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Golden Woodland Tutorial

I originally took this photo in 2020 or 2021 and came back to re-edit it!

Going through my full process from start to finish in Lightroom and Photoshop (2023), you can download the files and follow along as I work!

Edit Together: Winter Sunshine

You guys voted in the Learning Community, and “simple winter (dead grass, brown, backlit) won out – so this is what we’ll be editing for our next edit together!

You can download the files below. Inside the folder you’ll find 2 variations of the “Main” photo – one looking forward, one to the side. 

We’ll be working on the one looking to the side, but you’re welcome to download the other one if you want an extra photo to play with (but be aware, the way we shape the light would likely differ for a photo with the dog looking to the side vs looking forward!)

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DSC05101 Live-Edit-20.10.

Golden Heather

In this tutorial using Lightroom & Photoshop and following most of my normal process, we are going to work on a well-exposed photo of Luke, a red merle Australian Shepherd.

You will need decent knowledge of Lightroom & using radial filters, as well of how to use masks and adjustment layers in Photoshop. 

In this tutorial we will:

  • Set the white balance
  • Talk about my Lightroom process & goals
  • Work on distractions
  • Bring detail & light to the dog
  • Flip the image and extend the canvas
  • Add some gaussian blur to an area of cloned heather, to make it fit in better
  • Use curves layers to shape the light and add richness to the colours
  • Use a selective colour layer to bring out those rich orange tones
  • Use a combination of colour balance and a radial gradient to enhance the purple (you don’t have to make it QUITE as purple, if it’s not your thing).
  • Add a gradient behind Luke for a little bit of extra background separation
  • Remove some colours from his chest (note: not all!)
  • Dodge and burn/contouring using curves layers.
  • Final touches in Lightroom by checking the histogram.

Note: I probably wouldn’t (and didn’t!) give my client the flipped version of the photo. Why?

Because Luke has two VERY distinctive sides to his face, with his mismatched eyes and mismatched ears, and I want the photo to properly represent him, rather than flowing more comfortable. For social media though, I’ll post the flipped version. 

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Backlit Amie

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In this tutorial, I work on a reasonably underexposed image of Amie, that I took for a collar company (hence the weird composition of the photo!) .

I had recently jumped on a couple of zoom calls with some LC students who were using programs other than Photoshop, and neither of them had access to radial filters, so had made their own work-arounds, which is amazing, but, the problem with these work arounds were that they  couldn’t be re-edited later.

A big part of my process and the way I work, is ensuring that any of my edits are able to be changed later down the track – whether at the very base level of being able to easily adjust the white balance of my RAW file by working with my photos as smart objects, or by using adjustment layers and keeping any changes to the “base image” at the bottom of my layers panel. As much as possible, my process allows me to be flexible, to come back at any point and make changes to the edited image. 

This isn’t always possible (for example when doing a content aware fill or content aware crop that covers the original image file. But for the most part, my edits can always be undone, turned off, changed slightly, added to, etc. 

What I realised from these zoom calls was that a) not everybody had access to radial filters, and b) possibly some people find them fiddly and time consuming, or just don’t like them. So in this editing tutorial, I ditched them completely. No radial filters at all.

I use Camera Raw Filter to begin with – this is basically Lightroom and includes all the most basic functions of any editing software, making global adjustments to the image/RAW file.

The rest I do in Photoshop. 

There are some slightly different techniques in here to what I’ve shown before, a bit of an explanation about how I would organise my layers when needing to do some clone stamping or healing spot brush, and some other interesting bits and pieces that I don’t think I’ve shown before. 

The tutorial will probably be best if you have a reasonable knowledge of Photoshop (or your editing program). I don’t explain how to mask something in or out in detail, for example.

Inspawration Editing Process & Rationale: Start here!

The Process & Steps

A lot of people ask for tutorials in various situations, and while I have tried to create (and will continue creating) a variety of different tutorials, at the end of the day, most of my tutorials follow the same, basic process and workflow.

Below, I’ve listed most of the steps that I follow… however, I don’t follow EVERY step in EVERY photo. You will need to know your way around Lightroom & Lightroom masking features, and know how to mask in Photoshop in order to follow this tutorial. 

Generally, the workflow is:

  • Adjust White Balance in Lightroom
  • Slight Global adjustments to lower highlights and raise shadows
  • Remove fringing if needed
  • Maybe change HSL if there are strong greens
  • Selective editing in Lightroom using radial filters to:
    • Brighten the dog
    • Add clarity and texture to the dog
    • Work on the eyes as a whole, catchlights separately, darken pupils if needed
    • Remove colour casts
    • Lower distractions in the scene, eg., bright highlights, too dark areas, too colourful areas and so on
  • Moving into Photoshop as a smart object, creating a New Smart Object via Copy
  • Doing any “fixing”/tidying up with clone stamp, healing spot brush, composition changes (generally not cropping in yet unless very sure!), fixing/brushing over bright highlights and so on
    • Any kind of blur effects (rarely used, but sometimes to make the bokeh a bit “melty”)
    • High pass filter for sharpening
    • Bring in other layers to make a panorama
    • Copy & Flip background if needed
    • Content aware fill, content aware crop, etc (rasterised version of our original layer needed)
  • Shape the light using curves layers, depending on the original light direction, where the dog is looking, and composition of the image
  • Colour grading using selective colour layers, maybe a gradient layer
  • Finishing touches” which could but must not always include:
    • Gradients on radial to create separation from the background
    • Dodge and burn/contouring using curves layers
    • Remove colour casts on the dog
    • Fix distractions eg., too much saturation in areas
    • Adding more contrast
    • Adding more drama
    • Adding overlays
  • Save and return to Lightroom to check the histogram and make sure I’ve used the whole light range (unless it’s a specifically dark and dangerous photo)
    • Raise exposure a little if needed
    • Add denoise if needed

