BEFORE AND AFTER:-  Is it right to manipulate an image after you have taken it? to right it is… The awesome thing with photography is the brilliance of taking a photo and turning it into something really cool once you have edited it. There are various reasons for tweaking your photo in post and these reasons could be anything like tweaking contrast / saturation / vibrancy levels and adding sharpening. Adding various overlays like, extra light, smoke, dust, vignette, particles, laser lights etc. Maybe even smoothing of a models skin, removing unwanted blemishes and even hair. When you take a photo with a professional dslr you should aim to get your white balance as best as you can, obviously focus, and use of depth of field. If you can get these good when the image is taken less work is required in post to make corrections. Unless of course you are like me and want to change a lot with the image in post so things like white balance go out of the window as I change a lot of colour temps to suit the mood of the final image.

The only way to understand how to get the best out of your camera is to get it out of its dusty box and use it, you can’t beat real time hands on experience. It’s a major step forward when you are confident enough to move the dial from “auto” to manual and take your first photo.  I recommend joining a local photography group where you can be guided in how to improve your photography skills. I have joined two and find them to be an awesome way to enhance my creative skills.

I attend a night school run by the very talented Scott Choucino who is by far the best professional photographer I know and he has the ability to explain all things camera related without getting all technical. Not only are Scott’s evenings interesting but it gives me a chance to network with likeminded folk who have a passion for photography too.

My second recommendation is to join an online organised photography group. I am a member of such one called “Photo-shoots” and have to say what a well organised group this is. There are several admins in the group who weed out any peeps who want to join who might be undesirable or want to post photos that are tasteless. The key thing is that group is professionally run with various photography days that you can attend throughout the year. Here is the forecast of shoot days as at today with a lot more being added.

There is a cost involved with these shoot days but the costs are very reasonable indeed. Some are sponsored so the price is reduced and some are shared group / team costs so for instance the flour shoot in Nottingham on the 6th of Feb is £60 for a group of three togs which means £20 each. The facebook group is a closed group but should you wish to join the link is HERE.

13th January – Hi Key and Bodyscaping workshop, Wednesbury £40 3 slots left

14th January – Location share Walsall Restaurant and offices

22nd January – The Wish Tower, Eastbourne £50 a team location share

1st February – Shoot for a fiver £5 per person, Aerodrome, Derbyshire – FULL

4th February – West Sussex – AWESOME CASTLE £250 a team of 3

6th February – Flour Shoot Nottingham – £60 team of 3

10tth February – Maternity Shoot with Lenai in Wolverhampton £50

11th February – Bristol Manor House £100 – £50 deposit

18th February – Sponsored Guys Cliffe £10 per head, selling fast 9 slots left

4th March – Bunnies and Butlers £55 including models Walsall

11th March – Bailiff Bar, Wigan £50 per team

17th March – Wild West Shoot, Aberystwyth £50 a team

25th March – Hall and Staircase Shoot Liverpool

31st March – Day at the Aerodrome £20 per head

22nd April – Pool Shoot, Midlands £50 a team of 3

For me I get a great deal of satisfaction working with alternative models who like to be different from the norm. These types of models like to dress in non-regular clothing, so anything from costume play, steampunk, urban, horror, to fantasy. I like the fantasy side of photography as it’s this area I can let my mind wonder and see what I can create in post.

A great help in my image tweaking is the awesome Nik tools – it’s free to download and once installed it simply adds itself into your filters in Photoshop. There are so many different facets to this amazing programme and you will have hours of fun trialling out which filters you want to apply to your photo.

Below you will see a few examples of before and after images to give you an idea of what can be created with a little time and Adobe Photoshop.