from sooc to clean edit

I want to thank everyone that left such sweet comments for me earlier today! I appreciate each and every one. :-)

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you're probably familiar with the way I do my clean edits. If you're new, I'm happy to share! I have no editing secrets, and if you have specific questions, please feel free to ask.

OK, so let's take a peek at the SOOC shot of Drew.

There are a few problems here. It's underexposed, he has a smudge on his shirt from the rock wall, and his cheeks look a little rough. (I rarely smooth out my boys' skin, but in this case I did just a bit. Always be sure to use a super low opacity brush so it doesn't look like a mask).

For my edit, I did the following steps, all with free actions:
Aly's Color 60% (I will give you the link below)
soft light blending mode 20%
Coffee Shop's Baby Powder action
clone tool (for the smudge on his shirt, and to remove the color in upper right corner)
MCP's Touch of Light action (on the more shadowed side of Drew's face)
resize and resharpen for web


Better, right?

For a typical "clean edit," I usually do only the first two steps: Aly's Color and the soft light blending mode. This picture of Drew needed a couple extra steps because of the smudge on his shirt and the slight roughness on his cheeks. If you do only the first two steps, you'll see a nice "pop" in your photos, but they won't look overdone.

Before I forget, here is the link for Aly's Color. I LOVE this action and use it on 99% of my photos. You have to scroll down a bit, and it's #9 on the list.

I got a comment on Darcy's blog that is absolutely true, and a very important point: doing a "clean edit" first will make your black and white conversion much better. Exactly right! If I ran a black and white action on my SOOC it would be terrible. Dark, muddy, yucky...blah! You want to clean up your SOOC before running any other artistic actions. If you want a 70's look, for example, make sure to edit your SOOC first, and make it look as clean as possible. Then run your artistic action. This is so important.

Two tidbits:
I never sharpen eyes seperately; Aly's Color has a slight unsharpen mask, and I just run that over my entire image. I like the eyes to be enhanced a bit, but not unnatural.

Aly's Color defaults to 30% opacity and then flattens. On most shots, I use it between 15-30% opacity. This shot of Drew was underexposed enough that I brought the opacity up to 60%. Since the action flattens itself, you have to go into your "history" tab in Photoshop, delete the "flatten image" command and then you're free to adjust the action to your liking. (If this sounds confusing, you can run the action as is without adjusting the layers. This is just an extra step if you'd like more control over your end result).

Here's a side-by-side to compare. See? Nothing over-the-top. No super overexposed skin, no overly glowing eyes...just a nice little enhancement.

If you like a more overexposed look, that's OK. It's all about personal preference. I don't want to come across as my way is the right way - not at all! We each have our own editing style, and this is how I edit my photos. I hope you found this helpful, and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Have a great Friday! :-)


Ashley Sisk said...

I love your clean processing and I love that you really opened up your steps! I run clean processing on every photo before doing anything creative...it's just better that way. Thanks again for sharing friend.

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

Wow... thank you for sharing these great tips! It really does add just that little bit to make the photo beautiful. Is the 'soft light blending mode' on photoshop or is that a special action?

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

I forgot to also ask... is there a way to see what these actions look like/do before downloading them? There is quite a list! But I am sure there are some great ones in there. :)

Ashley said...

Wow, how neat. It's a subtle difference but the edit really does pop. Thanks again for sharing.

Jenny Esterbrook Photography said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I love hearing how others edit, it opens up all sorts of new possibilities that I wouldn't have known about otherwise, plus it helps me learn even more in the never-ending world of photoshop, ha! Love the edit :)

Anonymous said...

I love it! Thanks for sharing!!

Natalie said...

Very nice! Just right. I'm with you on the eyes. Not a fan of sci-fi eyes.

cooperl788 said...

I love this! I'm definitely heading over to download Aly's Color - it's so nice!

dave, catie, and baby b. said...

thanks for the tips! (coming over from debra's blog)
how do you smooth out skin?? i'm still very new to photoshop so any help/tips/tools to use are GREATLY appreciated. love your pictures btw!!!

Jaymi said...

great posts! thanks for the step by step instructions and the links to the free actions. I love finding new actions! I'm your new follower! :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful edit! Thanks so much for sharing!

When you print, do you add an extra sharpening step, or the one in your clean edit sufficient for that? This sounds like it will be much quicker than what I am currently doing for my print photos - I'm going to try it tonight!

Katherine said...

Beautiful, simple edit.

He has the most amazing eyes, they are so gorgeous!

Hope your weekend has been relaxing and wonderful.

K xx

sharin said...

Clean & creamy, yet crisp.
And sooo natural looking. I bet that's exactly what he looks like IRL.
Thank you for sharing your workflow. ;)

Rachel said...

Gorgeous! I'm still trying to find time to actually sit down and learn Photoshop... it's kind of sad and neglected on my computer right now. But what a great inspiration while looking at your photos!