Sunday, May 3, 2009

Do I HAVE to photoshop?

Oliva asked a great question last week about photoshop. She asked if she was always going to be disappointed with her photos unless if she started to use photoshop. I wanted to take that discussion a little further today....First, let's start with an image.

(Click on image to make bigger so you can really see the difference.)

The top image is straight out of camera...meaning I did nothing to it in photoshop except re-size and sharpen for web. The second image has been fixed in photoshop. I wanted to show how subtle the differences really are. I felt like his face was a little underexposed because of the deep shade we were in so I did a slight curve adjustment on his skin to brighten it up a little. I also did a slight color pop on the overall image to give it a little more contrast. I also added a little bit of sharpness to his eyes to make them pop a little more. I find with dark eyes, it is nice to lighten the pupils a little. There are a million ways to do this. I use Scoot Kelby's method. Then I just sharpened a bit and added a watermark. Maybe spent a total of 5 minutes in photoshop with this image.

I think photographers go through phases as they learn photoshop. I know I have certainly gone through all the crazy stages. When you first start things tend to be WAY over-done. Making kids look like they have alien eyes, plastic skin, neon colored clothes, etc, etc. Sometimes I go back through my photos and think.."What was I thinking with that post processing job?" I am finding that my "style" is becoming a little more traditional and subtle. Some images I still go all out for, but I am settling down and realizing I want more realistic, real life photos that will stand the test of time. I think all photographers have to find their own style and stick with it. This is tough when trends come and go. One thing I am working on really hard right now is nailing correct exposure and white balance in camera. This helps to get good skin tones straight out of camera. It is all about skin tones for me right now. It is one of the hardest things I have tried to learn so far. When you photoshop an image you have to remember that anytime you do a color pop, it changes the skin tones too. That is why you see so many images with orange skin. Then when you add skin softening on top of get a really scary oompa loompa effect. {Believe me, I have done this plenty of times to my fair skinned kiddos!}

I guess my point of today's post is to encourage you all to give photoshop a try. Yes, you will make mistakes. Yes, you will look back and want to slap yourself for what you did to an image...but it is an important phase you have to go through. Do I think you HAVE to photoshop to help you LOVE your photos? Well, kind of, yes. I think it is important especially when displaying photos on the web to at least sharpen your images for the web. Keeping things simple and using photoshop to enhance your photos will help you on your journey to loving your images. Just remember to keep it simple. Keep it real. And before you know will LOVE what photoshop can do for you!

I will post more images from this session soon! Man, my friends have beautiful kids! Just wait!


onceapickle said...

He is such a handsome little man. I really need to bite the bullet and get CS4. Someday...

Stephanie said...

I just got CS2 and I am totally overwhelmed! All the tutorials assume that you at least know some of the basics of photoshop, and I don't! I finally got my images to show up in imageready, (quite accidently- and I couldn't do it again I'm sure!) but I have no idea where to go from there. Do you have any suggestions of places I could go to learn it? Photoshop for dummies?