before and after (of a different sort)

This post is about Photoshop, a program I literally use every day. Therefore, you had to know this was coming sooner or later. Here I go, about to sing the Photoshop praises. Photoshop rocks! The end.

Just kidding!

I think most photographers are somewhat shy about demonstrating the post processing they do in Photoshop. I know I’ve been guilty of wanting people to believe every picture I take comes out of my camera looking simply stunning. It just isn’t the case.

About 70% of the pictures I take get deleted straight off the card. This is because I’m a chronic snapper. Especially when shooting my kids, I’ve found it’s best to click click click and delete later. Unfortunately this has led me into a horrible habit of not checking my camera settings before I start. Since I shoot exclusively in manual mode, settings are extremely important. I wish someone would remind me of that... like every morning. I should just put a sign over the coffee maker: “Check Your Settings!”

Anyway, the saying goes that post processing can’t make a bad picture good, but it can make a good picture great. I agree. In the past I’ve wasted tons of time in Photoshop trying to fix a bad picture, or over processing a decent one. This is known in photography circles as being a “Photoshopographer”. It’s not a good thing. It’s also a fine line that I dance on daily. I’m dangerous like that.

Whew, I can’t believe I’m about to do this, but here are a couple examples of my personal photoshopograhy:


Alien eyes. A huge Photoshop sin. GUILTY.


Pasty skin. Oh dear. No baby looks quite that flawless. GUILTY.

Not too proud of what I did to those photos, but that was back in 2008 when I was first exploring my camera and Photoshop. Since then I’ve learned a lot of what NOT to do.

Clearly this program can butcher a picture, but used subtly and tastefully, it can also works wonders.

Here’s a picture of my nephew Jonah that I took back in November.


This is how the picture looked straight off the camera. I was shooting outside in low light without a flash and of course, didn’t remember to check my settings until I’d clicked about ten pictures. Normally I’d just toss this one out. It’s not a horrible picture, but it’s slightly overexposed and the colors are a little off. Besides that, it’s generally rather dull and flat. But I love his expression, and the static electricity in his hair. This was the only picture that looked like that…

So, let’s see what can be done.

I adjusted the white balance.

Bumped up the blacks.

Added a tiny vignette.

And sharpened the entire photo.



My editing style may not be to everyone’s taste, but I think it looks much better. And not over processed this time. This looks much more like what my eye saw that day.

Here’s the side by side before and after.


What do you think?


Sunny said…
What a wonderful shot and the changes you have made are very nicely done.
Love the hair do by the way...sooo fun.
Cindy said…
I think you are wonderful.
VLR said…
Makes all my pictures look so bad.