Sunday, January 17, 2010

Photo Editing--Another Embarrassing Confession

People tell me all the time that I am a good photographer. I tell them I am not. They think I am being modest, but the truth is that I take pictures in a way that would make most photographers cringe. To start, I have noticed that my camera has a tendency to underexpose {meaning the pictures come out too dark.} While I will admit that I know a little about ISO, aperture, f-stops, and all that, I don't know a lot, and I don't have all the right equipment to get the perfect shot right out of the camera in some situations. I have a Canon 40D and 50mm lens--that's all. I wish I had a macro lens, a great wide angle lens, and a 50mm that would take good pictures in low light. But right now, I am just wishing.

What I do have, though, it a good eye for editing. Fortunately, for those of you who don't have a lot of fancy equipment either, perhaps you'll be inspired to edit your way into a better photo. You can see some free photo editing programs here. If you have been following my blog for awhile, then you know that I sporadically show how I edit my photos. If you are just joining, you can see previous posts about photo editing here, here, and here.

So.... er, this is a little embarrassing, but this is the before, straight-out-of-the-camera picture:

Not impressive. My Mia always looks cute, but the photo isn't nearly as striking as the first one, so let me show you how I got there.

First thing, crop it. Sometime I want to do a blog post just on cropping a photo because occasionally it is the difference between a ho-hum photo and a great photo. In this case, I like the picture both ways, but if I crop it, you will be able to see the detail better.

This is better, now the focus is on her face, in particular her eyes, which I thought were the best part of this photo.

Next step, I ran a color pop action. I use Nicole Van's. If you don't speak photoshop, then it's all going to sound like gibberish, so basically I made the photo lighter and brought out the color.

Next, I smoothed the shadows and splotches on her face. I don't like skin smoother actions because I think they look too over done. I just use the clone stamp.

Next, I bumped up the contrast on the photo. This made a big difference.

Finally, I sharpened the photo a little, around her eyes especially.

So, ta da! From a little boring and under exposed to much more interesting, focusing on Mia's eyes, her best feature in this particular photo. Here is the before and after side by side.

Isn't this fun? So, why stop there? I mean, who cares that my rug still smells like chicken. {If you read my comments in the previous post, you'll understand.} Let's play around a little more. Here is a softer, more vintage version.

Another vintage version, this time with a little grain and a sepia hue.

And finally, a black and white.

Hope you are having a happy Sunday. Find beauty in every day :)


Meredith said...

That was sure a fun post to read, I still have a lot to learn about editing so I just hope for a good picture. Thanks for sharing your tips!

Jenni said...

oh how the editing makes all the difference in the world! i love how your pictures turn out! your daughter is beautiful, so no picture can really be that bad! she is a beauty!

i quick peeked at the editing link, not sure if this one is on there, but before i learned (am still learning) photoshop, i used all the time! they are good! in fact, i use them still when i do wording on many of my pictures (including the header on my blog!)

Us Four & No More said...

What awesome tips... Loved it. My photos always looke like something out of a photo booth at a carnival... Lots of grimaces and poked out tongues... =) maybe with some editing I can salvage my kiddos antics. Love your blog!

Amy said...

My friend Janelle {us four and no more} has found one of my fave blogs! :) yay! xoxo

thank you, great! I just *MIGHT* be able to do this! :) You mentioned once before where you downloaded nicole vans, but can't remember what post it was on. Would you mind sharing that again?

Anonymous said...

These are really cute. Do you have any tips for just taking photos in general?

The POSHpreneur said...

Mia has one of the most precious faces I have ever seen--she is a natural born model :)

Brianne said...

Jessica, I have PhotoShop Elements, not the cool full program, do you have any recommendations on sites that I could purchase or download actions for that program?
Briana J

Mand said...

Gorgeous photos Jessica. Mia is such a cutie pie. Thank you for sharing the great tips.

Ashley said...

Ok, so I have just found your blog and I love, love, LOVE it! My husband calls it obsession, I call it inspiration. :) Besides your FABULOUS shoes (which I CANNOT wait to buy for my little ones), your pictures captured me from first glance. Thank you for your tips on editing. Also, thank you for your down-to-earth perspective on life as a mom, a wife, an entreprenuer, and most importantly a woman of God. In between chasing after my 17 month old and comforting my 3 month old, I have filled the past two days of fully catching myself up on all your postings. I look forward to experiencing what you bring in the future! Blessings to you and your family!

Jessica Haley said...

Janelle of "4 and no more"--love it! I think my blog should be "2 and no more" b/c I have had my fill of scrubbing marker off of cupboards for today and probably a lifetime.

Anon, yes, I do have a general photography tip. Take lots of photos--go shutter happy. When people congregate for a photo, they usually snap one or two and that's it! It's not enough! I have been surprised at how much the slightest angle, turn of the head, or change of expression alters a photo. Especially since you can always delete them later, I would say err on the side of over shooting; you can delete them later, but some moments can never be recaptured.

Briana, I think Coffee Shop has some actions/tutorials for photoshop elements. Also, Pioneer Woman has some tutorials on Photoshop Elements: Also, I know there is a time consuming way that you can install actions in Photoshop Elements. I think YouTube has some tutorials. Good luck!

Ashley, thanks so much for such a kind note. Sometimes doing what I do feels like a crazy, ridiculous choice. If it were just for the product alone, as much as I love to be creative, I don't think it would be enough for me. It's nice to have a venue to be able to connect and empathize w/other moms. It's made this sometimes arduous journey a lot more rewarding for me. :)

Samantha said...

I have just stumbled on your blog via another blog 'going home to roost' and I am so glad I did :) Mia looks like my sister in Australia's youngest, Charlotte! A splitting image.

Your photography is beautiful and I am exited to read your blog daily from here on in. ;)

Jessica Haley said...

Samantha, thanks so much for stopping by to say hi! Coming Home to Roost is a sweet little blog. How funny my Mia looks like your Charlotte. I think it's Pepsi that is doing a facial profiler campaign--you can see people across the globe with uncanny similarities. Very interesting...

Chani said...

I love how you changed your picture! Are you also going to post a tutorial on the vintage pictures?
Love, Chani

Ashley B. said...

This may seem like a dumb question, but I'm so new to editing my photos.... what version of Photoshop do you use? I've been doing research and am SOOO confused as to what to get. I love what you are able to do with your photos and would love a point in the right direction (or any direction for that matter LOL). Thanks!

Photo Editing Services said...

Sure you are a good photographer.Those pictures are very nice. I like its.


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