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Outdoor Image Fixed in Photoshop: Better Sky ~ Better Lighting

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Thanks to Karen Gunton of Smile, Play, Love Photography in Australia, for sending in this Blueprint.

Karen wrote: The sun was behind this family. The camera could not handle the dynamic range and I did not have fill flash or a reflector.  The sky was blown and their faces were quite dark. I actually have the same shot from the other side of the family, as they were looking at the ocean, and it includes a gorgeous blue sky, so I wanted to try to save this photo so that I could give both shots to the family.

The first thing I had to do was fix mom’s eyes – it looks like she was just about to blink! So I cloned better eyes from another shot (one where the baby was hiding her face!). To do this, I used the clone tool. At the same time I decided the dead treetops were distracting so I cloned those out too. Then I went on to my regular editing steps.

  1. Ran Imagnomic’s Noiseware at default settings
  2. Used MCP actions “powder your nose” from the Magic Skin Photoshop action set to remove the bruise from the baby’s forhead – set at default opacity.
  3. Bumped the midtones in Curves
  4. Added contrast with light s-curve using Curves
  5. Used MCP actions “touch of light” free photoshop action to reduce the shadows on all of their faces – set at 60% opacity
  6. Used the Magic See-Saw action from the Bag of Tricks action set to adjust the skin tones and color – added red/reduced cyan, added yellow/reduced blue.
  7. Flattened the image and used MCP actions “fake blue sky” action from the Bag of Tricks set and left it at the default opacity. This action worked like a charm! It looks so real and identical to the sky in another image taken in a different direction where I did not have a blown sky.

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  1. Marylin on August 27, 2010 at 9:12 am

    I *just* took some photos of my children in back-lit full sun… this is exactly what I needed, thanks! 🙂

  2. Lori on August 27, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Wow…that is beautiful! What a fabulous fix!

  3. Ashley on August 27, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Wow. When I first looked at this photo, I kind of thought, this is a snapshot… not even worth the time or effort to save. The edited pic really looks like a portrait! I am amazed.

  4. Juli L on August 28, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    This looks amazing! I wouldn’t even think to clone the eyes, they look great!

  5. Sarah C. on August 28, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Wow! How do you clone from one picture to another? I have only ever cloned from the same picture. Very cool!

  6. Clipping Path Service on August 29, 2010 at 2:00 am

    awesome post! I always like to visit your blog to see something new 🙂

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