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Bright, Bold, contrasty edits...HOW?!

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I'm getting so frustrated with my cake smash edits. I see all these photographers who shoot with the same exact lens, studio light and soft box as I do and their images have so much more depth, and brightness without loosing any details. I'm so lost trying to figure out how to get this style. I really love the look of it because I feel like the images pop so much better than mine do. I've taken the raw class & the levels class. I tried the levels tricks too but I can't seem to get that pop.

My image is attached.


http://www.jennifernace.com/#!/3/featured/ONE_YEAR_-_CAKE_SMASH/158 : This is similar to what I'm trying for, if possible. That clean bright airy skin, where the baby pops from the background. So many photographers have this look and I can't figure it out.



Edited by Gina Gentile
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Well, to start with - her subjects are much further away from the background than yours. That's just a photography thing and why her subjects "pop" away from the background. The light will also hit the background different, adding more to the depth. I believe she also applies additional darkening/vignetting with a levels layer - but the key is to get that separation in the first place. 

Do you have any images where your subject is further from the background?

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The farther you put your subjects from that pink casty backdrop, the cleaner the light will be on them. :)  Right now, you've got her so close to the pink backdrop, and your light is hitting the backdrop and casting pink all over her and the floor.

More neutral-toned backdrops, and greater light differential between the subject and the backdrop (read up on the inverse square law if you're not already familiar with it and how it controls falloff), and you'll be pretty much all of the way there towards the look you're going for.


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