Thursday, June 17, 2010

Touch-it-up Thursday, episode 1

Ready to see some of the results from the "I'll do my best to fix your photo contest"?

Since some of you probably came over here to get your daily donkey fix, let's start with Gayle's photo. She wrote: Here's the lovely PrimRose, founder and reigning Queen of the PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary. She could use some help getting the shadow from her hat brim off of her face and doing away with those headless humans in the background.

Gayle took this picture of PrimRose at Shaeffer's 15th birthday party, which was a fundraiser for the PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary. Gayle and all the folks involved in the fundraiser and sanctuary are very special people, and I wanted to make PrimRose's portrait picture-perfect for them.


I replaced the background with a free texture from Shadowhouse Creations, lightened the shadows under the hat brim using curves, and ran Pioneer Woman's Lovely and Ethereal action to soften the harshness of the bright sunlight. I'm pretty pleased with the way this turned out. George and Alan think PrimRose is stunning and keep asking me to get her phone number.

This next photo of happy Haflingers Doc and Pippin is from Cyndi, at Living a Dream. She wrote: I lucked out and caught the boys rearing up in play with each other. It was a gray day, toward evening. There was patchy snow on the ground, a fence in the way and the guys are somewhat washed out by being back lit. I love the shot as I rarely see them rear up and play...and usually don't have a camera. I'd love to see the image brightened up!


Cyndi's original image was very large - 17" x 12.8" at 180 dpi. I'll do an entire post some day on the importance of starting with large images whenever you plan to do any processing and retouching, but until then, can we all agree to set the image size on our cameras to at least something on the order of 2896 x 1944? If you're using a point-and-shoot, choose the largest size/highest quality possible. Thank you very much.


I loved working on Cyndi's image because these two cutie-patooties kept looking at me as I was taking down their fence. Maybe they thought they'd be able to escape when I was done. Anyway, I used a combination of the clone, patch and spot healing brush tools to remove the fence and other distractions. Then I lightened it with curves, made the color warmer, added a thin gaussian blur layer on the non-horse areas, popped the color a bit with Pioneer Woman's Boost action, and cropped it. The happy Haflingers are showing their true colors now.

I'll post more before and afters from the contest next week. Until then, go find your camera manuals and figure out how to check those image size and quality settings. You never know when there might be another opportunity to win photo surgery from Rancher-Woman, PhD (Doctorer of Photography).

p.s. Contest winners, if you've sent me a photo and haven't gotten it back, not to worry. I hope to finish them all this weekend.

21 comments:

  1. My jaw just hit my keyboard as I looked at the before/after pictures ... absolutely amazing!

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  2. This was a treat. I don't know which one I like better. Then again, it doesn't really matter does it?

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  3. PrimRose's picture tickled me :):) Love her expression! But the guys are in the pasture are stunning! The horses to me are an example of why PhotoShop exists in the first place. I only have PhotoShop Elements. What do you think is the major difference between PhotoShop Elements and Photoshop...besides price :)

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  4. You're amazing Carson. Ahem, George and Alan might have some competition for PrimRose. Love your PhD. :)

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  5. Nancy in NC6/17/10, 6:47 AM

    WOW! That's really all I can say! just plain ol WOW!

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  6. Ohmygosh! That is wonderful! I'm totally gob-smacked.

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  7. I am thrilled with what you did to my picture of the boys. I always loved that I caught them, but was always disappointed in the outcome. And yes, I see that Doc definitely has an eye on the missing fence. He is most probably thinking, 'Exit, stage left'!

    PrimRose is beautiful and her hat (and the shadow - or lightened shadow) show her off to her advantage. I can see why George and Alan want her phone number..but they probably want to ask her where she got the hat. They need hats, too!

    I'm looking forward to more before & after images and explanations.

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  8. Wow thats even more amazing than I thought! Thats pretty cool how much can be done on a photo.

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  9. This is astounding. I'm learning so much!

    thank you for sharing your experience.

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  10. Primrose is a sweetheart. Looks like someone's great aunt. You know the one with the sharp tongue, making wise cracks all the time and sipping her 'special' tea.

    Cyndi's horses look like they posed for that shot.

    Beautiful job on both. I never got around to choosing a photo for you to work on...too many, not enough time. *smile*

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  11. Love the post and appreciate the kind plug.

    Your photos are amazing, the header is so cute, LOVE it.

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  12. oh, how wonderful!! you chose Miss PrimRose. My favourite little donkey refuge! Even though I'm at the opposite end of Canada from them...I like to do my bit to support such a great cause. I've seen the photo before...but, now!! WOW .... I'm putting it on my blog if nobody minds?.. along with the other one of Sheaffer and also the one of Sheila that I already have there.... woohoooo ... looking good Miss Primsrose!

    And, you Ms 7MSN .... you do amazing things with photos....

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  13. This is such a wonderful series--I'm so glad you came up with the idea. Can't wait for the next installment.

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  14. Nice work!!
    PrimRose made me laugh - and so did Carolynn's comment! :-)

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  15. Wow. Okay, I'm going to hobble over to my laptop and send my picture! :)

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  16. Oh.......good job! Now I really do need to get retired so I can sit at my computer all day and do FUN stuff, like edjacate myself in the Photoshop world.

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  17. Amazing transformation! And that Primrose I'm sure would be a handful for any donkey guy - probably a very high-maintenance girlfriend.

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  18. These are great. Both are worth framing.You made good pictures better.

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  19. I love the Haflinger photo! Sure hope you'll cave soon and get that babe's phone number for your boys...
    :o)

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  20. Wow! You done good!! :)

    Friday Question.... What suburb of Cleveland are you from? I grew up in Avon.

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  21. Wow, I thought I had a pretty good handle on Photoshop but I must **bow down** for these two! :D

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