Hello to those of you that DO keep up with, and read my blog. It’s been a while since I last updated it. I’ve been busy with coaching, school and WEDDINGS. So. Many. Wedding. Photos.

But I did a quick portrait shoot yesterday, and had a few images that I thought I really brought to life after editing them, and I thought it might be interesting for those of you who aren’t die-hard photographers (and those that are, well, maybe you’ll find these interesting regardless?) to see the difference between an unedited RAW file straight from the camera, and what I export out of Lightroom.

(Before/After screenshots from Adobe Lightroom on the left, Final exported images on the right)

First off, this isn’t from yesterday – it’s a shot from Friday when I went to preview the wedding venue where I was shooting Saturday.

The edit wasn’t ridiculous here, but it did involve a good bit of brush tools, gradient filters, and an idea in my head.

NOW, here’s a shot from yesterday while I was waiting for the family to arrive downtown. I really liked the shadow angle, and the stark, authoritarian wall.

Also, as you can see, I did alter the final image a tiny bit, making it less contrasty, but the before/after screenshot does give you a good idea of the highlight detail that I can get from the RAW.

Heres one where the camera goofed and exposed for the highlights behind Mason, leaving his face in shadow. I was able to recover the shadows, and decided that blowing out the highlights rendered a more pleasing and less distracting background.

Here’s a scene where I was shooting into a deeply shadowed tree canopy, looking up at Meg, with the backlighting from a late-morning sun intentionally beaming through a whole in the tree cover. I set this up intentionally looking for a golden glow, and was able to get almost exactly the image I was after with a little tweaking.

Another shot of Meg where I wanted the shadowy tree canopy more visible than the camera wanted…lots of brush tool and ++++++ of shadows here…

And finally, one more that’s not a huge difference, but that I still liked the processing on…there was a bit of cloning that went on, that’s not perfect, but I just got frustrated with and gave up on, hoping that the casual viewer wouldn’t notice…

…OH fine, here’s another one where I wasn’t paying attention to what the camera was doing and blatantly messed up, blowing the colors WAY out, but was able to recover everything for the most part and make a photo that I was proud of…

So yeah.

I know some will read this and think “Meh! What a shoddy photographer.” But I would argue that everyone makes mistakes, and when you do, a RAW file with 3+ times the data of the most detailed JPG image can help save your ass. And of you DON’T screw up, but you have an idea, or a vision in your head, the RAW file can REALLY help bring that idea to life.

Best regards to all, thank you for letting me steal a bit of your time today, and I hope you enjoyed a quick behind the scenes look at my editing, mistakes, and thought process while I shoot.


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