Spot the Difference!

As a kid, I remember being obsessed with Spot the Difference games, published in the cartoon section of the Sunday newspaper. Yes, I was already pretty detail obsessed as a kid, and it helped develop eagle eyes which serve me well in my current career.

Today, I created  my own version of Spot the Difference for you to enjoy. Below are three images: a raw straight-out-of-camera image, a proofing image and a final artprint. Subtle and not-so-subtle differences can be found in all three images, but on first glance – they may not be so discernible.

For me, less is more. I’m a photographer, and Photoshop is merely a tool in my arsenal.

I had long been wanting to write a post on Photoshop and my personal philosophy about it. One drunken evening, I remember debating with fellow photographers over the question, “If Ansel Adams had photoshop during his time, would be use it?” My answer? Hell YES. If you have access to an extra tool to improve something, why wouldn’t you use it? My pet peeve lies with photographers who rely on Photoshop for everything, including “fixing” a bad image. No clouds today? Let’s drop in a pretty sky later! No sun in sight? Easy! I’ll add in a sunflare in post. There’s a photoshop solution for every bad photography situation possible. UGH, UGH. UGH. Definitely not my style.

For me, a bad image is a bad image. Throw those away. But yes, in a pinch – Photoshop can do wonders and enhance what’s already there. My personal goal to get as close to a final image right in capture. But sometimes working with lighting limitations, and venue restrictions, I find Photoshop to be heavensent, transforming an ok photo into something truly wonderful.

Here’s my personal post-production recipe :

Ingredients: a raw image, Photoshop CS6, coffee.

How to:

a) straighten horizons and crop image.

b) adjust exposure, contrast and color balance to taste. Refer to histogram. (Stop here, for proofing image.)

c) remove distracting elements in background. Exit signs, light switches, photobombing relatives and pedestrians.

d) burn and dodge details.

e) enhance facial images, smoothen complexion as needed. Liquify, very sparingly, unless you work in the fashion industry.

f) add my top secret recipe textures for final print output.

Serve up and enjoy!  (If you are not happy with the output, convert to BLACK and WHITE and call it art. KIDDING.)

Have a great weekend everybody!



P.S. If you are interested in the answers – turn your computer monitor upside down to see the answer key. Nah! Write them down in the comment box below and I’ll post the answers next week.

Raw Straight out of Camera Image

Proofing Image

Final Edited Art Image

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