Thursday, January 6, 2011

Photo Thoughts: Ella

Mouse over to see before, mouse out to see after
1/125 sec at f/2.8, ISO 250, 200mm

I captured this shot with my Canon 1D Mark IV ( learn more) using my 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. I had an assistant holding a reflector to bounce available light up from the ground to her torso.

Processing this file was actually pretty simple since the shot turned out okay right out of the camera. All I did was:

  1. Run Noiseware on a new layer using the Default settings to remove any noise.
  2. Run Portraiture to add skin softening with most defaults accepted (did samples to get the skin tone insolated).
  3. In Photoshop I created a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and moved the saturation of the yellow channel to –15 and boosted the lightness of the master channel to 7.
  4. I did some dodging and burning on the eyes then I did high pass filter on layer with the blending mode set to overlay to bring more detail back for her eyes.  The technique for this and step 3 are discussed in The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers.
  5. I did a LAB color and Shadows & Highlights layer as discuss in the 7 Point System by Scott Kelby.
  6. I did a Tonal Contrast filter on just the dress using Color Efex to bring out the blue flowers a little better.
  7. I performed my final sharpening using Sharpener Pro.
  8. In Lightroom I added a post-crop vignette as discussed in Lightroom 3 for Digital Photographers and I exported the file as a 8-bit sRGB jpeg.
  9. I added the logo watermark to the jpeg.

Total time spent working on this photo was about 90 minutes with a majority of the time spent on steps 4 – 6.

It looks great with wonderful skin tones in print and on a wide color gamut display like the NEC PA Series, but it gets a little drab on more typical displays and in web browsers. 

What I love about this photo is the color and the background.

Share your thoughts on the forums!

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fceexp1 said...

Hi. The photo of Ella is beautiful which is no surprise. Its high fashion, for certain and all the things to correct have been corrected. Coming for a primarily "street style" of photography, I can't help but flinch at the thought of spending 90 minutes to edit one image. Of course I know I'm woefully ignorant to what is done for magazines, etc, but this is just my 3 cents worth (accounting for inflation!). I know this is an "apples to oranges" comparison, so please don't boo me too badly! :) said...

Hi fceexp1,

Thanks for the feedback! I agree that spending that kind of time on a photo sucks, but I do tend to focus more on quality over quantity so for that particular shoot I had about 400 shots and I'll process between 1 to 3 on average.

Set to a different standard (i.e., photojournalism), I could probably consider 60% of them keepers - especially with just 5 minutes of Lightroom adjustments.

FWIW, the big time drain on this one were the eyes, teeth and the mask for the tonal contrast on the dress. Excluding that cost, it's about 10 minutes of work much of which is waiting for Photoshop to save the big files that get created (this ended up at 900MB).