People tend to comment that my photos are really ‘natural’ looking and ‘real’. I take that as a compliment, because I really strive to capture images of people that reflect who they are, as seen by themselves and their close family and friends, as much as possible. Real smiles. genuine expression. Their real beauty. And then in comes Photography and especially the digital age of high-resolution and 3 million pixels and everyone wanting themselves to be ‘shopped’. While there is a place for that, that is not what I like doing. So the challenge becomes capturing an image with an un-forgiving, all-seeing, tool and bringing it back to how ‘eye’ see you, when we first interacted in person, in real life. The human eye is much more forgiving. Not even that it’s forgiving, but that it’s much more encompassing… It doesn’t see absolutely.
All that to say, here’s a look into some before and afters of my images, to give you and idea of how I take the image the camera sees, and transform it back to how ‘eye’ saw it.
This is a pull back look of what the lighting looks like on the left.
1) Softbox with speedlight as the main light source
2) A west-facing window providing ‘fill’ light
3) A reflector camera left in front of the subject to ‘fill’ the shadows on the left side of her face.
On the right and below, are the resulting final images.
So again, my ‘style’ is really simple and there are not that many steps (at least I don’t think), to my editing process.
These steps apply to all the before/after images below
1) I view the original image on the left, in Lightroom where I…
2) Sharpen the image. I usually do this first. Force of habit, to make sure I ‘hit’ focus
3) Increase exposure if needed (brighten the image)
4) Add ‘Fill light’ (this lifts shadows in the eye area, etc.)
5) Go back and add back shadows in other areas, by using the ‘Blacks’ slider (makes the tones in the hair stand out again)
6) Adjust colour temperature and crop the image if needed.
7) Open the image in Photoshop Elements (I don’t even have the full version of Photoshop!) and get rid of any blemishes. When doing this, I only attempt to achieve that look, you know, when you wake up one morning and you look at your skin and say, ‘wow, my skin looks great today!’. That’s the look I go for. Natural, not fake perfection.
8) Then I open in Picmonkey (yes!) and using one of their tools which gives very natural skin softening feel, without it looking ‘shopped’
And then I’m essentially done, with maybe some more minor exposure/brightness tweaks. My editing in a nutshell.
I hope you liked this little peek into my workflow. Please comment below with any thoughts :)