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Before and After * In Color and Black and White


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I often get asked “what do your “straight out of camera shots” look like.  So here is one I took in a dark basement using my 580ex flash.  I dragged the shutter and this was the result out of the camera.  The exposure was good and it did not look too flashy.  But it lacked that crisp, sharp look.  Also – the button on the shirt was distracting to me.

american_girl_bday_party-24sm1 Before and After * In Color and Black and White Photo Sharing & Inspiration Photoshop Actions

So 1st I ran “Color Burst” from the “Complete Workflow Action Set” – I adjusted to taste.  Then I ran “Touch of Light/Touch of Darkness.”  I darkened the background and lightened up her face for a creamier, brighter skin.  I flattened.  Then I ran the “Eye Doctor” action set. Then I used the clone tool to minimize the button.  Looking at it now I still need to do a touch more work on that – but just did it fast for this example.  And lastly I cropped.  And for showing here added my frame and sharpened for web.

american_girl_bday_party-24sm Before and After * In Color and Black and White Photo Sharing & Inspiration Photoshop Actions

Next I decided this might look pretty as a black and white.  So I used “Vanilla Ice Cream” from the “Quickie Collection.” It is BEST to convert to black and white over a fully edited color shot in my opinion.  The results are more contrasty, sharper and crisp.  No more muddy images…  I would love to here which you prefer, SOOC, color or black and white – and why. Oh – and you may notice the crop is slightly different on the 2.  Which crop do you prefer?

Please leave a comment and let me know.

american_girl_bday_party-24bw-sm Before and After * In Color and Black and White Photo Sharing & Inspiration Photoshop Actions


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  1. Marlene Hielema on March 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

    So true, especially this line: “Just because you love photography and have invested in equipment doesn’t mean that you have to be a professional photographer.”I teach a Basic photography course at night school, and I am amazed at how many of my students naively think they can turn around and start making a living without doing the proper research after one 6-week course. I don’t want to be negative and kill their dreams, but I can usually tell the ones that don’t have what it takes out of the gate. Many of them DO have those skills though, and it’s great to see! I keep tabs on them and love watching their progress. They have taken the right steps. That still doesn’t ensure success though as a “real” photography business is hard work and highly competitive. As you know the best photographers don’t make the best business people and when we see mediocre photographers making a good living, we figure we can do it too. Great article. Lots to ponder. I’m sharing!

  2. Kim on March 14, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Brilliantly said. Thank you for your wisdom!

  3. Stephanie on March 14, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Thanks for this post! Especially the part about the business license and sales tax! It’s not all fun and games! There are so many differences in being a professional and taking steps to better the future of the art of Photography than taking good pictures or being good in graphic design and photoshop savvy! Being able to produce a SOTC image that is print worthy or having the knowledge of operating studio lighting and the logistics of how it works with your camera! It’s not overnight! Protecting your clients with insurance and all business expenses that go with running and operating a full portrait studio- and all the time of lawsuits you read about! Thank goodness for organizations such as the PPA!

  4. Andrew Miller on March 14, 2012 at 10:26 am

    A great article there Kristin. I really wish more people would think seriously about setting up in business before the potentially ruin some ones memories.ThanksAndrew

  5. Matt on March 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Glad you started with registering for a business and taxes as number one. I’m tried of competing with cameras operating without being legit and no overhead.

  6. Mindy on March 14, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I like how you evaluated your risks. That’s basic business 101, but someone without a business background might not even think to consider the risks.

  7. Kim on March 14, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Answered Yes, Yes and No. I think I made the right decision at the right time. Being a lawyer and working as a professional for many years helped my decision-making process. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom.

  8. Sophie on March 14, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Perfectly written! It’s definitely not all fun and games, and so many things that you will learn the hard way if you just dive in head first. Thanks for sharing this valuable insight!

  9. Laura Cee on March 14, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I feel like you five years ago. I keep getting requests to shoot people and of course my friends encourage me to start my own business taking pictures of people; Inanimate objects no problem. I know what it takes to open up shop and be responsible for someone’s big day and I hate sounding negative about my work when I tell them “No really I need more experience to do that” but I get it and I don’t want to be one of those people coming in to field I know nothing about but act like I do because I bought a fancy camera. I had a friend ask me to shoot their wedding and I gladly did it because they are friends but it made me realize, I need education. I always want to learn the craft I am doing from start to finish, and the in betweens, I leave my camera on manual; I try to make sure the shot is done in camera and not rely on digital editing. I can’t in good conscious fake it, I want to provide a product I am proud of and love what I do”_it’s a big decision but before I make it I need to educate myself and take some classes”_thank you for solidifying what I knew in my heart was the correct way to go about in making this decision perfect timing to post this subject today.

