Our county’s Veterans’ Day celebration is one of my favorite events to photograph: the field of flags; the student tributes; the uniformed older gentleman who stands to sing the song for his branch of the military with a catch in his voice and a tear in his eye.

Look closely at the before and after. Some of the changes are subtle, so I’ll explain my reasoning along with the edits.

Day 12 - Before

Day 12 - After

The Edits:

  1. Slight crop.
  2. Increase vibrance (intensify the colors).
  3. Increase contrast (make the lights lighter and the darks darker).
  4. Use the Adjustment Brush tool in Lightroom to decrease the exposure (darken) the bleachers, the ground and anything besides the boy, the man, and the flag.
  5. Apply a vignette (darken the edges).

Here is my goal in the editing of this photo: I want your eye to be drawn to the Boy Scout’s face and the look of awe and admiration as he raises his hand to return the salute; and then to the soldier he salutes; and then to the flag that the soldier salutes. 

I cropped out the red on the left, but I really didn’t crop out much of the photo. It feels like we’re much closer, though, doesn’t it? I darkened the bleachers and the ground and everything I didn’t want you to look at because your eye is naturally drawn to light.

I didn’t want you to notice the other building in the background or look at the bleachers and wonder why they’re empty. (Normally our county event is held in an open field by the Veterans’ Memorial, but we’d moved to a covered area of the fairgrounds because of the threat of rain; we all sat on the same side.) I cropped or darkened everything I didn’t want you to notice so that you’d focus on what I wanted you to see.

Did it work?

[Veterans’ Day is one month from today, Monday, November 12. I encourage you to find a local celebration and attend with your family.]

Find Day 1 and links to the whole series here. Be sure to subscribe for email updates either at the end of this post or over on the right above my picture to receive new posts in your inbox each day.

[Click here to read my other 31 Days series, 31 Days of Encouragement and 31 Days of Real Life.]

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4

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