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Soccer is one of the most popular international sports. Events like the World Cup keep every country glued to their screens. But how do you properly capture the fasting-moving action of soccer in still images? In this course, award-winning photographer Kevin Steele shares insights on documenting the intensity of soccer action. Operating as if he were on a commercial assignment, Kevin takes you on set and behind the scenes. He'll show how to scout a location, coordinate the athletes, plan your gear, work with both natural light and studio strobes, and make shooting decisions on the spur of the moment. Plus, after the shoot is over, he takes you back to the computer to show how to evaluate and enhance the best shots with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
This is the final select image. This is what we're going to take into post production. And there's been nothing done to this. This is a pure, raw file. So let's start, we can see what our meta data is telling us here. And we're at 160.13, ISO 50 and very wide, 26 millimeter. So I'm going to go ahead and hit I to get rid of that information up there. Now the first thing I'm going to do, is go into develop module. So I'm going to hit D, and let's take a look at White Balance. So, White Balance as I mentioned earlier, I let the camera do an automatic white balance, and then I always record the a color card, so I can do a sanity check on that.
Cameras are usually very accurate as long as we're not mixing light sources. In other words like, tungsten and fluorescent and daylight. So, here we are at 55, 50 that's very close to your standard daylight temperature. So camera's accurate, but I always like to do a sanity check, so what I'm going to do is bounce back here, go to Grid Mode, I'm going to hit Cmd+L to see all of my files. So I'm actually removing the limitation of the filter, going to go back and find my color chart, there it is. Go into develop with D, hit my eyedropper.
Just come down here on this gray target, and take a quick look there. And there we are at 5500 plus 10. We're very close to where we were so, there's no surprises there. We're working in a nice, kind of hazy, overcast day. We have our own studio lights coming in, but they're daylight calibrated. And let's go back now to the image that we had, go into grid mode, I'll just pre select the number threes, it was this image. And because we're so close, I'm going to leave that where it is, because I'm going to be making adjustments as you'll see, to my white balance for purposes of toning.
So here we are in the image, one of the first things I will typically do is take a quick look at my highlights. I'll hold down the option key and my blacks and see on my histogram side everything is quite within the bounds. But what I like to generally do in terms of the tonal change to these images is start to work on playing with the highlights and the shadows. Generally, I'm going to be bringing out the shadows quite a bit. And we're going to take our blacks down to compensate. Now let's take this up to looks about right there.
Highlights, I'm going to be going the opposite direction. This is giving us contrast. This doesn't work all the time. If you're doing this, this isn't a recipe for how you might do a beauty shot or portrait, because bringing your highlights down can really make skin not look so great. But for an action shot, where we're really trying to show dynamic motion, this is the direction where I'm going to be going today. Now let's see my white point, just started looking on a color calibrated monitor here. Just getting a fill for the range that I'm working in here. And that fills about right.
Now, the black point I'm going to take, I'm actually going to use my option key here and see where we hit that threshold. So I'm holding the option down as I'm sliding my black around cause I really want to hit that black point at which it's just about touching. So that gives me a starting point for this. As I come down here. Another thing that I'll do, because this is an action shot, it's going to be a gritty shot. We're going to pump up some clarity here. Again, this is something you want to do in portraits. It gives an edge to the image.
And I'm going to pull down my saturation, just because that's a personal preference to desaturate the image a bit. All right. Tone curve. We want to get some contrast in here. I could work with the Contrast slider that's up here in this module. In fact, usually what I like to do is pull back on contrast. Give it some lower contrast here, and then work and on my S-curve here. And let's take these up a bit. We're just going to give us some highlight, punching up and then we're going to pull down on the dark and the shadows, something like that.
And as we come in, we'll let this render one to one. And as I'm looking around, looking at this texture here, that all looks okay. I can see as I came into one to one, as I start to see. I don't know if you can see this, but a few little spots, and this is sensor dust that we're going to take care of. And there's a nice one over there. What happens as we're shooting at very small apertures, so here we are at F13 is the aperture, of course it's a circle and opening that lets light into your lens. It can be very small, like at F16 and can be very wide, like at F1.4.
