How To: Ay-Leen

Before I begin, I will inform you all that a majority of my editing here was done in Camera Raw. Undoubtedly this can be replicated in Photoshop, but all I have time for is to tell you how I did it. Maybe at a later date, I can do a Photoshop only version.

Camera Raw

223/365 Original

First thing, as you probably know, is that I took a wide shot of the area. “Shoot large, crop down,” is my mantra. But that’s a photography thing. But as long as we’re speaking photography, I really need to learn how to pose models.

ANYWAYS, first first thing, the sheen is well lit. The sun is off to my left and high enough that there are no annoying shadows on her face. The sky was a little light, so I slide the Recovery slider over a tad. No more than 20.

Next I knock the Blacks bar to the left to make the blacks in the image more gray, and I crank the Fill Light slider pretty full to the left. Since I am doing this from memory, I’m going to say I went halfway – as I usually do.

Yes, I know this makes the image look gray and dingy, like a college student’s attempt at washing white clothes for the first time, but here we do some more interesting stuff. You see the Contrast slider? Yeah, that. Go bring that to the right. See it make the dark grays into black and re-saturates the image a little?

I do this because I like controlling how dark my darks are in an image. The shadows in the original don’t seem…authentic(?) to me until I play with them. We are going to play with the shadows some more in the second tab.

Second thing, bump up the Darks so they become lighter, then bring down the Shadows. I never touch Highlights or Lights unless there is way too much glare on someone’s nose, cheeks or forehead, and even then I prefer to Photoshop it.

Finally, I went to the color correction tab (second to last tab) and made my adjustments. The green channel was off a little, by maybe +/-5 points. This is probably a sign I need my eyes or camera checked. I bump up the saturation between 15 and 20 there, as well as the reds and blues.

If you are following along with your own picture, you have now noticed the bricks and Ay-Leen’s face are WAY too red and the sky and dress are TOO blue. Yeah, that is supposed to happen. Skip back 3 tabs and you will see colors with a corresponding bar. Pull back on the reds/oranges a bit, then on the blue. Next, you want to pump up the yellow and green to get the rust on the door to look more interesting.


In the end, you should end up with something like the above.


Now that all of the minor…major details are in order, it is time to fix the horizon and crop down. In the original image, I forgot to crop down. It was a good image sure, but Ay-Leen is almost dead in the middle of the frame with way too much surrounding her in a strange way. So I find the little crop tool and follow a suggestion to crop out the protruding wall to her right. I was going to keep it, but I went with the suggestion for a tighter crop. And you know what? I like it better! She looks like she’s looking longingly for someone to come, or for something to happen. The area is no longer overbearing.

223/365 Alternate Take

And that’s it for this little ‘How To’! I will be driving back from Philadelphia on Sunday, and I don’t know if I will have any car passengers or when I will be coming back in the day.

Why Philadelphia? Why go somewhere 2.5 hours from my home where my family is not? Well, I was asked to go to Dorian’s Parlor to take some runway photos. I am very excited to try this. As excited as I am, I think I will take a break from traveling for the rest of August and part of September to get the correct photos to the right people and catch up with the blog. October has something going on every week as far as I can remember between New York Comic Con/New York Anime Fest, Photo Plus Expo and a Zombie Walk or two. After that it is too cold to travel, so you all will have a plethora of old images to look at on my slow weeks and some local stuff on days I can actually shoot.

Before I go, here is a top-bottom comparison:

223/365 Original
223/365 Alternate Take


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