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Guest Blog ~ Photo Magic by Shea by Mikael
July 11, 2011, 11:49 pm
Filed under: Friends, Guest Blogs, Love, Pictures

Way back when I was approaching 250 comments, I thought about having the 250th commenter write a guest blog. The lucky commenter? One of my very good friends, RaShea Drake, who is just fabulous (let’s be honest here)! She is a wonderful photographer and decided to do her guest post on some of the magic she can do post-photoshoot. =)

Take ‘er away, Shea!

* * *

So I’ve been procrastinating writing this guest blog for Mikael, I had no idea what to write that might actually interest people. Finally, I’ve decided to stick to what I know best, and right now the thing I know best is photography.

I figure one thing that might interest people is editing. To be honest, I think a lot of people overestimate Photoshop/Lightroom/editing in general. It’s a valuable tool, don’t get me wrong. I use it for every shoot I do, and I wouldn’t be able to do half the work I do without it. I look at it like some people look at auto-tuning in singing. A crappy singer can be made to be tolerable, but auto-tune will never make them amazing. Same thing with Photoshop. You can make a crappy photo look okay, sort of, but you can make a photo that’s already good look amazing. And you don’t even have to do these huge changes like adding blur, glitter, texture, etc. Something I’ve learned over the past several years is that usually the subtle changes do the most.

Take this photo:

This photo is straight out of the camera. No adjustments or anything yet. It’s pretty, well exposed, and the composition is just how I wanted it. I don’t need to do any cropping or anything. Some couples might be content to have this photo, but wait til you see what I did in Lightroom….

Notice the colors are now warmer, the skin a little more vibrant and lively, there’s more contrast between the light and dark tones, and the colors pop more. I didn’t have to worry about trying to fix exposure or trying to get more detail in the bride’s dress or cropping something out of the way so I could focus on things that enhance the awesome qualities that were already there. Next is what happens in Photoshop…

There’s not a ton of changes. I dodged and burned a bit to make the background a bit darker and the couple a tad lighter to make them pop. I like contrast too, so there’s a little more of that. I also sharpened as I do with every photo. Next, however, is a fun edit…

This is from an action I made in Photoshop. It’s to have a hint of that dreamy whimsical quality while the skin still looks fair normal still. This only works, however, if I get the exposures and tones correct out of the gate.  If I have to do a ton of fixing before this stage, the photo looks washed out. Next is my standard black and white…

This is done with one click in Photoshop: the gradient map option. It’s as simple as that. I love the gradient map tool, if you get your exposure right this is a perfect and simple way to turn a color photo into black and white. And finally, I’m not a fan of the standard murky orange/brown sepia, so here’s a cross between black and white and sepia that’s a Chocolate Black and White processing…

Ta-da! Two clicks in Photoshop.

Once you get the basics done in your camera (exposure, cropping, lighting, etc), then you don’t have to worry about spending hours trying to fix those in Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom or whatever editing tool you may use. That, in turn, gives you more time to discover something new, or better yet, shoot more photos! Also, if you’re looking for a free photo editor, try Picasa or Gimp.

Here’s all of the photos side by side:

* * *

Be sure you show Shea some love! I know I love her and am so happy that she could write/shoot a guest blog for me. Thanks again hun! *muah*

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Very kewl Info! Thanks for sharing!

Comment by booguloo

Thanks for the love, someday (after our next great shoot, whenever that will be) you’ll have to do a guest blog for me :D

Comment by sheadaisy




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