I admit it, I’m lazy. I totally enjoy spending time taking the photo, but not processing it. This week Tina has challenged us to show how we’ve turned our “forgettable” photos into “favorite” images.

Well, here’s another problem. Once I get an outing’s photos into my desktop, I delete the ones I don’t like and just process the ones I do like. So, for this challenge, I’ll show a before and after with how I edit.

Going back to my being lazy, I mostly rely on Lightroom (LR) and presets in NIK and De-noise in Topaz. Photoshop allows me to take out unwanted stuff with the spot healing brush and also replace skies. It might be more that I don’t prioritize learning more.

My examples were taken last month. This tree was taken on a very foggy morning at Boulder Ridge Park. I did basic editing in LR, working with the highlights, shadows, whites and black sliders. I then put into NIK Color Efex and used the detail extractor preset to accent the tree. I wanted the tree to stand out more. Before is on the left as you look at your monitor. After is on the right.

This next one is the entrance to Stock Ranch Preserve. Although they are not exactly the same image you can see the difference the my edits in LR and Color Efex accomplished. Here I used LR sliders to enhance the orange on the fence and Color Efex to bring out the details and enhance the sky. Of course, all my images get the crop treatment.

This is on the way to Folsom Dam. Again not exactly the same image, but a good example of what I began with. I worked with the shadow and black sliders in LR and the tone curve. I brought it into Color Efex to bring out the sky and clouds. When in Color Efex, I use the sliders also. However, I haven’t mastered the control points.

This last image is of trees along a portion the Miner’s Ravine Trail. I love trees, especially when they have lost their leaves. They are so expressive. Again, the same treatment in LR and Color Efex. I also cropped the tree that seemed to be in the middle. For this I wanted to lighten up the tree trunk, keep the tree shadows and highlight the sun. Color Efex brought out more detail.

I know I can do more with the editing programs I have. Will I prioritize the time to learn. I hope so.

27 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #134: From Forgettable to Favorite

  1. Well Anne, from my perspective – unless you are doing an artistic impression – editing is about small “tweaks” rather than drastic changes. The key is knowing enough to move your image to your vision of the scene rather than your camera’s. Clearly you’ve mastered the techniques enough to do exactly that. Anything else is just icing on the cake!

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    1. Thanks Amy! I agree that it’s easy to tell the difference when they are side by side. But I would like to learn how to do that thing where you can click and drag one photo over the other.

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  2. I think you’re on top of this editing thing 🙂 All your edits are improvements on the originals without drastically altering what you saw. Like you, I use Color Efex detail extractor, although I often need the sliders to make the effect a bit more subtle. The tonal contrast filter can also be very useful in bringing out skies. On the subject of the control points, I’m just starting to use those more. I find the ‘minus’ one useful if part of the photo looks unnatural when the filter is applied, and the ‘plus’ one if I only want it in one area, such as the sky. But they’re a bit frustrating at times because of the fixed circle shape.

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    1. Thank you Sarah! I also use the sliders in detail extractor. Thanks for the info on the control points. I’ll have to start experimenting with them. I’ve also started to stack filters just to see what happens.

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  3. Thanks for reminding me about the Nik collection. I forget I own it, usually, I get caught up in the same workflow every time. I need to think about some of the other tools I have in my kit. Nice collection, Anne!

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  4. I think your edits really highlight the best features of each image. The sky and the wood bridge in your second image are dramatically different and really add to the final effect. Lovely. I like your edits in the first tree image as well. You’ve really highlighted the shape of the tree and your edits eliminated any distraction in the foreground. Great job!

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