Behind The Edit - Glowing Dandelion



Right away I knew I wanted the model to have a glowing dandelion in her hand as well as for the all the little floating seeds to be glowing. In order to achieve this I had to do a bit a compositing before making any other edits. I photographed a dandelion and individual seeds separately. This allowed me to easily enlarge the dandelion being held, without affecting the model's face. I then added in the floating seeds where I wanted them.

Next came the glow. I used a combination of a radial gradient (blend mode vivid light) and using curves on a feathered selection to get the look I wanted. Side note Brooke Shaden has an excellent tutorial on the second part on youtube. I had to do this to each individual seed as well as the full dandelion itself.

After all the lights were finished it was simply a matter of getting the colors where I wanted them. I also darkened the background to make it appear later than it was when the image was originally shot as well as to have the model and dandelion/seeds be the focus of the image.

The Editing Process

Often when I tell someone that I need to edit my images, his/her first thought is that of me changing the subject's physical appearance in Photoshop. I won't deny that that happens, just look at any magazine, but there is so much more that goes into the editing process that the average person knows nothing about.

Of course the goal is to get as much correct in camera as possible; this saves editing time. However its not always possible to achieve exactly what you wanted in camera (I always tweak my images, even if its as slight as adding more contrast). Sometimes you're limited by gear or location, and other times the vision you have for your images doesn't exist in real life.

I was editing this image I recently shot and thought it would be the perfect example of how post-processing can take an average image and give it that wow factor you envisioned.

Straight out the camera shot

Straight out the camera shot

This image was back-lit at sunset. In order to get the subject properly exposed in camera I would've had to either blow out the background or add a light source. I liked the intensity and mood that was created by having a darker image, so I didn't want my background to go to white and I didn't have any secondary light sources with me at the time. So instead I slightly underexposed the image in order to save detail in the sky. Since I shoot in raw, I knew I could bring back some sky detail and with Photoshop I'd be able selectively bring the exposure back up on my subject.

Fully edited image

Fully edited image

You can see from the final image I brought back some detail and colour in the sky and lightened the subject's face. I also darkened the landscape around her in order to emphasize the back-lighting. I added more contrast, boosted the colour of her eyes and lips, and though subtle I also changed the colour tone of the shadows to add to the more intense feeling I was going for. With a little post-processing work my image went from being flat and not an image I'd post anywhere (except here apparently) to one that I'm proud of.

Model: Kat Walter instagram/@imjustkat

Storm Shoot 2015

At the end of last year the CNU Storm dance team asked me to come down and do another basketball shoot for them. Starting tomorrow at 8:30am EST the Storm dance team will be doing their annual "Meet the Team" on social media, where each day they'll post a photo of one of the girls along a short bio.

Here's a sneak peek of some of those photos. For more check out the team on instagram @cnustorm and facebook.