This is the first of a weekly post I plan on doing showing the Before & After of a picture that I take. I often read other photography blogs/websites and when I see their work I always wonder how it originally looked compared to after it had been post edited. It can get really discouraging to the new photographer when he sees work that looks perfect 24/7 but odds are most of the time it’s been edited to get it to that point.
The first two things I always want to know about a photo when I first see it are:
- What was the photo info: If you highlight over my photos on my website you will see this info (it will look like this: Canon 5D | 24-105mm | 1/100 sec | f4.0 | ISO 100). This lets me know what type of gear he/she was using, ISO, speed exc and helps me to learn about how to set-up for a similar shot in the future when the situation arrives. Most people won’t add this info because frankly it takes time to embed.
- What did it originally look like: I want to know what it looks like so I don’t get frustrated and want to throw my camera out every time I see someone using the same camera as I do but always has better stock. Odds are he/she doesn’t capture better images than you but rather is better at post-editing than you. But it does help reinforce the positional of a shot and will help motivate you to learn more post editing techniques. You will only see a before and after shot when someone is trying to either A) teach a technique or B) sell a product. I have rarely ever seen anyone who posts both pictures because most don’t want to show what they did and it takes twice the time to do so.
So this is why I will be starting a once a week before and after shot with a little info on how I edited it. Feel free to ask questions,give suggestions or leave comments in general as I hope this will fill a void for a lot of people. We all do better if we learn from each other so I hope people will like these posts.
This was a great picture I took while in Cuba but knew as soon as I took it that it would need some work to make it pop even though the framing was great. As you can tell below there is a big difference between the before shot with no editing and the after with heavy editing. I say heavy but to be honest it only took me about 3 minutes to edit this picture in Adobe Lightroom. I adjusted the exposure down some and raised the black level up to show the deepness of the photo and make it pop. Then I started working on certain sections.
Above highlighted in red is what I selected to add detail to in the photo, using Adobe Lightroom. My #1 tool when editing is the “Adjustment Brush.” I normally will select someone’s face and color correct the skin tone, raise the contrast, up or lower the exposure and adjust the clarity. I always select the face nearest to the camera, then work my way back if needed, always finishing by adjusting the background last (see the 3rd photo with the most red).
I threw this picture in to show you the detail when cropped. You can see what kind of camera gear I use here, but it goes to show you how a DSLR will kick a pocket cam butt any day of the week. If you’re only going to post pictures to Facebook or a travel blog then they work awesome. If you want to ever print something larger than an 8×10 though it starts to get complicated. There is software out there that will allow you to increase a photo size without loss of detail but it’s best to have the detail to start.
Adobe Lightroom, Cuba, Feb10, Photography Examples