I always tell people when I am shooting; “Don’t worry, I can fix it in Photoshop”. Most people don’t really believe it, or they humor me, but they are always happy with the final images. I always wanted to do a before and after to show people what can be done so they might actually believe me. When I saw this image, I thought it would be a good candidate for a before / after. I won’t go into all the details as to how it was done, as that would be quite a long diatribe. But I will say a few things. First, these series of shots were done to promote a book. You can see the book in the before shot. I had taken lots of other pictures of her as well, from various angles, all reading the book.
The web is pretty amazing for finding solutions to almost any problem you might encounter (assuming you can get past all the SPAM sites trying to game Google or homeopathic websites which just seem to clog the web with disinformation). But, how often do you just randomly happen across a solution for something that you didn’t even know existed until you read it; especially if it isn’t a topic you follow regularly. Just as an example, here is a Complete Guide to Shooting Farming and Agriculture. I am sure most people wouldn’t think there were special requirements for photographing Bessy the Cow. One of the better ways of coming across more obscure information is to find blog posts in which the author has taken the time to scour the web for you and puts the results into list form. You then benefit from someone else having done all the dirty work.
Short answer: Because your photos will turn out better. Long answer: It’s a bit complicated, but here goes. First, lets talk about digital cameras. Behind the lens is a contraption called a CCD (Charged Coupled Device) that acts as an image sensor. It acts just like a piece of film. Basically, light hits it, and it records the information and transfers it to the the memory card in the camera as a picture. Simple so far. Now, I want you to think of all the information that the CCD records as a deck of cards. And lets use a photo’s brightness for this analogy. If the deck of cards is on the table, each card is a picture with the bottom card being a really dark version, the top card is a really light version, and the 50 cards in the middle are varying degrees of light to dark. OK, with me so far?