CC needed!!!

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CC needed!!!

I am trying to get some pictures on the wall, and would like to hang 3 pictures--one of each of my girls, and then one of them together. I am working on the baby's picture, and I just can't get it right! There's not much contrast in the picture, so I feel like the conversion is too gray (I used a gradient map to convert and a vignette to add more black). Also, I tried to soften her skin to make her stork bite a little lessened-does it look unnatural? Is the eye pop too much? AHHH! Please help me!

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Can you post the original SOOC for a play?

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I think its a great pic but adding more contrast would be good. I think the eye is fine, but only if there is more contrast to it. Right now the eyes kind of do pop too much.

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SOOC

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first I did a levels adjustment layer- black slider in for input just a tad to add contrast, then took the white slider on output in to 245 just to take the edge off the highlights.
then I did a curves layer, masked back the bright spots- to even the shadows and bright areas a bit more, since some spots were a little harsh.
next I did a chocolate white conversionn; reduced noise a bit; and lightly sharpened
I didn't do an eye pop or mess with stork bite at all.

I hope that helps somewhat, if you want any more explanation let me know. Basically, add some contrast before doing the conversion, is my personal advice. and I choose to deepen darks in levels, it's the look I like best as opposed to adding actual ''contrast'' in the brightness/contrast area, which I rarely use.

20090919_3104_edited-2

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Thanks so much. I only have Elements, so I might have to figure a way around some of these steps, but this definitely helps steer me in the right direction! Your version is exactly what I'm looking for. Off to work on it again...