I know Photoshop has gotten a bad rap, but I am not even slightly embarrassed to admit that Photoshop rocks my world.  Now let’s be clear, I am talking about Adobe Photoshop.  I am well aware that “Photoshop” has become a verb used to describe any kind of photo alterations with any random software or app.  I also realize when people think of Photoshop, their minds immediately go to atrocious examples of plumped up booties, cut out thigh gaps, and cartoon skin.   I myself used Photoshop as the fixer-upper when I first began taking portraits because I didn’t yet understand the ins and outs of my camera.  I might not have known the technical aspects of photography, but gosh darn it I knew how to make it all better in Photoshop.

These days the complete overhaul is no longer needed, but I still love to take a good original photograph and enhance it.  For instance, sometimes you’re out with friends and your camera happens to be there and they say, “Hey! You’re a photographer…can you take some pictures of us?” Of course you acquiesce because what’s a few snapshots?  The problem is I forget that I need like days in advance to get into “Professional Photographer” mode as it’s not my every day hat.  I think all is well until I go home and review my photos.  Ugh.   They’re fine.  Just fine.  Nothing inspirational.  Nothing amazing.  Nothing to blog about.

Enter Photoshop.

Clean up on Aisle 6. In a planned photoshoot I will run around like a madman making sure there are no distractions in the area.  In this case, I liked the juxtaposition of that stuffed deer looking out of the little barn at the couple.  Didn’t even see it, did you?  So I used the clone tool to clean up and cropped to tell the story I wanted to tell.

BEFORE

BEFORE

 

AFTER

 

 

Rocket boost.  Sometimes you have delicious yummy natural light that makes your picture glow and gives it all kinds of awesomeness.  Other times, you have this. I used the hue/saturation and curves adjustment layers to boost the colors where I wanted it and less where I didn’t.  I also used the clone tool to clean up, the high pass filter to sharpen certain areas, and crop to get the proportions just right.

BEFORE & AFTER

 

Up the Coolness.  Invariably there will be that photo that you just don’t like.  You know they’ll want it, the people in it are cool, but it just sucks.  Take this photo, for instance.  The whole feel of this image is wimpy, and it’s all my fault.  I posed them like this.  By simply playing around with the color profile, I was able to make them look more hipster and less “We’re exhausted from skipping through the tulip garden.”

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BEFORE

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AFTER

 

Uncooperative kiddos? No problema.  As soon as I started taking pics of mom & dad, their 3yo daughter Graciella ran for the hills.  Good thing I had taken a picture of her with my daughter earlier in the day.  With a little Photoshop magic (too many tools to name), I was able to get a shot of Simone and her daughter together.

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BEFORE

 

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AFTER

So these are just a few examples of the way you can alter portraits in Photoshop.  Even with some snapshots I took off the cuff, they can still come out nice enough to frame with a little tweaking.

Isn’t it fun to see the before and afters?

Until next time, my dears – stay spicy and do something creative every day!

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