Photoshop, Lightroom and Post Processing...
There is a lot of talk about images being "Photoshopped" in the community when people view the final post processed images that are posted on my site and others. When asked if a photo has been "Photoshopped" I will respond with a resounding YES! Absolutely. But, this is not for the reasons one might automatically assume. Those who do not aspire to be professional photographers and just take pictures as a hobby, either with their camera phone, a point and shoot, or whatever their camera of choice is, probably won't have the same level of understanding of this concept as those completely immersed in the process. Before I decided to take the plunge and learn about being a professional photographer and not just a hobbyist, I too was one of those that turned a cold shoulder toward using Photoshop and other like programs. I used to take what I considered beautiful pictures with my camera phone and was quite content with that for many, many years. Like others, I considered myself skilled in capturing the moment, and was content with what I saw on my screen. Posted the picture to Facebook, got a few dozen likes and I was extremely pleased. This became my goal, my ambition. I knew that I always loved taking pictures. Considered myself quite talented, even though I was only using a camera phone. It wasn't until I acquired my first Canon that I realized just how much I didn't know about photos, quality of images, light, effects on the images, shadows, and getting the image just how I wanted it to look. I never really had a reason to put any thought into it until I started submitting my "beautiful" pictures to websites where they sell stock images and vote on the quality of what you are submitting. All of a sudden I realized that my pictures were far from being beautiful. I began to get rejections from sites for what I felt were amazing photos. I soon took to heart what they were telling me about my images... grainy, composition, lighting, etc. I began to understand that I needed some help to make the images look how they needed to look, but my understanding of how to achieve this was lacking. Sure, I could watch videos online and I could read articles on the internet, but what helped me was enrolling in some classes in a local college during the evening. There I began to gain an understanding of the terminology, camera settings, light, composition, camera use, and POST PROCESSING...you know... "photoshopping." You see, "photoshopping" isn't used for altering supermodels' imperfections and making them look like unrealistic versions of what everyone wishes they looked like. Sure, it is used for this, but the everyday photographer isn't using these programs for that purpose. My preferred program for post processing is Lightroom. This program has just the right amount of features to give my images the look that I am aiming to achieve. I do not use Lightroom to drastically change a person's appearance. I use it to enhance their natural beauty and shed more light on the person being photographed...literally. I use it to brighten, sharpen and make the colors around the person brighter and more vivid, which adds a personal touch to the image without making the person in the image look like someone completely different than they are in everyday life. Each person is beautiful in his or her own way, and post processing just allows you to accent the person's best features and let their beauty shine through.
Post processing in landscape images, street scenes and anything that is not related to taking images of people is an entirely different story. I absolutely believe that the use of Photoshop, Lightroom and other like programs is an amazing tool to express your creativity. Anyone can take a picture of a sunrise or a sunset, a field of flowers, a waterfall, but use one of the post processing programs and the results can be absolutely stunning. These programs allow you to put your own artistic spin on an image and leave the viewer in awe. This is a huge plus and I can say with 100% honesty that each image I take has been retouched in one way or the other with the use of Lightroom. Some more than others. Actual photographs of people are touched up just for minor lighting issues mainly and to add that "pop" effect to the subject by adjusting their background. This in my opinion is an important step in the process to get the customer products that they are happy with.
Below are some before and after images... you be the judge~ In the before and after images you can see that the subject is more brightly lit, cropped in more closely so that his face is more of the focus and not the overall picture. The image is much better post processed and a better end result.
And this before and after... Again, the lighting of the subject in the image on the right is brighter and more focused on him.
And finally... images where you can let your creativity fly... turning ordinary into extraordinary....
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