So the light's coming in, when that circle is small, it's really coming in straight at the sensor, as opposed to coming in different angles. And that's why, you really start to see sensor dust, and I haven't cleaned my sensor in a while. But you only start to see that once you start to hit up at say, F8, F11. If I were shooting wide open here, it would be invisible because the light rays will be entering in at wide angles into that lens. They would have a wide opening to come in, and they'd be coming in at all different angles. But since there's a tiny little hole, they're pretty much calumniated to come straight in and they're giving that sharp defined shadow of that dust speck and that's why it's there.
So, that's something for me to take care of this weekend is to clean up my sensor. But for now we'll have to deal with some retouching to do that. So we got my tone curve, that looks like a pretty good start here. Another thing that I like to do is some split toning and this is something that is just a personal preference but generally, I'm going to be pulling up the highlights and shadows. And I'm going to give kind of a warm tone to the highlights. And this is where I'm going to go back up to my white balance and make some modifications. And I'm going to take my shadows, the opposite way.
I'm going to cool off my shadows. That's about right. And maybe not so much, but you can see what I'm doing here just getting the shadow, take it up to a level, maybe about there. So immediately, I can get a feeling of color and I'm going to come back up here and I'm going to pull this down bluer. Basically, we're going blue in this direction. We're going warm color temperature in this way. So, I'm going to be pulling back down from a standard daylight to something a little bit cooler, kind of to bring the skin tones back but it's doing an interesting color toning to the rest of the image.
Now we're just going to bring that right about there. Okay. The other thing that I also will work with here is luminosity. And we're going to Luminance in our HSL here. And, I'm going to pull back on some of that sky. So what I do see is that there is a lot of, a piece of sky here. Let me pull this down, there we go with the right way. And just plug that down a little further. going to do the same for the grass here. Pulling that down. Just going to grab the slider here and come and see what impacts we're making as we do this.
going to bring that darker. So this luminosity lets us adjust some color luminosity here very nicely. Need to do it like using this target and dragging up or down on the image or simply grabbing the sliders. You can do wide adjustments to see how they're affecting your image. He's got blue shorts. The one thing you need to be aware of, are skin tones. Just to make sure that you're not touching skin tones inadvertently. Generally, your skin tones are going to be up in your, your region here with the reds. But, we're going to be playing with the blues and the greens here. And a little bit deeper on the green.
Okay. I'm going to come back up here. Might do a little bit of adjustment on my exposure. Let's bring this up a little bit. Not much. I'm going to hold down my option just to look at where my highlights is starting to hit. I can also see up on the very top histogram is that I'm sliding back and forth in my exposure adjustment where I'm stretching that. So, I'm just going to go a third of a stop up on exposure. All right. And this has, come in tighter here, let the one to one build come back in.
So, this is a pretty good baseline for what I'm looking for. At this point, I'm also thinking I'm going to crop in a little bit tighter on the image but since I'm going to be working this up even a little bit further, I don't want to make any changes by kind of, pre-selecting my crop. I'll make my edits to the final large image then I can crop in as needed for the final. So this is the point at which I'm now going to take it into Photoshop and do a little bit of retouch on those color spots and a few other adjustments to contrast. So I'm going to right click here, Edit in Photoshop CC.
This will take a moment to open, there we are. Okay, here's our image. I also have the nick, filters now owned by Google. Here, of which the color effects filters are used for some pretty fundamental contrast tools. But first, let's go ahead into the image here. Actually what I'll do is, I'll put my contrast first. Because what that's going to do is really make these dusted spots and specs more pronounced. Bleach bypass will take it really far. But I'm only going to use it for a just a touch.
Just a little kiss of bleach bypass. And bleach bypass is an old film process technique. Particularly in the movie film industry. So, we don't want that. We're going go way down on contrast. Just a little touch of local contrast. Don't do anything to saturation and bring that back up so there's no, nothing there. And you can see what I'm doing here, is really starting to come in on this image. And, so, I can see here what the local contrast will do is, really make some pronounced changes to the micro-contrast without adjusting the large-scale contrast.
And that gives it a bit of edginess, which is what I was looking for. At the outset, I wanted this to be kind of an edgy, almost stadium shot, but definitely pushing the edginess of the shot. Kind of a rough, rough and tumble action shot. We back out again here. And, that's basically it. So, just a little bit of local contrast. So, I'm going to hit the P here, and see the before and after. So, it's just punching it up a bit. We'll give that an okay. The other thing that I like to do in the nick filters is it's a really nice way to do a very quick fall off of light using the dark and lightness.