  10. Anna on March 14, 2012 at 11:03 am

    thanks for sharing; i agree that photography is not so fun when it comes to all paperwork and computer related stuff.hard work.

  11. Ryan Jaime on March 14, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Finally a truthfull article about starting a photo biz! excellent!

  12. Katie on March 14, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Very interesting article, Thank you for sharing Kristin. I believe so many people out there need to read this article or wish they had read this article before “trying” to go in to the photography business. I think there are too many people who go out & buy a DSLR camera & after a week think they are a pro.

  13. Laurie Rutter on March 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Very good article. I am a true hobbyist. At times I find it hard to justify wanting or needing more equipment, but I make do with what I can afford. Sometimes I have to be more creative as I don’t have the latest and greatest equipment. But that has never stopped me from enjoying “the art of photography”.

  14. Margaret on March 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I sort of did the same thing last year, and didn’t commit whole-hog for the same reasons you posted. Also, I was pregnant (horrible timing to start a business). At first I felt guilty for not making this very expensive hobby profitable, but now I know that I can give it a few years and the option will always be there. I have small kids, and I use my camera almost daily. I’ve grown so much in my style and talent, and I have areas I still want to grow in. I’m trying to enjoy photography for the fun it is and not so much for the recognition.

  15. Nancy on March 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks for this article. I took up photography a year or two ago and love it. But somehow the fact that everyone else I know who has taken it up has also immediately started a “business” has left me feeling like my talent is somehow suddenly worthless because I am not doing something professional with it. I loved your line about it being OK to keep a gift a hobby. Somehow it is validating and comforting. It is reassuring to be reminded that just because I am only taking pictures of my own kids, I don’t have to feel my talent is worthless — and I don’t have to be paid to make it a gift and skill. Thanks. I needed that.

  16. Stephanie on March 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Great article!! I have always loved doing photography and videoing events. Now that I am semi-retired I can pursue the photography part of my hobby. I am now able to meet with clients easier, do editing more easily and enjoy what I am doing.Keep the comments coming!!

  17. Sarah C on March 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks for being so open. I’d like to add that having business knowledge is HUGE! I’m not so good at the business and marketing side of it, and it can be frustrating sometimes!

  18. oread on March 15, 2012 at 6:13 am


  19. Alice C. on March 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    What a great post! i totally agree that I think some people rush into starting a business and then get burned out and lose their love for photography.

  20. guest on March 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm


  21. Buffi on March 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    What’s wrong with a canon rebel? It’s also not what you shoot with! So tired of hearing that! All my teachers tell me my cameras perfect! Guess what, I also shoot for gap kids with my rebel!!

  22. Megan on March 21, 2012 at 10:46 am

    The only way I want to make money on my photos is to sell prints! Of course my preference is fine art photography, so unless someone commissions a picture of their favorite flower, I shoot what I want.Even then I worry about the fun going out of it. 🙂

  23. Greg Flint on March 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Good points about what was fun becoming work, taxes and the like.One other thing to consider is that it is easy to pick the low hanging fruit – for example, when your friends want photos of their wedding (which they probably want at no or low cost – which is why they went to you in the first place) or somebody wants you to take pictures of their kids.Great – but you can’t make a living on work like that – there is simply not enough of it. Soon you have to advertise to pull in enough business to pay for equipment upgrade and repairs, the advertising itself and all the other expenses (e.g., any travel costs and vehicle wear if you aren’t always in your studio, rent if you’ve grown large enough to need space outside of your home, and so on) that will crop up.Hustling jobs is probably the least “fun” part of their business for any self-employed person I know and yet it eventually (if you want grow) becomes one of the most time consuming.Unless you are serious (or only want a part-time income), starting up a photography business is a lot harder than people think – as the original poster pointed out.

  24. Jenny Mandarin on June 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks so much for the great article. It is very helpful! My brother is starting a photography business and he would like some pointers? He asked all the questions to himself. And still would like some pointers. Anyone got any?

  25. Dan Waters on July 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    It’s all about the sales and marketing these days. If you want to become a professional photographer you need to know what to say when someone says “I know someone who can take decent wedding photos for Œ£200”. Photographers need to know how to meet these questions in a friendly way that also helps the person understand why your photography is more valuable than someone else’s. This side of the business is just as important as the photography – probably more so.

  26. stephanie on May 4, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    thank you for all this information, just curious which photography courses did you take? while mine taught me a lot Instill feel like something is missing

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