Friday, July 29, 2011

A Dollop of Photography: How I Edit.

When I first started into this hobby called photography, I always thought that the more you edit, the better. As  I have grown as a photographer, I have realized though, that while there is a time and a place for post processing, I'd rather get the shot right out of the camera then have to tweak everything to make it look nice. Don't get me wrong, I edit about 99% of all the pictures you see on this blog-- even the ones from my point and shoot.

To edit my pictures, I use Photoshop. More specifically, I use Adobe Camera Raw. Some of my images (actually, pretty much ALL of my black and whites) are post processed with the Pioneer Woman's actions. I also like some of the actions that are offered at The Coffee Shop Blog. Both blogs offer these free, which means they are awesome in my book :)

So, when I take a picture and I know it's a good one, I open it in CR. The first thing I do with ALL of my pictures is adjust the white balance. If you had to edit just one thing on a picture, this is what I would choose, hands down. If your white balance is off, the whole picture is off, and that's no good at all! Anyways, after I edit the white balance, I generally will fiddle with exposure. While I shoot solely on manual now, I still am hit and miss on exposure. Then I will boost brightness, and greatly increase the contrast on most images. Depending on the image, I may boost the clarity and the vibrance. And on some images I might add a light vignette... this just depends on what the picture is of and if the vignette will go with what I shot. And then I save it. That's it. Hopefully you weren't expecting something deep and extravagant. If so, I apologize. I honestly just don't have a TON of time to edit in great detail, but like I said before, I have been trying to get a good shot right out of the gate so I don't have to spend a ton of time post processing anyways.

To close I'd like to share one of my favorite quotes about photography:

"It's not the camera in front of the man, but the man behind the camera."

I see and read of so many people who read blogs and think that if they buy the same exact camera and/or equipment as the blog author that their pictures will automatically look just like the ones they see on the blog. Photography is SUCH an art. An art of light, of composition, of settings... it takes so much more than just snapping a shutter and hoping that you got it right. This is part of the reason I don't think I'll ever go pro... the thought of learning all of that and having someone DEPEND on me to get all of it right so that their memories are captured forever is a daunting task that I think I'd rather let someone else take on. If you're wanting to get into photography, research your gear and then practice. Don't get down because your images don't look like that fancy blog (and I'm clearly not referring to my own) right away. 6 years into this rodeo I'm STILL learning stuff, and I don't think I'll ever QUIT learning. I shoot for the joy of it, nothing more, nothing less.

PS-- I have had several of you ask about how I shot this picture:
Believe it or not, it wasn't shot with my new lens and camera. It was shot with my Canon Rebel XT and my Canon 100mm f2.8 macro. This is why you will hear so many pros say to upgrade your lenses before your camera body. The lens is MUCH more important in capturing a great picture than having 20 megapixels in the latest and greatest camera body. The image was shot at:
aperture: f2.8
exposure time: 1/2000 sec.
ISO: 400

Any other questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments or email me! I'm always up for talking about camera stuff :)

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