Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Fixins - Focus and Impact


A picture is worth a thousand words.   Making that statement even more bold can be done SOOC or you can take a capture and enhance the meaning you're trying to convey.   I'll be showing you how I accomplished that with this photo below of my mother receiving my father's flag (that's me on the left and my brother on the right.)
 
Photo credit:  Loving Husband

The first step is to find the focus of the shot you really want to make the statement.  In this case this photo is presenting of the flag.   Now this whole photo tells a very meaningful story for our family; facial expressions, body language, and the somberness of this moment are all beautifully captured.   However, if you're wanting to make a more specific statement as I wanted in my Memorial Day post then cropping was necessary.


By cropping out faces I am are focusing the story of the picture.  The impact in some ways becomes greater with less going on in the picture.    However, there are now more obvious cluttered points in this picture.  My headless brother, legs, random hands, tissue.  All still distractors for this photo.   Lightroom to the rescue!

First I began with some basic sharpening and smoothing of the image.  Bumping up the exposure, brightness, clarity... generally just tweaking the image.  Finally I altered the temperature and tint of the photo.    Until I arrived at something like this.


Now that the color is a bit richer I still have the pesky issue of distractions and so that is when I break out the adjustment brush.   I basically paint all over the main areas and then I alter the sharpness, clarity, saturation, contrast, brightness... basically zero everything out and creating a darkened backdrop.  


Ultimately where I am at this point is this picture below.  I wasn't satisfied.  My mom's black shirt causes her arm to look chopped off and missing, the added light is still distracting and my brother's arms while I was going for a shadowed effect are still too distracting.

 

Back to the editing bay! More adjustment brush, further darkening.  A tighter crop and finally the finished product.



It's far from perfect.  There are obvious issues: sharpness, noise, and that odd edit mark near my mom's left arm (didn't notice it before I mentioned it?  Well good, but it's been bugging me endlessly and no tweaking I do seems to correct it without massive damage to my mom's arm!)  However, the message of the photo has a much greater impact and for the purposes of my editing a broader audience is reached with this photo rather than the one with friends and family in the shot.  

So there you have it!  A small post on how to make a memorable photo into an impactful one.  Just remember to focus and to remove distractions in order to highlight the point of your photo.   And that adjustment brush is a great friend! :)

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