Before & After Photo Editing | Auburn Opelika, East Alabama Photographer | Lauren Beesley Photographer

Every now and then I think it’s fun to pull back the curtain and show what goes on behind the scenes of Lauren Beesley Photography. One of the things people don’t really see me do as a photographer, but that often takes as much or more time than the actual planning and execution of a photo session is….drumroll….EDITING.

I have a love hate relationship with editing, I’ll be honest. When I first started photography, I discovered Picnic and later PicMonkey and oh man I thought I had the coolest editing skills ever. Should I show some slightly embarrassing examples for like 4 years ago? Sure, why not.

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I clearly loved seeing all the different combinations of edits and filters I could apply to my images, and I do think that’s important when you’re working out your personal editing style. However, just like my photography skills and equipment, my editing skills and software have also drastically improved over the past several years. For a while I used Polarr and Gimp to edit, which is very similar to Adobe Lightroom, and sort of like Photoshop, but for the past few years I have been a loyal Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop User.

But this post isn’t really about my history with editing, it’s to show you how I process your images to make you look your best! These days, cameras are pretty good. DSLRs are obviously very good, mirrorless cameras are very good, point and shoots are good, cell phone cameras are even pretty good...so sometimes what really makes an image stand out (besides the use of proper lighting and composition), is editing.

What I’m going to show you are 2 different versions of several photos that represent the common corrections and changes I make when editing your images:

  1. The unedited RAW image - Straight from my camera (*GASP!*)

  2. The final color corrected and retouched image

Example 1: (Natural Edit)

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I wanted to feature this photo first for a couple reasons - 1. Because it is the same beautiful model (my sister) as the example from four years ago, and 2. Because it's a good example of how I try to keep my retouching as natural as possible! When I talk about retouching, I don't mean airbrushing your face until you can't recognize it - just smoothing over day to day blemishes and textures that might distract from your best features like your eyes and smile!

Example 2: (Color Correction and Background Edit)

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Honest moment: Sometimes colors aren't always 100% spot on straight out of the camera, or in some cases the shade or weather on location causes less than ideal light and/or unwanted reflected colors. In this example, the background is also a little distracting from the subject with the patchy grass and bright spot in the left side of the frame. Luckily I can fix that! Corrected the cooler colors from the shady location, cleaned up the grass in Photoshop, and added a tree to fill some of that empty bright space! It's rare that I need to make such drastic edits to the background of an image, but it's nice to have the skills to do it when situations like this arise.

Example 3: (Hair Fix)

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Sessions move quickly from pose to pose, location to location. And while we'll try to keep your hair perfect for every shot, sometimes hairspray fails or the wind just takes over and things come apart. Don't worry, I'll fix that for you too. This is a pretty minor example, because Maddie probably has the best hair of any senior I met this past year, but I've fixed everything from frizzy hair to stray hairs to hair caught in glasses, hair that got caught in the wind at the last second and stuck to lipstick, you name it!

Example 4: (Lighting and Color Correction)

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Here's an example where because of where Molly was standing, the leaves were causing some shadows in her face, and also casting a slightly green color onto her skin. Not to mention there being a dead leaf right there next to her hand! After a little editing to even out the lighting under her eyes and around her face, and tweaking the colors to have a bit more warmth for a natural glowing skin tone/tropical feel, voila! A vibrant, stunning image of a naturally beautiful girl!

Example 5: (Lighting, Color Correction, Background, and Clothing Fix)

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And finally, sometimes you are running out of light at the end of a session, you're being chased by a curious semi-domesticated deer (a long but true story), the petticoat for your model's gorgeous dress is starting to get too heavy and warm for your summer session so you ditch part of that, and with all of that going on, the image straight out of the camera needs a bit of work on all fronts. Not a problem. Add some warmth to offset the evening shade, brighten the subject so she stands out against the background, clean up some details like dress wrinkles, pine cones, minor blemishes, and a few stray hairs...and you'd never know about any of those obstacles I just mentioned! Ellie is the perfect image of a graceful princess.

All of the edits above and all the edits I deliver to clients are tailored to the individual images to bring the focus to the subject, and eliminate things that could otherwise distract from the natural beauty of the people in the photo. I don’t advertise it often, but this kind of editing is included with your images because I truly believe you deserve to have the best possible photos from your investment. I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the behind the scenes of my photographer life, and learned something new along the way! If you have any questions about my workflow, camera equipment, settings, editing software, etc, I'm an open book! Leave a comment below or email me at lbeesleyphoto@gmail.com!