The challenge this week was to revisit some of the pictures we took in the past and re-edit them now to see how our style and expertise has changed. Hopefully our edits have shown how we have grown as photographers. Photography does not end with the click of the camera. The process continues in the darkroom. In the past, Photographers spent hours in a darkroom dodging and burning negatives to come up with their vision of the image as they saw/imagined it. As Ansel Adams said “You do not take a photograph, you make it.” Ansel Adams was a master at dodging and burning images to match his vision. The traditional darkroom has been replaced by the digital darkroom, but the process still entails taking the digital negative and adding the finishing touches that complete the image as the photographer envisioned it. This can be a time consuming process, especially when you are trying to learn and define your own style.
The following images were taken of my dog Shamus. Shamus was my clown and my “velcro” as my sister used to say. He was always by my side, and therefore my ‘go- to’ subject in practicing my photography.
Although I have been taking photographs all my life, several years ago I had a resurgence of my interest and began intense study of photography. I initially began attending workshops on landscape photography. At the same time, I was introduced to the digital darkroom “Lightroom”. “Lightroom” is a great tool in taking your digital images from the RAW format, to the finished image. In landscape photography, I was often told when editing to bring the highlights down and the shadows up to make a better image. While this can be useful in landscape photography which may have deep shadows and very bright highlights, it does not necessarily translate well to all images. I do not feel it worked well for the original image of Shamus. By bringing the highlights down, I took some of the “life” out the photograph. The image has a dull appearance. For the re-edit, I reset the image to the original settings, then I fixed the white balance and did not touch the highlights. I then darkened the shadows a bit.
Lightroom comes with a set of “presets” that can give you different looks to your images. You can also find a number of presets on-line. Presets may add a color change, make an image softer or more painterly, or sharper and edgier. It is amazing how these presets can change an image. In this image of the pool, I was playing with a preset that was supposed to make the image more painterly. In addition, it added colors to the shadows and highlights drastically changing the coloring of the image. For the re-do, I reset the image to the original settings and fixed the white balance. I darkened the shadows a bit and that’s about it. Unfortunately “Lightroom” could not correct the fact that I cut Shamus’s foot off in the original shot.
While presets are a wonderful way to see how your images could change, only find them useful in helping you to find what you do/don’t like. Once you have defined your style, I feel it is best to create your own presets to match your style.
The final image was for a Christmas card. At the time of the original picture, I did not have access to, or any knowledge of photoshop. No matter how much I love Lightroom, it does not have the ability to take out the bits of red leash, that were interspersed between the branches of the tree. There was also a bit of ground clutter, and again I needed to adjust the white balance on the image. I now am learning Photoshop and have been able to take off the red bits of leash.
Ultimately, photography is subjective and the eye is in the beholder. The decision is yours! Do you feel I was successful in re-editing these images?
Project 52-Blog Circle
This post is part of Project 52 which challenges Professional Pet Photographers to focus on a particular topic/assignment each week. There are photographers from all over the world participating. Follow the next link to view how the next amazing photographer tackles this weeks challenge. Then follow each link at the end of each blog until you return to me.. Then you have successfully completed our blog circle. Enjoy!
+++++ NOW visit Kelly Garin Photography of Columbia S.C. to see how she interpreted the subject this week+++++
Shamus was a rescue that I had the good fortune to come across. He was my momma’s boy and my clown and a great example of why you should choose a rescued animal.
Second Chance has a unique program where inmates train the rescued dogs and it gives both the dogs and the inmates a second chance in life. Come visit Second Chance Canine Shelter. We are open Saturdays and Sundays 10-2.
Friends of Second Chance Canine Adoption Shelter
6660 E. Seneca Turnpike
Jamesville, NY 13078
Website for Second Chance
Here are some pictures of the dogs at Second Chance that are looking for Homes.
Nancy Kieffer is a photographer serving the Central New York and Adirondack region and beyond. Travel assignments welcomed. If you would like to book a lifestyle session for your pet, please email me at Nancy@nancykiefferphotography.com or call 315-469-8807. Nancy also offers instruction in photography and Lightroom.