This weeks RAW file is a portrait of a young lady and is a good example of getting it right “in camera”. In fact, I only moved four sliders to achieve the finished edit.
First, as always, take a look at the histogram. I know I say it in every edit, but the histogram is your friend. There is a reason it takes pride of place at the top of the editing column.
Everything looks good. The RAW image looks a little bit grey so you might be tempted to increase the exposure, but just hold off because it also looks a little flat and the white balance is off. I suspect it will look a lot better if we make a couple of adjustments and we won’t need to touch the exposure.
To start, I boosted the colour temperature slider to 6000. A ‘technically correct’ white balance still didn’t look warm enough for my taste. I wanted to really make the sunlight on the back of her head glow, so I just tweaked it manually keeping an eye on the colour of her skin as not to give it an unnatural look.
The second slider I moved was the overall contrast slider. An increase of +51 was enough to give the photo the right amount of punch.
The third slider to adjust was the clarity slider. I took this down to -22 to smooth out the skin a little. At this point I also used the healing brush just to remove a few spots and imperfections. Some people don’t like direct image manipulation, but personally I find using these tools perfectly acceptable for such a shot.
The fourth and final slider is a simple post crop vignette of -15.
Not all images require hours in front of the computer to edit.