I would like to begin by thanking the subject in the photo, for allowing me to share it in my portfolio samsonsays.net.
It can be a tedious job, but if you put some good tunes on, it’s awesome to watch progress happen instantly right in front of you.
Before I go about telling you about what I do and how I do it, I want to make a point about something that many people discuss with regards to photo editing.
There is a large movement against photo manipulation. They fight against the effects photo manipulation has on people that think that manipulated photos are the real thing. People should be aware not to aspire to be like those photos because they are false. I am not doing that here. What I do is the equivalent of a woman putting on lipstick and makeup before she goes out in public.
I’ve been getting photos from various places to edit, but this one I really wanted to share. When I get a photo to be cleaned up or restored it’s not always a few simple edits and viola! Done. Sometimes it’s not just the brightness, contrast, color, or one of the many general edits that you’re asked to make. Sometimes you’re asked to find “imperfections” that are hidden really well.
Then there are the edits which are not hard to find, but hard to complete. Sometimes reconstruction is needed for pieces of the photo which are needed but missing. For example this photo where I was asked to remove braces. Much of the teeth are missing (blocked by the brackets) and I needed to reconstruct those pieces of the teeth that are missing. The rest is a make-up job.
How I did it:
1. Using Photoshop: I will generally begin by cleaning up the original image as best as I can once the major edits are completed. In this case, that major edit was the teeth.
2. After doing a general “clean-up” I will apply “make-up” over all of the areas with face-shine and discoloration. I will sample color from the area around the intended area. Then using a soft edged brush with 22% opacity* I will brush in the color. (*After trial and error I decided That 22% was the “sweet-spot” with regards to make-up. Kinda like… You got it! Kinda like the woman herself applying make-up.
3. I will use a median filter on areas which are smooth (such as the forehead) and don’t have much depth for some extra smoothness. Like the “soft-edged” brushes I need to get soft edges on the edited area. So I select the area, feather the edges using “refine edge,” and copy to new layer, where I make the edit. Finally I make the new layer (which will look unnaturally smooth at that time) transparent to blend it nicely with the original image.