The Power Of Editing

Yesterday, one of my photos of a wild horse on Assateague Island was featured on Canon USA’s Instagram account.

**Internal happy dancer goes crazy!!** #honored

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It’s a photo I originally posted on my new IG account @annasmolens which focuses on light, bright, and pretty things.

My main IG account, @purplehorsedesigns is of course full of horse pictures. Many of them are dark from doing studio work, vibrant from being taken in beautiful golden light, or just colorful because that’s a large part of my style as a photographer.

However, I am a huge fan of the light, airy look, and do edit in that style on occasion.

I had initially started the new account with the intention of simply posting non-equine images there, but recently started it over to feature this specific color palette, regardless of subject. It just makes me happy when I look at it. 🙂

Of course, I needed photos. I did this in the middle of winter when it was cold, miserable, and colorless out, so I decided to go back through my folders and pull out some images that were edited in this way, or could be.

This is a photo taken literally 15 seconds after the one above, with the edit I did originally. Vibrant and colorful.

Purple Horse Designs Equine Portrait Anna Smolens-

 

This is the original RAW image exactly how it came out of the camera. Shot with a Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8L @ 16mm. F/3.5, 1/500, ISO 800.

Purple Horse Designs Equine Portrait Anna Smolens-9217

 

There was a storm approaching, and I wanted to play up the intensity of the clouds. RAW images, by nature, are very flat. So editing is a given when shooting RAW, and with all the information packed into a RAW file, there are always tons of options.

For the original edit, I focused on adding contrast, bringing out the texture and color of the clouds, and of course, cleaning up the beach!

However, when going back through my pictures, I knew from the base image that it had lots of potential to create a lighter, brighter version:

Purple Horse Designs Equine Portrait Anna Smolens-9202

 

And here is the original RAW file – pretty much the same as the other one, only vertical. Shot with a Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8L @ 16mm. F/4.5, 1/350, ISO 1250.

Purple Horse Designs Equine Portrait Anna Smolens-9202-3

 

(If you’ll notice, I changed settings between photos. I shoot in Manual mode, so I can try to tell you why I changed what I did: I would have upped the aperture simply to get better sharpness. Most lenses have a sharpness ‘sweet spot’ anywhere between f/4 and f/8. Normally I shoot for bokeh, but in a shot like this it’s pretty irrelevant. It was also getting darker and darker, so the first thing I do when that happens is usually bring my shutter speed down if I can, and bump up my ISO, which I did.)

In the second version, I pretty much did everything the opposite when it came to editing. I brightened it as much as I could without losing detail, pulled up the shadows and again, cleaned up the beach!

Two different edits from nearly identical original images.

Purple-Horse-Designs-Equine-Portrait-Anna-Smolens-compare

 

There will be some people who are drawn to one or the other – and that’s awesome! I of course, happen to like both. 🙂

 

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