Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Retouching techniques give photographers more control than ever. Try a combination of tools for removing distracting elements from almost any scene.
Each year, the number of visitors to our national parks grows, looking to see and photograph their favorite icons. That means more human elements are put in place to accommodate the increase—more buildings, signs, roadways and people are the consequences. This ultimately affects the natural setting of a park's beauty, so as nature photographers, how are we able to photograph these iconic spots without the inclusion of people and the heavy impact they leave behind?
The main process involved in image cleanup is cloning and healing with a variety of tools. Depending on what's being removed or edited, the size of your brush and its hardness are crucial. In most cases, you want the hardness of the brush to be soft when healing and harder when cloning. The brush size also must be in proper relation to the selection being removed.
In this example, the sapphire thermal pool was surrounded by a boardwalk and fence. I want viewers to feel like they could place themselves within the image and imagine they're the only ones present, so I chose to remove the boardwalk that surrounded the pool.
Before I work on an image, I previsualize what I want the final image to look like, so I always follow a few important rules when I begin my editing. The first step is to create a new layer from the background layer; go to the Layer menu and choose Layer > New > Layer Via Copy. Next, label this layer something that makes sense to you, such as "Clone Outer Edge," for use when returning to reedit layers. Never edit on the background layer, as this is destructive to the image and degrades the final quality. By duplicating the background layer, you create a buffer to protect the background layer.
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