It's anything but Spring-like on this first day of Spring! A cold, blustery wind is scattering snow flurries around which, thankfully, are not adding up to anything. But yesterday, there were two rabbits scampering about my front garden and a robin sitting on the fence chirping merrily away. Today, a pair of mourning doves are attempting to build a nest on our front porch. Unfortunately, the winds are scattering their building materials as fast as they gather them. I'm taking this to mean that warm weather is coming!
As I mentioned in my last post, I thought I'd walk you through my
editing process. I used to literally spend hours on each photo, running
photoshop actions and applying texture upon texture. Now, I spend 2-3
minutes editing a photo.
Here is my image SOOC (straight out of the camera). All I've done here is cropped it square. I usually crop my photos either 5x7 or square.
I use Lightroom 4 to edit my photos. At first I found LR intimidating but after taking Kim Klassen's Round Trip class, it began to make sense and I don't know how I edited photos without it. I wish I had discovered LR when I first started photography.
My typical LR edits include: increasing the exposure (if necessary), lowering contrast, lightening shadows and lowering vibrancy and/or saturation. Lowering the contrast, saturation and/or vibrancy gives my photo a softer look. My camera tends to read reds and oranges very strong so I'll often reduce the saturation more for those colours.
That's pretty much it for LR. Sometimes that's all the editing I want to do. Other times, I want to add a texture or apply an action to further soften the photo so I make the final edits in Photoshop CS5.
Here's my final version. In CS5 I used a couple of Florabella actions - Soft Centre Light and Light Haze. I usually lower the intensity of the actions then, using a layer mask and a soft brush (opacity about 30%), I mask off the areas that I want to stand out. In this photo, it was the primroses and the flowers on the tea cup.
You can see the progression from SOOC to LR to CS5 in the photo about. Nothing drastic but you can definitely see the difference.
Sometimes I'll apply a texture instead of using actions to get that hazy softness. If I do, my blend mode is usually Soft Light with an opacity of around 55-75% (sometimes even higher). Again, I'll use a layer mask and a soft brush to remove the texture from the areas that I want to emphasize.
My favourite actions are from Florabella Collection. I use some of her textures too but Kim Klassen's textures usually give me the soft look that I'm trying to achieve. If you're not already on Kim's mailing list, make sure you sign up. She's very generous and regularly sends free textures to her subscribers, which is a good way to try them without spending a fortune.
So now you know all my secrets. :)
I'm not familiar with the free editing programmes that are available (like PicMonkey) but you could probably make some of these edits using them. Any programme that uses layers will allow you to use textures. Again, if you have any questions, ask away!