Before/After

Here is a selection of images where you can see the original version, as well as the post processed version.

BeforeAfter Main Page

Before/After – Countrylane in Devon, UK

Countrylane in Devon

When I took this photograph, I composed it because I saw the tunnel made of trees following and drawing the eye along the countrylane.

In the original on the left, the viewer is more likely to look over the fence because of the over-esxposed sky in the distance.

So, I converted to black and white and changed the balance so that the sky above the fence had less visual influence.

Now the eye is drawn to the road where it can then wander around the image.

For me, that creates a much more comfortable viewing experience, and in the Black and white converstion, you now see what I saw when I took the photo.

Post processing tips

  • Processed in Photoshop
  • Applied multiple curve adjustment layers
  • Each layer applied a selected brightness/contrast change
  • I was careful to maintain at least some detail even in the darkest corners
  • I lightened the  road in order to lead the eye to the brightest point that you can see.
  • Add subtle and gradual vignette to darken the edges so the eye is gently pushed into the road 
  • Processing time: 30 minutes.

Before/After – Clouds in a dawn sky over Romania

Clouds in a dawn sky, Romania

I love these shapes that the clouds made, which amounted to just a tiny amount of the sky.  This formation only lasted seconds and I had to zoom right into it.

And I loved the colours too.

I used a 100mm lens which allowed me to isolate the sky from the landscape and then place those fluffy clouds nicely so that they were surrounded by all those dawn colours, from deep blue to bright yellow.

Post processing tips

  • Processed in Lightroom
  • Applied radial filter to the center of the image, applying local contrast/brightness and lowering highlights (highlights slider) 
  • Applied graduated filter to top half of image (blue sky area), applying contrast, and lightening shadows (shadows slider)
  • Applied graduated filter to bottom section (darker clouds), applying contrast, and lightening shadows (shadows slider)
  • Reduced the saturation in the blues as the blue became too intense
  • Processing time: 5 minutes.

Before/After – Corfe Castle, Dorset, UK

Corfe Castle, Dorset, UK

A simple straight on composition of Corfe Castle in Dorset, UK.

Taken in the afternoon, I don’t quite have that deep afternoon light, and the colours are not really adding to the composition

I really like the jagged edges of the ruined castle against the sky, but that isn’t emphasised in the original image.

Applying a process that turned day to night, allowed me to focus the viewers attention on that jagged edge, as well as appreciate the textures and shapes of the castle.

The peocessing is really just a glorified black and white conversion, such that the castle takes center stage in the composition.

Post processing is the second half of the composition process, and once you get all your photographic and post processing workflows worked out, you can use visualization techniques to see the final image before you press the shutter.

Post processing tips

  • Processed in Photoshop
  • Duplicated original photo creating new layer and turned it black and white
  • Added a mask to remove its affect on the image
  • Duplicated original photo and added dark blue filter, this layer obscured the original layer below..
  • Removed mask on black and white layer over the castle ruins to reveal the monochrome moonlit effect
  • Processing time: 45 minutes-1 hour.

Before/After – People playing on the beach, Norfolk, UK

People playing on the beach, Norfolk, UK

Cameras never see what a photographer sees.I really wanted to focus attention onto the people playing, but there were so many details and textures in the concrete sea wall, the beach and the sky.

In the ‘after’ photograph, I have simplified the sky immensly by blurring it and the black and white conversion works perfectly as there are now no dull washed out colours at all.

What mahes the final finished image as striking as it is, is not the black and white converstion and all of that Photoshop work, but it’s the original composition.

Get the original composition right, and regardless of the dullness of the colour, good post processing techniques will  allow the photographer to create the image that he/she had first imagined before pressing the shutter.

Post processing tips

  • Processed in Photoshop
  • Create selection of the sky 
  • create 4 duplicate layers of the original image
  • use sky selection to erase non sky areas from each of the 4 duplicated image layers
  • Apply radial blur (Zoom blur method) to each of the 4 duplicate sky layers at a different level for each layer
  • create selection of the sea
  • create 3 duplicate layers of the original image
  • use selection of the sea to erase non sea areas from each duplicate
  • Apply motion blur to each duplicate sea layer at different levels.
  • Apply all these layers into one image using layer masks to mask out sections of each blurred duplicate
  • Apply vignette to the whole image and adjust contrast and brightness
  • Processing time:1 hour 30 minutes.

Before/After – Dunkirke, France

Dunkirke, France

I loved the architecture of these buildings, but it was spoilt slightly due to a busy road full of modern cars at ground level.

