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Category Archives: before & afters

If you’re viewing this from your phone, or you received this post via email, you won’t have the fancy before and after slider.

I don’t post before and afters very often because I feel they open me up to a tonne of hate from purists who think this amount of editing is “cheating”. In my darkroom back in my film days I would do all sorts of whacky stuff to get different effects so I don’t think that digital editing is any less part of the craft. Plus and it comes with the bonus of no carcinogenic chemicals, win!

This was the first shot I took of Frank in this series of images for his spread in my Tails of Sydney book and it was a test to see if the balance between my flash and the ambient light was correct. It wasn’t what I was aiming for but I love Frank’s expression so I decided to do some work on it. The before is completely RAW and straight out of camera. The after is a combination of editing done in Lightroom and Photoshop. You’ll see I moved the surfer so he was still part of the story but not so close to Frank’s ear.

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You’ll be able to see more of Frank when the book comes out. Only another 79 shoots to go!

It’s been a while since I’ve used my fancy before & after slider (which if you’re viewing from your phone, or you received this post via email, you won’t have, sorry!). Editing my RAW files has always held just as much enjoyment for me as rolling around in the dirt taking the photos in the first place. People often say to me “I have good gear but my photos don’t look like yours”, it’s pretty much the same as me saying “I have a great oven but my food never tastes restaurant quality”! (And that’s not a hypothetical statement, cooking definitely isn’t my forté.) It’s really important to get the basics right in-camera – composition, expression, exposure, focus – but the fine tuning in Lightroom and Photoshop is what gives my photos that something special that’s unique to me. It’s not a preset or an action, it’s the result of years of practice and learning from mistakes. Much like a good chef.

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Of course, having super gorgeous dogs in front of my lens is a massive advantage when creating a great image! A lot more of Doug and Flynn will be coming soon.

After missing the first photo challenge I almost missed the third one too, but the deadline was extended to accommodate others so I decided to get up bright and early on Sunday morning and take the whingebag (that’d be Bruno in case you weren’t aware of his most annoying character flaw) for a spin down the coast in the hope of finding a deserted beach. The theme was water, which I chose, so it would have been a bit rubbish if I didn’t take part. You’ve probably seen lots of photos of Bruno playing with other dogs and think he’s a social butterfly I can take anywhere but the opposite is true. He does love other dogs, but he loves them too much, to the point of obsession, which makes taking photos of him when there are other dogs around really difficult. In fact even if there are none around he’ll still spend the whole time looking for some. As a result I have an ever-growing collection of photos of him staring into the distance. On Sunday we waited for ages for the other dogs to leave the beach but within minutes of putting him in position for the shot another one arrived and once Bruno has locked his focus onto a dog there’s no way to get him to look at the camera instead. Not noises, not food, not even an entire jar of peanut butter. So, I just took a few shots and put him back onlead before he decided to go and introduce himself … in his own over-the-top and usually unwelcome manner that brings shame on the whole family!

The objective of the challenge is to try new things. What’s different about this shot for me is it wasn’t taken at sunset or sunrise and I didn’t use a shallow depth of field.

I showed a preview of this post to my husband and he asked why I’m showing how much work I had to do to make the image look good. So, I should explain that I intentionally underexposed the image so I wouldn’t lose the detail in the sky. I knew how I wanted the final image to look as I was shooting it and the beauty of shooting in RAW is that the files have so much information contained within them that I was able to create a final image that wouldn’t have been possible to achieve in-camera without a reflector or off camera lighting. Drag the slider left and right to see the before and after. (If you received the blog post by email you probably won’t have a slider, click on the heading to open the post in a browser.)

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Being the perfectionist that I am I made two previous attempts at creating an image for the challenge. My first was the images of Jax running at the end of this post, but he wouldn’t run through through the water like I wanted him to, so they didn’t make the cut. My second was this photo of Bruno playing with the hose, but I felt the images were a bit rushed and snapshot-y, so they didn’t make the cut either!