Before and After 3 | Fort Worth lifestyle photographer

Here is yet another before and after editing walk-through for you. This time I wanted to share my process for black and white conversions with you. Feel free to look back at the first two before and afters here and here.

This is an image of my daughter a few weeks before Christmas. (Isn’t she beautiful?!?!) Anyways, I had just had my lenses calibrated and was playing around with my 85mm indoors… I know what you are thinking, what an odd choice to use your 85mm indoors. Yes, this is not something I normally do. Obviously it creates a tight crop and this wouldn’t be my normal choice of lenses for indoor shots but look at that gorgeous bokeh!

Here is the image SOOC (Nikon D750, 85mm 1.8 lens. ISO 4000, 1.8, 1/160)

sabrina gebhardt photography_fort worth lifestyle photographer_0232 As you can tell from my SOOC settings above, it was pretty dark. This was shot at the end of the day and while my house does have an enormous amount of natural light, I was really pushing the envelope here to shoot in such dark conditions. Luckily the amazing D750 can totally handle the higher ISO’s.

After I import the image onto my computer, the first thing I do is open the image in Lightroom to make some basic edits. For this particular image, I did the following in Lightroom:

-brighten the image by about 1/2 a step

-slight white balance adjustment raising yellows and lowering blues to overall warm the image up

-slight levels boost to add some contrast

-reduce magentas- her red shirt against the Christmas lights was creating a SUPER magenta image:)

-slight noise reduction since it was shot at such a high ISO- there really wasn’t a huge problem but I still did a little per my habit

At this point, my image looks like this:

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When I am happy with the image’s basic edits in Lightroom, I export it into Photoshop CS6. Photoshop is where I do more “creative” edits. Like I mentioned in the first post, I don’t do a ton of “creative” editing because I like to keep things simple and natural.

In Photoshop, I do the following to this image:

-clone out the few stray hairs that were around her eye- they were bugging me:)

-do a slight skin smoothing

-run a personal action I have created for black and white conversion. This action converts the image and has an added matte layer to it. I struggled for a REALLY long time trying to find a black and white conversion that was consistent and that I felt really represented me. About a year ago I FINALLY found a combination that worked for me and I quickly created an action so that I could re-create it easily.

-the last thing I do to this image is do another slight levels boost while it is in black and white. I really want to make sure that the blacks are deep but not too deep and the bright spots are highlighted but not overly so.

– at this point, this image is “done” to me. I love gorgeous christmas tree bokeh in color as much as the next person but I really think that the image and my daughters profile is so much stronger in black and white. The image seems peaceful and introspective in black and white.

sabrina gebhardt photography_fort worth lifestyle photographer_0238Here are the images in progression… SOOC, Lightroom edit and PS edit.


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Lastly, here is a side-by-side comparison of where the image started and where I finish it.

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Now let me address the point that many of you are probably asking right about now…Why did you edit your image in color before converting it to black and white? This is a personal choice for me but not something that you have to do. I have found that if I get the image clean and perfected (to my liking) in color, my black and white conversions are SO MUCH FASTER. There are plenty of photographers who immediately convert to black and white and then make additional adjustments…this just isn’t me. Again, this is about finding what works for YOU. What feels like it flows. What feels natural. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Figure out what helps your workflow and stick with it:)

I hope that this post helps some of you out there. Don’t forget to check out my last two before and after posts that featured both an indoor and outdoor lifestyle image. Stay tuned for more before and afters coming soon!