Monday, October 25, 2010

a wordy post about the secret magical photo shop powers that I do not have

Last week, I posted that photo of Kenna, Connor and Nora spinning in the street at a festival in old town Manassas.  A couple of you asked how I processed it so I thought I'd share my secret to photo-editing.

Here it is: I rely heavily on the "undo" button and just try stuff.

I opened the original photo and was actually kind of surprised at the difference. In all my random trying of stuff with much undoing and reverting and trying other stuff, I did manage to wipe a lot of junk out of that photo!

spinning (before)

I'm pretty sure this is basically how the process went:

-I cropped the photo.
-I adjusted the color and by the looks of it, I probably ran an action from either Pioneer Woman or Coffeeshop.  Lately, I use PW's "Lovely and Ethereal" a lot.  Maybe too much.
-I was inspired by the blank concrete and sun rays on the left, so I set out to erase all the cluttery people and curbs and things on the right.
-I cloned with the cloning tool.  Then I probably cloned a lot more. (This basically means I copied sections of blank concrete and pasted them over sections of clutter.)
-When I could clone no more, I selected the kids using the "quick selection tool" and created a layer for the kids and another for the background. I don't really know how to use layers correctly yet, but I'm getting there, kind-of.
-With the background-only selected, I was able to clone the areas closest too them and then, using the "impressionist brush", I swirled and smudged the image until the background was a nice blank, cloudy slate.  In doing so, I accidentally smudged out the sun rays that I liked so much.
-I didn't feel like backtracking to fix it because at this point I'd been staring at that photo for a long time and decided it was cool  enough and I had learned a few new things about photo editing.
-I think I may have added vignetting using a Burn action.
-The end.

I'm sure a Photo Shop pro would read that and cringe, but whatever -can't let pride get in the way of progress, right? So today I dare you to open an image in Photo Shop (or any other photo-editing software) and just try stuff.  It's fun, you'll learn something and maybe you'll even end up with a better image that you started with.
And if you're smarter than me -which I'm sure you are- then you will keep track of what you do so you can share it with the rest of us (Leave a comment and link to your photo!)

I think I'll tackle this one next (because how awesome is the look on his face?!)


  1. I consider myself a Photoshop guru, but I still pretty much suck at post-processing. I'm always amazed at how photographers can see the potential in a photo and take it from 'good' to 'amazing.' You, my friend, are one of those people that amaze me with your eye! Thanks for being inspiring ;)

  2. I'm just learning Photoshop and in a few days, hopefully, I'm going out to my friend's house for hands-on training. I read through a book and learned some things, but it's just not the same. Thank you so much for sharing. That's one thing I love about photography -- taking what seems like an ordinary or even slightly (or majorly) messed-up picture and making it a piece of art!


Related Posts with Thumbnails