ETA: Don’t miss the great giveaway going on at EW Couture!
Today’s blueprint original image is provided by Jamie Miller Images. Thanks so much Jamie!
Edit time: 4-5 minutes.
1- Original RAW image with no adjustments
Adjustments in Camera RAW: Temp – increased yellows, Tint – reduced magenta, increased exposure slightly +.15, increased fill light quite a bit 40, set tone curve to linear.
Exposure and fill light are two ways to bring light into an image. Exposure will increase the brightness in highlights, midtones and shadows. Fill light increases exposure more in the midtones and shadows, keeping the highlights better protected from blowing out too quickly. For this image, we needed more light in the dark parts of her jacket and jeans. The original was already starting to lose details in the shadows. By increasing the fill light, the jacket got a lot more details, making it much more interesting than an uberly dark or even full on black blob in the photo. Details are good.
2- After adjustments in ACR
1. Sparkle, painted in over her eyes to sharpen and her clothing to bring more clarity. Her eyes were really soft, left one even more so, so adding in spot clarity helped remedy that. The highlights on the jacket really started to pop forth with the Sparkle action.
2. Bland to Brilliant. I love this action for an overall defog, slight pop and zing! Be sure to open the action groups up and click the individual layers on and off, seeing what they do and decide if you need to change them. I increased the Brighten Brilliant layer from 35% to 50% to increase the overall brightness of the image.
3-Sparkle & Bland to Brilliant
Next, I ran Plush Color at the default 70% to enrich the depth of color in the wall and her pants mostly. All of the RICH actions need to be masked off the areas that get too dark like skin and dark clothing. I generally mask effects off or on with very low opacity soft brushes like 20-30% opacities. Low opacities are better… build up the brush strokes for a more gradual, believable result.
4- Here’s what Plush Color did WITHOUT any masking. You can see that her skin is too dark and the jacket is back to not having any detail. We need to mask Plush Color off gently on those areas.
5-The red quick mask here shows where I masked the Plush Color action off: skin, clothes, and a bit around her feet on the ground to brighten around her a tad to create an ounce of a vignette around her.
6- Here’s Plush Color after masking off those areas.
Next, I played Color Jolt at the default 70%. I kept the blending mode on the default. The action will give you a stop message about switching blending modes. Depending on the image, sometimes different blending modes will give you different effects. It’s important to switch them and see what works best for your image. I masked the effect on the colorful parts that I wanted more color saturation: wall and jeans. I often like to play Color Jolt AFTER I’ve enriched the depth of color with one of the RICH actions. Color Jolt on a lighter image will result in a different kind of color saturation. Played after a RICH action, it will produce a deeper, richer color pop. And don’t forget my favorite editing adage… just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Just because you can saturate an image until your retinas burn out of your eyeballs, doesn’t mean that you should. If you’re guilty of over-saturing to every shade of neon, slap your hands and take the Color Jolt action WAY down!
7- Color Jolt
This next image has:
1. Sun Kissed Skin, masked onto her forehead and cheeks to brighten and smooth, as well as a tiny bit of the ground in front of her feet to brighten and give a slight glow.
2. Light Optimizer at 20%, to brighten and slightly pop the entire image.
3. Flawless Face, masked on with a 50% opacity brush to her face and the wall to smooth out the pixels. Anywhere I need to keep detail and clarity, I do NOT mask it on.
8- Sun Kissed Skin, Light Optimizer, Flawless Face
I felt like she needed to be a bit brighter, so I played Starbright. This brightened her up slightly, while placing a tiny vignette around her, making her pop forth a bit more. In the Starbright action, I turned off the visibility to the layer called Starbright Details. It darkened the darks too much. Again, it’s important to open the action groups and turn the layers on and off. See what you need, discard what you don’t and change opacities or mask any layers as you see fit for the image at hand. This is where you will achieve incredible control over your edits; personalize and customize to your heart’s content.
The following image is the final base color image. I added a tiny amount of Rosy Cheeks + Lips, masking it in to her lips and cheeks with a 5% opacity brush to give them a nice rosy, healthy color. Many times contour on faces is lost during editing. People look good with contour and color! Giving a boost to lips and cheeks is a great way to add the contour and healthy coloring back in.
10- Rosy Cheeks and Lips
Final base color image
From the base color edit, you can tone as you see fit. I’ve done a few different tone versions here. This first one is simply Beautiful Warmth at 60%. It gives a nice warmth to the overall image, especially the ground and the wall.
Tone 1: Beautiful Warmth
This second toned image is the Beautiful Warmth from above and then Brown Sugar at 80%. I masked the Brown Sugar off her skin slightly, where the color was too intense and darkening. (use a low opacity, soft brush to remove tones where they are not needed… it’s important!) I love the warm richness that Brown Sugar produces on images that are already darker and richer. The reds get more oomph and it produces a slight warm haze.
Tone 2: Beautiful Warmth & Brown Sugar
The final toned image adds in one more toning element: Matte Overlay. I love this action. It’s definitely one of my favorite finishes for my images. It produces a matte finish to the image with a tiny haze. It can be adjusted to be subtle or dramatic. I played Matte Overlay at 50% and masked it off the areas that were too dull and hazy like her face and body… just a little bit with a low opacity brush. Remember to mask gradually, not with 100% opacity brushes… that only leads to obvious masking that doesn’t look natural.
Tone 3: Beautiful Warmth, Brown Sugar, Matte Overlay
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