My sister posted a photo of herself with her son on Facebook today. There was something about that photo that made me really want to get my hands on it to see what I can make of it. There was something in the pose, in their facial expressions and in the outfits that really attracted me. So I asked my sister if she could send me the original as it was captured in camera, since I know that my sister always edits her photos before she posts them on the internet. She was first very reluctant to do that since, according to her, the original looked horrible – her husband had taken the photo and she described it as a total mess-up, a photo taken from the wrong angle with no attention to posing. She finally gave in and sent me the original.
She was right, although the photo was not as horrible as she described. The photo was taken at an angle that made my sister’s body shape look really odd and her shirt had a lot of wrinkles showing which doesn’t matter to me, in fact I even liked the highlights and shadows in the wrinkles, but it matters to her since she, as a fashion designer, mostly has those photographs taken to show off her designs on her blog. It had so much potential though, and I ended up working on it in Photoshop most of the evening. I got it to a place where I liked it by heavily using the liquify tool to straighten out her body into a position far more natural than the original and I did a round of dodging and burning in an attempt to give the photo maybe a bit more of a three-dimensional feel since the lighting used to take the shot was pretty flat. And then it occurred to me to do a smoke overlay for fun. And I loved it. I changed the blending mode from normal to darker color, lowered the opacity a bit, applied a layer mask with a specialty brush on select areas on my sister’s and her son’s faces and bodies, then pulled the photo back into Lightroom to minimize noise that somehow had crept in on the photo during the retouching process, cropped it from full to half body shot and, right now, with my overtired brain and eyes I love the result.
Unfortunately I can’t post the original straight out of camera photo because I think my sister would probably disown me if I made that public, but here is the result of my retouching efforts.