I was recently given the task of retouching some images for a high school basketball team – The Stillwater Spartans. My goal for these pictures was to achieve a dramatic look without the images looking fake and I’m very pleased with how they turned out. I’m going to walk you through what I did on one of the shots. If you want to see some of the other pictures I did of the team, you’ll find them in the Photo Retouching gallery.
The picture I’m going to walk you through is of the 9th grade team. The original picture is a good picture. The team’s pose is well balanced and the background is cool. Unfortunately, the background they had to work with was a little bit too short, so that was my first course of action.
To fix the wall problem, I selected the visible part of the wall (avoiding the top of the player’s heads), copied, pasted then flipped the wall copy so that it was mirroring the lower part of the wall. As you can see in the following screenshot, I picked up a few things that I didn’t really want showing (like the top of the wall and some of the lighter hues that make that line a very defined edge).
I used a layer mask and a soft edged brush to fix that line and to create a smoother transition between the two sections of wall.
Next I selected my whole image, went up to the Edit menu and chose Copy Merged (which makes a copy of whatever is visible) then pasted to a new layer. This allowed me to then use the patch tool to recreate the missing sections of wall and get rid of some of the obvious mirrored elements.
After I finished the wall, I went on to fixing the coach’s shirt. I felt like his shirt ought to match the player’s uniforms and the blue of his shirt just wasn’t as bright as the player’s jerseys. Thankfully, this was a pretty easy adjustment to make. I simply selected his shirt and then added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (to which I upped the saturation and increased the hue slightly) and voila! I was pretty happy with the adjustments I’d made, so I saved the image and then took it into Lightroom for my final tweaks.
I liked the wall a lot, but I wanted to really bring out the awesome texture and give it a super “tough guy” look. Using the brush tool, I painted over the wall and then raised the clarity all the way up and dropped the saturation and exposure a little. This really took the wall up a notch in my opinion.
As I was working on the wall, I kept finding myself distracted by the red socks that the player sitting on the wall was wearing. I grabbed the handy dandy brush tool again and swiped it over the sock, desaturating it completely.
To finish it all off, I made a few final adjustments to the entire image. I dropped the saturation, increased the contrast and clarity, decreased the overall yellow hue and then cropped the picture in just a little bit. The final result was even better than I was expecting.