Taking a picture is only the first step. After that comes processing, but how do you know what to do to bring out the best in the photo?
Notice the paper wrapper floating in the water in front of the bird? Ugly. So is that strange plant growth in front of the bird. I decided to get rid of both. I used Content Aware in PS. I also flipped the photo, because I’m more comfortable working from the other direction.
This one step can improve your photos immensely.
Now we have a decision to make: where to go from here? If you’re me, you’re going to remove noise, clarify, saturate the colors, blah blah. ‘Cause that’s what I usually do. There are minute adjustments made in each step, but this is the general result.
Pretty good, eh? The bird has been sharpened, the color is richer. You almost feel like you could touch it. But what if we’d gone in a different direction? What if we’d applied the Orton Effect?
Below: the bird was kept sharp, everything else is blurry, forcing focus on the bird. Subtle touches can be added during this process, meaning you can mask back the water around the heron’s legs to a lesser or greater degree. There is no end to the things you can do.
As you can see, processing a photo can be as simple or as difficult as you want to make it. Minute changes alter everything, and there is never an end. I could keep experimenting, change the textures, swap out backgrounds…. <whew> If you have Topaz filters, there are still a zillion things you can do with this photo.
This is why photography never bores me. I never know what I’ll end up with, and I’m always learning new methods and techniques. Exciting!
Tell me which version you prefer and why in the comments.