Before & After: Giggly Girl in Leaves

2011_02 Copyright Bree Herbert Blog_01

When I first saw this picture, I knew right away that it was a great candidate for some post-processing work. The pattern of the leaves and the girl’s plaid shirt, the detail in the grass, her wonderful gap-tooth grin and sense of enjoyment in the picture were great foundational elements. They just needed a little “oomph” and some directed focus to be all that they could be and make a bigger emotional impact on the viewer. With permission from the cute little model’s mom (who took the picture), I got to work.

The first thing that I worked on was the blue color cast (a result of the picture being taken during the daytime and in the shade). I knew that by removing the blue and warming up the scene, the leaves would really stand out and overall there would be a better sense of the coziness of autumn.

Next I tweaked my saturation sliders to really bring out the color of the leaves without making them look fake.

I noticed that the overall appearance of the photo was a little dark, and so I increased the brightness a bit and then tweaked the S curve to further increase the highlights, particularly in the girl’s face. I wanted her skin to have a nearly “blown out” look so that viewers would immediately focus on her cute grin. I used a layer mask to cover areas that I didn’t want brightened as much as her face.

Then I ran a quick tinting action on the photo that reminds me a bit of the look of 70s film. The end result was a terrific green in the grass and removal of the remainder of blue in the girl’s plaid shirt which I thought was too much of a distraction from her beautiful face.

Lastly, I increased the vignetting present in the original photo and did a custom sharpening pass on the photo to help define the leaves and give the photo a wonderful finish. Here’s the end result:

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And a look at the gap-toothed cutie, before and after:

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Do you want your pictures to change from “How??” to “WOW!”? I do post-processing work to help give your photos the impact you were looking for. Contact me through my website for info and pricing.

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