Every now and then, I like to share an original photo compared to a final product and discuss the editing steps involved. I think it gives readers a lot of insight into a photographer and the editing process. There are two very important takeaway points. First of all, it’s best to get the lighting, exposure, etc. as “correct” as you can SOOC (straight out of camera). Secondly, it takes right much time to edit and “perfect” a photo in post-processing. I must give a disclaimer that my Photoshop skills are very average (if not below average). So, take that into consideration……
For this post, I wanted to share a photo of my newborn son SOOC (straight out of camera). Now, the first thing I notice is the leading lines with the wood panels in the floor. Actually, the wood floor is a vinyl backdrop (it’s not really wood flooring). Most of the time, photographers want these leading lines to be as straight as possible. That’s not the case in the original photo, so I had to rotate and crop to make those leading lines as straight as possible (see below).
The next thing I wanted to tackle is my son’s skin. Usually, a newborn’s complexion is not smooth, etc. For instances like this one, I use a plugin for Photoshop called Portraiture. It helps smooth out the skin. The trick is to smooth the skin while keeping the pores visible, etc. In other words, you want to smooth the skin without making it look fake. My product after running the Portraiture plugin is seen below:
My next thought involved the mood I wanted for the photograph. I wanted my newborn lit as the predominant subject. But, I wanted everything else to be a little under-exposed. In the original photo, the background is somewhat over-exposed for this effect. So, I used the dodge and burn tool in Photoshop to selectively darken the wooden planks in the vinyl backdrop. I also darkened the faux grass in some areas.
The last moves involve changing the color of certain areas. First of all, the skin tones in my son’s face are obviously too orange. That could have been a white balance issue in camera. Anyway, I chose to reduce the amount of “orange” in his face. Lastly, I noticed some reflective color casts in his clothing. If you look closely at the outside edges of his clothing, you can see some green color casts that were reflected from the faux grass. Interestingly enough, you have to watch out for that as a photographer. Some reflective materials in a photo will actually reflect an unwanted color back onto the subject. My last move was to reduce those color casts.
I end this blog post with the before and after. What do you think? I am always fascinated in how other photographers would edit this photo. How would you edit it?