Bringing Back Color, Detail and Richness in Your Photos with Photoshop

Pet-Photography-Photoshop-Tutorial(Originally posted on the Kira DeDecker blog)

I love Photoshop. Oh, yeah, I’m a complete Photoshop whore. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lightroom but my one true love is and probably always be Photoshop. Over the years, as I’ve refined my own workflow, I’ve discovered neat little multipurpose tricks that take my work to the next level and make my life and post processing easier.

So before we start, can I just gush about how much I love Kitsune and her session? For reals, I think I’m going to make it my mission to photograph this dog whenever I get a chance. Amazing little spitz (and you know I love a spitz).

(Because it comes up almost every time I post about post processing — I don’t use commercial/bought actions or presets. I’ve tried using them but they’re just not for me. I do, however, use my own actions and presets that I made myself just as a time saver. In general, anything that takes more than two steps I make into an action.)
01Alrighty, here is the naked Straight Out of Camera shot. This photo is part of a series of action shots that were taken on a slightly overcast day on a field in Scottsdale. The exposure is decent – I wanted to make sure I didn’t overblow the white on left side of Kitsune’s face but in doing so, the image is tad underexposed for my taste.

02For the RAW edit, I just upped the exposure a bit (+61), added a bit of contrast since it was overcast and the image is heavy in the midtones (+25), took down the highlights (-27) and whites (-12) in the image since the left side of Kitsune’s face is getting on the bright side and finally I lifted the shadows with the blacks (-22).

03Next, I import the image from Lightroom into Photoshop as a Smart Object. On a new and separate layer I clone out distracting items like the leash. I also clean up some eye boogies and stray hairs using the Heal Tool.

04Next, I do my usual workflow that includes: levels to tweak the exposure, contrast, saturation and brightness. Kitsune looks great, I love her color, clairty and brightness but when editing for her, the grass got washed out and the greens look neon. Ew. The rest of the photos from the set don’t have neon grass so I need to deepen the grass to match the rest of the photos.

05To bring back the richness and color of the grass, I create an adjustment layer (Curves is my personal fave) and set the blend mode to Multiply. I then reverse the mask from white to black by selecting the mask and clicking CTR+I. Next, I paint with a big white brush where I want to bring back depth.

The white on the left side of Kitsune’s face is looking a tad bright so I take the brush and lower the opacity to about 10% and go over the bright whites to bring them back to around the 245 mark – I want the whites bright (I don’t want to over do it so much that it gets gray) but I also want to retain some detail because I don’t want it to blow out when it’s printed. Besides being great for bringing back color and richness, the Multiply Blend Mode is also great so burning and bringing back highlights that are getting too bright!

(A side note: You can press “\” to see your mask in real time in quickmask mode or alternatively, click “Alt+the layer mask” to see what the final mask looks like to see if you missed anything)

06 Annndddd here is the finally product, topped off with my usual vignette.

Kitsune-Multiply-B&AIf you need any more tips or advice on post processing, please feel free to leave a comment. I would be glad to try and help.

Kira DeDecker is an on-location, natural light, lifestyle pet photographer specializing in one-of-a-kind fine art and modern portraits. She works exclusively with pets to create vibrant, quirky and soulful works of art. In addition to her dog photography, she also photographs needy animals pro-bono for non-profit animal organizations.

Kira DeDecker Photography is based in Glendale AZ and serves the Metro Phoenix area (Scottsdale, Peoria, Phoenix, Suncity, Surprise, Goodyear, Avondale and Tempe) and beyond.

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November 2, 2013 - 1:02 pm

Beautiful Beasties is Back... | Kira DeDecker Photography Blog - […] Bringing Back Color, Detail and Richness in your Photos […]

November 29, 2013 - 8:49 pm

Grant - Brilliant. Love your style, love the photo, and love the dog. Thanks.

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