Friday, January 9, 2009

Foto Friday #6- Give your images some luvin...

Well, I posted it pretty close to Friday...
I am hoping all of you are enjoying a blessed and joyous New Year and I thought that I would take this evening as an opportunity to get this year's installments of Foto Friday up and running.
And to do that, I mean using post processing to give your image a little something extra. Sure, you've worked hard, you've taken some great shots, shot wide open, had fun, mastered manual mode on your camera, and you've come away with a pretty good image. Now what?

Take that image, that image that you've carefully cultivated like a good tan, and give it some more luvin. Photoshop luvin.

Photographers have misconceptions a' plenty regarding photoshop, here are just a few.
PHOTOSHOP FALSENESS #1- Photoshop can take a bad photo and make it good- after all, it's photo magic. FALSE. While seasoned photoshop users may be able to take a bad image and make it palatable to the viewer, it will forever remain a slight improvement on a poor photograph. You can't take photographs that are of poor quality, not properly exposed or composed and expect to push the magic photoshop button and, presto- a "put it on the fridge" quality image results.
Photoshop, or post-processing in general should only be used to take good photographs and to give them that something extra, that pop, that cherry on top of a Neopolitan milk shake. Don't expect photoshop to give you good photos, expect it to take your already good photos and make them better.

PHOTOSHOP FALSENESS #2- Photoshop is hard. It's not. Really. Many may think photoshop is too difficult for them or that it is too complex in a similar way that many people think accounting to be too complex or difficult.
Yeah, I'm a nerd. But serious lee, Accounting is difficult to most people only for the reason that they haven't had a context for interacting with it before. The math used in accounting is incredibly easy. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, perhaps even some division, but not long division. If you were to study accounting, once you grasped some of the fundamental concepts (i.e. debits on the left, credits on the right) you would actually be able to do quite a lot with accounting.
It's the same with photoshop. Once you understand some basic concepts (layers, layer opacity) there is actually quite a lot you can do with it. Of course, becoming a photoshop master will take effort, but you don't have to become a photoshop guru to use it effectively.

PHOTOSHOP FALSENESS #3- to get great looks from my photos, I need to have all of the latest and most expensive programs- such as Adobe Lightroom, Apple's Aperture and CS4 of Adobe Photoshop as well as all of the latest sets of actions for photoshop. (For those of you unaware, Actions are buttons photoshop buttons that you can either purchase or make yourself that shrink what can be a long series of photoshop steps into pressing a single button).
The truth is, you can use a very simple version of photoshop (photoshop elements) to be able to do basic enhancements to your photos and to take them from good to great. Programs like Lightroom and the use of Actions can greatly reduce the amount of time used to process your images, but more on that later.

Whether you have CS4 or Photoshop Elements, you will be using layers. Photoshop is all about the layers, baby. Once you understand how to use layers effectively, you can go very far by adding layers to your image that will make it pop. If you don't know how to create a new layer, it is as simple as right-clicking on the background layer in your layer palette on the right and selecting "make background copy." Once you have done that, you're in the ballgame.

Once you have a copy, simply adjust the layer style of the copy layer. "Soft light" and "Overlay" are two of my favorites. Upon switching the layer style, you may find it a bit too extreme, a bit too "photoshopped." Don't worry, simply adjust the opacity of the copy layer downward to your liking (I typically adjust downward to the range of 30% opacity). And then your done. Below are a few edits from a family shoot I did a few weeks ago. Meet Madison Burns.

This first image is SOTC (straight out of the camera). Not too bad. But let's make it better.


Watch it pop.


Put it on the Fridge.


Anthropologie. Just a little different and it gives the image a different feel...

Simply having this basic knowledge of how to use layers effectively can greatly help in moving your photos from being good to photos that are great. I'll be posting more photoshop tips in the future, including how to use some sweet actions effectively, but even if you already use actions, take some time to learn and play around with layers yourself.
I think you'll like what you see.

1 comment:

Melissa Burns said...

Wow that girl is beautiful! Thanks for the tips!:)