Ok, so one thing I always enjoy seeing is how people bring their photos from SOOC (straight out of camera) to the final product. Typically, the most awesome end photos are awesome already SOOC, but I’ve seen amazing artists do amazing thing with ill-lit or otherwise flawed material.
I haven’t reached the point where I can save a badly lit photo, but I thought I would share with you my current process for editing a photo.
The first photo is “SOOC” – I shoot in RAW so technically this is straight from RAW… but close enough. RAW allows for more flexibility in editing, so I try to always shoot in RAW; however, there is some altering of the photo in the processing to JPG that is inherent in RAW. At least, I think there is.
Top left photo is the SOOC+crop – this step comes first, typically, and then tweaked before export. For headshots, I grab every photo in lightroom and adjust the aspect ratio to 8×10 before I do anything else. Then, I’ll go through and individually edit each photo’s crop and straightning.
Top right photo is SOOC+crop+lightroom adjustments. This varys wildly depending on the photo. I either use my own tweaking or I’ll use a preset and go from there. For this photo I used a preset and tweaked from there.
The bottom two photos are after final photoshop tweaking. Sharpening the eyes, dodge the eye whites, brush out stray hairs, tweak the levels, and then convert to b/w for a b/w version (I use a setting for this, because I am lazy and the person who made the setting is amazingly talented and really, I don’t need to reinvent the wheel).
So, that’s kind of how I go through processing a photo. Not every photo makes it to the photoshop step; not every photo even makes it to the cropping step. But for all my final photos, this is pretty much the process.