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Halloween and Editing

Halloween is in a few weeks so I decided to show some various editing styles.  Like any true artist, a photographer is always learning new things, studying, experimenting, and keeping up with the latest ideas and trends.  For me it’s a lot of fun, I often say that I have “the perfect job”.

When most think about photography they focus on the first task, capturing the image with the camera.  But taking the picture is only the first half of a photographers job, editing is the other half.  Achieving excellent results means knowing all aspects of your trade and for me taking pictures and editing go hand in hand.  Although when doing portrait work a properly taken photograph results in less time spent photoshopping.

Editing really comes in 2 basic styles.  Portrait photographers often use Photoshop and Lightroom to adjust colors, balance the light, and make some basic corrections and edits.  Things such as smoothing skin and removing imperfections are standard tools for a good portrait photographer.  I use this type of editing techniques often when working with bridal portraits, family portraits, and headshots.

Then comes a different realm of editor where the photographer is more of a graphic artist.  And while some graphic artists prefer to create their art solely from within the computer, I prefer to start my canvas from one of my photographs.  Integrating people into this element is more interesting and intriguing to me.

Just like in any complex program, there are many ways to perform the same task.  For instance there are plug-ins that will automatically smooth skin in portraits.  But the same task can be performed with the tools that are native to Photoshop often times achieving a far better result, particularly with a skilled user.

My husband, and assistant, whom you will probably see with me on my shoots, is an engineer and relates it to Excel.  He said years ago when he first worked with Excel it was in a very basic way; then after having applied its more advanced features in engineering use did he discover what a powerful application is really was.

The picture below was taken during a studio session where a nice young lady was dressed as a witch.  This session had several photographers, each providing their own “interpretation” and posing the model in specific ways.  I choose to have a man reach in from behind with only his arm being visible to create a dark and mysterious feeling.  She looks dirty and ragged.

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The same girl but her face is visible and the colors altered to give a different feel.  Here she has white skin and is more cunning and elusive.  The colors are more bold and bright.

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Of course Halloween has to have a dark angel…

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And a little more artistic picture…

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There is an endless combination of shades of colors, angles, shadows and other possibilities that are limited only by your imagination!

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I wrote this article to show how changes in color and lighting can influence the feel of a picture.  Of course these edits are tailored to fit a very specific time of year, Halloween, and each “editing session” has with it it’s own set of requirements.  While it may seem somewhat obvious, some techniques are more suited to certain types of pictures.  Sometimes I see a baby picture with too much heavy contrast and it makes me cringe.  A well-edited picture is “compiled” in such a way that leaves it’s individual edits unnoticed but each part fits together perfectly.