I've seen many photographers show their "before" and "after" photos, as in what they do to their images to make them look the way they do. I thought I'd try it myself. Who wouldn't like to see the "behind the scenes" of every photographer's workflow?
First off I have to confess that I prefer the look of natural film to the look of digital images. Ever since I tried shooting with film, I find myself longing to re-create that look of film in my digital files... all to no avail. Why not shoot film then you say? Well first off film is very expensive. It comes out to about a dollar per photograph including film, processing and shipping, and that is only for the 35mm one, medium format is twice as much, but in my opinion it's still worth it. Yes you can't go and take 600 photos at a time like you would with digital, but you could take 72, which is two whole rolls of film. Of course you have to make sure that at least 75% of those film images would be really good, and to get that you have to know exactly what you're doing, but I'm getting off topic here, today it's all about my digital workflow.
For the images below I used a Canon 5d mark2 with the 35mm 1.4 lens. I don't use a lot of photoshop contrary to everyone's belief. I prefer my images to be very simple, with clean, even backgrounds and having that fresh, light and airy look to them. I make sure to expose my images correctly in camera and not blow out any highlights, that can be tricky with digital as white clothing tends to completely blow out especially when it's sunny.
I have to admit I know a lot about photoshop. I've spend a good two years in college and then after, studying everything there is to know about it, but the more I learned the less I wanted to use it in my work as I considered it too manipulative, and so now I'm leaning more and more towards all things organic and natural (film).
Now about what I actually do use. A recent development--VSCO film presets have changed my workflow completely. I wish they came up with them before, it would have saved me so much time and so many headaches. Now I have developed a formula that for the most part simply works for me and makes my images looks the way I envision them in my head. I use good old Bridge to sort out all of my images and then open them into Camera Raw. I have tried Lightroom but for some reason it just wasn't something that clicked with me, so I stuck with Bridge and Camera Raw. I apply my adjusted VSCO film preset and then open the file in Photoshop to do a little cleaning up. I inspect the photo for all those tiny little distracting elements and clone them out so that I'm left with all the focus being on the main subject in the photograph. Sharpening and everything else I do in Camera Raw so that all I'm left with is cropping. And that's it! Take a look for yourself below. See if you can spot the differences.