Editing Example

I think I remember Trey Ratcliff writing that you should expect to spend more time on editing photos than on taking them. I can’t say I always spend that much time editing my photos, but every once in a while there’s a photo that has some clearly fixable problem that is otherwise awesome. Here are some examples. Hover or tap to see the originals

Before After

So, to begin with, the ‘original’ here is a single exposure, and the final is an HDR photo, a combination of three exposures, that handles the extreme difference in brightness between the sky and the park.

The more time consuming fix was the color of the water. When I was taking the photo, I didn’t really think about it, but the water was almost as green as the grass nearby, which wasn’t the look I was going for. I spent a while painstakingly selecting just the water, only to realize that I wasn’t sure what kind of color correction to apply once I’d got it.

After reaching a dead end with the color replacement tool, I found that a channel mixer adjustment layer got me what I was looking for.

Before After

In this second photo, I once again started by combining multiple exposures into a High Dynamic Range photo (I use Aurora HDR these days).

But I had a much bigger problem, the aspect ratio wasn’t wide enough for a widescreen TV, and cropping it would lose either the figure reading a book or the top of the tree. I ended up using multiple approaches to widen the photo without distorting it too much. I used a few rounds of content aware scaling, applied to both sides of the photo to widen it.

Finally, I just wasn’t happy with the original clouds, so I ended up rebuilding the clouds from scratch. I used instructions from this tutorial to do it, although I’ve softened it a bit to match the photo.

flickr album