Before and After

Often when I take pictures they turn out much darker than I would like.  My camera also tends to take very "cold" pictures, and that is probably because I always use the auto white balance setting.  I can only do so much with the equipment I have.  I set the aperture as low as I can so that I can let in as much light as possible, and I like to have the ISO as low as possible so that the pictures are not grainy.  I take the best pictures that I can with in the situation I am in, and the rest I leave up to Photoshop.  I normally have to lighten my pictures, "warm" them up so they aren't so blue, and I usually bump up the contrast just a bit.  I like the colors to be rich and vibrant.  Sometimes I sharpen parts of the picture, like the eyes of a person, or something I want to stand out.  Sometimes I sharpen the whole picture.  My point in all of this is that I ALWAYS process my photos.  Just look at the difference in these shots of my nephew.


All I did in these pictures is lighten them (using the curves function in Photoshop), warmed them up using my favorite free action from Pioneer Woman, and then bumped up the contrast just a tad.  Oh, I also lightened and sharpened his eyes just a bit (to do that I used two more free actions from the Pioneer Woman).   They were pretty simple changes that hardly took me any time, but yielded MUCH better results.  Perhaps as my skills improve I will take even better "Before" shots.  For now I'm just grateful for Photoshop!

Hope you enjoyed my example of how much a few simple changes in Photoshop can help make pictures better :)


Rhonda said…
Isn't it amazing what can be done in Photoshop? I'm pretty grateful for that. My camera takes cool pictures too, but I have started playing with the white balance function on my camera but taking a picture in different settings until I like the look on my LCD and I have to say that my SOOC images are getting so much better - color wise. And I'm starting to recognize which settings will be best for the given light.
And I have to use exposure compensation if I'm not completely in Manual otherwise my pictures are under-exposed too. I'm trying to learn how to read the histogram to get better results.
krista said…
i need photoshop. i am working on getting it :) i would love to be able to use actions though and there are very few (that i am aware of at least) for PSE. i need more time to practice taking pics too...hopefully soon. if not, at least there's summer! :)
krista said…
oh, and your new blog layout looks great! i have been wanting to do the same thing but haven't had a chance!
Tawny said…
Those look GREAT! I am inspired to get back to PS...sometimes I feel like it just eats up so much of my time (my computer is slow :( ) So I skip it...but yours are motivating me to get back to it!
Great pics!!!
Jolene Grace said…
WOW. I need photoshop! You have a great eye and great talent for photography...thanks for sharing your tips!
Crystal said…
I love how you've been editing your images lately. They have such a dreamy quality to them.

I really want to learn photo shop (well and buy it for that matter;).
Nice job Jess! I have Photoshop Elements and am wondering if I can use the same techniques. You'll have to give me a lesson in photoshop! :) Looks great! :)

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