Before and After: Along the Hudson


Yesterday I was looking at the images and I decided (with some help) that I should do a small write-up of how I processed one image.  I chose the second, since the difference between the before and after was more significant.

Before and After: India

In Lightroom

First Steps

Image re-size.  I know that for a long while, I will not need a large version of this, so I start the process in a smaller scale.  Next I straighten the horizon and re-crop the image.    The straightened, cropped image is shown above as the ‘before’.

Second Steps

In RAW, I’m in Photoshop Lightroom (under Basic Tools).  Here I set the white balance and bump up the Fill Light and the Blacks until I like how the image looks.  Contrast and Vibrancy may also be increased here as well.  I used Recover to make the sky a bit darker and get rid of strange artefacts around the tree branches,

Third Steps

I am now under Tone Curves (second tab).  In this tab I played with the shadows, highlights, lights and darks until I bring out the details that I want in the wood.

Fourth Steps

Should I be titling the steps differently?  I’ll get back on that.  Anyways, for this image, the last tab I use is Camera Calibration.  I think my colors are slightly off in my camera, or I remember a scene differently because I am always adjusting the Green Primary.  Here I move the saturation sliders back and forth on all channels (red, green and blue) until I bring out the colors I want.  I believe I bumped all the colors to the right before finally opening the file in Photoshop for the next run of adjustments.

In Photoshop

First steps

Duplicate the background.  I need an original layer to compare everything to.  This is why I usually take a RAW + JPEG while shooting so I have the bare bones original next to whatever I processed.  I wish I had done it this time around.  Anyways, after duplicating the background, I sometimes duplicate another layer, use Auto Level on the top layer and reduce fill or opacity to about 50% to bring out some shadows or highlights.

Second Steps

On top of that, I will go under Image – Adjustments – Shadow/Highlights and toggle all of the sliders until I am happy.  This helped bring out some detail in the wood that my prior adjustments hadn’t brought out.

Third Steps

Next is cloning out anything that shouldn’t be there.  I wait until now, because all of the previous processing should have made any mistakes more apparent.

Fourth Steps

I give all of my images a slight blur here.  I don’t remember where or how long ago I said this, but I noticed that every photo storing site (with the exception of one that you buy for your own website) will always add sharpness to your images.  In rare occasions, sites like Facebook and even DeviantArt will slightly change the colors or degrade your image by reducing the quality of the image.

Yes, I know Facebook isn’t a photo storing site, plus it is a free site, but for whatever reason, the site adds unnecessary sharpness to any image uploaded.  It is very noticeable to me.  Even Flickr does it.  not to the same extent, definitely less than DeviantArt.  To some people, this doesn’t matter at all.  You may be a complete novice or just regard these sites as a sample of your work.  To me, it matters.  Now I don’t chase down every errant pixel, but I do find the ‘liberties’ taken with my pictures and the fact I have to work around these unwanted edits annoying.

Fifth Steps

If I didn’t do this before, I re-size and save a copy of the final JPEG for uploading, and save the work file as a multi-layer PSD.  Why?  I may find a mistake on layer 4 that can be corrected, or some effect I did on 7 was too strong.  It is always good to be able to go back and fix something major and minor.  I try to keep the hassle out of it.

Well, there you have it.  My steps (for the most part).  Feel free to follow everything to the letter, although I doubt you’d get the same result because of how much I actually do and did not type down (you really don’t need a dissertation on how I edit my photos, do you?).  Photoshop, like life, is about learning the process and experiencing different things, not being given the right course of directions to follow without question.

I hope you are having fun with this blog, because I know I am ❤  If you have a second to scroll down or click here, please do so to vote on what kind of content you want in the future!

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4 thoughts on “Before and After: Along the Hudson

    • I’m glad it helps you. If you want anything else like this in the future, there’s a link to a poll where I’m trying to determine future posts. I’m considering doing some videos if there is enough interest.

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