Fixing Your Photo StoryPosted: April 8, 2010
Fixing Your Photo Story
We all want to tell a story with our pictures; to have an image impact others is why most of us enjoy this craft, but Macro photography can be a challenge in many ways. First, the main object is the story. If you have too much in the photo, you lose the impact of the up close perspective. Second, you can be like me…sometimes I’ll be so exited about the object up close that I forget that there is a story behind it and just want to shoot it because I think it’s cool. Definitely do this to satisfy your senses, but also think about the observer, will it ignite their senses?
Of course if it was a perfect world we could achieve the perfect shot right from the beginning, but many times this doesn’t happen and that’s ok; this is what separates us from the hobbyist. I don’t know about you but I always have people saying, “Wow, you must have a really nice camera!” Kind of…but that isn’t the reason the photo popped at them! It’s our creativity and the knowledge of digital dark-rooming.
So today I’m going to show you what I did to fix my photo story…
During Lent, being Catholic, I give thanks for Christ’s sacrifice. With this in mind I needed a photograph that was a semi-cross, so I started with the pic in figure 1. I was shooting outside and had to work with nature. If you need some basics on natural-light-macro-photography, click here.
Figure 2 shows you the original photograph before I made adjustments. As you can see from the photograph, it’s not exactly what I needed, but it’s a good start. I first cropped the photo and then began to process it. I photograph in RAW so I can make adjustments easily; I recommend you do this too.
In Figure 3, I developed the photograph to achieve the color I needed using the exposure, white balance, and various other tabs in this area…play with all of the goodies in this area so you know what you can do, just be careful not to clip your photo. If you don’t have time to work on the picture in Photoshop, that’s ok, just click “Done” and all of your work will be saved. No worries if you need to make changes again, you haven’t damaged the photo, just open it up again and begin your adjustments.
Now it’s time to work on your picture in Photoshop (or whatever software you have) the concept is the same… What I did was made a copy of the pic in a new layer so I don’t damage the original work. (Layer > Duplicate layer)
Notice that in Figure 5, the bottom right is too dark. I needed to lighten it a bit so I used the dodge tool. It takes practice, but start slow using a soft brush and a low percentage, see Figure 6 for more details.
Now it’s time to spot clean. Use at least 100% viewing… going back and forth from 100% to full view. Don’t forget to add a new layer; it’s easier to dump the layer if you have problems than damaging your original file.
When you need to clean up an area that has distinctive colors, I recommend the clone tool. Hold down the Alt/Options button and click on the area that you want duplicated. Next, use your pen tool or mouse to basically paint the area you are correcting. If you’re unsure of the ending results, no problem…just make a special layer for this to dump, if needed. You can also hold the apple/command key and push Z , this will erase the last command.
Wait a day or two (if you have time) and go back to your work with a fresh mind. This will help you to see any details that may need working on. I noticed a couple of spots after I thought the pic was ready to go! That could be a big ooopsy!!
This is the completed piece.
The next couple of photographs show you before and after shots. I didn’t explain in detail what I did to them all, but I think just by viewing them you’ll get the picture of what was done.
Mature flower with baby in background – Life
Details of Spring flower’s leaves – Life
Rejuvenations of Spring – Live
Today, I briefly discussed what I did to fix my photo story. I enjoy the whole process of working with my photographs. If you really need help retouching your photogs, then hire someone to help you, but for me…it’s my work from beginning to end. It’s the details that make your work stand out from the rest. Always try to exceed your own expectations and make your photograph pop by fixing your photo story!
Remember…don’t be shy, comment! :)