I belong to a number of photography communities on Facebook. One of those group is Pretty Presets for Lightroom. The group is really nice for photographers of all levels. I’ve been a community member for quite some time; I have been published in their magazine, and have had three articles published on their blog! The Pretty Presets group has challenges every so often, and this image of Leslie, Elise, Henry and Olive received an Honorable Mention 😀
Thank you, Pretty Presets for the support over the years! Check out the winner and the 8 other Honorable Mentions HERE!!
Interested in your own session with wendy b photos? Email firstname.lastname@example.org today! Openings are available in June and July!
This one is for the anyone curious about RAW files. I’m going to talk a little about why I shoot in RAW file format and why you might want to consider doing it as well. But first, let’s rewind…rewind…rewind… (if you sang that like Angelica Schulyer in “Satisfied” from Hamilton, consider this your internet high five).
A quick and dirty intro on what a RAW file is; a RAW file is a digital image file that contains every bit of digital data. A JPG file which most people are familiar with, is a digital image that has been compressed into one digital “hunk”. To make this a visual, imagine a sandy beach. The individual grains of sand that make up the beach are your RAW digital pixels. The beach itself is the compressed JPG.
I’m pretty confident in my shooting ability, I know I’m going to get my exposure right, my focus, my DOF etc. I thought I was fine shooting in JPG file format. Having never really bothered to use RAW on my other bodies, I didn’t know what I was missing. I couldn’t see the grains of sand through the beach, so to speak. I decided to flip into RAW a while back and when I saw the preview on my LCD, I thought “what a waste, this is exactly the same,” and then I loaded the RAWS into my editing software and great gravy biscuits!
The amount of information that was available was like WHOA. You can edit a JPG file, but that was barely scratching the surface. A RAW file holds every ounce of data- I could pin point the exact white balance temperature, something I was doing pretty OK with (but why be pretty OK when you can be THAT’S AWESOME?). I can sharpen an image to my taste (rather than let the camera decide what is best), in other words- shooting in RAW gives you so much more creative space. I can move grains of sand, without destroying the beach.
Another thing RAW can do for you, is save your behind. The beauty of digitals is that you can delete out whatever garbage photo you happened to snag, however deleting from your card is bad for the card, and firing off junk shots (or “spray and pray” photography) is killer on your shutter. Shooting in RAW gives you the freedom, to make saves when need be.
While shooting a newborn in a relatively dark room, I needed to add some extra light. I set my speed light to bounce light in my soft box, and went to work. I got some shots that were great, but I hadn’t realized that my speed light wasn’t recycling fast enough. I did a quick setting change (less power from the flash until I could take a minute and put fresh batteries in) but I ended up with one totally black frame. I thought, “ Crap, she looked so cute…” and then I was like “DUH YOU’RE SHOOTING RAW. YOU CAN GET THAT BACK.” And guess what…
It’s pretty amazing to see the save, right? Had I been shooting in JPG, I would have had to toss it. I would have thrown out the pretty wrap, the open eyes, the little pucker lips! There’s no way I would have been able to bring this back. That’s not to say that you should shoot in RAW and just go ahead and blow your images because you can save them in post- it’s always best to get your shot right in camera. Recovering an image won’t make it perfect- there will be grain, and you may not be a fan of grain in images- but it can make them useable. This particular image was not one I was willing to let go.
If you shoot RAW, what great things do you like best about it? Did you always shoot raw or did you make the change? What made you decide to go RAW? Leave a comment!
I shared on my Facebook page that I had been experimenting with some different editing styles and a friend suggested seeing the side by side which is a great idea 🙂 The newer edits are more matte, slightly film like.
In this first example, you can see how vivid the fall colors are. A lot of this is to do with the available light- we had a gorgeous day with lots of light hitting those leaves making everything REALLY bright and strong. In the after, I applied a soft matte and texture which softened those colors without desaturating them too much.
In this image of Cecelia, the edit made the greens a bit deeper and the image a bit cooler/ bluer. I like what happened with the green, but I’m not sold on the skin tone- this is an example of how this newer edit style for me may not work as well on every image, with every skin tone 🙂 I like both images, and could do some work on the skin to bring back some warmth and maybe a bit of light but for comparison’s sake, this is a “one click” edit.
Then there’s my Lilly. The first edit was almost exactly what I wanted; I remember being really happy with the image over all, but also feeling like something was missing. I shot this over a year ago, and had one of those “AHA!” moments when I created my matte/ film edit. The change is subtle but I love it. Her skin looks perfect, the greens are deep and rich, the matte and grain is just right. I love the clean image, but the film-like texture is *exactly* what I was hoping to get.
I took some photos of my daughters for their 9th birthday, and edited totally with the new look and loved every one.
So you can see, the changes aren’t huge, but change is hard for lots of people myself included. I’ve been a pretty “safe” editor but something in my gut has been pushing me to try something, to push my boundaries and experiment with my editing style. Like I’ve said, I can’t promise that this softer, grainy, textured, darker look will work with all sessions or images, but I do know that it’s been a lot of fun to use and I really like the look!