This is what I started with. Normally, I would say, if you don't get the image right in camera, reshoot it. Considering the ease that one can shoot digitally nowadays, combined with the ability to chimp the LCD immediately after shooting, there really is no excuse to not get it right in camera. Well, bullshit. Sometimes your best image looks fine on the LCD and you get back home and put it on the big screen and WHOA, it looks like crap. Now what?
Well, the first thing to look at is the histogram. If you haven't blown out your highlights, there may be hope. Maybe. The first thing I tried with this image was to manipulate the curves and levels in Nik Capture NX. I also tried a similar solution in Photoshop. (Yes, I am still using Photoshop 7... until I can afford the latest CS5 or someone drops a copy into my lap).
The second edit happened in Photoshop, using Nik Silver Efex Pro. For me, this program is like having my old darkroom back, minus the smells and red safelight. When I see digital black and white images where the only thing the photographer did was desaturate the image, I cringe. The least one can do is to work with selective color channels. I prefer the hands-on approach that Nik Silver Efex Pro allows for.
- For those of you paying attention, notice the change in Tobi's neckline and the changes to her skin. Part of this was due to using a red filter in Nik Silver Efex Pro. Additionally, I made minor touch-ups in Photoshop, first with the cloning tool and finally with the Liquify filter. I figure if I can't afford a makeup assistant, (or learn to do that myself) then I need to be able to help with minor retouching.
Now, if you want more information on this process, or a more detailed tutorial, let me know. I am going to be trying to bring more technical information, along with more dialogue about the Why of what I am doing, into my blog. Questions lead to more discussion. Have at it!