I recently posted this Before and After photo on my Facebook page, and got a lot of great response. This is not a typical kind of blog post for me, but I decided it would be interesting for my clients to see a little example of my retouching work. I always prefer a natural, clean edit. No one should look like they have porcelain skin! It should be such a subtle edit that no one would ever know it wasn’t completely straight out of camera. Now, this is a little more retouching work than I normally need to do with most portraits, but I thought it would be a good demonstration.
This is my little Marshall (whom we affectionately call Marshmallow). :) He’s always had super dry skin, eczema, and redness no matter what over-the-counter cream we try. Well, today was actually a really good skin day so I took the opportunity to take his 4 month pictures.
The next part gets into all the particulars and is purely for the photo-nerds that may be interested. It’s about to get geeky! You’ve been warned!
I do the majority of my editing all within Lightroom 4, and only take a photo into Photoshop CS6 if it needs extensive cloning or (heaven forbid) a head swap. :) And true to fashion, I was able to do all the edits on this particular photograph completely in Lightroom. Now, the ‘Before’ picture has already been color corrected and given a little boost of contrast and exposure because I wanted the focus of this ‘Before & After’ to be on just the retouching.
All these edits were done with an adjustment brush so that I could concentrate on the areas that needed it and not on the whole photograph. I started by reducing Clarity in order to slightly smoothing some of the skin. I then removed the redness under and around his eyes. I do this by bringing the Tint away from red (this time by -25) and reducing saturation also by -25. You can see that he managed to scratch himself under his right eye so I took care of that with the Spot Removal tool. I also took away a bit of the shine on his forehead and cheek from all that lotion he’s slathered in by reducing Highlights by -80.
I know that some people find it difficult to understand why you’d want to retouch a perfect little baby. Well, as his mother, I want to remember him, not the redness and sensitive skin we battled today or the little scratch he accidently gave himself while trying to suck those sweet little fingers. There are plenty of everyday pictures of him, but these are the ones I will put in albums and hang on the walls of our home.
Thanks for reading! Please leave me a comment if you’d like to see more Before & Afters like this in the future.
Three years ago, I photographed big sister just after her 2nd birthday and she was so shy and clung to her mama so tightly. For the first time, I actually wondered if I wasn’t going to get a smile out of a child. (By the way…I did get a couple smiles…they were fleeting, but I got them). Then I was able to photograph the family again a year later to do a family AND maternity session. Let me tell you, Rebeca looks gorgeous with a baby bump! (You can check that session out HERE). Then I was lucky enough to get to snuggle and photograph little sister when she was just a few days old.
It really is such a special thing to have such loyal clients and especially to be able to watch their family grow! That being said, unfortunately this was my final session with the R family. :( They are moving out of state and booked their session right in the midst of packing. Idaho will miss you guys! Good luck in all your new adventures!
I don’t know about you, but after the first few snowfalls of winter…I’m so over it. I just miss that sweet sunshine too much! So I’m going back through these fall photo shoots and trying to vicariously warm up. :)
The H family was so much fun, and check out their outfits! I love the coordinating fabrics and color scheme. We headed out to one of my favorite spots along the Boise River for their family photo shoot and got the kids warmed up to me right away with some jumping and silly games. And they can sure give a great silly face (’cause with kids this age there has to be at least one silly face picture. Usually they’re the ones suggesting it!). :)