Perfect In-Camera, Then Photoshop
Photoshop is without a doubt, an amazing tool, and what you can do with compositing and the artistry behind your images is clearly beyond the capabilities of your camera. However, for photographers that are delivering thousands of images on a weekly or a monthly basis, photoshopping every single image is simply not a plausible reality.
If it’s a commercial shoot, where you are only delivering a handful of images, you might spend a lot more of your time finishing those images inside of Photoshop, but there are many facets of this industry that require heavy image counts, and a sustainable post-production workflow for these jobs doesn’t include the tedious editing qualities Photoshop has to offer. Photoshopping each and every single image will be too cumbersome and is going to take too much of your time away from the actual process of shooting which is where you make your money.
Our foundation to photographing images is constructed through trial and error, and post-production lends itself to being a guiding tool of what areas to improve upon for your next shoot. Maybe it will start by you noticing that your images have a common theme of underexposure or that your ambient light to flash balance is just a bit off, whatever it may be, take note and fix it the next time you faced with a similar situation.
Camera, Lightroom, Photoshop
Our first image is our straight-out-of-camera image, and there are a couple of things that I know I’m going to have to fix in post when it gets to this type of shot. One, we’re adding a lot of light to this shot and therefore light reflects off of her red dress and causes red highlights in a lot of places on her body; It’s going to come from the sun, it’s going to come from everything. Any light that hits her dress or hits the jewelry can bounce and create unflattering light in other places, so I know I need to fix that. Two, our model has prominent highlights on her face from the heat and we want to diffuse that to reduce the appearance of them in the image.
The goal is to spend the least amount of time in post fixing the errors from in-camera, and instead on fine tuning to enhance the image rather than to save it.
There are portions in the background and foreground that require mild retouching, and Lightroom’s Healing Tool doesn’t really do the job of seamless retouching so now is our opportunity to take the image into Photoshop.
Even when we look at the images side by side, you can see that the image for the most part was shot correctly in camera, and we spent maybe 15, 20 minutes just cleaning up things like fly-away hairs, background elements, and skin-enhancement to get it to the final product.
Make it a habit to watch for the details that will end up saving you time in post, even if you are creating composites, get it right in camera and then push the image as far as you need to go inside of Photoshop.
The more you manipulate in post production, the more you end up reducing image quality, and the more it’s going to appear unnatural. To learn more lighting tips & guidance check out Lighting 101 & Lighting 201 to perfect your additional light usage and save yourself the headache in post. Become am SLRL Premium member and see more on advance retouching and post-production tips to help streamline your workflow.