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  #1  
Old May 29th, 2008, 09:46 PM
sunshineL sunshineL is offline
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Newbie-How to get rid of shadow

Hello! I am new to using PSE. I have 4.0 for Mac. I recently did a maternity shoot for my sister. I am just learning how to use my new Pentax K10D. It was a very sunny day and almost all of her pictures have a shadow/sunlight on her arm or face. How do I get rid of this? I have posted one picture here to work with. I look forward to learning something new. Thank you!
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Old May 30th, 2008, 11:38 AM
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Diana Diana is offline
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Hi Sunshine,

Removing that type of shadow from photos taken outside on a sunny day is not the easiest thing to do.

There is an adjustment under Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Shadows/Highlights that you can try, and it may help a little, but it won't take out the obvious line between the the shadow and sunlight on the skin.



I worked on the image a little (although being such a small and low resolution image, it's hard to do it justice). This is what I tried.

Before you try this, or any adjustment to a photo, from the menu File > Duplicate. Then work on the duplicate of the photo, leaving your original photo untouched. In fact, just close the original photo.

Ctrl-J to make a duplicate of the background layer (Layer 1).

On layer 1, in the layers palette, from the dropdown menu on the left, change the Blending Mode to Screen. This will lighten the whole image, which is okay for now.

Click back on the background layer. From the Layers palette, click the Adjustment Layers icon (looks like a half black/half white circle). From the menu that pops up, select Levels, make no other changes, just click OK. This will give you a new layer between the background layer and layer 1, with a Mask (the white square on the right of the thumbnail).

Click back on the top layer (layer 1), press Ctrl-G to group this layer with the Masked layer.

Now click on the Mask (the white square) to make it active (this is very important - click on the Mask, not the thumbnail to the left of it).

Press Ctrl-I which will invert the color of the Mask to Black. This will hide the adjustment you made on the top layer. When you use a mask, Black conceals, White reveals.

Select the Brush tool with a soft-edged brush and make White your Foreground color. Change the Opacity of the brush to about 30% in the options bar.

With the Black mask still active in the layers palette, paint on your image in the workspace with the white brush in the areas where you want the lighter skin to be revealed. If an area needs to be lighter yet, continue to paint over it more with the brush. Since the Opacity of the brush is only 30%, the more you go over an area with the white, the more of the adjustment will show through.

Now you need a composite layer, which is a combination of all the layers. With the top layer active, press Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E, which will give you one combined layer at the top of the layers stack.

On this composite layer, I used the Clone stamp tool with the mode set to lighten, at 50% opacity (in the options bar at the top), then sampled some of the lighter skin and cloned it over the darker skin, particularly working on the line where the shadow and the highlight meets, to try to blend it together.

This is a little complicated, and won't give a perfect result, but may help quite a bit. Good luck.

One thing to realize is, if you decide you want to go back and and do more work on the layers beneath the composite layer at the top, you won't see any changes because the composite layer will be hiding all the layers beneath. If you do wish to do more work on the lower layers, you would have to delete the composite layer, work with the mask etc., then make a new composite layer to continue.

Diana
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Old May 30th, 2008, 01:26 PM
joshhuntnm joshhuntnm is offline
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The real learning is bright sunshine is a very difficult condition to create good shots. Not only do you have trouble with the shadows, but squiting is often a problem.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 10:25 PM
sunshineL sunshineL is offline
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Wow, thank you for the detailed lesson. I have to admit though, I am lost! I will have to print it out and follow each step so I can learn.
I wanted to do the shoot later in the day, but she gets so tired so we did it at 4pm. I knew the sun was not going to be good, especially because I am just learning how to use my camera, etc. Any suggestions on how to shoot in full sun like this? Should I get a filter? Thanks for any tips.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 08:44 AM
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douglas m scott douglas m scott is offline
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sunshineL,

It looks as though you were close enough to use your camera flash to fill in the shadows.
That is what I do when taking people pictures when the sun is high.

doug
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Old May 31st, 2008, 05:28 PM
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genevh genevh is offline
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You can use a fill flash, or move your subject into an area of full shade if you can, preferably without splotches of light and shadow over your subject.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 09:37 PM
sunshineL sunshineL is offline
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HI! So, if I would have used my flash outside, it would have taken care of this problem? I have so much to learn! I would have never thought to use my flash in full sun. Thanks for the hints!
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 10:38 AM
DennyD DennyD is offline
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How to get rid of shadow

Good discussion on "fixing with PE", and avoiding the problem with fill-flash.
Another technique to reduce shadows: most cameras have a setting that increases exposure for shadows. My HP calls it "adaptive lighting; others probably have different names. This works well, but not a substitute for fill-flash if you are close enough. If available, digital lets you readily experiment and compare results, "on", "off" and probably 2 different levels, and vs fill-flash.
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