Pro & OG Members: You’ll also find this tutorial in Beyond > Editing Tutorials 🙂

Once you’ve finished, why not share your work!?

Download the image below to use in your Instagram stories. Just right click > Save as/Save Image.

Simply go to the stories area as normal, select to upload this image, go back to your camera roll, copy your edit, add some text to the story, and paste the photo in.

Or, you can add your image to the template in Photoshop! 

Or, use the editable Canva template!

Don’t forget to tag @inspawrationphotography somewhere so I can celebrate your learning!

Don’t worry if the image looks blurry, it’ll be fine when you download it full size.

Backlit Journey: Full Tutorial

This tutorial will take you from start to finish editing a slightly under-exposed, backlit photo of Journey. 

In order to do this tutorial, you’ll want:

  • a decent knowledge of Photoshop basics, eg., masking, adjustment layers and so on
  • A decent knowledge of Lightroom, eg., radial filters

This techniques in this tutorial will work best with:

  • backlit photos, with even lighting on the dog’s face
  • slightly under-exposed photos, but it’s ok if you have some blown-out highlights
  • photos with some kind of natural “shape” to the foreground and background (eg., not on an open field).
Remember: Not all editing tutorials will work on all photos. The key is to take the rationale and reasoning behind when and why to make certain edits, and consider if that applies to the photo you are working on. While my process and my steps are very similar from photo to photo, an underexposed backlit photo will require different ways of working to a brighter forest-green photo.
 

Since this is one of my favourite photos, it’s one I would prefer that edits do not get posted on social media. 

DSC09683 DSC09682-Edit-2-4

Golden Heather: Full Tutorial

In this tutorial using Lightroom & Photoshop and following most of my normal process, we are going to work on a well-exposed photo of Luke, a red merle Australian Shepherd.

You will need decent knowledge of Lightroom & using radial filters, as well of how to use masks and adjustment layers in Photoshop. 

In this tutorial we will:

  • Set the white balance
  • Talk about my Lightroom process & goals
  • Work on distractions
  • Bring detail & light to the dog
  • Flip the image and extend the canvas
  • Add some gaussian blur to an area of cloned heather, to make it fit in better
  • Use curves layers to shape the light and add richness to the colours
  • Use a selective colour layer to bring out those rich orange tones
  • Use a combination of colour balance and a radial gradient to enhance the purple (you don’t have to make it QUITE as purple, if it’s not your thing).
  • Add a gradient behind Luke for a little bit of extra background separation
  • Remove some colours from his chest (note: not all!)
  • Dodge and burn/contouring using curves layers.
  • Final touches in Lightroom by checking the histogram.

Note: I probably wouldn’t (and didn’t!) give my client the flipped version of the photo. Why?

Because Luke has two VERY distinctive sides to his face, with his mismatched eyes and mismatched ears, and I want the photo to properly represent him, rather than flowing more comfortable. For social media though, I’ll post the flipped version. 

DSC01728 DSC01728-Edit

Edit Together: Forest Vizsla

In this edit together we have two photos to choose from (by the same photographer!). If we have enough time, we’ll tackle both of them. 

As always, you can download the files below. Lucy @vizsla_jess ,  has said you are welcome to post your edits to social media. Please be sure to tag her if you do! 

IMG_2396 IMG_2396-1

Backlit Journey

This tutorial will take you from start to finish editing a slightly under-exposed, backlit photo of Journey. 

In order to do this tutorial, you’ll want:

  • a decent knowledge of Photoshop basics, eg., masking, adjustment layers and so on
  • A decent knowledge of Lightroom, eg., radial filters

This techniques in this tutorial will work best with:

  • backlit photos, with even lighting on the dog’s face
  • slightly under-exposed photos, but it’s ok if you have some blown-out highlights
  • photos with some kind of natural “shape” to the foreground and background (eg., not on an open field).
Remember: Not all editing tutorials will work on all photos. The key is to take the rationale and reasoning behind when and why to make certain edits, and consider if that applies to the photo you are working on. While my process and my steps are very similar from photo to photo, an underexposed backlit photo will require different ways of working to a brighter forest-green photo.
 

Since this is one of my favourite photos, it’s one I would prefer that edits do not get posted on social media. 

Below, you

DSC09683 DSC09682-Edit-2-4