by Guest Contributor Brenna Gentry
Photographers have many roles & talents, but in my opinion a discerning eye is probably the most valuable. You may or may not come by this naturally, but either way it can/should be developed & trained. I find my ability to quickly decide what works/doesn’t to not only help me in setting up my shot, but guides me completely through my post processing workflow. Not everything can be perfectly planned out & most of the time we find ourselves having to work with what we have & make it look GOOD. Below is a complete evolution of a recent image. Hopefully it will help you think about your own thought process & how you can modify it to get the most out of whatever setting you are in.
SETTING UP: I found myself in a part of town I hadn’t shot in before or ever even scouted. So what do I do? We walk….and walk.. and walk. As we walk we will stop if something catches my eye. What am I looking for? Light first & location second. I already have a certain look in my head, developed from the styling. I just need good light & the RIGHT spot. I find it…. it’s random & nothing special alone, but is PERFECT for my look & the vision in my head. There are just a few problems I have to deal with.. and more importantly I have to decide if it is worth it in the long run. For me, I thought it would be worth it. This image did require a lot of work. Way more work than most of mine, but sometimes those are my favorites:)
STEP 1: Testing the location, finding what I like & don’t like about it. Then adjusting what I can in-camera to help me in the post processing.
STEP 2: I am now in Photoshop ready to work on my image. I give it a quick crop & rotate before I do anything else. Then it’s time to use that discerning eye to get rid of any distractions I had no control over while shooting. I am a strong believer that small details make the biggest difference & can greatly improve an image. In this case we had to cover several blocks in a short amount of time so the luxury of waiting for people/cars to pass wasn’t available.
STEP 3: Huge difference, right?
STEP 4: The next step is similar to last, but instead focusing on the model.
STEP 5: Fixing this was quicker than the last one. Just making sure the model looks her best & fix the ear distraction. This is something I would usually make sure was fixed while shooting, but the wind that day was not being nice.
STEP 6: Now the image is ready to do any color editing I want. I already had a look in mind while shooting that went along with my vision. So I accomplished the colors/tones using Florabella’s Colorplay Actions(read my review of the set).
So here we are at the before & after:
Do I still think it was worth all the work? ABSOLUTELY. Now, say you have more than one image you want to use from the same spot? Do you want to do all that work on the other images too? Probably not, I know I didn’t. So get the most out of your work & don’t fear using a composite image to cut editing time down.
So the next shoot you go on keep an eye on the details. The WHOLE image & not just the subject. Envision what your post production workflow is going to be & cut out what you can in-camera. Once you are in Photoshop start the whole process again. Soon enough you will not even have to think about it & just automatically know what to do & what works or doesn’t.
Brenna Gentry specializes in stylized portraiture & online photoshop mentoring for photographers. She holds live online photoshop classes twice a month & also offers 1-on-1 photoshop classes for a more customized experience. Want her to edit one of your images? Follow her on Facebook for the weekly “You SEND it, I’ll SHOP it!” event.