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Yesterday, I told you how my pre-baby photo shoot went wrong, with some tips on what to do when equipment snafus derail your own best-laid plans. You can read about it, and see the one shot I got that I liked, here: What to do When Everything Goes Wrong Originally, I was hoping to get a stock-quality photo. As it turns out, I didn’t. But I did get a shot I can use in family albums and birth announcements. So today I asked Shelly to post-process my photo with that in mind. Scroll down to see what she did… Lori Allen Director, Great Escape Publishing SAVING THE DAY WITH PROCESSING By Shelly Perry in Portland, OR Believe me, technology can make a mess of the best laid plans for a photo shoot. Lori mentioned that having a back-up plan can be critically important to getting the shot — and she’s right. But even if your back-up plan goes awry, there are certainly times when post processing saves the day, So let’s see what we can do with the shot you saw yesterday. Here’s how it came out of the camera: Processing Your Photos Notice how flat and washed out everything looks. This is an extreme example of bright backlighting. There is a good amount of contrast. But still the image looks sort of gray and flat. I’d like to make it more “defined,” and also get rid of the bit of flair on the top right of the curtain. It looks sort of purplish, which is a common occurrance with back lighting. One quick way to eliminate that is to move into a black and white, which I did here: But it seems cold for the baby theme. Warm colors are important here, so I tried something else… ** 1. I cropped the photo rather extremely (ensuring the horizon was straight at the same time). This helped eliminate some of that bright white and the flare in the curtain. In this case, the image is for Lori so it doesn’t matter if I crop the shot a lot in post processing, whereas it would if we were trying to get it into a stock agency. ** 2. Next, I bumped up the saturation (+15). I don’t want it to look too neon, so I also reduced the vibrance (-40). ** 3. Then, I adjusted individual colors for the blocks, under the HSL/Color/Grayscale heading and I used “Saturation” mode. ** 4. I then did something very unusual for the way I process. I took the clarity slider down (-40) which gives the image a softness and almost a glow. ** 5. Then I used the adjustment brush at the top right of the tools panel (this is a new feature in Lightroom 2, which is a tremendous advance) and painted in some exposure on the top right curtain, Lori and the windowsill to keep them from being too over exposed and faded in the overall shot. ** 6. I wanted the image to be warm — its a baby theme after all. So I went back to my color sliders under the HSL/Color/Grayscale heading and reduced the blue (-70) this warms up the image considerably. BUT, I want the blocks to have color, so I went back to the adjustment brush and add color back in to the blocks. ** 7. The final step was to add a warm tint to the overall image which was a one step click on one of the presets I have in my collection. And here is the final result: It may seem like a lot of steps, but really this only took me a few minutes. And the result is much better than the image we started with. Once you get the hang of it, Lightroom is an amazing program that can do wonders for your photographs. It’s a lot of fun, too. Let me be clear: this processing is extreme, and a photo manipulated this much would not make it into a stock agency. But it is perfectly acceptable to make prints, announcement cards, or to be the header on a baby Web site. And if these end up being the only photos Lori gets before the baby makes her grand appearance, she will be thrilled she has them. How you process depends a great deal on your end goals for an image. In fact, you can process the same image in a variety of ways for various purposes. [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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