Yes, I am a self-taught photographer, photo-editior, crafter, blogger, and most everything else I have learned I have self-taught. How? Reading blogs on topics of interest, following tutorials that make sense to me, by googling, and now youtubing my way to knowledge. Mostly though, it is by practice, practice, practice! How lucky for those of us with an insatiable appetite for learning. All this knowledge is all out there, usually free, or for a very modest cost and or donation. When an instructor I like sells something on his or her site or blog that will be of use to me, I will purchase it to support the efforts he or she puts into creating the free or low-cost access to tutorial videos from where I have learned so much. Some of my favorites are Anthony Morganti at Anthonymorganti.com, and the entire Kelby One training videos. I also read books by Peter Hurley, Bambi Cantrell, and Roberto Valenzuela.
Here is an image of my granddaughter, Mallory, who I think has a fabulous period look and I love photographing her. Mallory’s unique look is not your common all american girl next door look, but more a classic, mysterious, dreamy period look that I adore.
Mallory has creases under her eyes that create difficult shadows and harsh lines for her young face. In the image below, I have already applied my usual edits in photoshop which involve, duplicating the original image, and setting the new copy to screen, then I use the healing brush to remove some freckles, and smooth and soften the harsh lines around her mouth and under her eyes. I then flatten the image and re duplicate the image. I set the new copy to screen again and apply an unsharpened mask. I then mask this new layer and use a brush to bring out the new adjustment on the eyes. This makes the eyes sharper and brighter. Finally, I flatten the layers and save the finished image to lightroom. In lightroom I use a brush to add clarity to the hair and adjust the exposure if I feel it is too light. This sounds like a lot of steps, but once you have this routine down, it really only takes a few minutes to accomplish all this. Here, is the image after the adjustments described above. I really like the effects I achieved with the enhancements I made to the raw file in photoshop and lightroom.
Below is the same image with a light room preset that gives a dramatic selective color effect. Presets are similar to what we used to refer to as macros. They are a set of commands that you save or record as a script of sort and you can apply to other images. In lightroom they are referred to as presets, in photoshop they are referred to as actions. In photoshop you are recording into a script a set of actions you may want to use on other images. The preset below is one included in a bundle of presets I purchased from Anthony Morganti. It is a bit darker and grungier than I wanted and if I use this one in the future I will probably adjust the exposure, and clarity to soften and lighten the image. I love the selective color though!
This is the image I like best. In this image I took the first image in this series that I posted above with my photoshop and lightroom adjustments and added one more adjustment. I lowered the highlights to bring in more detail to the background. Mallory pops just enough against the bokeh of the background. I love this final effect.