After Before Friday: week 32

AfterBefore Friday is a weekly forum run by Stacy at Visual Venturing where participants get to show their editing skills with (unsurprisingly) an image after they have processed it and what it looked like before. The forum ranges from experts who know Photoshop like the back of their hand to beginners who are just discovering the delights of Lightroom (other programmes are available!). If you want to join in the fun visit Stacy’s blog for all the insider info!


This is one (of many) photos I took of this beautiful orchid plant. It was quite hard to get a good shot and really I needed a tripod and better lighting, to get a sharper image, but didn’t have either with me at the time. I took some with flash, which were clearer, but had distracting shadows. This was taken with the light from the window illuminating the flower from behind and no flash. I really like the potential this has, so I may well have to go and buy my own plant and experiment using flash or some form of light manipulation and a tripod.

Anyway, the original image was quite dark as I deliberately underexposed it so as to reduce camera movement, so the first thing I had to do was to increase the exposure. I wanted a high key image so the next step was to bring up the shadows and the black clipping to lighten the whole image.

This is a very simple post this week, but hopefully this will show that if the only option is to handhold the camera with very little available light, it is possible to purposefully underexpose by increasing shutter speed, therefore reducing any camera shake and then “rescue” the details in editing programs such as Lightroom .



I also converted to black and white using Lightroom and submitted this to Leanne and Laura’s Monochrome Madness. The black and white image can be seen here.

Here is a gallery of all three images. I’d love to know what you think.

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Why not go and have a look at the other ABFriday images on Stacy’s blog.


22 thoughts on “After Before Friday: week 32

  1. That is just gorgeous! I love how you popped out the purple and it’s just so soft. I love orchids, and would love to own one. But, RV life would not be good for one I don’t think.

  2. I used Photoshop on my job for many years but now I have learned Lightroom and I am a big fan… post processing is so much fun! Good job on the orchid… fun to see the before and after.

  3. Very nice work, and a creative solution to a common problem. The backlighting was an excellent choice. I think I like the color image, the contrast between the purple and the luminous white makes for a strong image.

    1. Thanks Robin, I liked the subtlety of the black and white, but agree that the contrast in the colour image is more striking, it was (is) a beautiful flower and the backlighting from the window helped create the luminosity. It is one solution, but I’m quite keen to try again with a tripod at the correct exposure, it should hopefully get more detail and sharpness.

    1. Thank you Ben, I’ve just ordered a set of extension tubes, so with any luck, I should be able to get macros from my 50mm lens with a bit more sharpness. I’m going to have to get myself one of these plants and practise!

  4. Great lesson in how to deal with camera shake, Katie. I love the high key approach you took! I agree with Robin that this is my favorite – he said it best that the contrast of the luminous white (great adjective) and the purple draws the eye in immediately.

    1. Thanks Stacy, I have to say that I love high key images (also low key – maybe just all extremes of light!) I haven’t found them that easy to replicate, the lighting itself takes a bit of thinking around, so ramping up the exposure in Lightroom seems a bit of a cop out! 😉 maybe that’s a new challenge for me to learn about! 🙂

      1. Katie, I can’t remember if you use Google Nik Efex, but there are some wonderful high/low key filters in both Color Efex and Silver Efex. As you say, more than just ramping the exposure up or down.

  5. I think your “After” processing is the best of the three. The lighting comes through so much more subtly in it. My problem with underexposing is that I always seem to end up with too much noise so that my image is useless.

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