Monday, April 21, 2008

fake cross-processing in Photoshop

Let's face it - even with a good digital camera, photos rarely look great straight out of the camera. I always do a tiny bit of tweaking, adjusting levels and upping the contrast a tiny bit. But ever since I discovered Curves in Photoshop, I've gotten addicted to a little extra tweaking:


I love cross processed and expired film like the kind I see in the photos of my good Flickr friends Olivia, Mika, Julia, and the incomparable, mysterious Cristina. These women continue to be my inspiration #1 in trying to be better at taking photographs and it's such an honor to be able to see their work every day, what they love, and what inspires them. But since I'm too lazy to shoot and develop real film, I've been doing "fake cross-processing" in Photoshop and I'm amazed at the results. (tutorial here)

For instance here is the before and after of that cherry bud:
unprocessed processed

The shadows are so much deeper and the mood (to me) has changed entirely... Here's another:

Before and after:
the blossoms processed

The tones, the shadows, what is light and what is dark - everything changes with a few tweaks to Curves... And another:

Before and after:
bright white blossoms processed

And a last one, the tulips:


Before and after:
purplish processed

So what do you think? Are these changes very subtle to you, or do they change the whole mood of the photo for you? Are there any you don't like "after"? Sometimes I stare at these so long that it's hard to decide which I like better... :)


Stacy A. said...

Hey Flor, what lovely photos. I know exactly what you mean about finding a little natural sanctuary inside of the city. Sometimes being outside in the city can be so much work. The crowds, street lights, noise, dirt. You need a place like that garden to be able to step back and breathe.
I definitely like the tulips and cherry bud better on the after shot, but I am not sure about the others. They do each have a different feel, I'm just not sure which I like best. Both in different ways maybe. Have a great week. Love Stacy

Kat said...

I feel that manipulating them allows me to make them look more like how I "see them" in real life. I like all the changes you made. On the other hand, I am a bit concerned that there are no actual photos now, this of course begs the question- were photographs ever taken that didn't have manipulation?

floresita said...

Thank you Stacy! Yes, I need a green sanctuary SO much here - thanks for chiming in on my photos! I agree, the cherry bud and tulip seem a lot better but the other 2 I'm on the fence about... :)

Thanks Kat - I think you just described exactly what I'm aiming for when I tweak my pics. I don't think there's a camera out there that can represent exactly how we see the world - the depth, the color, the dimensions. And yeah, pics have always been tweaked - in the good old film-processing days there was so much that could be done when developing a picture to change it, not to mention re-touching. It's all an art, I think, to do one's best to approximate life, as you say... :)

Ariel said...

I think the before and after shots do have very different moods, though they are all beautiful. Very cool to see both versions.

When I first switched to a digital camera, I totally felt like I was cheating when I manipulated the images afterwards. As if I hadn't done exactly the same thing in a darkroom. And as if a photograph should (or could) document a thing "As It Really Exists". I got over that pretty quickly. :)

Ani said...

i rarely can just let my photos out of the camera and run off without some sort of tweaking. through my eyes, life seems a smidge rosier and vibrant than what comes out of the camera.

i really liked seeing all the variations.

Meg said...

I think they look completely different, I love the after shots. It looks like you could almost touch the petals! Excellent work.

Shebrews said...

you are having waaaaaaaay too much fun! I think all the pics are lovely, before and after...I can almost smell the flowers they are so delicious looking! good job!

kalurah said...

Great job, Flor!
I like ALL of them! Something about the second ones just makes me feel as if I am looking at "old" pictures, ya know.
Does that make sense? Like they were taken at a different place in time that you are now reminiscing over by pulling them out of an old shoe box and sharing with us.
Thanks for sharing! :)

Frizz said...

WOW! Looks great!
Thanks for sharing your technique. I tweak in Photoshop and I can't wait to try this one out!!

Marilyn (Pulp Sushi) said...

They do the change the mood and I like it! I've been meaning to take a trip out to BBG. Soon!!

Rebekah said...

Those pictures are lovely.
I tend to tweek mine too. I never seemed satisfied because the picture never represents what I see in real life.

Jamie, Shad and Shiloh said...

i love all the "afters". they all look like they belong in a magazine