Here it is!! My first ever before and after tutorial! I may have gone overboard with this one, but I really wanted to make sure it was thorough. I’ve been asked a few times about how I post process my images. I picked an image from this session that needed more work. Typically a photo like this will take me about 10-15 minutes from beginning to end. I went through everything very slow this time and I think this blog post has taken more than 2 hours to finish! So let’s get started and I’ll do my best to explain how I work! 😀
As you can see, I did not get the crop right in camera. I was being silly and trying to get his attention and really not paying attention to my composition in camera. It happens. I do it so much more than I should, but let’s face it…..I work with kids! They don’t sit still and sometimes you just have to wing it an fix it later. So when I pick an image like this, the first thing I do is pull it up in Lightroom and work the basics. For this specific image, I cropped it and increased exposure. When I’m working in my studio and my strobe, I tend to under-expose a little because the strobe gives off a lot of light.
After I make sure that I have cropping and exposure the way I want it, I always zoom in on the subjects eyes. I’m kind of a sharp eye crazy person. I’m trying to make myself ease up a bit on that, but I really NEED the eyes to be in focus. I will usually toss the image no matter how cute it is if eyes are not in focus. So thankfully this one was! I will then go down to the details panel and sharpen the amount to 40, and Noise reduction – Luminance to 20. Why? Because I like it that way. Ha! Seriously, I don’t have a technical answer for that. By trial and error, that is how I like the images to be. If I have more noise in an image, I may bump it up more. But I’ve found that if I got too far above 20, it give the image a very soft look and I’m not a fan.
This is a step that I don’t always do in my images. I wanted the edge of the rug and the paper to blur just a little more than I got in camera. So I used my adjustment brush in Lightroom and I brought down the clarity and increased the noise reducer. I then just brushed in between the red circles. It’s not going to be something that is really noticeable, but for me…that is exactly what I want. I want a natural look to it and I don’t want people to know I photoshopped it! 😉
Now that is the end of my editing in Lightroom! I like to use both Lightroom and Photoshop. Some photographers do all their editing in just one program. There really is no right or wrong way to do it. You just have to figure out what works best for you. When I’m doing with my basics in Lightroom, I right click on the image, go to “edit in” and then click on Edit in Adobe Photoshop CC 2014. This will create a copy of my photo with my Lightroom adjustments and bring it up in Photoshop.
This is where I will do the fine tuning. I like cleaning up blemishes in PS because the tools are better. As you can see this cutie pie as a few marks on his face…..as most children do. I click on the patch tool on the left and circle the different marks and patch them up. You can also see some drool going on under his mouth. While you may still use the patch tool for this, I prefer to use the cloning tool when you are getting close to a feature that changes. With the clone tool, I can adjust in more detail to make sure that the photoshopping continues to look natural.
Boom! Look at that beautiful face! 😉
After I fix the face, I just do a look around and see if there are any other spots on the photo that need the patch tool and if so, I will fix those up real quick. In this one, there were some blue fuzz on the rug that needed to be fixed.
The next step that I do is run my image through Portraiture. This is not a program that everyone has. It’s expensive…so if you don’t have it, don’t worry about it! You can actually smooth out skin by using your adjustment brush in Lightroom and bringing down the clarity a little bit. since I work with newborns and little ones, this program was a huge time saver for me. Just a quick click and I’m done! But the one thing I do with portraiture is I run this on a new layer and add a layer mask. I then brush off portraiture from baby’s eyes, mouth, hair, and a little bit of the nose. I don’t want these features to be so smooth that you can’t see the details in them.
These are the areas that I typically brush off portraiture.
After I finish up with Portraiture, I flatten the image and move on to my next step. When I increased the exposure in Lightroom, it washed out my background a little bit. I want to bring that nice dark blue back to the image without making baby under-exposed again. To do this, I want to click on the create fill or adjustment layer button and click on levels. A levels layer will then pop up and I can adjust to what I want. Normally I will bring the midtones down to about .85 and then I will take my black brush and brush it completely off the baby. When you do this, you can bring back that nice deep blue but still keep baby properly exposed. When you are done, flatten the image again.
For this image, I noticed that there were some wrinkle in the paper that I used. This can easily be corrected by duplicating the layer and doing a low opacity cloning job.
The last thing I wanted to do in this photo was blur those edges just a little more. Again….I always work on a duplicated layer. To get the blur feature, go to Filter, Blur, then Lens Blur. A new screen will pop up and you can adjust to how much you want blurred. When you do this, it will blur the entire image. But if you press Crtl+I, it will invert your layer mask. Then with a WHITE brush, you can brush over the spots you wish to blur. Once this is finished, I flatten the image again and press save. This will save my image and take it back into Lightroom where I can export it as a jpeg file.
And that’s the end of the tutorial and how I typically post process my work! Thank you for stopping by and checking out my before and after tutorial. If you’d like to request a tutorial on a specific topic, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org