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It's always tough with group shots to get perfect lighting, unless you have a lot of strobes to work with. This shots looking good but, the boy here is wearing a lighter shirt and has slightly lighter hair than his sister. And she's wearing darker clothing and blending in a bit. What I want to do here is create a good balance between the two sides of the image. Let's start by getting a decent base exposure. I'll click Auto. Now, that went a bit bright, so I'll pull that down a little. That's working okay. Let's lift the shadows a bit. That'll help get some separation in the hair.
Okay. The key decision here is, do we want to knock the left side down, or bring the right side up? Let's start with the graduated filter. Because the right side looks a little bit darker than the left. If you want to be accurate, you could check, using the eyedrop sampler. The one sampler over here reads one value, and the one on the right is going to read the value next to the girl's head. You see there's a decent difference there between the two. The right side is indeed darker. Let's take the graduated filter tool there.
We'll brighten things up just a little bit by dragging to the right. And we'll leave the other values unchanged. Now by clicking and dragging from the right to the left, we could start to brighten up the right edge of the screen and then gradually blend it back to the base exposure. That's doing a good job, starting to lift things. You'll see the two values up top here are actually getting closer. Now if we toggle that off and on, you could see how that's working. They don't have to be a perfect match, but it is good to go for something close. I'll pull that sampler a bit in closer to her head, and let's put one closer to his head.
And you see the two values are getting awfully close. We can go back and select the graduated filter and nudge it in a little bit to move the brighter pixels in from the right. I'm going to need the perfect match, but those two numbers are much closer together, and the image is looking properly balanced. That means the lighting on both sides of the head is closer to equal. Let's use the Radial Graduated filter here to knock down the lower region of the photo. You're going to want to click that and switch it to be reversed, so it adjusts the inside and not the outside.
There we go. Let's go ahead and pull that down a little bit, so the bright white shorts and pink skirt aren't so bright. That's looking good. Let's just adjust the shape and the transition. There we go. And a little bit of feathering is going to help. That creates a gradual blend between the selected and the deselected areas. That worked well. We could toggle the preview button there and you'll see I knocked down the brightness of the pink clothing and the white shorts, so they're not so dominate. Lets just refine that a bit. All right. That looks pretty good. Let's go back to the main image here.
We'll just select a tool like the magnifying glass and then using the main sliders here, I could start to refine the exposure, the shadows and the highlights. The highlights in this image are quite bright because we've got white racket strings and some really bright highlights on the shirt. So let's pull those down just a little bit Let's put a little bit of clarity back in to really help the skin tones pop. That's looking pretty good. Let's bring out the face a bit. Let's come here and draw with the radial tool over her face, and we can drag that into position. It can be rotated so it's a bit more accurate, and now we'll brighten that up just a little bit to properly expose her face.
That's looking good. Let's fill it in with a little bit of saturation. Any time you brighten the image up, you need to add a bit of color back in because it becomes slightly washed out. Remember, brightening an image reduces the overall chroma. That looks good. We can always adjust that, refine the feathering, move it around a bit. Let's recover the highlights on our skin a bit more. Clicking the Preview button we can toggle the off and on states, and I think that's working quite well. That's looking good, let's go ahead and set the initial crop. I want to go ahead and set this to a 9 by 16 crop or more accurately, a 16 by 9 crop, which is going to be a widescreen image.
That's going to work well for things like an iPad or a smartphone. That looks like good composition. Let's just set the bottom of the crop right below that racket. Press Return to apply the crop. Let's bounce over to the Lens Correction Tab, choose the Profile Tab and Click the button to enable the Default Lens Profile associated with this camera and lens combination. That read in some automatic information. Now the 70 to 200 milliliter lens is not prone to a lot of distortion. So you could see that it's only making a slight adjustment. Let's check the chromatic aberration, as well as temporarily remove the grid.
You might see some slight chromatic aberration here where we go from really saturated colors to dark, such as the pink racquet. Let's check that over. We'll turn it on. It did a pretty good job. The lens looks pretty accurate but the adjustment is making a slight improvement there to that edge, it's very subtle. That seems good. While we're zoomed in here, let's switch over to the healing brush. And we'll do some spot removal. We could take care of that little nick on the edge of the racket. That did a great job of auto selecting, look at how good it did matching the curve of the racket that's truly impressive.
Let's look to see if there is any other minor blemishes, everything looks good there, a small little scratch there on the cheek. That's looking good. Bounce back out to full size, and over in the effects tab we're going to add a little bit of a post-crop vignette to darken the edges. I like how that guides the eye to the middle. Click the button to open the object up into Photoshop. And we'll finish it up there. Let's zoom in and make a new empty layer to hold our adjustments.
Choose the clone stamp tool, and now Option or Alt click to set the source point. You'll notice we're using the sample all layers option, which will use all the layers in the composition. And we can brush to remove some of the stray hairs. That looks really good. It's on its own layer, so that's easy to turn off and on or further refine. His hair is looking pretty under control. Let's zoom in to this small intersection here. We use a smaller brush, which is the left bracket key. Option click to set the source point And brush in to remove some of those stray hairs to touch that up.
You might need to occasionally reset the source point by Option or Alt clicking. That works best when you're working in a real small zone. The good news is, is since this is on its own layer, it's easy to change our mind. For example, if you made a mistake like this, and brushed a bit into his ear. You could just select the eraser tool, adjust the size and softness of the brush, and then you could, you just erase that to blend it right back in. It's really great how flexible this is to quickly touch things up. That's one of the main reasons why I make these adjustments to their own layer.
I think their skin looks really natural and I like the freckles. That's going to read really well. Overall this is just a light pass but it's about ready to show the client. Let's just add a finishing touch using the color look-up table here. And we can assign a film stock such as one of these here from Kodak. That looks pretty good. Let's try a couple of the other ones. Now you see as you change those the adjustment layer starts to simulate some of the responsiveness of traditional film. I like how that's looking but let's just back that off slightly with the opacity slider we'll go with about 70% opacity.
We could toggle that off and on and I think that looks pretty good. Let's finish that with a quick curves adjustment. I'll click Auto to calculate the best value. That did a good job with a lift. Let's click down here in the shadows and lift again. Using the on image tool is a great way to automatically select the control point. Just click in the image and in this case pull down to darken up that highlight. Don't go too far though, because you want that to look natural. Overall I think that's looking great. There's the before, and the after.
I really like the pop and color and contrast. That looks good. And for a first pass I think that image is ready to show to our client.
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