Home photography Living Arrows 3/52 (and the importance of post-processing)

Living Arrows 3/52 (and the importance of post-processing)

by Clare Mansell
Living Arrows 3/52 (and the importance of post-processing)

In my Living Arrows post today I want to show you something I don’t often share. It’s a “straight out of camera” (aka SOOC) photo and I think it’s important to share because I believe there is a myth that beautiful photos are always just a camera upgrade away and if only you had that extra £500/£1000 to spend on a camera your pictures would be better too.


The biggest leap I ever made photographically was realising that a lot of photos are crafted outside the camera. Of course, sometimes when the light is fantastic and you have oodles of time and a willing model you can create something wonderful in camera, but my life isn’t like that!

I’ve got a 4 year-old who gets bored easily, a 2 month old who starts to cry about twenty seconds after the pram stops moving, dogs who get in the way of what I’m trying to shoot, and also as useful as it would be I don’t have a spare hand to carry a reflector with me!

So (deep breath) this is what I started with…

straight out of camera image

ISO 400, 50mm, f/2.0, 1/800

I think a great word to describe this would be “sludgy.” It’s dark, the colours don’t pop and there’s a few distracting elements in it.  My eye is much more sophisticated than my camera and has a higher dynamic range,  so this is not even a fair representation of what I was seeing either. (There’s a myth that the Jpegs from your camera are “true to life” they are not… but that’s another post, for another day)

Although I do 90% of my processing in Lightroom this one needed  a lot of help so I worked in Photoshop. I started with my RAW image, and the firstly I got rid of the dog (which is more of a messy white blob!) over Theo’s left shoulder by using the clone tool. While I was at it I also got rid of the logo on his jacket, some of you may be thinking that’s a lot of effort, but it probably took me 20 seconds at most to do it and it gets rid of distracting parts of the photo. Next I adjusted the photo using Curves. Curves allows you to adjust the light and contrast in an image and I use it on most of my pictures. Then I boosted the saturation a bit and finally I sharpened it.

So what do you think? Let me know in the comments if you found this post useful, if I get a good response I may do some screencast videos so you can see exactly how I edit an image.Living Arrows

You may also like


Karen January 18, 2016 - 3:52 pm

What a lovely photo Clare. Great to see how you did it too. I’ve been using LR for a while now do ought to give photoshop another try

claremansell@mac.com January 18, 2016 - 7:12 pm

You can do curves in Lightroom too, it’s just easier to do in Photoshop, likewise with the cloning tool

Pamela | Life With Munchers January 19, 2016 - 8:46 pm

Yes for the curves tool! I’m a fan of exposure tool too, as I like that grunge look to my pics (and it hides so many sins) x

jan - isisjem January 20, 2016 - 10:52 am

I could see some things had been changed in the picture but until you pointed them out I couldn’t tell what all of them were. I only use a very old photoshop for basic stuff like cropping, straightening and brightening. I have heard of lightroom but not investigated it.

Caroline JG January 20, 2016 - 6:31 pm

Very interesting indeed! I’m using Picasa for super basic enhancements on my pictures. I should really start learning about Photoshop. Would you recommend any helpful online class?

Emma T January 20, 2016 - 9:42 pm

I do my post processing in picmonkey at the moment, although I did a Lightroom course a couple of months ago. Well, I say did, I only made a copule of the webinars so need to revisit, download and get using it.

Emma January 21, 2016 - 2:43 pm

Oh yes, lightroom has become my best friend! Especially in the winter months! xx

Kerri-Ann January 21, 2016 - 10:05 pm

Oh wow. Such a beautiful image and I cannot believe how easy some of the editing sounds. Although I’m sure it’s not as simple as that. You take such beautiful images. I would love to know any tips. Your boy is so gorgeous and sounds just like mine. x #livingarrows


Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More