Well here we go!

I want you to know I struggled over doing this series. I struggled with the idea of showing how I create my photographs once I get in front of the computer. Partly because of my own insecurities, I really do believe there are many phenomenal photographers out there so why would anyone want to know I how I post process? And also partly because I am a little nervous about training someone to replace me 😀

In the end I would not be where I am at right now if I did not have many photographers out there willing to share their experiences and their ideas. So I want to give back and pass on that legacy of “opening the doors” on how I create.

Disclaimer: I know there are a very large group of photographers out there who whole heartily disagree with some of the ways I use my PC to post process. To them, I say, its cool. I am absolutely OK with that. I really am. I have never presented my work or myself as a photographer who is a “purist” and I will never do that. What is by far the important thing for me is to have photographs that tell a story, that have depth, that if you see a photography that I have a taken of someone who has passed it away, it will in its own little way, reflect that person’s life. Truly, I do not care how I get to that point as long as I get there. Period.

Balancing statement to that last sentence in 3 … 2…. 1….

I do not want to be the “Photoshopographer” either. For a photograph that does tell a story, there HAS to be a correct mechanical usage of a camera, mated with a knowledge and thought process of the theory behind the photograph to get an image that will stand the test of time. My focus while post processing is how to make a photograph better, not bury it behind something that it is not.

OK, rant over. On to the task at hand and off we go!

Lets take a look at the most recent photo on my blog, Jayden going to his first day of school.

Straight from my camera:

I wanted to try and recreate the feeling the viewer had on their first day of school, so I shoot low to ground to create the perspective of a child. If I would have shown his face, you would have looked at his face and thought about him but I wanted the viewer to think of themselves. I feel this shot from behind gives that effect. Finally, any time you can have lines point to the subject of your photograph, USE THEM! The edges of the sidewalk draws your eyes directly to Jayden.

I used Adobe Lightroom 3 for this entire edit, so after I imported it in I did these steps.

#1 I moved it to black and white.

#2 Then using the 2nd set of sliders, Exposure, Recovery, Fill Light and Blacks,  I focused on trying to do two things. Create enough fill light to see the details in his backpack and maintain the true black levels in the areas that should be true black.

#3 I then boosted to clarity to create edges that were a little more gritty and pronounced.

Now that I had the coloring where I wanted, I cropped and rotated the image a little, paying specific attention to the horizon line and the rule of 1/3s.

Which gives us this…

Good but it just needs a final touch. I added just a slight negative vignette, do NOT over do this step, and added grain to 50 and bumped the up the size to 30 from the default of 25. You may ask, why would you add grain to a photo? In this case, simple, I want you to think of your first day at school. How many of you out there who can remember it, remember it perfectly? Most likely its a little hazy or dare I say, grainy 😉

Which creates our final photograph….

Ta-Da!! If you like this or found it helpful or want to know about a specific photograph and how I got there, just let me know and stay tuned as I try and make Before and After’s a regular thing!

Thank you for sharing!

Do you know someone who would enjoy this post? You are more than welcome to share it with them!