Raw Footage Photography
by Sophie Sheldrick

Raw Footage Photography Blog

Raw Footage Photography Blog - Highlights from London Ontario Weddings and Lifestyle Family and Newborn Sessions. 

Behind the Lens | Before and After (and a Look at Editing Styles)

I posted  a little preview from yesterday evening's styled shoot on the Raw Footage Photography Facebook Page last night, and was so delighted with the response! Lots of "likes" for this little darling, and I'm not one bit surprised. My little subject is stunning! I thought I would use this photo for a "before and after" look at my editing process, which I talked a bit about in the last edition of Behind the Lens . There are so many editing trends out there, and every photographer really has their own editing style. No two photographers will treat the same image the same way, so when choosing someone to capture your special moments, you want to make sure you "click" with not only their shooting style, but their editing style as well.

As for my editing style, I'd describe it as being simple, fresh and pure. I like to add a bit of a personal touch to my photos, but I'm all about capturing real life, and I want my editing to convey that. I am always striving to make my "SOOC" (straight-out-of-camera) shots the best they can be, so that I am only enhancing, and not fixing, in post-processing. I am also continuously seeking out delicious, natural light that doesn't need dramatic editing to create a dreamy mood. The less I have to edit my SOOC shot to achieve my vision, the happier I am.

I do have a handful of photoshop actions I enjoy (for those who may not be familiar these, they are a series of steps in photoshop that a photographer has "packaged" together into one simple click, allowing you to achieve a certain look by running any photo through the action in question. You can make your own, or you can purchase actions from amazing photographers around the world. You can run them at high opacity for a very dramatic effect, or at low opacity for just a subtle pop, which is what I do).

Here's a look at the before and after versions of the same photo, with a look at my editing process.

1. I did basic RAW edits in Aperture (I may be one of the few photographers that isn't using Lightroom or ACR. Not a preference, I just don't own the programs, and Aperture works for me!). This includes sharpening and a bit of minor tweaking of white balance and levels.

2. I exported the photo to Photoshop and tweaked the levels a bit more. I then used the "dodge" tool to brighten up the eyes a bit.

3. I ran the "bright eyes" action from Coffee Shop Blog at low opacity (25%) just to define the eyes a bit more, without making them look alien sharp. (the Coffee Shop Blog actions are FREE and great to start out with - it's where I first started playing with actions, and I still hang on to a couple of my favourites from her set).

4. I ran the "velvet peach" action from Coffee Shop Blog (again, FREE) at low opacity (20%). This one can be intense when you run it at anything more than 30%. I use it at low opacity when I want to add subtle, soft pink tones.

5. I ran the "lighter tones" action from Jordan Voth's set and customized each layer to my liking.

6. I resized and sharpened for web, and added my watermark.

This is my process. My vision for this photo. My artistic style. 

I really wanted to illustrate how a photographer's editing style is a huge part of their art and final product, and that while not everyone's post processing may be your cup of tea, there is beauty in everyone's unique vision. So I rounded up some of my photographer friends (ahhh, gotta love the internet!) from all over to put their personal spin on this photo. I sent them the RAW, straight-out-of-camera file and told them to edit it in their own style. These are women with whom I regularly share and receive constructive criticism, advice and encouragement, and photographers that I respect and admire immensely. I was so honoured that they took the time to help me with this little project, and so excited to see their take on my photo. Each edit below is so different, and really represents the photographer's style.

Go show these amazing photographers some love! 1. Angel Murphy Photography (facebook) 2. / 5. Amanda Laurette Photography (facebook) 3. (me) Raw Footage Photography (facebook)  4. Amber Snead Photography (facebook) 6. Leeshy Lou Photography (facebook) 7. /8. Nicky Montgomery Photography (facebook)

I love how photography is such a process. It starts with a vision, turns into a photograph, and ends up as a work of art that is as unique as each photographer!