The before and after of a travel photo (from Photoshop to Lightroom)

Today I get a little out of the traveling theme, although not so much. And I enter the “dark world of photo retouching” :P. When I return from trips, as I think almost every travel blogger and every traveler does, I return home with things learned, with signs that my traveling spirit is intact, and among many other things, with a huge archive of Photos.

After settling in at home, the difficult task of processing those images begins, and it is something that for me is endless. I can find myself processing photos from a trip I took three years along with those from the new trip. And it is that time is sometimes less of a tyrant than I am with myself when it comes to organizing myself to work. It is better not to delve into that, but into what brings me to the story, that of seeing how to process the photos, what to choose and what to discard. It is known that in times of Photoshopthere is the possibility of not discarding almost anything because it seems that everything can be “recovered” with the magic of retouching.

Now, my way of working photographically is precisely trying to make the photo come out so well that it doesn’t need any kind of retouching. The harsh reality is that this does not always happen, either because of our own mistakes, or because the sun, the light conditions, the weather, the logistics, and the gods were not on our side when taking the photo in a place certain. And this is precisely when the need for photo retouching comes into play with more weight.

Before the photo retouching in Lightroom:



In my case, when a photo needs excessive retouching because it is too bad, I must confess that I do not like to use it. However, in this post I proposed an experiment: since I have used Photoshop “all my life”, I am taking my first steps with a greater degree of depth (to say) in the world of Lightroom.

I decided, with an image I took on my last trip to Finland, to choose an image that was not captured at the “politically correct” moment of light, as well as other imperfections, and try to rescue it with the miracle of Lightroom. In the “before”, an image is seen at noon, which does not generate good light conditions, although in this case it was helped by a fairly cloudy sky. However, to my liking, the image was a bit flat in terms of contrast, volume of clouds, texture of wooden houses, etc.

What I did in the photo was, first, apply a graduated filter, and retouch sections of the image by layers with the brush, improve the focus, and finally retouch the image in general, in parameters such as exposure, contrast, shadows, clarity, saturation. . The criteria was to subtly highlight the weight of the wooden houses within the image, gain volume in the clouds, unify the general tone of the image. Whether I have succeeded or not, I dare not say.

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In each case, the tweaks were neither exaggerated nor drastic. Now, in the sum of all the changes, the jump from the original image to the final one is remarkable. And my question then is, to what extent is it right or wrong to get an image retouched so that it looks little or nothing like the original, knowing that I could have changed it much more. Do you agree with this kind of tweaks? Do they usually do? In a way I wanted to share this mini experience, and see if anyone is interested in giving their opinion, welcome….

You can also follow me on my 500px account (which I’ve started using) in case you want to follow my photography and retouching experiments.

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