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How to bring face details out in this photo?


Active Member
As I said it's not possible. The other thing is I'm not interested in fiction, I'm interested in compensating somewhat for the limited latitude of film. Finally, it's a good shot, technical shortcomings notwithstanding: I had noticed this little shop on Vancouver's West Pender Street from the bus window on numerous occasions and, though at first glance it wasn't much, something about it kept nagging at me. Finally I decided to take a stroll in that direction, on the prowl for fresh graffiti and other urban mayhem with the ultimate objective of getting a shot of the shop too. Not until I had viewed the photo after the fact did I realize the payoff. I started to notice details like the stuffed monkey swinging among the delightfully floating bananas, the five cent discount on bananas with a smile, the cross-cultural "Dairy & Ginseng" sign and, the pièce de résistance, the proprietor's face gazing up and out of his forlorn little world. Even the lottery signs speak eloquently of desperation.
thanks for the explanation, makes sense. good luck with it.


Here is a proof of concept. Pretty rough. I brought out what I could in the entire background.
Beyond my skill levels for a quality result
John Wheeler
View attachment 121001
What steps did you use? I've been using layers >>> mask >>> erase. I've gotten pretty okay results but the moulding of the face is the biggest drawback. It always just turns out flat.


Hi @DaBoo
I operated on the foreground and the background separately (masked separately)
I used Smart Objects for both foreground and background and made the modifications with Adobe Camera Raw Filter

For the dark background I:
- first really cranked up the exposure
- Reduced shadows a tad
- increase Clarity
- Increased Dehaze a bit
- increased sharpening
- increased noise reduction
- also increase color noise reduction
- In the color mixer I reduced the saturation of just the yellows
- I used the Adjustment brush initially on the woman's head and body where I increased the - exposure a bit more, increased contrast
- raised the shadows a tad
- increased texture a small amount
- increased clarity a very small amount
- reduced saturation some more

I also used the Adjustment brush around all the bananas because the transition from the foreground and background was too obvious and needed a smoother transition.

Then I used the spot healing tool in Adobe Camera Raw filter to take care of white spots form scanning/negative defects/dust in the show owner's area.

I understand the issue with flatness and some of that is brought back by the Adjustment Brush and choosing where to apply it to create a bit more depth.

Hope this helps.
John Wheeler