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Monday, February 21, 2011

Photo Editing Contest on Louisiana Belle Forever's Blog

Last night I took a peek at my blog RSS reader (where I subscribe to dozens, maybe even hundreds of blogs) and came across a photo editing contest that caught my eye. You see, just a few days ago I had a conversation with a Twitter friend about the lack of entries to online contests we had run. We'd both noticed that responses were often very low for what we thought were easy-to-enter contests with great prizes. For instance there are only 7 full days left to enter to win a custom, "flirty," cartoon version of you right here on The Flirty Blog in my monthlong contest and your odds of winning are really good because I'm choosing two winners and only 24 people have entered. You should enter by February 28th if you'd like a flirty cartoon of yourself!

So, I've been subscribed to Louisiana Belle Forever for at least two years now but I don't think I've ever left a comment before. Following last weeks discussion about lack of response in contests I decided I would enter Louisiana Belle's contest to be supportive but more so because I knew she was right that there was a beautiful picture waiting to come out...

From her blog:

"Yesterday I posted my photo of these Mute Swans doing their mating ritual. Above is the original (resized). Pretty atrocious, huh? They caught me by surprise with their lovemaking, and turns out I only had a brief window of time to capture them before they sailed off into the sunset, which didn't take long once they noticed the telephoto pointed right at them. My camera was on all the wrong settings, naturally. But underneath this awful photo there is potential for something beautiful, just like the story of the ugly duckling maturing into a graceful swan. I believe that with all my heart. ♥"

I've attempted a few times to edit this photo, but I don't like anything I've done! So, I've decided to throw down a challenge to whomever can salvage it best, with a prize for the best edit. Yes, I am bribing anyone who will take the bait because I need help. This photo needs YOUR help!

This is my entry.
  1. To edit I made a second layer (always save your original as a back up) and manually corrected the lighting using Adobe Photoshop.
  2. Then I made another layer from the lighting corrected layer and edited the water color turning it blue by adding more cyan and blue to the color balance.
  3. Final steps, I erased the swans from the now overly blue water top layer and did a light clean up of the swans necks and removed the dark object in the water using the clone tool.
I cleaned up the sawns just a bit but not too much because I thought the image would look more beautiful left more natural.

If you enjoy photo editing as a hobby you should enter Louisiana Belle's photo contest too! There's less than two days left before her contest ends at midnight Central Time on 2/22/11.

CLICK HERE to visit her blog and learn how.

P.S. In case you're wondering how I learned to photo edit, it was all by poking around Photoshop and playing with the tools when I got my first Limited Edition of Photoshop for free with a printer 9 years ago. Back then then I had a film camera and my photos were often under exposed or had a weird color balance so I'd scan them and fix them as much as I could. Thankfully as I've improved my photography skills over the years I've done far less post edit work on the photos you see here in my blog but like Louisiana Belle sometimes I see the potential in what could have been a great photo, it just needs a little help to get there.

But there is an ethical aspect to photo editing worth mentioning. I only use my powers for good, not evil. If I were to edit a photo for a client, or myself, I will correct anything that doesn't directly effect the quality of the product in the image, making it appear better than it was, because that would be misleading and wrong. To me editing is all about bringing the picture back to look as close to what a moment really looked like in real life. The one exception to this is in something like a public photo contest where artistic expression and being creative is openly stated and disclosed :)


  1. Stacie, I just found your post on my blog contest! Before you had linked to the large jpg. Since the contest ended at midnight last night and this is the first chance I've gotten to boil down my decision, I wanted see if there was a post about it, too. Obviously, I found your post! I absolutely ADORE what you did with the photo. You cleaned my amorous swans up beautifully! It's clean and simple and beautiful. I KNEW this photo could be saved. Thank you!! I will announce the winner tomorrow. Good luck!

  2. I'm happy you liked it. It was purely your faith in the picture that made me take the time to enter :) I saw "it" too.

  3. WOW...you need to give me some lessons on editing. Great job.

  4. Thanks Anita. I've begun offering a 4 hour, Beginners' Blogging Seminar that will hopefully grow up to bcomee a webinar someday soon. Maybe in the future I can also create an introduction to photo editing course :)

    Your win was truly well-deserved!
    Just fantastic work on this.

  6. Oh WOW! I didn't know until I saw your comment. Thanks so much Lisa. All of the photos were really lovely and I'm happy for Gail she has so many to enjoy :)


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