Monday, June 23, 2014

Photo Recipe: Salvaging a crummy shot

Last Saturday I got up bright and early (for me) to cheer on a friend who was completing her first triathlon.  We drove out along some back country roads and parked and waited for her to come by on her bike.  We nearly missed her the first time and then had some time to kill before she came back by on the return trip.  The girls were a little bored, so they hopped in the back of another parent's truck to wait.  I looked at them sitting there and thought it would make a great photo of rural America.  I tried to snap a couple before they saw me (I prefer natural photos to those with typical tween girls poses) but I failed.
In fact, when I got home and looked at the photo, I pretty much hated it.
But I wanted to love it.  I really really wanted it to look like I had it in my head.  But it was kind of awful.  Rather than just deleting it, I decided to play around.

After looking at it a little more, and realizing that it would have been 1000 times better if all four girls had been looking off into the distance, I decided to treat it like an old-fashioned photo.  You know those ones where no one is really looking at the camera, someone is grouchy, but it was all people had back in the day because film was expensive and photos were rare?
So, I converted it to black and white using a layer.  I played around with the different options and chose "High Contrast Red."  And then I decided I wanted a hint of color, so I set that layer at 75% opacity.

I liked the way it no longer looked like a bunch of girls squinting in the early morning sunlight, but I wanted to make it look grainy and old and well-worn, so I chose Calais from Love That Shot's Old World Collection.  I added it at 75% opacity in overlay mode.

And because I am never satisfied and like big changes, I added one more layer for more oldness (is that a word?) and drama.  I chose Sicily and added it at 45% opacity in linear burn mode.

It's not perfect, but I like how the sky looks moody, just like my daughter's face.  If I edited it again, I might go ahead and remove all color from the photo.  But that's the fun of digital photography, isn't it?  You can just play and play.

If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Unsolicited Advice

My kids wanted to run to the mall today.  It's summer vacation.  I "need" some new Bath and Body Works foaming hand soaps (that lavender scent is uh-mazing.)  I'd rather drive around and wander through stores than stay home, fight technology and do laundry.  I was in.
We had lunch at Avanti's and then wandered over to the mall to do our shopping.
On our way out, I wanted to look at dresses at Penney's.  I have this sudden strange love for dresses.  I found one that was a coral and hot pink pattern.  I held it up to show the kids to get their opinion.
KJ said, "I like it mom.  It looks like you."  (Translation: Please buy it so we can leave.)
Boo said nothing. Instead I got a shoulder shrug and eyeroll. (Translation: You have already pushed me past my limit.  Take me home NOW.)
Old Lady I've never met before, "Do you want my opinion?"
I answered gamely, "Sure."
She replied, "I don't like it."
"You don't like the pattern?"
I rambled on something about modern colors and patterns then turned away and she added, "You sure won't be wearing that if you get a sunburn."
I smiled and commented about needing some sun to balance out the farmer's tan I have going from sitting at the kids' ball games.  She responded with some comment about how she doesn't sit out in the sun anymore because her doctor got all upset about it.
I turned away and she still felt the need to drive home the point that she didn't like that dress on me.  She looked at the 2Ks and said, "Don't you think that she is too red to wear that dress?" They looked at me because they had no idea how to handle this one.
And because that wasn't enough, she told me to hold it up and go look in the mirror and I would see how I was too red to wear it.
At that point in time, I hung it back up and walked away.
And she said, "Oh dear, I made you change your mind.  I'm sorry."
Unsolicited opinions about my clothing choices, or my eyebrows make me all paranoid.
Maybe I should have invited her back here to go through my closet.
Then again, maybe not.