Here's my entry for I Heart Faces Fix-It-Friday. (I know…it's Saturday. I'm late to the party as usual.)
Just to be clear: This is NOT MY PHOTO. It is provided to us by Rachel Durik at Savor Photography and everyone edits the same photo. Got it? Rachel's photo. My edit.
Straight Out Of Camera on the left and my edit on the right:
(If you want to see a different version just scroll down to the bottom of this post.)
Here's how I got there:
1) Lightened up the exposure by duplicating the background layer and changing the Blend Mode to Screen. It wasn't quite light enough yet so I duplicated the Screen Mode layer (leaving the Blend Mode on Screen) and lowered the layer opacity to 50%.
2) Extracted the subject from the background. There are many different ways to make selections & extract something from the background. In this particular case I used the channels method because I find it works particularly well with difficult hair selections. Duplicate the selection and put it on a separate layer.
3) Added a red textured background underneath the extracted subject. (The texture is 'Bloodshead' from the '6 Faves of Mine Texure Set #3' which i found on Shadowhouse Creations - lots of good stuff there!)
4) At this point I decided to crop the image because I thought her red leggings were a bit distracting. I cropped using the Rule of Thirds which left of bit of negative space out in front of her. (Normally, I would put the negative space on the opposite side because she's looking in that direction. I tried it that way but like this better.)
Sometimes when I process an image I know exactly how I want it to look before I begin. But sometimes, as with this image, I don't have a clue. So, I just dive right in and start experimenting. At some point along the way things start to gel. (Hopefully!) In this case, because of her outfit, the oversized hat, and her BIG eyes, I started thinking 'Oliver Twist', adorable street urchins, etc. and used that as my inspiration.5) I created a new layer by merging the textured background & the extracted girl. On the new layer I ran Topaz Adjust & selected the 'Mild Contrast Pop' preset.
Normally, I would soften/lighten the shadows under her eyes but in this time I wanted to emphasize them. (I definitely wouldn't do that if I was trying to sell this portrait to her mama!!) So, on to the final processing steps…
6) Burned the background in a few places where it was too light - particularly on the right side of the subject near her hair (the shadow side)
7) Added a vignette by running Quick Edge Burn (a free photoshop action from The Pioneer Woman)
Here's a slightly different version. (A little more Oliver Twist-y):
That's it! Feel free to leave feedback and constructive criticism in the comments.