Before and After

I don’t know about everyone else but I LOVE before and after pictures.  My favorite are the pictures of people after dramatic change – like weight loss.  I will usually study the pictures to see all the little details of what has changed – fascinating!  I haven’t posted a before/after segment in a while and people have said they enjoy it – so here goes!

I try REALLY hard to get a perfect picture straight of the camera (SOOC).  This includes the correct framing (in-camera crop), composition, exposure, and color.  When shooting in Manual mode (which is how I use my camera – ALWAYS), I have to make adjustments to many different elements in order to get that perfect picture.  I set the ISO based on the available light.  I set the aperture based on my desired focus for the picture.  I set the shutter speed based on my subject (moving, still, etc).  And let’s not forget about the white balance!  PLUS, if I change any one of those elements, all of the other elements will need adjusting as well.  Yes, it’s complicated.

After taking the picture, I do my editing in Photoshop.  Every professional photographer has his or her own personal style for shooting and processing images.  That’s part of what you pay for when you find your custom photographer.

As you can see from this first image, it’s *almost* perfect SOOC.  The composition and color is beautiful, but it looks a little flat.  No matter how perfect an image is SOOC, I find that digital images need a little boost in the final edit process.  For this one, I used the Curves function to “lift” the image (brighten) and I painted a little light over her face and eyes.  Then of course, I sharpened and formatted the picture for web viewing.

For this second image I did the same brightening step with curves and painted a little light around her face.  I decided this would look better cropped a bit closer and then I “burned” the edges a bit to bring your eyes to her face.

Of course, I don’t always get a perfect picture.  Sometimes kids do the cutest things — and I’m not ready!  Here is a perfect example of my Kylie Bear.  The image is VERY underexposed and I missed the focus a little, so her face is not as sharp as I would like.  I had to lift the brightness of the picture A LOT, which makes more noise (grain) in the image, especially on her face.  I also cropped the image to get a better composition, which would limit how large I could actually print it with an acceptable quality.

I am soooooo self critical, so it’s hard for me to see past the imperfection, but I think it’s important to know (even as an amateur) that people will often forgive (or not even see) the “mistakes” when an image speaks to them.  This one speaks to me because I see Kylie’s heart and soul in that face — a face she makes all the time, a face that I am in love with!

Photography is personal.  It’s a form of art and can be created to each artist’s personal style.  I hope you like mine.  🙂

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by Crystal

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