This image had a great shadow but is under exposed in the body. I decided this would be a perfect candidate for this exercise, the goal being to lighten and tweak the contrast in the body while mostly leaving the background and shadow where it fell.
I all honesty I did all the fixes in this shoot with lights in the studio, this was a bit of a test shot as I was setting up the lights and exposure but it was an ideal candidate for this exercise to demonstrate the use of some selected changes in Photoshop that were designed to improve the image.
Again I am left with the overriding feeling that the whole of this section of the module is trying to test my inner conflict with how much change is acceptable, and how much is not.
I have done a lot of thinking on this subject during this module and I am relieved to be able to report that I entered and exited this module unscathed , at the start I had no issue with the most dramatic changes and at the end I feel the same. I do not have the Magnum attitude of change no pixel lest it corrupt the story. In fact I fell that if it works past that dragon right in there!
There are some strong caveats to all of this though, I hate with a passion all those images posted on pixoto and flickr that have radical neon pink sky’s or bright halo’s around a selection. For me you can add the dragon only if you are capable of making me believe it was there all along.
STEP 1 – SELECTION
To acheive this I started with the quick selection tool selected the white background and used the add and subtract modes to refine the selection.
I tidied up the selection by switching on the quick mask mode and painting in the mask with the black and white brush tool. When I was happy with the selected area I saved the selection in the selection menu.
Having done this I inverted the mask to give the selection show in this image and saved the selection again, this gave me a saved selection for the body and background, not really necessary as you can easily invert the selection. The next job was to create the correction layers.
In this case I removed the selection and added a levels correction layer and and exposure correction layer. I could have left the mask selected then created the layer which would automatically create a layer mask in the shape of my selection area. I preferred in this case to do my corrections to the whole image for each layer then black out both masks, re select the area and apply white to the masks at a 50% opacity brush so that I could vary the amount of change in the layer.
his image shows the final result I held back some of the correction on the flesh of the raised arm as it had a bright spot that looked bad with the full layer.
It is possible to do this using multiple selections and layers to control different parts of the image in different ways.
The biggest issue you can get with this sort of technique is that if your edges are not quite right you can get a halo effect.
In this image I deliberately over expanded the mask on both correction layers to create a ghastly white halo, to demonstrate the problems that can occur when the mask is done badly