Photoshop before and after: A blessing and a curse Part 2

Apr 7, 2014

When you look at your client gallery, you (hopefully) are just ooooing and ahhing over the photos.  You know that I remove leashes and edit the photos, but you may be surprised to learn just how much work can go into editing a photo.  Even if it’s not a single dramatic change, those subtle changes can add up to make a big impact.

I have really been working on learning more and more about photoshop.  As I’ve said before, I’m a realist.  It’s the journalist in me.  I like to keep photos fairly organic and as they were when we took the photos.  I personally see editing as a way to enhance what you got right in the camera, not a crutch.  So yes, I can remove most leashes and eye boogers, but photoshop it not a tool in my opinion to make magic happen if it didn’t happen at the shoot. Plus, a group shot of  dogs that all need leashes removed can take 30 minutes or more depending on the setting. (some photographers charge extra for this type of editing. Currently, I do not).

As I continue to grow and learn though, sometimes editing and shooting go hand in hand.  You may have to underexpose a photo to preserve the details in the sky and even then it can be hard to bring back the blue.

Case in point…see the photo below.  The sky wasn’t a magical blue, but it was blue.  I tried a few exposures to preserve the sky, but ultimately my favorite photo still didn’t have quite enough sky detail that I was able to recover.  A lot of photographers will ad in a completely different sky.  It drove me crazy to look at the perfectly exposed subjects and try to figure out how the heck the sky was so crystal blue!  Well…they often will swap a sky in from another scene or use a sky overlay.  So today I played around with this idea.

**note that I have already done general toning, exposure, contrast changes, but nothing major there**

Thoughts: I love having the contrast and pop of the green grass (yes it really was that green!!!!) and the blue sky, but the sky just looks a little fake to me.  If you had not seen the original image…would you think for a second that the sky in this right photo wasn’t the sky photographed in the picture?  Obviously this was my first sky-swap and I can do some more fine tuning. But the jury is still out for me.

Here are a few other before and afters I’ve been collecting.  A big pet peeve of mine is dead grass!  (Which is why I was soooo excited about the green grass in the above photo).  But there isn’t always a bright, well-manicured lawn where I photograph.  So I try to color in some of the dead grass so the focus is on the subject.  I overdid the color of the grass a bit on this photo below as I look back on it, but boy does it make a difference.

Here’s the curse part of knowing how to use photoshop and growing in my skill level.  Sometimes, I want to fix everything!  Typically I enhance eyes and remove eye boogers when I edit photos of the animals at the SPCA of Wake County.  I try to get the dogs on a solid color background, but sometimes they just sit where they sit and I work with it.  I could have left this photo of Donut below just as it is. In the end, the dog is beyond adorable and people are looking at the dog.  But I wanted to see if covering up the sidewalk would work…and it did! Boom!  So worth it!Here is one of my favorite dogs currently looking for a home at the SPCA.  Nothing wrong with this.  But the crate and pooper scooper in the background were like the little devil on my shoulder egging me on to see if I could remove them.  I didn’t think it was possible but I did it!

This is an example of my typical photoshop work and how I prefer for my workflow to go.  Simple leash removal.  I try to hide the leashes as best I can during the shoot to avoid all the extra editing time, but again, sometimes you just have to get the shot while the moment happens.

leash removalAnd the curse…I’ve now started removing some “flyaways”  in photos. When you look at the final photo, you would probably never even think much was done to the photo, but smoothing out the hair makes a BIG impact. At least for me.
paige and shawn

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek behind the scenes!