I wanted to concentrate the viewers eye on the architectural details and textures, so I created this more minimalist and even abstract composition, removing the road and cars altogether.

But then I had a dull photograph that didn’t really show off all that architectural detail, even though I was happy with the composition.

So I turned it black and white, as the colour wasn’t important to the composition, and I darkened the sky.

Now I have an image that draws the viewers eye to the architecture, which was the original idea for the photograph.

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Post processing tips

  • Processed in Photoshop
  • Made a selection to select the sky
  • Applied a Curve adjustment layer  using the sky selection to mask out the buildings
  • Darkend the sky
  • Applied several curve adjustment layers to target contrast and brightness changes to the buildings in order to bring out their detail.
  • Processing time: 20 minutes.

Before/After – Empty road, Czech Republic

Empty road, Czech Republic

A road that runs through Czech Republic.

I took this photo whilst cycle touring, and suddenly I just wanted to take a photo of this stretch of road.  

It was just something about the light and the trees that inspired me in that one moment.

I liked the detail both in the clouds and in the landscape.  The sky was filled with clouds that evened out the exposure so that I didn’t have that really high dynamic range.

In the final photo, I dragged out the detail in the cloud and kept a balance between the sky and the land, creating what I think is a nice final finished photograph.

Post processing tips

  • Processed in Lightroom
  • Darkened the highlights across the image using the highlights slider
  • Lightened the darker areas a bit by using the shadows slider
  • Applied the radial filter and used it to apply a vignette by lowering exposure and increasing contrast
  • Applied a global clarity setting to bring out mid-tone detail across the image
  • Processing time: 20 minutes

Before/After – Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey

Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey

I used a telephoto lens to take this photo, and its a really simple composition.

This is actually a symetrical composition where the left side is the mirror image of the right side, and when you do this you will always get a nice to look at photograph

This type of symmetry always works.  Always.

So if you have run out of ideas, or are feeling unispired just create a bit of symetry.  Honestly, it will work.

Anyway, this was an early evening shot and I knew there was some really nice detail in the tightly woven cluster of buildings that surround the Galata Tower that you can see in the middle of the frame.

In Photoshop or Lightroom it’s very easy to darken a blue sky after you’ve turne it black and white and that is what I’ve done here in order to create a bit of impact.

Post processing tips

  • Processed in Photoshop
  • Make a selection of the sky
  • Create a black and white adjustment layer to darken the blue sky
  • Several curve adjustment layers and layer masks to brighten, darken and adjust the contrast on specific parts of the architecture 
  • Processing time: 45 minutes

Before/After – Kersey village, Suffolk, UK

Kersey village, Suffolk, UK

This is a very quaint looking village and begged to have its photo taken!

Taken in the evening on an overcast sky, which diffused the light.

As you can see I brought out some of the colour in the houses and also wanted to see more of that cloud detail.

That is the thing with camera sensors, there is always much more detail in the clouds than at first is evident, and it’s amazing how much detail is hidden away in those pixels.

Again, in reality I saw all of that detail, and to dig that out I headed over to Photoshop.

Post processing tips

  • Processed in Lightroom
  • Darken sky, ground and left and right edges
  • Selectively brighten and darken areas to direct the eye into the photo
  • Processing time: 5 minutes


Before/After – Street in Kotor, Montenegro

Street in Kotor, Montenegro

This photograph, although I liked the composition, didn’t focus attention on the figure at the end of the street, and that’s what I saw when I took the image.

But because there’s so much fine detail and texture in the buildeings, both near and far, the figure at the end of the street gets lost amongst that detail and texture.

So I decided to apply some Photoshopping to ensure the viewers eye gets directed where I wanted it.

So, again, some people will call it gimmicky, but I applied a simple Photoshop technique to convert day to night, and I got the effect I wanted.

I could have converted to black and white and added a vignette, but converting to ‘night’  allowed me to really darken the parts of the composition that were less important.

Post processing tips

  • Processed in Photoshop
  • copied background image and turned it dark blue.  Applied layer mask
  • Copied background image and turned it bright yellow. Applied layer mask
  • Erased layer mask on the blue layer to reveal yellow image underneath.  Applied at low opacity to create subtle street light effect.
  • Added curve adjustment layers to increase contrast and brightness.
  • Used layer masks to remove the effect of the curve adjustments over the areas that I want untouched.
  • Processing time: 1 hour

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