Professional photographers create photo packages of new graduates, including a range of poses beyond the traditional cap-and-gown shot. To create your child's graduation portraits on your home computer, take your cues from some of the techniques pros use to capture memorable likenesses and finalize them to prepare lasting treasures. You may not have access to the full range of a pro's equipment, but you can capture your child's big day in lasting style.
If you're using a desktop computer with a monitor that supports color management, or you've plugged a color-managed monitor into your notebook system, take advantage of the display's calibration capabilities to ensure what you see on the screen accurately reflects the content of the images you review. The calibration process may require an optional hardware measuring device with a sensor that appraises onscreen color, in conjunction with software supplied with the calibrator or the monitor. Following a regular calibration schedule in keeping with the manufacturer's recommendations maintains your monitor's display properties.
The surroundings in which you take graduation pictures influence the appearance of colors in the images. For example, if your graduate loves to cook and you take his picture at your kitchen range, the light sources in the room affect flesh tones and clothing. Properly chosen LED lamps mimic the color of daylight. If you use incandescent, halogen or fluorescent room lighting and your range also picks up illumination from an over-the-range microwave oven with LED lamps, your images can display mixed color response. Turning off overhead lighting in favor of natural light helps, as does the judicious use of your camera's flash. Expect to spend some time on the computer tidying up color problems if you can't offset them before you take your pictures. You'll have less control over lighting when you photograph your child at the graduation ceremony.
Retouching and Editing
Regardless of which image-editing application you choose, its tools should give you the ability to retouch image flaws and edit your photos to generate a flattering portrait of your graduate. Unless your child really wants a stylized portrait with enhanced eye-color saturation, minimized skin-surface texture and other glamorized touches, focus your retouching on removing simple flaws and cropping away distracting background details. You can correct some of these problems before you shoot, positioning your graduate away from potted plants that appear to sprout out of his head or removing cat hair with a lint roller. Before you start to retouch, duplicate the original photo and work on a copy; if something doesn't turn out as expected, you won't lose a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
Compositing and Finalizing
How you assemble the images you've taken depends on the kind of portrait package you want to create. You can use image-editing selection tools to extract human figures from backgrounds so you can build a multiphoto montage of your graduate in different poses. You can create versions of your images sized and scaled for use as computer, smartphone or tablet wallpaper, or for online display on social media. You can print your retouched portraits at home, take them to a photo lab for output or send them to a poster or photo-book service. To display your graduate's images at home, view them via Wi-Fi® on your HDTV or directly from an online photo gallery.
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