I usually like to get everything as close to perfect as I can in the camera so that I wouldn’t have to do any major edits in post processing. Admittedly, nearly all my photos go through some post-processing before I’m satisfied with them, but ideally I’d like to do as little as possible in post. But then there are times when I go sort of crazy in Photoshop trying to improve my skills on a photo that straight out of the camera is kind of boring and lifeless. Today was one of those times.
I went back to look at my photos from my last studio shoot and I saw potential in some of the very last frames from that shoot. I had taken off the wig I used but still had the wig cap on and was playing around with the combination of slow shutter speeds and soft focus not even thinking of using any of those shots for anything. However, one of them got put to a good use tonight.
Here it is, straight out of the camera.
(135mm with soft focus set to 2, ISO 100, f/18, 2.5 sec + 150ws monolight at 1/3 power with beauty dish and sock diffuser on camera right, and two speedlights at 1/4 power on background)
The image has a slight blur to it, probably mostly because of the slow shutter, since I’m not sure that the soft focus even does anything at f/18. I like the light but the photo is otherwise kind of boring. The first thing I did was to convert it to black and white with a slightly modified blue filter preset in Lightroom, and after that I pulled it to Photoshop and created two very different photos. I did a whole bunch of stuff to both versions in terms of curves, color adjustments, adjustments to shadows and highlights, but the main two things on this first version are smoke overlay and moving myself more to the left of the photograph by extending the right side of the “canvas.”
I actually used three different overlays for this second photo – one on myself and two on the background plus a whole bunch of other stuff that I am unable to list, not only because it would be too long of a list, but also because I made no attempt to remember exactly what I did. I love the creative process and I don’t really see any need to memorize the steps I take with any given photo in post processing. Pretty much every photo requires its own unique touches to bring out the best and most interesting parts and as long as I am not doing any large volume editing this go with the flow kind of editing works well for me not to mention that it’s also a lot of fun.