Behind the Scenes with Shooting Star’s Post Processing!

The secret is out of the bag South Jersey! Photographers aren’t just great behind the camera these days, they are often magical wizards when it comes to the post-processing department (meaning editing your photographs)!  I’m spilling a little beans at what goes on in my editing process.

I am a firm believer in getting my photographs correct in camera. In fact, that’s what I always strive for.  

I never want to have to later rely on Lightroom or Photoshop to “fix” my issues or problems. I go into every shoot with direction.  I know how I want things to go, what poses we’ll be doing, and if using props, utilizing them to their full potential (I’m not the biggest fan of props, fyi.)

I am not bossy, but I know how to give great direction and how to pose people to show them in their best light.  I think some new photographers don’t know how to take charge of the situation at times and that can be a new and difficult learning process, especially how to photograph toddlers. They can often-times be the most difficult. 

 I went a little off-track up there, but a lot of these editing programs can sometimes make photographers lazy because they always have that in the back of their minds… “Oh, well I can Photoshop that out.”  That’s all fine and dandy, but It takes up too much valuable time.  I don’t know about you, but my time is highly valuable and I try to utilize it to the best of my ability.  I’m a multi-tasker and I’m fabulous at it!  If you get it right in camera, you will only have to do minimal editing. It makes you a better photographer overall. Good images make for the best and final products. Also, it makes you more aware of details and getting things right as you are doing the session.

The point I’m trying to make is, there is a dividing line these days.  

Are we photographers or are we graphic artists?  I’ve even seen graphic artists turn to photography.  Some folks are both… Some photographers are shoot and burners where they upload and hand over the images to their clients. In a sense, they are like myself perfecting it right in camera and they don’t want to spend time editing. I consider myself somewhat of both.  

My goal is getting it right artistically in camera and then I try to “enhance” and edit it in post processing. I feel that as photographers these days you have to put on two faces in a sense. You need to be up to date, improve and perfect your skills, and know at least the basic Photoshop functions.  Hopefully, you can later expand on those functions where it is second nature… but you at least need to know what everything is, and what they do, when it comes to your editing software.  It’s expected nowadays.  

 If you do not stay on top of your game, in this ever-changing very saturated career field, you’ll be dust in the wind.

The photography field is one tough market and we need to be on top of our toes. This is why during downtime, that I partake in new editing classes.  I also will take standard photography camera classes to learn new techniques.  This is what I admire in when it comes to photography and why I’ve always had an interest in it. You could be a professional photographer for over 20 years and still not know everything there is to know.

Photography is a challenge and I was born and bred for challenges. 

  I started professionally in October 2014.  I registered my LLC, purchased insurance, props, took classes, figured out my cost of doing business, painstakingly chose the best photo processing lab by printing samples of my work, and I purchased numerous books about different aspects on photography, and they are presently expanding and taking over my library. I’ve studied up on new gear and purchased this gear and have seen myself grow in such a short amount of time.  I love that! I see the end result of hard work. 

 I am still not where I want to be and NEVER will be.

I will always strive to learn from each photo session and make the next one better.  

I’m 23 sessions in from when I started in October (and I keep booking) and from what I hear with the veterans, that have been in the game longer than myself,  I’m headed off to an excellent start.  However, I’ve been a serious hobbyist for many years and have years of experience. 

 Improving myself and challenging myself, is just who I am and I always strive for the best customer service, product and photographs!

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My before photo. Raw image.
DSC06741-Edit
My after photo.

I figured I’d write this blog post to share a bit into my post-processing and what I can do.  I do firmly believe that you need to learn how to edit and edit well as part of being a photographer these days.  

 I was able to otherwise bring this almost dark and useless photo back to life!  I exposed for the sky which made the subject a bit dark. This is a common mistake. Some actually prefer to do this, others will expose for skin tones (and my current process this is what I do now), but when you do expose for skin tones, you can also commonly “blow out your sky.” Also, the sun was shining behind them which made their faces darker. This was harsh mid-day sun. 

I shot directly into the sun. Now, I use a reflector and by using the reflector it would have made this a perfect photo in camera.. But I didn’t use it here.  See learning process!!!

However, I was able to use my editing skills to bring this photograph back to a viable, useable and fabulous photo! It turned out to be one of my favorites from this session!  It’s also another great example of why you should shoot in RAW. If this was a JPEG, I’d probably just toss this photo and deem it as unusable. 

 Here’s another before and after. I always shoot in RAW, so things look a little funny right out of camera. That’s just what those RAW files do, but if you look… my focus and the overall composition is great in this shot.  However, with a RAW photo, you always have to make adjustments. 

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My before. Raw image and straight out of camera.
DSC05838-Edit-2
My after and edited image! I went a little too artsy fartsy with this, but I did brighten it up a bit. A lot of my clients actually like this creative style. This photo was shot in the fall and wanted to bring some of those autumn colors to life!

Hope you enjoyed seeing this and a what goes into my post-processing. Most photographers, are skilled at both taking photographs and are wizards in the editing department these days!  

The top photographers in the industry can sometimes edit up to 5-6 hours to produce just one image nowadays!  Editing is a skillset just in itself and it takes a lot of patience… trial and error!  We are practically magicians these days and it’s expected!!! 

 Happy Shooting, my friends!   -Dee

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