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SOOC – unedited image
Edited using the HeARTy actions from both the Creative HeART and the HeART & Soul Collections.
John Michael and I worked on this pretty image this week during our online session. I wanted to share this image captured by Images by John Michael for a couple reasons. One, this image has all the potential in the world to be over edited. There is so much possibility for rich, saturated color and texture with the red truck, orange barrel, and green trees. That, along with it being shot in an “edgy” location, often leads photographers to go nuts with saturation and sharpening. My approach to this image was to play up the color in a sophisticated way, but show restraint. This is just my opinion, but I don’t want to saturate and sharpen to the point that it feels heavy, cakey, unbelievable and overdone, with saturation that burns the retinas out of my eyeballs. I want to see her. Focus on her. Not the funky truck.
Two, this image is a really wonderful SOOC image. I cannot stress how important it is to start with a great out of camera image. So many of us photographers are taking so-so photos with poor lighting, poor white balance, and sketchy focus and trying to “fix” them in Photoshop. If that’s you, I urge you to shoot more, master your out of camera shots and edit less. Seriously. You will be so much happier with your images if they start out in focus and well exposed. Editing quality SOOC images is a breeze. This image was perfectly exposed by shooting later in the evening, with John Michael taking advantage of the warm setting sun. The white balance was perfect for her skin. It was warm and it kept her skin looking naturally tan without being too orange or too cool. Too much in either direction will kill an image. If it hadn’t already had such a perfect white balance, I would have adjusted it in Lightroom. In mentoring, we looked at adjusting the WB of another image in Lightroom vs. Photoshop. Lightroom won hands down not only for ease and time spent, but accuracy. If you struggle with your white balance at all, make those adjustments prior to major editing in either Lightroom or ACR.
Pre-edit: Slightly reduce under eye area with the Patch tool, layer opacity reduced.
- Bland to Brilliant. My ultimate favorite go-to action to start out all my images. It’s the easiest way to add the perfect amount of pop, contrast and clarity to an image. I’m biased I know, but I love this action. B2B was painted off some of the trees and the dark blacks in the image that lost detail with the contrast punch.
- Plush Color. This was used to boost the color and give the saturation that we needed. It was painted off the skin and the dark areas again.
- Euphoria 43%. This action creates such a nice color and softness to skin. I painted it off any place that got too light or airy.
- Glisten. Painted onto the eyes very lightly. Not overdone. Not too sharp or bright. Just enough to give her eyes a small pop.
- Finishing Touches:
- Brown Sugar Tone. Just warms it up a bit with a slight haze factor. It made the red truck pop a tiny bit more.
- Matte Overlay. This is where most of the soft haze comes in. It takes the edge off the blacks and makes images feel more editorial.
- Flawless Face. Where would I be without Flawless Face? Seriously I use it on every image. It was basically painted onto the background and barely on the skin, because her skin was perfect anyway. It reduces grain/noise and makes backgrounds feel uber creamy.
That’s it. That’s the whole enchilada. Working this image start to finish would have taken about 3 minutes. Doable? I think yes.