Your home for everything artistic

Posts tagged ‘exposure’

Photo editing sample and process

Editing is crucial

For any photographer who takes his or her craft seriously, editing is just a fact of life. And while it has its creative qualities, a lot of shutterbugs would agree that it’s not exactly their favorite part of the process.

When all is said and done though, the time used doing a thorough editing job is well worth it when you see the final product.

Some causal photographers make the mistake of thinking that some of these “editing” apps, online tools or quick-fix type programs can get the job done almost instantly. While it might not take a long time to edit an image sufficiently, any real quality editing can’t be done with just a click or two of the mouse.

Below is a sample of some photography editing I did after a recent promotional shoot for a young lady starting her own life coaching business. I hope these before and after images along with the basic steps taken to get from the original to the final version will give you an idea of what I mean.

Please note that all edits where made using a combination of Adobe Photoshop and a program called Portrait Professional. However, some of these edits can be made using any number of other programs that offer a wide range of similar features.

headshot editing

General overview of steps taken to edit the above photo:

1. Adjusting exposure

- Started out with “Auto Levels” before increasing the exposure a little more.

2. Tweaking colors

- An increase in overall saturation was used to add color and vibrancy

- Using the “Dodge/Burn” tool also helped.

3. Airbrushing

- Basic tuning with Portrait Professional softened the skin, reduced blemishes, removed pores and took care of assorted imperfections.

4. Small details

- It was necessary to use the” Clone Stamp” tool to match some skin tone areas and clean up shadows and glare cast by the glasses.

- Did some final burning to minimize hot spots and even out the color of her hair.

Editing disasters – what not to do to your photos

As a general rule…

every photographer edits his or her photos to some extent. Sure once in a while a shot here or there will turn out just fine from the start  but that’s pretty rare. And while most serious photographers use a program like Photoshop to make adjustments to their photos, the tips below will apply to just about every possible editing tool.

Let’s think of it this way:

Hollywood celebrities and those with substantial incomes who spend a lot of time in the spotlight sometimes get a little “work done” aka plastic surgery. However, sometimes it’s done well and other times it can be a horrific disaster. The same can be said for these two approaches to re-working your images.

1. Exposure

Say you take a picture you love but notice that the image you bring up on your computer screen is darker than you had hoped. What’s a shutterbug to do? – why, bump up the exposure of course. Not so fast! While this is an easy and effective technique, you have to be careful. If you turn up the exposure too far, the washed out effect that will result can look unappealing and amateurish. Unless you are going for an intensely blown out scene intentionally for artistic purposes, this is a very bad idea.

over-exposed bad photo

Blown out shot from excessively high exposure.

well exposed photo

A well exposed photo from my work with Three Rivers Creative Arts.

2. Saturation

Having the pleasure of working with a number of alternative models, I know that photographers like myself love to showcase subjects with colorful hair or body art. When attempting to do this, or to enhance colors in less than vibrant skin, muted sunsets, animal coats or  anything else, you might opt to increase the saturation. Again, good idea, but keep it to a minimum. While a little saturation can add some wonderful coloration, too much can actually bring out the noise in a shot, redden this skin too much in people and simply make things look less realistic.

over-saturated photo

Unrealistic looking shot resulting from excess saturation. 

One of my well saturated shots from a shoot for Twisted Angels.

The bottom line:

No matter what the subject matter might be, the same rules apply – by all means kick the exposure and saturation up a notch, but be careful about how much.

Cool effects of a long exposure

Keeping your shutter open for an extended period or time has both its benefits and drawbacks in photography.

While it can be difficult to work with a long exposure without a stabilization mechanism such as a good tripod, and you do have to consider the possibility of overexposing the image to the point of a completely blown out shot, this approach can produce some really artistic and eye catch results as well. See the examples below.

Effective usage of long exposure:

long exposure car lights

Exposure: 117.4 sec – Vehicle lights on a busy road.

shooting tars in the night sky

Beautiful stars in the night sky.

amazing color photo

Colorful, artsy image with interesting background.

scenic misty waterfall

Beautiful misty appeal to a shot of a waterfall.

jouster on horse

Jouster on horse in an image intended to show motion.

Photography tips: Shooting fair skin

So, in my photography work, I shoot a lot of models. Combining that with the fact that one of my primary interests is working with goth pics, you may be able to see a pattern developing here. Basically, there tend to be a lot of pale-skinned people in front of my camera lens.

Anyone who has been working with people as subjects knows that dealing with the different skin tones in nature can present an interesting challenge, especially in the cases when you are shooting a portrait with several people of varying shades of skin.

In the case of subjects with fair skin, you have to be especially aware of:

1. Exposure issues

2. Contrast

3. The subject’s other features

The stunning Emma Stone

Exposure:

While generally a slight overexposure may not hurt or may even artistically enhance an image on occasion, this can be devastating when shooting a pale person. You will need to be sure of proper exposure and even still you may need to use some editing techniques to set off the subject’s color – like bumping up the saturation for example.

Contrast:

Clothing, accessories and the background on the shot should be arranged so as to provide a nice contrast between the skin and pretty much everything else. This makes for a nice, creative balance.

The subject’s other features:

Dark or red hair, bright red lips and intense blue eyes (see the image of Emma Stone above) can be emphasized in your shot. In doing so, you will undoubtedly enhance your overall photo.

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 621 other followers