Any of these can be done with masks. In fact, some of these can even be done in light room. These are just some simple shortcut tools that I like to work with. And the dark and lighten tool just lets me choose a center size. It's going to be very small. And I want that focus to be right on his face. Maybe, right on his chin. And I'm going to keep the center luminosity the same because I've already got that exposure set. But I'm going to darken the background. You can see what I'm doing here, is really kind of taking in, making that center the focus. And I'm going to drop my luminosity here. Not too much.
But, really to draw your eye into that center there. Okay. Now what we're going to do is come in and get rid of default filters here. For this quick exercise, I'm going to flatten my file right now and then clean up some sensor dust. If I was working for a final retouched image, I would keep these as layered. Let's go ahead and flatten. Now for the censor dust I want to come in with my spot healing brush tool. Come in close and start to clean up some of these spots, that we see here.
And just a real quick look around the image, we might as we do any more additional darkening here, we might have to come back and look at the censor dust again. But at this point we're ready to go back into Light Room, and do a little bit of finishing to it. So, let's Save. We'll do a round trip here. We're back in Light Room after doing the round trip to Photoshop to do a little bit of retouching. Let me go ahead, and open cells up over here. A larger file. And let's say, we're going to go fit rather than fill.
There we are. And pull this down a little bit. Give us a little bit more room there. And we're just going to do a little bit more dodging and burning here. Very light touching, as I'm basically focusing on where I want to draw the eye with the emote that I'm working on darkening other areas of the image. And I do want to bring up, especially a little bit of saturation on the ball here.
We're going to add some clarity to that as well. We're just going to punch it up. Give us some sharp edges on the cleats, right there and also on this ball. That's a key point for I to come to. We're giving it a lot of clarity. It's a blurred image but, as you can see what's happening with the clarity slider is it kind of snaps some of that into focus. Something to be cautions of, you don't want to go a lot of clarity on skin. Blades of grass are great details but use it with subtleness. That's done on that guy. We're going to take this do a little bit more coming down on the sky.
And we can see we have a little bit more touch up now as we're starting to get some darker contrast on those. Just a touch. Looking at exposure again. Really no changes there set your hand back again. What we can do is come in and clean these last ones up with the tool which is in light room and we can easily do this. We did this with the brush in Photoshop. Okay. I see a little bit more touch up that we're going to need in the clouds here. I'll use this tool in Light Room and just dance along this section right here.
Let Light Room make the choices for the adjustments there. A little bit more clear on that guy. And I think we're looking pretty good. I would add a little bit more darkness, very subtle. I'm going to go just a little bit, about a quarter stop, third stop. Just around here. Done on that. Let's take a look as we come in tight on this guy. I'm going to pull my saturation down just a little bit further, personal preference again, but just taking it down a notch. Just a touch on the shadows and then a little bit in the blacks a little bit up on the shadows, move it down on the blacks.
We can also do something equivalent to this by pulling up on the lights on the S curve. Tone curve and give that more of a little bit of an S shape gives us a little bit more contrast. We're now, looking at not the row file but this is the tip that we're adjusting because we've come back from Photoshop. I'm going to pull my color down just, just a touch here and see where I'm standing on blacks. Bring up a little bit more of the shadows. How are we doing on highlights, we're fine.
Black's just on the edge. Some of those can go deep black and that's fine, the bottom of his cleats acceptable. What I would do in final image, is probably take out this little pole that's in the background, but this is pretty close to what I consider to be a very, very finished image. I can see a little bit more retouch that I'm going to do in terms of bringing up very subtle amounts of highlights. And bring again, there's a little bit more light onto the ball and. And the dodging and burning process just lets us control really where we want the eye to fall.
Turn it, light some of those highlights and then darken some of the shadows and really get the focus. Right here. His face, the ball, and then build the composition with the action that's going on around him, and this it's building here. In fact, one thing I'll probably do here is just come in with a contrast brush. So, we're just going to set all of this to zero. And you've got to hit Clarity and just punch up some clarity into these grass clippings, and that's really going to help us, just have to watch the background there, it's really going to help us accentuate the grass that's flying up.
And so, there we have it, this is close to a full image. As I said, if I was going to take this a final image I would probably do a little bit of blurring on this background here, and also take out the pole that we've got in the background, and do some final retouch on the sky, but this is 95% of where the image was in my head as we started.
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