Step-By-Step Retouching of Shanti
As promised, I'm giving you a before-and-after feature of Shanti the pony :) The process is a bit different from the one with Sol (see my previous blog). It's very often hard to find beautiful backgrounds like these where the horse can stand free, without a halter/bridle or a lead rope. So she's wearing a bridle, but let's meet half way and remove the lead rope :) We also have to do something about the low contrast and the dull colors:
This is what the original photo looks like straight from the camera (w/o the signature ofcourse).
We had very sunny weather so I had to find a spot of shade to place Shanti in. That can result in a quite blueish photo. But let's start at the beginning. Sharpen the entire photo first, then zoom in and sharpen some more around the details you want to enhance (like the eye). And like I've mentioned before, I like to start by removing the disturbing elements. There are two of these - can you find them? The first one is quite obvious - the lead rope. I've removed this using the makeover tool and clone tool. Secondly, in the bottom middle you see some red parts from a building behind us. To not draw attention to this spot, I've muted the red color in that area using the lasso tool and saturation tool.
I've made a small crop at the top and at the bottom, to bring you closer to the subject. To get a better impression on what the sunshine looked like in real life, I've added some light at the top, right corner. There are several tools you can use to do this, but I've used a built in effect called "Sunburst" in Paintshop Pro. And last but not least - I also want the temperature to reflect reality, so I've added a warmer tint (white balance) and increased the saturation just a tiny bit. And there you have it :)
Remember to use all the tools carefully. If you pull too hard at the adjustments your photo might look a bit "dirty". If you are unsure on how much to add, use layers so you can look back at the original every now and then. It's nice to do so you don't lose your perspective :) If you don't know how to use layers, just save the versions of your photo along the way, and browse through them at the end to see your progress and which one you like the best.
Thank you for reading, and ask away if you have any questions :)
All my best wishes to you - Anette <3