From Capture to Cover with Nik Software
I believe we do our best work when we shoot what we are passionate about. My passion in life, besides photography, is horses. I specialize in equine photography, and this month, one of my images was published as the cover of Equine & Canine News.
I captured this image during a portrait session. I enjoy shooting portrait sessions with animals because it is a lot of fun while also challenging – people are easy to direct – animals (and small children), not so much! It makes capturing that special moment even more rewarding. Here is my image straight out of camera:
I was happy with the image, but wanted give it a more warm feel overall, with a hint of sepia. I wanted to decrease the contrast in the foreground and background, and add mid tone contrast to the subjects to really make them the focus of the image. To do this, I used Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4. I started with Tonal Contrast, adding contrast in all tonalities of my image. I used Control Points to selectively apply the Tonal Contrast only to my subjects. The Tonal Contrast did a great job of bringing out the highlights and shadows in the animals coats.
Then, I added a combination of filters that I use to create this warm, muted, airy, almost sepia look – Brilliance and Warmth, Bleach Bypass, Glamour Glow, and Colorize.
For a finishing touch I used Darken/Lighten Center to direct the viewer’s eye to the subjects. After finishing up in Color Efex Pro 4, I clicked “Ok” to return to Photoshop. In Photoshop, I used a combination of clone stamp and healing tool to remove a few small blemishes, then resized the image to the specified print size for the cover, and used Sharpener Pro 3.0 to perfectly sharpen my image for printing.
Here is the final image:
Here is the final image on the cover of Equine and Canine News: