Photoshopping behind the scenes

I get asked all the time what amount of photoshopping I do to my images and the truth is not very much. Most of the time I prefer to do my work before hand using good composition, good lighting, and just generally get the fundamentals of photography “right” in camera. But sometimes I do take extra time and really tweak and tweeze a photo in the computer to push it to another level. Also let me be clear I have NO problem AT ALL with using the computer to enhance, change or manipulate a photo. There is an erroneous idea out there that with the invention of Photoshop so came the invention of the manipulated image. This is simply NOT SO. Here two examples of people using the dark room, airbrushing, and other techniques to manipulate enhance or just change an image…

The great master Jerry Uelsmann

And Joseph Stalin not only wiped people out with guns, but in photos too…

But I am getting a little off topic here, I love the computer and Photoshop, and have no problem using them to execute my vision of what a photograph should look like. Maybe on another day I will spend some time writing about this and going into in with more detail, but for now I want to show you what I have done with this image of a beautiful woman who I photographed this week. This 1st shot is straight out of the camera no changes at all to the image. Pretty good ha?

This 2nd version has been adjusted in Adobe Lighroom 3

I added just a tiny bit of green and yellow to the white balance of the photo, removed the mole from her chest and brightened the shadow on her face just a little. It’s getting better…

This finished version was exported into Adobe Photoshop CS5 and changed a little more there.

I added a little more yellow to the photo softened just a tiny bit, and cleaned up the stray hairs on her head, and last softened the shadow on her chest. So this is my vision of what this photo should look like as realized by the computer. I hope this helps illustrate to those of you who are interested what can happen behind the scenes on an image. As I said at the beginning of this post, I mostly don’t do this much work on my photos. Because there is something to be said for a more “natural” look. But sometimes I feel the desire to push an image to that next level…

About Seth Jacobson Photography

Portrait, Wedding photographer. Living in Rhode Island. A bit Obsessive about photography!!!

Posted on February 6, 2011, in behind the curtain, educational, Fashion photography, portrait photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Really interesting to hear the steps you went through in manipulating the image. My photography teacher of many moons ago was John Craig, a wonderful photographer who had studied under Jerry Uelsmann.

  2. Great post and beautiful portrait Seth, and a subject near and dear to my heart. People forget that photoshop is just another tool and if the image does not feature the holy trinity (light, composition and subject) no amount of photoshop can really help it. It is such an extensive application–I use it and a pressure sensitive tablet to paint and draw.

  3. Seth, nice job showing examples of darkroom manipulation…many people have no idea “shopping” didn’t begin with Photoshop.

    A photographer I once knew was given access to some of Ansel Adams negatives, and tried to produce photos to match Ansel’s. He found it impossible, as he had never watched the master at work in the darkroom.

  4. ((( you can please edit “Adam’s” to “Adams'”?)))
    thx!

  5. I like the progression that you show in the portrait…and I like the idea that photoshopping is not illegal or un ethical…it is an adaptation that furthers the fine art of photography…

    It is not as if there is a pure form of art out there. All Art is a manipulation of reality to co create a new reality that enhances images as we find them…

    Adding photoshop, or tweaking to a photo is much like adding paint to a canvas…sure it changes it–that was the intention…al d

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