It’s been so snowy this winter. While I much prefer the warmer weather, I am trying to embrace the beauty of the snow and take the opportunity to make some beautiful images with a background of a blanket of white.
I made some photographs of my daughter, Sarah, outside in the snow and when I did, I asked her to wear her pink coat and blue hat and scarf, because I love how the bright color pops against the white background. It makes her really stand out!
Of course, no digital image is finished when it comes out of the camera. Editing is done to every image I take. Let me show you the “before” and “after”:
So, here is the image I started with. It’s pretty good from the start, but I’d like it brighter, and warmer, and I’d like to remove a couple distracting elements.
First, I warm up the image a bit and use a brush to brighten her face, mainly in the “T-zone” (where the brim of her hat caused a little bit of a shadow).
Next, I added some contrast to the picture, to make it “pop” a little bit more. I also removed the little hint of the pink collar by her hair. I felt it drawing my eye to it, and I don’t want anything in the picture that distracts from the main subject.
Next I noticed a tiny hair on the sleeve of her jacket, so I cloned that out. Also, I used a brush to smooth her skin. However I made sure I did it lightly so that I could still see her freckles and I didn’t want to make her skin look fake or plastic. Next, I added a little “crispness” to her eyes and lips, just to make them stand out. And finally I decided that the flyaway hairs would be okay, except for the one running across her cheek so I cloned that out.
My last step was to look at the image and give my overall thoughts about it. I decided that her coat looked a little TOO pink, so I toned that down a little. Also, I made the shadows a little darker and added a vignette to the image (which is like adding a darkness at the corners of the image). I wanted the image to be just a little brighter so I raised the exposure a little. And then, finally, I decided that her skin & hair just had a touch too much warmth in it, so I reduced some of the orange tones in the picture.
I love editing! I do all my work in Lightroom 4, but I will occasionally pull an image into Photoshop Elements 9 when I need to do some more complicated editing.
Having good editing skills is an important part of the photography process that photographers continually practice, improve, and evolve with their own style.