How to survive touching up a lioness...

No, I am not going to be statistic or a late night news piece about how my arm was ripped off by a lioness in a zoo. I am not one for sticking ones arm where it shouldn't be.

Sticking my lens where it shouldn't be can be fun though. My recent purchase of the Canon 70d now affords me the luxury of a 'flip out' screen, or flippy screen as I have dubbed it.

While trying to get a shot of a couple of Lioness at London Zoo this month, I used the flippy screen to see what I was doing while hovering the camera over everybody else's head.

One thing I did notice was the amount of mobile phones being used AND the amount of people waving iPads around too. WTH???? Get a camera stop waving that tablet in my face!

But you didn't come here to read about that, you came here based on the preamble above. You want to know how I touched up a lioness with out having my arm, face and groin ripped out for the viewing pleasure of the tablet waving audience.

I did it in post production! Ha!

A few months ago I bought Portrait Pro Studio, mostly for touching up portrait work. I never thought to use it and wild life that could kill you. Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I asked the lioness to pose for me. To the lioness I would have looked like lunch. It is very rare that plate based foods want to take my picture either so I could understand.

A lioness, didn't take to model instructions to well...

This is the original profile shot. Lens profile set for the Canon 55-200mm in Lightroom and white balance set to default. This is a pretty decent shot, nice and sharp considering it was taken through glass and waving the camera above my head to avoid the crowds.

A Lioness looking a bit more healthy...

This is the shot after some colour grading within Lightroom using the SLR Lounge Preset System. Sharpening was added in Photoshop CC to bring out a bit more of the hair texture and whiskers. White Balance was set to Sunny, this bought back the golden coat I normally associate with lionesses. It made her look a bit more natural.

Lioness, after a brush up and glossy finish...

I then took the shot into Professional Studio Pro. I had to cancel the automatic facial recognition sequence as it was having trouble finding a human face. I could then mark out the features and the software coped very well. Some of the features didn't work well at all though it made the head look as if it have been pummelled with a sledge hammer covered in slate. The main feature I used was the Hair Tidying controls. This allows you to fill hair shadows and smooth hair out, which make it looks like an oil painting. I wasn't going to stop there!

I was lucky not to get scratched...

Many of you should know by now that I like to take a nice shot and add post apocalyptic textures at it. This was not exception. I took a texture from the SLR Lounge Textures pack and a scratched file to add a bit of noise. The result is above.

I must make more use of this technique on other things than human faces.