Home living arrows Living Arrows – 25/52

Living Arrows – 25/52

by Clare Mansell
Living Arrows – 25/52
ISO 100, 50mm, f/3.5, 1/200

When I publish my Living Arrows portrait I often get comments from people asking about how to take better images. There is a lot of advice available about how to improve your composition and the lenses to buy, but one thing that remained a mystery to me until about three years ago was processing images.

The image above is a processed image. The image below is straight out of camera. The difference isn’t massive, but the alterations I have made help make the image more striking. I shoot RAW which enables me to alter my saturation and exposure (and other things if I want) in a non-destructive way, so that was the first step with this photo. I then took it into Photoshop where I sharpened the eyes and duplicated layers to play with the light. This last step I made up as I went along. I don’t know Photoshop inside out, even after many years use I am still learning, so I use the Living Arrows project as an excuse to experiment every week.

By showing you this what I’m really trying to say is don’t be disheartened if the images you download off your camera are lacking an X factor, they often do. Processing is a vital (and sometimes time consuming) step, but I think it’s worth it.

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Faded Seaside Mama June 23, 2014 - 9:36 am

Thanks for sharing this insight. It’s always reassuring to discover that even the best photographers use a little help occasionally. Interestingly, I posted completely unedited photos this week as a sort of experiment in my own photography skills. But I’ll be taking your tips onboard in the future.

Clare Mansell June 23, 2014 - 9:49 am

I think it’s probably a bit like flower arranging. You can grow and pick some beautiful flowers, but you can make them look extra good by selecting the right vase and arranging them well. I never get fixed on one way with photos being the “right” way, I just keep experimenting. 🙂

Jenny Ripatti-Taylor June 23, 2014 - 12:48 pm

I love your portraits each week, so beautiful and I love that you teach us all as you go. I am dying to figure out how to use my photoshop elements 12 but just haven’t had the time. #livingarrows

pixiedusk June 23, 2014 - 5:58 pm

Amazing tips. Sadly I dont have photoshop.I really wanted to have one and learn how to properly edit images. I also would want to use that in my presentation drawings (I am a mature student too!). I love his eyes on this photo =) #LivingArrows

Carie June 23, 2014 - 9:42 pm

I totally agree – processing is the final polish on a shot – especially if you are shooting in RAW, the fact that you need to process is the pay off for the flexibility to be able to change so much – and as your final shot shows, it’s definitely worth it!

Toby Goes Bananas June 24, 2014 - 8:00 pm

What a great idea to share the original image – I only use picmonkey but even a bit of basic editing in there can make all the difference.

Clare Mansell June 24, 2014 - 8:52 pm

I started out using a thing called Picnic which was part of Flickr and really like Picmonkey. Then when Google bought Flickr they axed it and I was left adrift so I had to find other ways to edit – turns out they did me a favour! 🙂


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