editing

Life Thru the Lens 46/52... why I am not cheap

I see posts like these often, "looking for a cheap photographer." 

As a photographer, it is especially frustrating to see these words. 

Why do we as an industry continually undermine the work/art that we diligently strive to perfect by underselling ourselves?

I'll admit it I used to undersell myself as well; I have undersold myself. 

But, I also think it comes down to the fact that we as photographers lack in educating the public as to why photography should cost more. And so, this is my post about why I am no longer able to be a "cheap" photographer. 

I posted this photo of The Thinker and I recently. We took it about two years ago, but I decided to re-edit it because I am focusing on sharpening my editorial skills. I have a dream of working for a little photography boutique, or to own one, and I want my editing skills to be on par with the industry itself. 

To do this, to edit photos in a fine-art method takes time and skill. I may not have walked the hallowed college halls to gain my editing skills, but I have put in long, arduous hours scouring the internet for videos and information on how to obtain certain looks with Lightroom and Photoshop. Then I practiced, and practiced, and practiced. It's the hours of training that bring this...

to this....

Or, this...

To this....

I understand wanting a bargain. Shoot, I'll hunt down a bargain, and rarely purchase anything at full price. However, there are certain items I will splurge on because I understand the art that goes into the item.

I read a quote one day that sums it up...

"Professional photography is not a need, it is luxury." And, a luxury is something you should save to splurge on. 

I understand that everyone desires a professional portrait of their kids, or their families, hanging on the wall. And, I believe every one should have a professional portrait hanging on their wall, but not to the extent of undervaluing the time, skill, education, and tools it takes for a photographer to capture, and create, a portrait.

It's important to remember as a consumer that photographers spend years perfecting their art. They begin with the fundamentals of capturing a perfect SOOC and move on to editing techniques. But, for fine art photographers it is not all about the SOOC, it is also about the end product with their editing techniques. So, a fine art photographer learns their camera like the back of their hand so that they can obtain the image they need in order to produce the look they want. Hence my first shot that was a bit underexposed and my second shot with the highlights blown. Those were not "saved" photos, they were images I took with an end product in mind. It is not the image you are paying for, it is the creative knowledge to create that image you are purchasing. And that, that, is why I am no longer cheap. 

Life Thru the Lens

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

the power of Lightroom and Photoshop... a little show and tell.

I am not a fan of trying to save a photo because the settings where not correct when it was taken. Nowadays, I aim to maintain a SOOC level when taking pictures. But, when I was learning my camera there was a ton I did not know... like that little bar below your photos, in your viewfinder, with the lines and the plus sign on one side, and a minus sign on the opposite side. If I would have known what that was, then I would have known that this photo was underexposed. Generally, extremely underexposed (and overexposed) photos are not "savable". But, with the power of Lightroom and Photoshop, and plenty of time and patience, it can be done. 

This shot was exposed for the sky pretty well, which is what I was trying to capture. So, overall the photo is not a complete mistake. However, I could have worked with my settings to correctly expose for both the clouds and the landscape.  But, this is where the power of Lightroom and Photoshop come in handy. 

This is the same underexposed photo with some hand edits from Lightroom. I was able to bring up the exposure of the landscape, while maintaining the integrity of the clouds. To do this I had to use several adjustment brushes; it is much easier to perfect a photo straight out of the camera (SOOC). 

From Lightroom, I sent my photo to Photoshop and began working with the photo using Greater Than Gatsby Actions. The first Action I used was from their Clean Workflow; my first step was to apply a noise reduction. Usually, when you "save" a photo you are going to have a fair amount of noise. The adjustment is not screaming at you, but it is there. 

{DISCLAIMER: You'll notice a link to GTG on the right hand bar... although the company has not asked me to directly represent them with this post, I love them and wanted to share what their Actions can do. If you click through that affiliate link I will receive compensation from GTG for what you purchase.}

The next step I took was to apply the Ameliabedilia Action (from the Innocence workflow) to the photo at 25% opacity. This set yields a nice sunlight essence that I use often in my editing. You can see, by comparing the above shot, that this Action gives the clouds a moodier look, along with accenting the sunlight in the overall photo. 

My next step was to address the fields, which were screaming oversaturation. I could have just used a saturation mask, but I like the effect of Madeline (from the Innocence workflow). I did brush the Action off of the sky by using a mask because the Action also toned down the sky, which I did not want. 

Next, I used the Moody Earthtone Brush to add some dimension to the horizon of my photo because I felt like the hilltop just dropped off in this photo, and I wanted distinction between the clouds and the landscape.  I also used this brush to enhance the clouds as well. 

When I am working on a fine art piece, the littlest details are important to me. When you compare the two above images you will not notice a huge difference, but I felt like the rock path needed some enhancement. To do this I used the Stone Earthtone Brush to paint some color back into the path. 

When I stepped back to look at my photo, I felt like it still needed something. Because the top of my clouds, right above the sun rays, were already blown out and there was no way to save that portion of my photo I decided to go with the flow and add some Moveable Color. I used the Pastel:Citrine light from the Innocence workflow. And, voila, completion.

And finally, I almost always use an Action on the entire piece to tie each step together. Whether it be a matte, or a simple Action set, it gives the entire piece cohesion. For this photo, I used Paddington from the Innocence workflow set.  

SOMETHINGS I LOVE ABOUT GRATER THAN GATSBY... 

~ Every aspect of a GTG workflow is able to be tweaked, and adjusted, to your personal preference.

~The Action and Presets are extremely easy to instal. 

~ If you do not like an Action deleting them is painless because they are all stacked in folders. No more deleting each individual step that makes up an Action, now you simply delete the entire group. 

~ In my opinion, they are more cost effective than other Action and Preset Companies, but you still receive phenomenal products.

This piece was a collaborative Easter submission for Outside The City Gate