Maasai Mother and Child

© Rebecca Kapley

Maasai Mother and Child

Rebecca Kapley 3/13/2014 9:08:04 PM

Guess I should have posted my comment here - so I'll paste it in. Sorry - I should catch on soon.

My first post - hope I'm doing it correctly

I'm in the process of putting up a gallery wall of images I've taken of children from the various places where I have traveled. This one is one of my favorites but I would like it to pop a little more. I have Photoshop Elements but don't really know much about using it. Any suggestion with specific directions will be greatly appreciated. #1566718

Rita K. Connell 3/14/2014 9:42:41 AM

the first thing I would do is give this a square crop so very little of the mothers face is showing but keeping for colorful clothing adds a little interest.

if you only have elements and no filters I would go to image/adjustments/curves/ options/ select snap natural midtones and enhances channel contrast

but I am sure some of the guys will have you do something different I would encourage you to try all and post them separate you will be surprise how much you will learn from it. if you don't know how to add images to this thread let us know and we will walk you through it. #11000176

Michael Kelly 3/14/2014 11:02:37 AM

First this is a captivating shot and excellent for your first post. The composition is very unusual and not what I would have chosen, but it still works OK for me. I think this is the reason Rita suggested a square crop which will make it look like a more normal composition. However, I would leave it as shown.

One thing to remember is we are looking at a very small jpeg image on BP. Hopefully you are looking at a full size camera raw image to do your editing. I am using CS6 CC and have not ever used elements so I am just going to give some general observations and let folks like Dale, who also uses Elements, to provide you with specifics because they are different for the different software. I do almost all of my editing in Adobe Camera Raw except for some selective area work. Camera Raw is also available in elements. To me the technical areas of this shot look pretty good. IE. Good exposure and white balance so you can leave those corrections aside on this shot. To me the reason you are asking for a bit more pop is that although everything is pretty good it is just the slightest bit flat. To correct that I would add a bit of color saturation using the Vibrance slider and some contrast using the contrast slider. These adjustments may blow out the whites a bit so finish up by lowering the Highlights slider. The changes will be subtle but should give you a bit more pop if you view the original and the edited version side by side you should note the improvement. Even if this is a jpeg image you can use the Camera raw adjustments just not nearly to the extent you could on a raw image.

Elaine Hessler 3/14/2014 12:30:23 PM

Wow this is an interesting one! Glad you posted Becky:)

So here's where we will get some differences in opinions. I was going to suggest the same as Rita. For me, the mom's face is taking my attention off of the child's. But I LOVE her beads, so I was going to suggest a tighter crop on the child, maybe leave the mom in but up to her chin. Maybe a 4x6 would work in a portrait orientation. This would put the child's face towards the upper third.

I agree it could use a little pop. Ask Dale about adjusting levels too.

You can always post two crops and we can see what they look like and compare them. You may find you like one better than the other.

Can't wait to see this edit! #11000286

Dale Hardin 3/15/2014 8:11:33 AM

Hi Rebecca. You've chosen an wonderful shot for your first critique. Not only is it filled with a fascinating subject, but shows very creative composition. And at the same time offers us a great opportunity to show you the diversity of opinions you will have to choose from.

Like you, I use Photoshop elements and if some of my suggestions leave you scratching your head, let me know and I'll create a tutorial explaining it all.

I agree with others that a crop would help but disagree as to the result. I would like to keep your original creative vision while at the same time tightening up the composition. Try a 3x5 vertical format crop starting in the upper right corner, with the left lower corner ending up just at the left edge of the child's blouse.

Add 50% multiply blend and mask using a radial mask starting in the center of the boys face and ending in the upper right corner.

Then apply a hue/saturation layer and de-saturate about 50% but mask the change from the boy. Both these changes will retain your vision while making the boy the featured point of interest.

Finally, apply a small bit of sharpening to just the boy. This is a very creative image and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work. Well done. #11000813

Jeff E Jensen 3/15/2014 7:37:39 PM

Wow, I really like this, Becky! This is a very unique composition and I think it works well. You've gotten some good suggestions for adjustments, so I'll just sit back and see what you come up with. #11001277

Rebecca Kapley 3/15/2014 9:14:06 PM

I want to thank all of you for making comments and suggestions. I'm hoping Dale will provide me with more information on how to make some of the adjustments in PSE (Dale I sent you an email with what I need help with). Hopefully I will have some time tomorrow to play around with PSE and the image to see what impact your suggestion will have.

I have to ask you to be patient with me - editing is going to be a challenge but I'm looking forward to learning. #11001311

Beth Spencer 3/16/2014 2:23:48 PM

This is very interesting and unique picture, I am sure the edits you choose will only enhance it.
I am very interested in hearing more about this picture. I am wondering about the things on the boys lips, are they ornamental objects or something else. His eyes are are very interesting. #11001893

Peter W. Marks 3/18/2014 7:12:46 AM

Ah yes Rebecca. The Maasai people, often said to have the most elegant facial features. You did a great job here of getting really good tonal balance of the colors and the child's and mother's face.
I too will await eagerly to see what you come up with after trying some of the offered suggestions and yes there will be a plethora (my first chance to use that word this week!) of differing suggestions and preferences.
Well done indeed. #11003078

Anthony L. Mancuso 3/18/2014 10:07:30 AM

Excellent portrait Rebecca, the lighting is have a lot of suggestions already so I'll just wait to see what you come with. Regarding the crop suggestions though, I think cropping to remove the mother does keep the attention on the baby's face and creates a simplistic, yet well done portrait. I thnk Dale's crop suggestion, on the other hand, would create an image with more intrigue, the clipping of the mother's face creating visual tension, and her far off gaze enticing the viewer to wonder what she is looking at and/or thinking about. #11003179

Debbie E. Payne 3/18/2014 7:11:42 PM

Great.image, Rebecca. What a fascinating shot you have here. I also believe that the attention is taken away from the baby with mom only partially being in the image. By cropping out her face we stop wishing we could see her entire face and start focusing on her amazing child. Outside either a square crop or a more vertical shot, all I might do would be to punch up the colors in the re dress and beads. Good to hVe you in our group. I look forward to seeing your travel portraits. #11003532

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aperture f/6.3, shutter1/200, location Tansania, focal length 250 mm

Exif: F Number: 6.3, Exposure Bias Value: 0.00, ExposureTime: 10/2000 seconds, Flash: did not fire, auto mode, ISO: 1600, White balance: Auto white balance, FocalLength: 250.00 mm, Model: NIKON D90

Uploaded on 3/13/2014 6:31:15 PM

Made With

Camera: Nikon D90 Digital SLR Camera

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