Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Morning Art...

...and the photos that got 'shopped.  

We have a bright, beautiful breakfast nook, with two walls of it being windows.  This is where we eat almost every meal and do almost all of our art projects.  I love it because it's so sunny and open, and you can see the birds and our garden out the windows.  But, it is a photographic nightmare if you are a novice, ignorant of all photography knowledge, and haven't the time or courage to pick up a book about it.  

(If you are me).

I don't know how to shoot photos that have a ton of backlight.  So anytime I have pictures of the children doing arts and crafts, I have photos that need some kind of help.  

Following are some photos I took this morning (everything on auto settings) of the kids painting on butcher paper, and the fixes I used in Photoshop Elements 7.0.

This is my typical, blasted-out photo.  I take this photo all the time in the kitchen nook.

 I knew I wouldn't have much luck making this photo look natural or rebuilding the right side of Sophie's face, so I decided to stylize it a bit and enhance the 'shopped look. I warmed it and sharpened it and burned the edges.  This is the result:

This is my classic silly Sophie face.  It makes me laugh!  That wrinkled nose is reason enough for living.  
Not too terrible on the lighting, but too cool, too gray, not enough skin tone.

So I warmed it and sharpened it.  The result is subtle and I'm not happy with it.  The color reminded me a little of a '70's action in the Pioneer Woman action set.  

So I went back to the original and did a "Seventies" action from the downloadable actions from Pioneer Woman and then added her "Dim The Lights" action at 50% opacity.  I thought the result was very cute.  I love how it darkened her eyes and added a greenish tint overall:

The next two photos of Tristan have pretty subtle changes.  I wasn't even that unhappy with the SOOC shots, but wanted to play around a bit.

So I warmed and lightened the whole photo and then burned the edges.  It makes it so much cozier.

Same here--a sweet SOOC.

But a little warming, lightening and burning just enhances it the right amount for me:

I love love love this next photo!  Sophie's profile, her lashes, her little nose, the shape of her mouth.  Even the blue paint stuck in her hair that I clone-stamped out of the first two photos because I thought it was distracting.  But here, I love it.  I knew it only needed a slight 'shopping.  

So again with the warming and sharpening.  Look how the sharpening made her eyes just sparkle and her ringlets shine.

This next photo is another classic of mine.  Blasted-out from the back, the face is dark and the rest of the photo is gray and grainy.  

A little warming, of course, but what else? I don't even know how else to save this.

Again, if I can't make it look natural, I 'd rather stylize it to a point that it doesn't matter what the original was like.  So I went back to the original and added Pioneer Woman's "Soft and Faded" action.  The result is a sweet, vintage look that I love.  See?  I meant to do that.  

Now my little Grace.  How much do you love it?!  But too cool, too blah for such a precious expression.

Warmed.  The result is my favorite, because the face stays soft, portrait-like.  It really is perfect:

But just for playin' around's sake, I tried Pioneer Woman's "Fresh Color" action.  The details are all sharpened and I like what it did to her eyes, but overall the effect was too hard for my taste.  I probably could have done a few things in this case, like reduce the opacity or use the magnetic lasso to select only the eyes for this effect.  Something to do the next time the twins are napping.

The black and white is nice too.

 The following three photos are SOOC.  Love them all, and that makes sense, as they are all taken from the opposite direction (windows behind me...duh).


Unknown said...

How have I misses these posts?! Congrats on the chickens! Hope they are working out.
These are great photos and a great use of Photoshop. If you go to Adobe's site you can a bunch of free masks and filters.
Your kids are gorgeous as always!

McVal said...

Wow! Don't you wish you could just frame them all? Great photos! and good job on them. I play sometimes with my photos through Picasa.

Amy said...

Great pictures! I so wish we lived closer so that we could do photography together. It would be so fun to learn together. We could have our own photography business, 2 Cousins Photography!!

Christina said...

So fun! I have about three hundred thousand Very Bad Pictures. Sometimes I get so frustrated with taking them at all! I think some people have it and some don't...or else I just need to learn how to use a good editing program! :) My husband got me Lightroom for Christmas...maybe it's time I got started with that?! I've always wondered how people got that sparkle in the eyes...I knew it couldn't just be the way they took the pics! I've tried everything, as far as where the kids are/facing/the light.
Your kids are sooo darling!