the top surfaces and deep shadows underneat that will take an awful lot of editing to make better - and it won't look great.
    It's not a good pose, the lighting is terrible and the photo is incredibly cold.
    I suggest you start over and consider this a lesson.

    upload_2016-11-16_8-21-30.png
     
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  6. photo1x1.com

    photo1x1.com TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Very nice edit though, thumbs up!
     
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  7. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ooohh... note to self, don't do this on the laptop in front of the TV; those eyes do look bad!
     
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  8. gossamer

    gossamer TPF Noob!

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    Oh, amazing. Thank you all so much for your efforts. I /am/ very interested in improving. I'm also always reshooting. Maybe not the same scene, but trying to constantly take a better picture. These are the reasons I got into photography - mostly to take pictures of the family.

    I also really appreciate any comments on how the composition could be improved. I've always known the lighting wasn't the best, and reshooting would be the best way to improve that, but it's not always practical.

    I never expected to see such an improvement like what you've done in photoshop. I have photoshop and lightroom, but I don't think I'll ever have the level of understanding that you appear to have. I just don't have the time to learn.

    I understand about 40% of the changes you've described in your list. Can you send the modified PSD after the changes you've made? I'm not sure the 350k JPG will be enough to produce a 16x20 canvas, and would also like to evaluate the changes you've made.

    If you wanted to create a new video that shows the steps that you followed, I would *love* to see that and learn.
     
  9. photo1x1.com

    photo1x1.com TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    You´re most welcome ;). Here is the psd file: www.photo1x1.com/thePhotoForum/_DSC6424.zip . Unfortunately I don´ have the time to create another movie, even though I enjoyed it - it took longer than expected and was more a try for the future ;) . I think if you see the layered file, you will understand what I did - at least up to step Nr. 14 - the final layer is flat, otherwise the file would have had quite some layers nobody would really need.

    In general though, I´ prefer The_Travelers edit. He kept all the details in her face and still managed to get all the shadows out.

    In regard to composition, I´d usually avoid the roses. They attract the viewers attention, that should really be with the girl - it would be different if there were really very many roses and you wanted to show your garden. Also: I´ position your daughter further away from the background - that would blur the background more. I´m the type of guy who likes really shallow focus and blurred backgrounds.
     
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  10. gossamer

    gossamer TPF Noob!

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    Awesome, thanks very much. I'm especially curious about the changes you've made in lightroom, as that's the one I have the least experience with.

    I would love to see the full picture and how those changes were made as well.

    Yes, I thought that as well. The rose detracts the eye from the subject unnecessarily. I had her stand some feet away from the bush, but I agree it wasn't enough. There's a steep hill behind me, which makes it all the more difficult to create space between me and the subject. Of course I could travel to somewhere else, but again, the time issue.

    I may be pushing my luck with the free advice these days, but I'm really interested in how I can avoid these shadows in the future. Perhaps this should be done as separate post, but how could I have avoided the shadows under the eyes and chin in this picture?

    # jpg
    Dropbox - DSC0527_Family.jpg
    # NEF
    Dropbox - DSC_0527.NEF

    Reshooting isn't really an option, as it was an hour and a half drive to get to this spot, with a five year old and a short time window. It was also about 11am with bright sun, so as you see it created some unavoidable shadows. Another problem is there was a road/driveway between the subjects and the camera, so my efforts to use the flash weren't successful because of the distance.

    If only I could go to the other side of the dam, where the sun was not directly in our eyes...

    I was using TTL, and as you said in a previous post, that perhaps wasn't the best approach on a day with full sun. After seeing how ineffective it was, I believe I stopped using the flash altogether.

    Is this possible to fix in photoshop?
     
  11. gossamer

    gossamer TPF Noob!

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    Hi, do you think you could upload the new file somewhere and describe the changes that were made so I can understand?
     
  12. Piccell

    Piccell TPF Noob!

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    The attempted edits all are very poor. You will be a lot happier with a new picture and changing a few elements when you take it.
     
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