One of my goals for this year is to learn how to edit my photos using Elements 9 and Lightroom 4.1
While my usual subject is wildlife and birds I chose to edit some flower photos simply because I find it is easier to select a flower. (Eventually I would like to be able to do this to wildlife photos) I edited these photos using Light-room 4.1 and my goal was to blur the background and to sharpen just the flower.
In Light-room I started with the raw photo with all the presets set to zero, then I set the white balance, and the white and black points to bring out detail. I did not touch the contrast or curves because I am fond of Mike's flower photos and I think they are they are low contrast.
I used the selection brush and painted on the background, and set the clarity and sharpness to zero to blur the background.
Then I used the selection brush and selected just the flower, and sharpened by 25%. When I do this in Elements I always see a selection line and I don't see it here so I think Light-room must be easier for selective editing.
Can you see my selection line? Also is it obvious which flower I sharpened?
In this particular photo I also wanted to blur out the top portion with the funny overblown highlights behind the flowers but could not manage to do so with either the clone or the heal tool with any finesse... ie; it was very obvious (dark spots or patterns from the tools) ..
Is there a secret to cloning and healing with finesse or does it just take practice?
Is my strategy for blurring backgrounds and selectively sharpening the subject a good one? Keeping in mind that I hope to do this with wildlife photos that have a distracting background. (if it was not possible or I could not manage to photograph an attractive background.)
After I downsized the above photos to 1200 pixels to post here, I applied an unsharp mask of Radius 1, threshold 4 and 85% to the entire photo in Elements. I tried using the blur brush in Elements 9 to add to the effect of the blur I created in LR but I could not see any noticeable difference using this tool?
Should the entire photo be sharpened after downsizing or should I have just applied the unsharp mask to the flower?
PS I wonder if someone would be up to editing the photo for me as it demonstrates what I would like to be able to do one day... I love the pelican but the background is less than attractive. I'd like to be able to make the water more attractive and clone out some of the birds, at it's feet. Perhaps it is not even possible?