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Erik's Photo Editing Beginnings

Landscape Photo

I began with this photo I took of the Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

I then cropped it to make the Castle's entrance the focal point:

Then I adjusted levels, brightness/contrast, and shadows/highlights. I liked the color balance of the original photo, so I did not adjust these settings.

Here's what it looks like after I added a little dark blue to the sky and removed the sign from the lower-right corner (I think this could use a little more refinement):

Based on Tyler's advice (thank you!), I used a white to black gradient overlay instead of the blue I had before, and I then took the liberty to introduce a little purple to the sunset.

I used the dodge tool to brighten up some of the midtones and highlights on the castle to make it stand out a little better, and then added a blur around it to further bring it into focus.

I made both a B&W and colorized version of this shot as well:

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Portrait Photo

I began my portrait project with a photo of my grandmother. I recently spent a weekend afternoon with her, looking through and scanning in old photos of her parents' families, and I came across a number of great shots of her in Manhattan when she was young, and thought they were wonderful photos. Since I am very interested in my genealogy, my main interest in learning how to edit photos was to be able to fix up these older shots.

I then cropped the photo, and tried to focus her face as close to one of the "rule of thirds" points as possible (I thought the tree background was more interesting than the rock).

Here's what the photo looks like after removing color information, and adjusting the levels, brightness, and contrast. I'm a bit frustrated that her face seems to be lighter than everything else, but I think that's just a defect I'm going to have to live with for the moment.

Here, I took out some of the specks that were floating around the photo:

I used the burn tool to bring her face into the same level of contrast as the rest of her body, and then added a slight gaussian blur to the background to make her stand out a bit more.

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