Sunday, March 8, 2009

Photoshop Before and Afters

One of my favorite websites is The Pioneer Woman. Her writing is often hilarious and sometimes very poignant. Her recipes are tasty. And her photographs are nothing short of inspirational.

When the mister got me a new camera for Christmas I, of course, turned to the Pioneer Woman for some basic photography tips (high school photography was a long time ago and I used film back then; the digital camera was slightly intimidating).

Once I took some pictures I realized I would need some basic dumb-dumb photo editing tips because I seem incapable of mastering things like composition and exposure.

The perk of having a dad in the newspaper business is access to photoshop, an insanely expensive program. The downfall is that I have no idea how to use it. So I again turned to the Pioneer Woman and downloaded her photoshop actions (Set One and Set Two), which combine a series of steps to get a particular look. I tinker with them once in a while. Below are two examples.

First, one of the roses the mister got me for Valentine's Day. I liked the original, but found that one bit of green sticking out on the right kind of distracting, so I cropped the photo to get rid of that. Then I ran Pioneer Woman's Soft and Faded action and decreased the opacity to 50% to get that sort of washed-out look.

Next up, the mister. I almost always get pictures of this man flicking me off, picking his nose, or mid-sneeze. I have very few good pictures of him. This time, though, I surprised him and he didn't have time to make a face or be annoying. I like the original photo a lot, but we were outside on a very chilly day so his poor nose and ears were all red. I tried tinkering to reduce the redness, but he just ended up looking all sickly and mid-Minnesota-winter pale, since the only way I know how to tinker ended up removing all color from his skin tone.

So I ran Pioneer Woman's Black and White action. Got rid of all that red and I think he looks very dramatic.

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