A few years ago I was shooting an event and happened to capture this image while taking a break from the action.  Believe me, there was no prep or forethought given to this pose, as you can readily see.


However when I was downloading my images later that evening, I stopped because her expression and pose captured my attention.  I had given no instructions, only pointed my camera and asked for a smile.

Of course the question becomes, “What do I do with this image?”  I love the expression, but everything other than that is wrong: background clutter, flat lighting, distracting background color, and a number of other issues that seemed to render this image as unusable for anything other than a casual toss into the photo album pile.  You know, that place where everyone puts all of the family pictures.

But, let’s try a few things and see what we can do.  I began by editing the image as I would any portrait.  Following that, I quickly moved to my “filter” section in Photoshop.  Scanning down through my choices, I landed on lighting effects found in the render folder.  I have used this filter before to create some subtle highlighting, but this time I wanted to do something far more dramatic.  Using the “Omni” setting I increased the intensity level to +28, and adjusted the ambient level to -4.  Next, I adjusted the edited area to cover only the circumference of her face.  This created a somewhat extreme vignette that camouflaged the background clutter.  I also centered the highlight on to her left cheek. This gave the left side of her face a slightly stronger highlight, somewhat compensating for the original flat lighting.


While this eliminated most of the issues I had from the original, I still wondered if more could be done.  So for my final step, I simply used a square crop to fully eliminate the background clutter.

Version 2

While this may not be something I would present to a client, it sure is an improvement from the original.

So even with a casual shot, there just may be the possibility for something more.


~ by photographyfree4all on July 18, 2016.


  1. Beautiful!


  2. Thank you, pkphotooftheday. Glad to have your visit and your comment. Have a great day!


  3. A picture worth saving! I love her smile! Beautiful image, and thank you for the walk through on how you removed the noise.


  4. Thank you for sharing your comment.

    Liked by 1 person

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