The Perfect Edit: Before and After

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You probably hear photographers talk a lot about "getting it right in camera," and for good reason! It's SO SO important to NOT rely on Photoshop for basic edits and simply get it right the first time around. Its cuts down on editing time so you can spend less time in front of the computer (the chiropractor will thank you!) and get photos to clients faster. I know my clients love that, right!? However, sometimes I know certain images will take a bit more love than usual. This can be for a variety of reasons! Maybe there are background distractions I can't get rid of at the time of shooting, or maybe somebody is blinking in a group photo. It's typical to have a few of these images during a shoot. I honestly think that just as important as getting it right in camera is knowing when a bit of extra editing can take an image from fine to WOW.

This image from a winter studio session is one of my favorites to illustrate a perfect edit. Here it is SOOC (straight out of the camera):

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Not bad right? Of course, I'm always lucky that the subjects are pretty flawless ;)

But, right away I notice some things I need to change.

Overall I like my white balance the the coloring of the image, but I know it needs a bit of a contrast bump. I notice the lighting on left side is much cooler than the lighting on the right side. This is because there's a window off-camera on the left side of the photo, blowing out the left side more than the right (which is warmer since the wall color is tan). There's also a few dirt spots on the wall I'll want to clone out. Also, Mom and baby could use a bit of warming up since that window is giving me some cool light. Even with all this done, I like the idea of working just a little bit more. I think it would be easier on the eye if I moved my subjects to the right of the frame to better follow the "rule of thirds." And, since Mom's body is facing the left, I like the idea of that side of the frame being more open.

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A little more tweaking and here's the final image:

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Aaaand I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. The balance is much better with the subjects moved to the right, and with the edits mentioned above the whole thing is just more appealing to the eye. As a reminder, here's the black and white I posted in a different blog post. Love this one too! I cropped it a little bit tighter here to really focus on emotion.

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Ah! Just love. Not a bad image to begin with, but I gotta say...I love Photoshop for helping me take it to the next level!

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