365 Project – 268: How I made this doe pop – a post-processing recipe (September 25, 2012)

BEFORE: Shutter Speed: 1/800, Aperture: F/3.2, ISO: 800, SPORTS mode

AFTER: Post-processed in Adobe Photoshop Elements and Lightroom 3

While we were eating breakfast, this neighborhood doe walked under our window and I ran out to catch a few pics.  I tried to talk to her, telling her I was just shooting with my camera, not a weapon, but, she bounded off down the street anyway. :p

Straight out of the camera, this photo isn’t great but, I liked it enough to do some post-processing to remove the garbage cans in the background and make this doe pop a little more.  I was reminded that 1) it’s awesome how software can fix and enhance a bad or mediocre photo and 2) I just spent the last hour behind the computer instead of doing my morning workout!!!  Grrrr…

Since I took the time to take note of the steps I took to fix this pic I decided to share my post-processing recipe with you below. 🙂

My Post-Processing Recipe

Photoshop Elements:

  • I created a duplicate layer
  • In the background (original) layer I used the magic wand to outline the garbage cans then deleted them.
  • In the duplicate layer I used the healing brush I toggled between using the Replace and Normal modes to draw in the driveway, street and bushes.
  • I used the  blur tool on the “fake” AND real bushes, pavement and street creating a bokeh effect and to blend in the “fake stuff.”
  • I used the sharpen tool and brushed it over the doe’s ears, face and breast to make her pop even more.
  • I clicked on Enhance-Adjust Lighting-Levels and bumped up the Input level to 68 to arrive at my desired contrast, lighting and color.

Lightroom 3

  • Because I use Lightroom to export my pics with my watermark I imported the photo into Lightroom and simply applied the Lightroom Preset “Edge Effects – PC Vignette 2”.  I just wanted to draw your eye even more to the doe and put the street background in the shadow of a vignette.

I have a love-hate relationship with post-processing.  Before I started my straight out of the camera 365 Project I spent a ridiculous amount of hours tweaking photos which made me detest photography because of the added time spent behind the computer, versus behind the lens.  Regardless, it was “kind’ve” fun playing with this pic, I don’t regret it but, I’m once again motivated to improve my shutterbug skills to get my photos just the way I want them, straight out of the camera, and minimize or even eliminate the need to do any post-processing.  I’ve heard some professional photographers say that you can only get 80% of your pic out of the camera.  Nowadays, that may be true because clients probably come to expect the final product to look like a magazine cover.

I have decent post-processing skills.  I can clear up your complexion, make you look taller and thinner, give you sparkly eyes, even with a different color, but, I’ll just stick to my style, which is a bit more natural and real.  And, I’ve also learned, if I’m going to manipulate photos that much, I have to charge for it.  I mean, if photography is your business, how can you NOT charge for extensive post-processing?  It’s one thing if  I have to fix my own mistake in the photo but, if the client asks for it, you gotta’ charge for that post-processing time, right?  Well, I’m not really in that professional photography world anyway.  I get asked to do occasional photo shoots but, really,  I’m just a hobby photographer, with a personal passion for creating art with my camera, just for the love of it. 🙂

Well, this is WAY more verbage than I normally write in my blog posts so if you’ve read all of my blah-biddy-blah…THANK YOU for sticking with me!  Leave your comment, especially if you have an opinion to share about post-processing, or about this doe photo, or about any photography tidbit you’d like to share.  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Have a fabulous day and happy shooting!!

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

3 comments on “365 Project – 268: How I made this doe pop – a post-processing recipe (September 25, 2012)

  1. *The following is my opinion :o)
    I’ve had a mixed feelings & relationship with post processing as well. However, I think I’ve finally come to terms with it…For me it’s not about correcting “mistakes”, it’s important to get exposure, composition & dof on point In Camera. It’s about getting the image to look as the subject looked when I was there or if an art piece how I envisioned in my minds eye. No matter how great the camera there needs to be some tweaking, that’s the 80% in camera. Just as if you take film in to be developed they tweak. Instead of someone else tweaking my images in a darkroom, that’s what I do in LR or PS.

    So, I guess it’s the way one is using post processing. If the image was not right in camera or if using to make a blah image more than what it was intended to be, then I’m not for it. If it’s to fulfill your final vision of the piece, to make it the best it could be…then I feel one owes it to his/herself to make it the absolute best piece possible.

    Get it right in camera. Complete your vision with post. That’s my take on it…I’ve been wanting to do a post on this for a while. Looks like I just did, LOL. Thanks for listening.
    texx | http://photogher.com


  2. Steve says:

    Unfortunately, for variety or reasons we can’t always get our photos “just right” out of the camera. Time, opportunity, and lack of preparedness sometimes get in the way.
    Using post processing, RAW or anything else to create a finished image is fine by me. I’m not such a purist that “in camera ” is everything. Everything I shoot is tweaked at least a little!

    I’m good with the retouch… except for one thing. That darn white post in the distant background! My eye keeps jumping to the darn thing no matter how hard I try to look at it!!


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