Before and After {a tutorial}

I have decided it might be fun to do before and afters every now and then…so here it is! A before and after shot of yours truly using Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop CS6. My goal is to one day be able to do ALL of my edits using only Lightroom. It will speed up my editing time greatly, and I know a pretty amazing photographer who solely uses Lightroom. Her work speaks for itself! I have challenged myself to get as close as possible to my final edit, so my time spent in PS is greatly reduced. With this edit, I could have done more in Lightroom, but since I am much more confident in PS (just bc of experience) and needed a quick edit, I didn’t do much at all in Lightroom-but here is a look at what a typical quick edit of mine looks like! (FYI, edits of 1 person go much quicker than family edits!)

First, a look at the Before and After Lightroom Edit:

I ALWAYS reduce my highlights in a situation where I can get some beautiful sky. I take the photos overexposing a bit, knowing I can bring some of that back in the editing process. For backlit photos like this, usually the foreground will have to be a bit underexposed in order to keep the beauty of the sky. So, as you can see below, I brought the shadows way up, brought down my blacks a bit, and left the whites alone. I ALWAYS leave the white alone. Why? I just don’t like the results anytime I mess with them. I also adjusted my color balance, bringing up the magentas to zero and adding more yellow to the temperature. I don’t know if I will ever be able to do skin tones in Lightroom. I never like the final product…I can never get it exactly where I want it. I know it’s definitely possible though-I just need more time to experiment and learn. But with these very quick, basic adjustments, I got the above result.

Looking at the screenshot below, you can see I was shooting with my 50mm at aperture 1.8, shutterspeed 1/640, and ISO 250. The light was gorgeous at 7pm, which gave me some beautiful bokeh. My wish is to have the 50mm 1.4, or the 85mm 1.4 to give even more bokeh, but that’s not in the budget right now! I use my 50mm 1.8 for everything! It was (and still is) my first lens to invest in. Though I know the quality will be even more amazing when I am ready to invest in a higher quality lens, my D700 was TOP priority this year.

Here is the Lightroom edit compared with the final image:

As you can see, I did my skin tones, contrast, sharpening, and saturation with Photoshop. I have a skin tone action I always use from Liz Labianca’s Pixie Dust Collection (Help My Skintones), but before running that, I again try to get as close as possible through adjusting the color balance. I added red, magenta, and yellow until I got what I liked, then ran the action. I added some saturation, contrast with Curves, sharpened, and saved! Super simple and fast!

Here is a larger resolution so you can really see the details!


Leave a Reply