Tag Archives: Nik Color Efex Pro

Liberate Your Art

Sometimes I am asked if an image was edited with Adobe Photoshop. My answer is almost always yes, at least to some degree. To be well-rounded in your photographic skills these days, it is important to sharpen your camera skills, management of light, AND editing your images on the computer.

I work with all of my images using Adobe Lightroom, and then for some of those images, I take them a step further and use Adobe Photoshop to enhance them. I also use a variety of great plugins from companies like Topaz Labs, Google Nik Software, Alien Skin Software, and others.

In this photograph, I’ll break down the main sections where I edited the image using various tools. My model’s name is Vanessa. She was absolutely wonderful to work with.

Here are the areas that were modified from the original image.

First I tweaked the overall image light levels just a little bit in Adobe Lightroom. My camera exposure settings were pretty much perfect already, so I didn’t have to adjust the image very much.

A. In these areas, I made some Photoshop edits. I added the fake ball of light using the Photoshop Filter->Render->Lens Flare option. Then there was a clothes pin holding the fabric that I had to remove with the Photoshop Clone Stamp tool and the Healing Brush.

B. I did a little smoothing of her skin using Nik Color Efex Pro‘s Dynamic Skin Softener Tool.  Vanessa didn’t really need much smoothing because her complexion was already wonderful.

C. I used my Topaz Glow plugin from Topaz Labs just to enhance Vanessa’s hair and the fabric ever so slightly.  I also used Topaz Glow to modify the ball of light to have a more unusual look.

D. I dropped in a different background using Photoshop Layers and Layer Masks, just to further mix things up and just to give the photo a bit different look from the original studio shot.

Here is the original photo, as shot in my studio (note the clothes pin)

There are an infinite number of options for how you might edit any photograph. This is really a lot of fun, once you learn how to use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and explore some of the many plugins.

I encourage you to not get “stuck” in just one aspect of photography. Explore your creativity. Challenge yourself technically. Experiment with different lighting techniques.  Improve your photo editing skills. Dare to liberate yourself to create art, not just photographs.

Happy Photography

Kevin Gourley