When post processing glamour images, a common dilemma often presents itself: deciding which version of the image is best. As an example, here is the so-called "final" version of the remarkable Laurel Hervert, in full color:
I really like this version. Here is a second version processed with Nik Analog Efex Pro 2, using the One Penny preset from Flypaper:
I also like the muted colors of the One Penny preset. But why not try a black and white version? Here is a version processed by Tonality CK from MacPhun, using the built-in preset Fashion Magazine 1, with no modifications:
I love how this preset eliminated detail from the window and wall behind her. Should the processing be stopped there? Or is one of the other versions better? I decided to combine the last two versions. In Photoshop, the black and white version was placed above the Analog Efex Pro 2 version, and a white layer mask added. On this mask, a 0% hard, black brush set at 10% opacity was used to brush over Laurel's face to let some of the color from the layer below show through:
I like this version best... I think... But, should I leave it alone or crop it? Here is a cropped version:
Laurel certainly has more "pop" and presence in this cropped version, but the stark, lonely feel of the uncropped version is lost. The dilemmas presented in retouching require using good taste (something I myself have been working to acquire) to make good decisions, and at the same time knowing that these decisions often involve compromises.