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I've opened up this first image into Adobe Camera Raw. You can make similar adjustments using Lightroom. Now looking at this image, it looks pretty fantastic to start. There's only a small handful of things I want to deal with. Let's start by zooming in to 100% and just check some of the critical focus. The image looks good. In fact the pores read pretty well, but I just see a few blemishes that we'll touch up. Looking at the hair there it's good, but I'd like a little more separation from the backdrop. Let's go ahead and zoom back out and make some of our initial default adjustments. As I play with Exposure, you see the image moving over in the histogram to the right.
I don't want to overexpose this image too much. But I am going to lift it up just a little bit. Similarly, I can independently adjust the Highlights. I'll pull those back down to maintain the skin tones while lifting up the overall base exposure. As I toggle that off and on, you see it's much easier to get the dark brown hair separated from her black shirt. Of course we have independent sliders for Blacks and Whites, which allows us to tweak a bit. I'm going to lift those Blacks just a bit so they're not so crushed. And I'll play with the Shadows. That's looking pretty good.
Now, as I lift the shadows, I'll go a bit opposite with the black slider. What I'm really trying to do there is just get things to cut and I like how her hair is separated. Let's recover the Highlights a little bit, and I'll put some Clarity in for selective contrast. Be careful with Clarity, if you go to far you'll start to see some rough areas in the skin. You'll notice for example that every vein and wrinkle has popped out. I'm just going to use a small amount of Clarity and brush some in on the hair. With Vibrance, I could play with the overall balance of skin tones, as well as the backdrop.
I like how that's been brushed out a little bit. And let's finesse things the rest of the way. I'll go over to the next tab, and I'll add a bit of contrast with the medium curve. That's looking pretty good. Let's grab the Adjustment Brush here to paint in an adjustment. Let's lift the Exposure just slightly with the brush. We'll leave Contrast alone. And put a little bit of Clarity in. As well as a little lift to the Shadows. Now what I want to do is Mask that for a second so I can see what I'm doing. You see, I'm just painting the hair in. I'm allowing that to Auto Mask, and that generally does a pretty good job of detecting the edges for you.
Let's go to a slightly smaller brush. Pressing the left bracket key will decrease the brush size. I'll get some of those strokes. Okay, lets turn the Mask off, and you see there with just a little lift we put some emphasis into that great hair. I like how that's looking, but, lets put a little more Clarity on the hair. We'll add a little more saturation as well to bring out the nice, dark brown color. I like how that's looking. I think it looks pretty good. At this point we're just left with some major and some minor touch up. We've got a little bit of distraction here in the frame. That'll be very easy to clone out over in Photoshop, but let's start with an initial crop for the portrait.
Lets switch to a 5 by 7 aspect ratio. I'll rotate that to a traditional portrait composition. Lets take that in just a little bit. Now while I'm losing that arm, I'm okay with the tighter composition. I like how her eye is intersecting with the rule of thirds. Let's finesse a bit more. There are two small blemishes I want to touch up. This beauty mark on the neck is easy to remove using the spot healing brush. Press the right bracket key to adjust the size of the brush. Make it so it's slightly larger than the spot. And click. Photoshop will intelligently analyze the surrounding pixels and attempt to pick a good match for you.
If it doesn't work, feel free to just drag to set the sample position manually. You can also adjust the size quite simply there. I think that looks pretty good. Let's toggle that off and on. That did a great job on taking out that spot. There's one more small blemish here on the lip. I'll use a smaller brush, pressing the left bracket key, and a few strokes to paint that over. I need to drag that down to the lower lip to set a better sample point. There we go. Let's see how that did. That looks much better. Now, you can work all day long on every single blemish, but eventually you should stop.
I'm just going to take care of one more small problem here on the lip. There we go. I think those three fixes really look nice. Just hold down the space bar and drag to pan. Get rid of a small blemish here on the nose, the eyes look great. Now, we can always refine the image with some additional improvements. But again, allow some of the blemishes to be preserved. But, I think for a first pass, this image is looking pretty good. Let's work our way through the rest of the tabs. The detail side is looking pretty good with the default settings. We're just going to put a little more sharpening. Now at the bottom here, in the hypertext area, I'm going to click to bring up the work flow options and set the Sharpening to be for Glossy Paper.
And I'll set it to the Standard amount for output sharpening. You'll also note that you can set the bit Depth and in this case, I chose the 16 bits per channel file. For more accurate color data for printing. And click OK. Continuing our way through the tabs of the camera interface, things are looking pretty good. Now let's switch the lens correction. In this case, the Manual tab is selected, but I could jump right over to the profile and use the embedded metadata. Now when I turn that on, it reads in information about the lens and performs an automatic correction.
But did a really nice job compensating for some of the wide angle distortion, now that's inherent in the lens itself and this profile can fix it. Okay, let's jump over to the effects tab, using the post crop vignette, I can draw the eyes down into the middle of the portrait I'm finding this little bit of skin here under the arm distracting. So let's touch that up, using the graduated filter, I can pull the Exposure down a bit. Let me just 0 everything else back out. Now I could just draw with that filter, and it does a great job of knocking that area down. I really like this.
The arm while cropped, is no longer distracting. We have great composition, and I like where she's looking in the frame. It feels like the image is ready to me. Let's head over to snapshots for a second. We'll take a snapshot and call that Look 1. This way, if I need to make multiple looks, I can end up with different crops or treatments for the image, and they're all stored within the same RAW file. Let's click the Open Object button to send that into Photoshop as a smart object. And my portrait's ready for any additional touch-up or finishing work.
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