1. Plan your edits.

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After you complete overall corrections, evaluate your image to determine what type of edits if any are needed. Common types of edits to plan for include these:

a. Dodging and burning.

Dodging is a technique you use to lighten a certain area of an image; burning darkens a certain area of an image. Whether you're working on landscape, still life, portraits, or photos of your pets, evaluate your images to see if areas need to be dodged (like when you want your dogs eye's to be more bright), or burned (like when you need to darken areas of a landscape).

Dodging and burning areas of an image can rescue out-of-gamut parts of an image and bring them back into a printable range. (For more about out-of-gamut colors, see Chapter 10.)

b. Removing spots.

Dust spots on digital images aren't really possible for images taken with compact digital cameras because the lens is built into the camera. But when you're shooting with digital SLRs, dust spots can happen when particles find their way onto your image sensor. It's happened to me, and is fairly common for digital SLR shooters.

On a recent trip to England, I had the opportunity to stop off at this one interesting spot to take photos of some big stones sticking out of the ground. I slapped a circular polarizer on my lens to get some darker blue skies and to reduce the glare off the stones. To my later dismay, I discovered (while zooming in on those photos in Photoshop) spots in the sky caused by water spots on my circular polarizer. I called up the trusty Healing Brush tool and used it to remove those spots, as shown in Figure 11-1.

c. Retouching.

Nature is not always kind. Time and again, the people whose portraits I take want to make sure I get rid of the wrinkles, pimples, and blemishes we all seem to have. No problem: When editing images in Photoshop, you can soften skin using the Blur tool or one of the blur filters. You can use the Dodge tool or Paintbrush to help whiten teeth and eyes. (If you get good at retouching portraits, you can save your friends and clients some money: They won't have to go to a plastic surgeon for a facelift or the dentist to get teeth whitened — provided they never venture out.)

Spots

Spots

Original image Spots removed

Figure 11-1: Removing spots with the Healing Brush tool.

Original image Spots removed

Figure 11-1: Removing spots with the Healing Brush tool.

If you're shooting portraits, retouching in Photoshop is an important phase of your work. Plan your edits carefully.

d. Sharpening.

To make a general statement, all digital images need some sharpening. Sharpening should be the last step you take before printing a photo or posting it to the Web. I show you more about sharpening in the next chapter, but I'm mentioning it here because sharpening is considered an image edit.

Figure 11-2 shows a zoomed portion of the photo of those stones in the ground before — and after — sharpening with the Unsharp Mask filter. (I didn't see any Druid sacrifices there that day, but I did have to sacrifice my lunch hour so I could take the time to shoot some photos.)

Not sharpened Sharpened with Unsharp Mask

Figure 11-2: Applying the Unsharp Mask for sharpening photos.

Not sharpened Sharpened with Unsharp Mask

Figure 11-2: Applying the Unsharp Mask for sharpening photos.

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