Picture This: On Photo Editing


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Most photos published in media undergo post-processing. But if done correctly, editing can go unnoticed (for the most part). To demonstrate, this photo will be edited with a step-by-step explanation:

This photo of our newspaper staff was the best option out of all the photos taken. However, the mask in the background is distracting from the subject matter, and a team member did not like how he looked. We were also missing a team member in the photo. These problems can be easily fixed with Adobe Photoshop. 

The first problem brought up was that Mike (front row, first on the left) was unhappy with his facial expression. Luckily, he was smiling in some of the other pictures. His smiling face was selected, cut and pasted over his body. We used layer masks to make the new image blend in. 

Mike also forgot to wear his newspaper shirt. To do this, we decided to make some custom Northeastern merchandise just for him. We brightened his hoodie and copied the design from another shirt onto it by making a rectangular selection, copying, and pasting the selection onto his shirt. To seamlessly apply the shirt design, we used the blending mode “Darken,” lowered the brightness and used a layer mask to blur the edges of the rectangular selection.

Collectively, we thought the mask in the background was a bit creepy, so we covered it up with some of the existing bricks. We selected a rectangular region of the brick and pasted it over the mask, using layer masks and adjusting brightness to make it look natural. Then, we copied and pasted Alicia and Shayna’s (back row, third and fourth from the left) faces in front of the brick.

When Valentina came, we took a separate picture of her in the same location. We cut and pasted her onto the photo. To make her look like she is standing behind Cole and Camden, we copied their bodies and pasted them in front of Valentina. Unfortunately, the lighting in Valentina’s photo was a lot different, so we used the curves tool to adjust the contrast and exposure as well as desaturating the unnatural, yellowy tones in her skin.

With that, this photo is complete. At first glance, one might not even be able to detect that this photo is not the original. These techniques are easy and are used widely on published media.

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