Before and After | Fort Worth Lifestyle Photographer

I get asked all the time about my post-processing so I thought that I would start sharing a few before and after images with you.

Before I get started, let me put a few things out there…

First, I am not a genius editor. In fact, I am so very far from it. I am not perfect with lightroom or photoshop. The way I achieve something in lightroom and/or photoshop is certainly not the only way to get from point A to point B. The beauty of these programs is that they are what you make of them and there are several right ways to get to the same result.

Second, not all of my SOOC (straight-out-of-camera) images are clean. Many are. But many aren’t. In fact the one that I am going to show you today is slightly underexposed. Without going into an entirely different blog post about shooting in manual, let me just point out that one of the most freeing things about shooting in manual is getting to make your own choices. You can choose to overexpose because xxx. You can choose to underexpose because xxx. Getting it perfect every single time is doable but not likely (especially when chasing kids in and out of different lighting scenarios within a 5 minute period). You are the artist and you can make your own choices. Yay:)

Third, and last, my editing style and choices are my just that, they are mine. Being an artist is about making your own choices and that is what I do. It has taken me years to get to a comfortable and consistent spot with my editing. About 18 months ago I finally found my happy place. And it is one of the things that sets me apart from everyone else.

Okay, now that we are through all that, lets get to the good stuff.

For starters, I am going to show you an image I took in my home of my two kiddos reading. I chose to show this image first because it represents the editing style for the majority of my work: indoors, natural light, high(er) iso and lifestyle imagery.

Here is the image SOOC (Nikon D700, 70-200mm lens. ISO 3200, 2.8, 1/250)

sabrina gebhardt photography_fort worth lifestyle photographer_0230After 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:

-slight brighten

-slight levels bump to boost contrast and recover highlights)


-enable lens correction- if you don’t have Lightroom this is one of my favorite features. (PS has it too but I feel like LR is easier). You click the lens correction box and it corrects any vignetting or distortion that happened in camera. Magic:)

At this point, my image looks like this:

sabrina gebhardt photography_fort worth lifestyle photographer_0233When 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. There are many photographers and types of editing that can do some seriously mind-boggling things in PS. It is a fantastic program. I just don’t use it in this capacity. Again, for my lifestyle shooting, I want things to be captured just as they are so I am not using PS to try to create this perfection or dreamland that doesn’t exist in real life.

In Photoshop, I do the following to this image:

-run a personal action I have created for indoor lifestyle images (same action that gets run on 99% of my lifestyle newborn images). This action is a simple tweak in colors, levels and runs noisewear on a low level.

-second levels boost (first was in LR).

– at this point, this image is “done” to me. If it were any image from a newborn session I would have done a little skin smoothing on baby and maybe a few other fine tuning things, but not much more. I try to keep things pretty simple from beginning to end.
sabrina gebhardt photography_fort worth lifestyle photographer_0236Here are the images in progression… SOOC, Lightroom edit and PS edit. sabrina gebhardt photography_fort worth lifestyle photographer_0242Lastly, here is a side-by-side comparison of where the image started and where I finish it.
sabrina gebhardt photography_fort worth lifestyle photographer_0239

I hope that this helps someone out there. I have picked out several other images to walk through on the blog….stay tuned:)