it doesn't happen frequently, but sometimes a bride will ask me, "can you make me look skinny?" now, my personal style is all about natural beauty, capturing you just the way you are. but i totally get not wanting to get a huge wall portrait where the only thing YOU will be focused on is a perceived imperfection.
(YOU is in bold because we are all our worst critics. i usually have to have clients point out exactly their imperfections because i don't see them.)
recently, i got a first hand account of how it feels to not want to look at a photo of a memorable moment. 2 weeks ago i ran in the SoCal Ragnar Relay. i ran 3 legs totalling over 14 miles in 24 hours! this was a huge accomplishment for me! but when i looked at the photos, i was so distracted by those last few pounds i'm trying to lose after having my son.
here is a tutorial of how i made my finish line photo into a memory about my race, and not my 10 moths post partum body:
here's the before:
i use Lightroom 3 for almost all of my post processing. it's great to exposure, color, etc. but when LR can't do what i need, i turn to Photoshop Elements 8.
open your image in PSE, under the Filter tab, choose Distort, and Liquify.
PSE opens a new window. here you choose the brush you need to change your image. i zoomed in on the areas i wanted to fix, primarily the tummy. i chose a brush sized to 24, and pressure 50. these are number i've just played with over the years, i don't have a technical explanation for it. as you brush, you'll see why this filter is called "liquify", the image acts like a liquid and you can ripples under the brush.
with short strokes, brush in and down along the area you want to change. i brushed along my waist line on both sides. as with most editing, i believe less is more. so, after a few strokes i was done.
i also brushed along my left arm, sweeping over the outside of the arm and also on my arm pit. i basically made the crease of my arm pit a little straighter so it didn't look so bulging. (a personal pet peeve about my ares.)
and then i did a a teeny, tiny bit under my chin.
after cinching in that waist, i smoothed out the wrinkles in my shirt, because i felt they were distracting. i chose the eye dropper tool and selected the green of my shirt. then i switched to the brush tool and with a soft gray brush, swept over the wrinkles in the shirt. this gave the shirt a smoother appearance.
i didn't get a screen shot, i think the opacity was about 50%. don't leave the brush at 100% opacity or the shirt won't look natural.
next a ran one of my old trusted actions, Baby Powder Room from Coffee Shop. (since switching to LR over a year ago, i almost never use these actions anymore. but here i was in PSE so i went with it.)
first i used the Lighten Skin layer and with my brush at 35% i brushed under my eyes and on my "pregnancy mask."
next, i chose the Smooth Skin layer and brushed the same areas.
finally, i decided to revisit another old trusty action, Vivid 2.
i ran the action, chose the Vivid layer and reduced the opacity to 64%. i like the little color pop and vignette it gave the image.
so here i am with my medal, at the finish line looking all proud of my accomplishment! not a huge change, but now when i look at this image i'm not totally obsessed with my flabby mid-section, i can just focus on my big post-race smile!
this is my fist tutorial, i hope it makes some sense! let me know what you think!