Coco Chanel used to advise that when a woman thinks she is done dressing to take a look in the mirror and remove one item from the ensemble. I kind of feel that way about Photoshop and special effects in photography, especially Senior Portraits and Wedding Photography.
I am pretty much a purist when it comes to my own photography. I think with people just starting out learning digital photography, there is a tendency to maybe use too many filters or Photoshop to enhance images. Or worse, to try to “save” images that are poorly exposed or lit. I learned photography back in the dinosaur days of film. You pretty much had to get it right in the camera and there were not a lot of options to “fix” things later. A good lab could help with some basic exposure/color issues and basic retouching. That was it. Shooting with film makes you slow down and really think about what you are doing. Sure, there are times when I still mess up, but even then I still know what I was attempting to accomplish.
As for my own workflow, below is an example of what I personally like–correct exposure and color. I am not really a fan of filters or presets that are used ad nauseum by some photographers. If that is their personal style, great. I am just not that into them. Besides, I feel like if everyone is using the same filters, all the images tend to look the same. The image below is really simple, just the way I like it.
Really I just warmed the image up very slightly. I don’t think it needs anything funky. She looks like the fairy queen Titania in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ethereal. She doesn’t really need retouching because her skin is so great.
So the next time you are editing your own images–take a step back and see if there is something you could take away. It is actually kind of liberating.
Did you enjoy this article on photography and workflow? You might also enjoy this article on Retouching.
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