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.
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.
- 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.
When it comes to working with the graphic arts…
there are generally a few specific tools of the trade. Some that come to mind include Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design and those sort of programs and utilities. However, whether it be an issue of cost or just that we do not have access to a given program on the device we are working with, sometimes we have to use other applications to get the job done.
This was the case when a friend of mine asked if I could come up with an appealing and informative bifold for a major event she is involved with in the Pittsburgh area.
Using an MS Word template, a modified photo and some additional information she had provided, I came up with one that she has raved about many, many times. Here’s a snapshot of the front and back cover:
The lesson here is that while we would all love to have every tool possible available to us as providers of creative graphic services, if we really try, we can do a lot without them if necessary.
A few days back…
I was experimenting with the idea of creating a number of digital photography backdrops in Photoshop. While I plan on selling these customized backdrop files ($5 each or 3 for $10), I had been looking to bring out a specific satin looking effect. Eventually, I was able to do just that. But before finally succeeding, I had to go through quite a bit of trial and error. And while that can be frustrating, it can also be an opportunity, a chance to create what I like to call accidental art.
I decided to share the two pieces I chose to save in this post for your enjoyment.
I hope you like them.
Ok, so for a little while now
I’ve been posting some photography tips using Photoshop as well as some other things involving working with other multimedia in a simple and straight forward manner. That being the case, I’m considering setting up a website specifically for video tutorials that I have created to help others. After all, I think when one person has knowledge of a particular subject, why shouldn’t they share it with others hoping to learn? I know that I personally owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have taken the time to make a little clip showing me and others how to accomplish something we might otherwise be ripping our hair out over.
Some of the tips I have put into video form so far include:
Making realistic backdrops in Photoshop
Working with the spot color effect in digital images
Using the Dodge/Burn and Exposure tools in PS
Creating your own DIY photography gels
Easy photo resizing
Converting video to audio
I would like some feedback from my readers on this idea of a new, most likely subscription (or at least donation) based site. Who knows, maybe there’s something I’ve made that you can use for yourself or someone you may know.
Shadows are a double edged sword
In photography, they can be used strategically to enhance shapes and form or even the overall tone of the image. But at the same time, inconveniently located harsh and harsh shadows can just about destroy an otherwise beautiful photograph.
Some of the photos you may not want in your shot are those that appear on the background behind your subject. This can occur commonly in studio or other indoor settings.
But fear not, there is a fairly easy way to correct it with the use of Photoshop or most other common editing tools. (This works especially well with either black or white backdrops but may work adequately with other really dark or really light colors as well).
Once you’ve opened your photo and decided what shadows much be removed, select your Dodge/Burn tool in Photoshop or the equivalent in another program.
If you’re working with a white (or really light backdrop), you’ll want to use the dodge tool. The reverse is true if you’re image has a black (or really dark) backdrop.
You may need to adjust the exposure and brush size. It is best to start out with a relatively low exposure such as 25% too see how things look. You can always adjust it to a higher or lower level if need be.
Use the tool to cover over the shadowy part of the background that you want to remove and that’s really all there is to it.
It may take some trial and error but you’ll get there.
As a photographer, I know that a lot of people are looking for ways to bring out the color in their shots to make their digital photos pop. Here are a few tips along with sample shots.
Making color pop
1. Make use of the saturation effect
- Use your photo editing software’s saturation tools to increase the saturation for more vivid colors. Be careful not to go overboard though.
2. Utilize the dodge/burn tool
- Most likely, your chosen editing software will allow you to either burn (darken) or dodge (lighten) specific areas of your photo. This can really help with bringing out the color in skies and nature scenes as well as washed out clothing or body art.
3. Go with a spot color effect
- Here, you take out the color in a photo and essentially make it black and white with the exception of the area in which you want to showcase a specific color. This takes a little work but is well worth it. My e-book “Making Beauty Photography” has a deluxe edition with links to video tutorial on several of these techniques.
Anyone who does even basic work with photography probably realizes that Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard when it comes to photo editing. However, it can be a bit cumbersome and also tends to be quite pricey. This being the case, some people have opted to use online photo editing tools to do the job when possible.
A while back I mentioned several interesting and effective options for working with your images that can be used as an alternative to the aforementioned Photoshop. However, I just randomly came across another the other days and decided to test it out.
This application can be found at www.fotoflexer.com and while it isn’t free, it does offer a 30 day free trial. If you decide to continue to use it, the cost is less than $4.00 per month which seems pretty manageable compared to some of the other options out there.
- Fairly user friendly layout.
- Allows importing images from a number of popular sites like Facebook, Picasa and Flickr for example.
- Offers quick fixes for basic problems like the redeye effect.
- Allows for various effects, the inclusion of text, animations, work with layers and more.
- Grabbing images from other sites sometimes fails to work properly.
- Some elements are a bit simplistic.
Check it out for yourself if you like.