Behind the scenes

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at Katie Smith Photography?  Probably not but I’m going to tell you anyways!

If you think my job is done when I leave the session, you’re saddly mistaking.  My work is just beginning!  It usually starts with me sitting at the computer with some chocolate and listening to the Breaking Benjamin station on I Heart Radio.

Getting down to business, I start uploading.  I take 200+ pictures during the session.  It takes a little while to transfer all the images.

Now it’s time to sort.  Unflattering expressions, out of focus, and any other images that don’t pass my strict guidelines get 1 star and are banished to the computer’s recycle bin.  I only want to show you the best.  Then I go back through and find my favorites.  I double check them at 100% (so close I can count your eyelashes!) for perfect focus.  If it passes, I give it five stars.  I’ll end up going back through those and cutting images that are too similar.  There’s a minimum of 20-25 images but I’ve been known to do 40 when I can’t bare to cut anymore pictures.

Next up is Lightroom editing.  This is mostly basic work.  Fixing the exposure so it’s not too dark or too light and fine tuning the white balance so you aren’t too blue, yellow, green, or magenta.  I try to get it pretty close in camera but stuff happens.  Clouds pass over.  Strange color casts come from walls.  I shoot RAW so I can fix these items with no damage to the digital file.

It’s finally time to export to Photoshop!  Once there, I do a little contrast.  While this example shows a flawless model, I do fix blemishes including but not limited to cleaning up runny noses, tucking in muffin tops, removing acne and scratches, smoothing fly away hairs, and softening skin.  If there’s a background object that I couldn’t move at the session, such as a car, trash can, or powerlines, I use the clone tool to make it disappear.  Then it’s time to darken and saturate the color on the background.  That’s going to give the image some depth and make it look rich.  Each file gets individual attention so it can go from “eh…” to “WOW!”

From start to finish, the process takes 5-7 hours depending on how extensive the editing is.  It’s all worth it in the end though when it goes from a good image to a professional portrait.

Have questions?  Feel free to ask using the contact page!

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