How I Saved It: Part 1

A few day ago I posted a photo in a concert photography group on Facebook showing the before and after of what it looked like in the camera, and what I was able to get out of it through some fairly extensive editing in Lightoom. Since then, the photo has blown up and many have asked how I was able to not only "save" the photo but turn it into the hands-down winner of the set. At first, I was simply going to discuss this in the group for anyone who was interested to follow along. Instead, I've decided to make this a blog post so I can include as many screenshots as necessary and go into as much detail as possible about how I pulled off what many - including myself at times - have thought to nearly impossible or simply not worth the time.

I'm going to break this into two parts, and the link to PART TWO will be at the bottom, but for the sake of space let's get right into it shall we? Here's the before to give you an idea of what I was working with out of the camera, along with my initial edits which included applying one of my own presets:

So this is where we are. At this point all I've done is increase exposure (+1.30 stops to account for my own personal workflow and the overall exposure of the image), apply a preset which I'll attach screenshots of below rather than trying to explain, and played with the temperature and tint sliders ever so slightly. Here are screenshots of what my preset did to the image in addition to the manual exposure and temp/tint adjustments I made:

So those are my initial, preset-based adjustments in addition to manual exposure and temp/tint adjustments. Nothing special, nothing fancy, just a quick click and I had made some changes. The next part is where things started getting interesting simply by adjusting my temperature and tint sliders. The screenshot below shows what my image looked like after ONLY moving my temperature slider to +50000 (all the way to the right) and my tint slider to -150 (all the way to the left):


At this point, the adjustments shown in the two screenshots of my sliders above are ALL identical and the only things I've changed are my temperature (+50000) and tint (-150) values. So now we've gone from slightly underexposed and very blue, unusable lighting to more of an aqua/blue-green tint and you can start to see some of the detail in her skin tone pop through, but her hair was the most noticeable change and this is the point at which I started thinking I MIGHT be onto something with this image, so my next step was to go into the SPLIT TONING menu, something I rarely use, to adjust the colors of the shadows and highlights over the entire image, and that's where things really started to be fun. Here's a screenshot of where my split toning values were and then I'll show you what the image looked like after making those changes:

Arch Enemy03.JPG

Please pardon the low-quality screenshot. If you can't see what those values say, here they are: Under HIGHLIGHTS, my values are 0 for hue and 62 for saturation. Under SHADOWS, my values are 360 for hue and 77 for saturation. My BALANCE is set to +5. As with the above photo, the screenshots above showing my adjustments are ALL still the same and the only changes I have made (other than temp and tint changes mentioned above) are to the SPLIT TONING changes shown here. Here's what the image looks like now, after making split toning changes:


It's starting to look like we might have something, isn't it? At this point, I'm going to stop and continue this explanation with part two. Please click here to continue reading.