Monday, November 12, 2012

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Before & After

Before the after. Or after the before? Whatever.


I get asked a lot about my post process work flow. The most common question is “do you use Photoshop?” Yes, I do. For every single image. It’s strictly preference. Photoshop is a tool. Just like developing agents for film. However, you can’t make a bad photo good, only a good photo better.


I’m not going to share any of the steps in the workflow. Not in this post. I’m simply sharing some side by sides so you can see what the image looked like out of the camera, and what my finished product looked like. I really believe that as an artist, before and afters can help you grow.

before after001

before after002

before after003

before after004

If you’re like me, when you saw the last image, you went “holy shit"! “whoa!” I mentioned above that I believe it helps artists to grow, being able to see these images. Why? Because you see the beauty of the after, like above, but the camera doesn’t. No matter what you do, no matter what settings you change, you just can’t get it to look like you want when you’re taking the picture. Again, Photoshop is a tool. But in order for it to work correctly, you have to get the picture right when you take it. And, you have to know what your limitations and your abilities are in Photoshop. Now without throwing a curve ball, the after of the image above, was achieved almost entirely in Lightroom. Very little work in Photoshop. All the beautiful color was actually there. The problem is that a camera, as smart as it is, is extremely limited compared to the human eye.


Here’s the thing. Some of you may enjoy one of the before images, more than my after. That’s fine. It’s totally preference. The difference, at least for me, is that I’m an artist. I show you what I want you to see. I’m sharing my vision. I see so many young portrait photographers make this mistake. They post several versions of the same image, asking which one people like best. Who cares? You took the image. It’s yours. Share the version or vision, you want to. Chose the one you’re the most comfortable with. There is no right or wrong. But again, remember, you have to get it right in the camera first!

Does seeing an image’s before and after help you? Do you think it gives you a better understanding of what you can accomplish using the right tools? I’m totally open to questions, so ask away.


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Michelle A. said... [Reply]

Great Post Jake.

Rob Sarge said... [Reply]

Do you prefer to shoot in RAW so everything is there from the start and it doesn't limit you artistic creations? (I think we had this same discussion about 5 yrs ago..)

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