Sometime early in 2011 I stumbled across a website called I Heart Faces. The moment I clicked on it, I fell in love! I Heart Faces is a website for photography lovers of all skill levels! They host weekly photo challenges and are constantly offering interviews and tutorials from seasoned professionals. They have a free community anyone can join that allows you access to forums so you can ask questions or get feedback on your work, etc. All in all, it's just a super cool place.
Each Friday, they offer editing challenges. They'll use a photo that a fellow photographer has submitted and make it available for community members to download. We in-turn edit the photo and then list our editing steps for all to see. It's an amazing way to learn new editing tools and techniques...especially if your mostly self-taught, like me.
I used to do these religiously, but have had less time to do them as of late. But when I saw the photo this week, I HAD to try my hand at it. It's a beautiful photo from Wendy VonSosen Photography. It has all the elements that I LOVE...a little bit of haze, gorgeous sun...it's just stunning and made my heart do a little pitter patter when I saw it. I'm excited to be able to edit this one!
Here is the original image, straight out of camera or SOOC as most people would say:
As you can see, it's beautiful already. And as I mentioned earlier, I am a sunny/hazy kind of girl, so I loved those elements of the photo & wanted to keep them. But I decided to do a "levels" adjustment just to clarify the picture a bit (set on normal, 100% opacity and I increased the blacks to 6 & decreased the midtones to .95). I then decided that I loved the lower portion of the picture, but wanted the background (behind her) to have a bit more pop, so I used my smart brush and selected that area & brightened it as well as upped the contrast. Then I used gaussian blur to make sure the selected areas blended in with the rest of the photo. I also like my pictures to be warm, so I added two layers of warmth to it... First a very soft gold overlay at 17% and then a linear dodge in a rusty orange at 10%. I liked where I was with the warmth, but wanted a bit definition to the images, so I did a multiply layer and painted it on the darker portions of the image to enhance the depth. I brightened and defined her eyes a tad with The Coffee Shop's "Powder Rom" and ran one more levels adjustment (soft light at 75%) to pop the photo just a tad bit more. Here's my image:
I also decided to do a Black & White, so starting with where I was, I flattened my image & ran The Coffee Shop's No Cream, No Sugar bw action (I LOVE that thing!!). I turned off the mocha tint, reduced the Levels layer to 46% and the BW Conversion level to 78%. I also ran Florabella's Highlight Protection action on the entire image at 34% opacity & brushed most of it off the girl. Technically, it might be a bit over-exposed still, but stylistically, I like what I came up with.
Then I wanted to see what it would look like with the Mocha Tint turned on, so I added it at 78% opacity & can't decide which one I like more ;)
I hope this is helpful to someone...I know these challenges are always so super helpful to me! Feel free to comment with thoughts or suggestions. Thanks again to I Heart Faces for hosting these weekly opportunities!