July 07, 2012  •  2 Comments

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'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! 




2.Carrie Gilliam Photography
Thanks Julie!!
I like all your edits!
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