Exercise 20: Improvement

Task: Photograph a portrait in a setting and then use a manual selection method to select just the area of the person. Save the selection and make any kind of adjustment to this area that makes it stand out more clearly from the surroundings, while still looking realistic.

Marathon Runner

The photograph above of a marathon runner looks flat and could do with some improvement. I opened it up in Photoshop and used the magnetic-lasso tool to select the skin areas. A handy tip I read about in Scott Kelby’s book was to press shift to select separate areas. This was very helpful because the runner’s vest split the skin tones into 3 areas.

Marathon runner improved

I then used the Select > Modify > Feather to refine the selection around the runner’s hair line. Once I was happy with the selection I increased the brightness and contrast, as suggested in the course file. This has made the runner stand out much more clearly, however I am unsure as to whether this adjustment has made it look as though he has been added to the scene in relation to the other runners. This has taught me to consider the entire scene when making localised adjustments. Over-editing can spoil an image instead of improving it.


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