I have gotten a few questions about editing, and I decided to finally put together a little tute on it. :) I want to preface this by saying that I do not know a whole lot about editing. I know a little, but I do not pretend to be an expert. I keep it pretty simple, and I still have alot to learn. And, if a pro were editing this pic, they would probably check the skintone numbers, among many other things. But, I don't, so just keep that in mind. These are my babies, and I just make it look pleasing to my eye. ;) Most of what I have learned was from my intermediate PSE class at everyday elements. I learned about sharpening for web by reading the the info palette. I recommend checking out those sites! Anyhow, I like being helpful, so here is the very simple, basic way I edit. I hope you find it helpful.
Here is my sweet Pete. He was pretending to be a super hero, and I could not resist pulling him aside for some pics. As you can tell, this is underexposed and the white balance is off.
I shot it raw, so I opened it in ACR.
Since I will be increasing exposure, I have my highlight clipping warning on. So, if I go too far, the overexposed parts will look like this.
Just using that as an example for ya. Okay, so I am going to first change the whi bal to auto. Then, I am going to move the temperature slider until it looks more natural(if it looked to warm, I would move it towards the blue, if too cool, towards yellow). Then, I am going to move that exposure slider over to the right.
I want to slide that over to the right, watching my histogram, until it is close to the right but still a teeny gap. I don't want it too touch the right or climb the wall. After I get the exposure where I want it, the histo will look like this(above). I check the red value by running my cursor over the bright parts of skin. I like to have the skin in the 220-240's. Anything higher than 245 will not give me enough pp wiggle room in pse. I am going to brighten it some more, so I need a little wiggle room, which is why I left a tiny gap on the right side of that histo too.
I then click open image to bring into PSE.
I then do a levels bump. I click the white/black icon in the layers area, click levels, and then click on the adjustment area. I bring in the black slider, the white slider, and then I move the grey slider to the left. Just a hair. As you can see, I brought the black(shadows) in to 8, the grey(midtones) over by 1.10, and the white slider(highlights) in by 246. This just defogs and brightens. You can really see the diff by clicking the eye icon next to this levels layer. The image really pops now.
I then click on my histogram window, to make sure these adjustments did not overexpose parts of the skin. There is still a teeny tiny gap, so I know I am okay.
Now, let's assume the histogram showed overexposure. If it did, I would click on info and use the eye dropper tool, placing it over the skin to see if any of the brighter areas were registering 255. If so, I would click back on layers, click on the white box of the levels layer we just tweaked, and using a soft black brush, at 70ish opacity, brush off only those overexposed areas. See the info window?
Next, in the layers area, I click on the white/black icon again and choose 'hue saturation' layer. I put in 20 for saturation.
It has made his skin way too colorful! But, I like what it did to the other colors.
So, I will go to the layers area, click on the white box on the hue/sat layer, choose a soft black brush, lower opacity to about 50% and brush it off his skin.
Then, I am done. I will flatten image, save.
Then, I resize for web. I may crop or just resize. Here, I will crop. In my crop area, I put in resolution of 72, and make it 900 pixels by 900. If I were just resizing, I would make it 600 wide by 900 high. But, I wanted to crop out the painting in the background, which I find distracting, so I made it 900x900. If for facebook, I would make sure the widest part was no more than 700 pixels.
Then, I click on my layers area. I have flattened it, so there is only the background layer, I right click it and choose duplicate. Now I have background and background copy.
I bring the pic to 100% view. I go to enhance, unsharp mask, and put in the numbers.
But, the sharpening has made his chapped lips and dry skin look worse!
So, I take an eraser, at 100% and just run it over his cheeks, lips, and hair. I avoid the eyes. I then flatten and save.
So, here is the original.
And here is the final edit.