I am the type of photographer who enjoys the challenge of getting the image as close to perfect as possible straight from the camera. I work hard to know what all of the buttons and settings on my camera do so they can be of help to me when I'm out in the field. When I first started in professional photography, using film, there were times when I had to retouch using an actual paint brush with pain on it (not a computer program). When you have to do things like this, it helps teach you how important it is to get a great shot initially so you have to do less work later. Also, sometimes if you don't get it right out of the camera, there isn't much you can do later. It is always in your best interest to work to get a great shot (with the best exposure) as possible.
Here are a few samples of how much editing I typically do in Photoshop or lightroom. On the left is the original (SOOC), and the right is the edited version. Some have a few more edits than others, but the point is to get a good, well-lit shot initially. Photoshop and Lightroom are served best as tools to enhance great photos, not to try and fix major mistakes that could have been avoided before the shot was taken. However, these tools can also help with major fixes if you had no choice in the matter. I just know how much easier and more enjoyable it is if you put the work in on the FRONT end rather than the back.
(I always use Photoshop and Lightroom together. I also make my own personal/hand edits that make me get the feeling I want from the photo, rather than using someone else's boxed presets. You should too, it's worth the time to learn!!)
IMAGE 1: In this photo I added a texture to the image to give it some interest (the texture is a blanket I have in my house), changed the color toning a bit, and did some skin retouching. You'll see there are no major lighting changes or crop differences.
IMAGE 2: I absolutely adore this child and she has the greatest big blue eyes that I wanted to really highlight. I decided to crop square, and add some color interest on the bottom (two color circles blurred to perfection) just do draw even more attention to her eyes. You'll notice that her eyes are in the very center of the photo. I warmed up the photo so her hair would be the bright blonde it should be and her skin tones were warm. I brightened up the whites of her eyes just a tad and that was it.
IMAGE 3: This is a similar technique that I used in the photo above. I really just wanted to highlight her face and eyes. I liked the grass and ridge behind her, but wasn't feeling the stool in this one so I cropped it out and added a blurred box at the bottom to draw your eyes to her eyes. This gives the look that I was shooting through an object at her (you can achieve the same effect by doing it that way).
IMAGE 4: This is a very simple edit with minimal crop. The lighting on the SOOC image is almost spot on. There are no super dark or light spots. It is very evenly exposed. For the edit I decided to go B/W with this one, crop a little tighter to bring the focal point to her face, and I made a couple of simple curve adjustments to give a film look.
IMAGE 5: I loved pretty much everything about this photo. I over exposed the background intentionally when I shot it (that is the look I was going for) I could have left this photo alone in post, but I decided to just give it a warmer (older) feel. This would also be good with a gritty texture on it.
IMAGE 6: The exposure on this image was just right SOOC. I decided to cool it down quite a bit and crop in to focus on her eyes. (Have you noticed a theme here??) When I cropped, I tilted her just slightly to the right. This angle feels more comfortable to me. I also did some cleaning of the skin, and that was about it.
IMAGE 7: I loved this image SOOC but I wanted to warm it up a bit, soften it, and take out the barn on the right that was a bit distracting to me.
IMAGE 8: Once again, nice even lighting on the SOOC shot, but I gave it an old film look and then added a texture (denim jeans). I also cropped a bit tighter to make sure her face was the focal point and eliminated the armpit lines. Simple. Took about 5 minutes max.
I am happy to answer any questions about retouching, but even more happy to answer questions about cameras and how to get your camera to work for you. Use Manual, move around, see the "big picture" in order to get that great shot SOOC. :)
Thanks for stopping by.