Category Archives: before/after

Summer Evening at Suwanee Fountains | Before & After in Photoshop

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This fun little photo garnered a bit of attention over on Instagram, including a feature on one of my favorite Hubs, @Camera_Mama.  @Camera_Mama is a fun one because the mods always ask for tips on how something was shot or processed, so I get to learn a lot and usually try to scroll through their pictures often.  For this one, I was asked about adding in the sky.

For reference, here’s the SOOC (straight out of camera) shot:

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Even though it’s far from great right out of the camera, I chose it because of a couple elements.  First, I loved the glow of the setting sun.  When I was actually there, the color of the light was very warm and golden.  That didn’t come through in the shot unfortunately, but that’s what Photoshop is for.  I liked my daughter’s cute expression, the fact that you can see my other daughter behind her with the beachball, and that my daughter appears to be kinda the star of the show here.  I wish there weren’t so many “mergers” going on here – the boy behind my daughter and the other beachball merging into my other daughter’s legs.  I’d have loved to have them clear of merging with anything else, but it was really crowded and this is the cleanest shot I kinda had, so I’m going to go with it.

My settings:  Shot with a d5200 and Sigma ART 18-35 1.8 at 18mm f3.2 1/320 ISO 100.  The reason my settings were this way was because I was shooting and trying to get both of my daughters in focus and I also wanted to retain a bit more detail in the sky, which is why I was at 3.2.  I could have bumped my ISO a little bit, but I probably wanted to stay at 1/320 at least here.

The first thing I do is raw processing in Lr.  I used to do it in ACR, but it’s just easier for me, with my uploading and organizing workflow, to do it in Lr.  After raw processing, we were here:

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Definitely not quite there yet, so I open it up in Photoshop and add my sky.

I am definitely no expert on sky replacement and there are so many great tutorials out there.  I’ve probably seen a dozen and while I don’t subscribe to one method, I just pick and choose from what I’ve seen over the years and have developed my own quick way.  There are even actions which help you place and modify the sky (I have some but I don’t use them.)

But here’s a couple tips from what I’ve learned so far… First, I’d do the sky before anything else.  You don’t want to edit a picture til it’s nearly finished and then decide to add a sky.  Do it first so that all the edits/layers on top have a cohesive look.

Then, you have to have sky overlays to use.  I’ve actually never purchased a sky overlay, although I think the best ones are probably for sale and I’d love to buy a pack when I have some extra cash.  But I’ve gotten all of mine via free downloads, that you can find easily just by googling around.  I was part of a Facebook group that had a member post her personal skies in a dropbox folder.  Then, many people from the group started adding their own skies to the folder, so we all shared what we had.  I wish I could remember that group!  Maybe jump in a few of your favorite photography FB groups and search around for “sky overlays.”

Here’s the overlay I chose:

sky overlay

You need to choose an overlay that has the sun in about the same position in the sky as your photo, for it to look realistic.  This way, the shadows will look accurate, and rim lighting, etc will match up from where the sun is in the overlay.  You can use the transform – flip horizontal to line up an overlay too, if the sun is in the right position, just opposite.  I scroll through the overlays quickly looking for the same “distance from the center” relating to the sun, knowing I can flip the image if needed.

Either before or after you apply the sky overlay to your image, you should probably go into Image – Canvas Size and create a larger workspace for the crop and composition you’re looking for.  As an example, my pictures always come in by default at 20 inches wide and 13.333 inches in height.  So, I might fill in the new size, in inches, as something like 30 width, 23 height.  This will create a big white workspace and you can easily move your sky around.

When you feel good about your sky placement, you can press the keyboard short cut C for Crop.  Then, crop out the white space (or fill it to create a part of the image using the clone tool.)

You can play with blend modes, but I usually use Darken, because it will allow the “darker” color of the leaves in the trees and other silhouetted details to come through, only if the overlay has a darker color than the base layer, will that color information come through. (I’ve also heard Multiply mode might work well on some pictures.)

Then, play with the opacity, I usually lower mine a decent bit until it looks natural.  Then, I work on any areas where the masking didn’t work out great.

I’ll usually take a big soft brush on low flow, maybe 5%, and sweep it along the horizon until the blending looks clean.

I’ll also brush the sky off of the sun area, using low flows, maybe even as low as 3% around the sun so that it’s glow comes through.  If I need a little help in the sun department, I’ll create a stamp visible layer (shift option command E on a mac) and then go under Filter, Render, LensFlare to add a sun.  Sometimes I throw on a mask and brush off the greenish flare rings if I just want the sun.  I will also play with a warm, peachy colored gradient (radial) around the sun.  Lastly, I kinda love using starburst brushes (I found mine for free by googling) and I like to create more sun rays for fun.

Once my sky is all done, I’ll work on the rest of the picture, and obviously you can tell I warmed it up and brightened it a good bit. Here is is one more time, the finished (or almost finished, as I could definitely improve upon the skin):

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this little before/after in photoshop!  You can see my other ones here.

As I mentioned on @Camera_Mama, if I had more time to edit it, like if I were going to print it, etc, I would actually work more on my daughter’s skin.  It looks too dark and orangey still to me, so I’d work on it to make it look a good bit better.

If you’d like to learn more, here’s a couple other notes…

For the most definitive tutorial on sky replacement, check out Damien Symonds.  You can go to google or youtube and search for sky overlay or sky replacement and find a million tutorials with different tricks and tips.  You can also search for free sky overlays and I’ve found a ton and try to shoot my own whenever I see a great sky.  The key is keeping them all in one folder that’s readily available.  I’ve taken all but one of Damien’s classes and they’re amazing to get your editing started off on the right foot (and avoid developing bad habits.)

I’ve got my eyes on this sky overlay pack from ClickinMoms too!  I’m also dying to take Mickie DeVries Photoshop class, I know she’s got a ton of tricks.  I actually learned a ton of photoshop tricks, many of which I used in this picture, from Sarah Wilkerson’s Composition & Creativity and I also love anything from SallyKate Molhoek for Photoshop fun.  I’ve also taken many of Meg Bitton’s webinars and workshops.  Hope that helps!

Join Me (468x60)

photographers in gwinnett countyHi there!  I’m Amanda Myers of Crane Creek Photography and you’ve stumbled across my personal blog, which is a random assortment of things that I love.  I am a mom and a photographer in Gwinnett County, GA.  For more information about me, click here.  For pricing information, visit my pricing page.  Click here to contact me directly, or you can email me at or call/text 404-838-8997.  Thank you so much for stopping by!

To visit my business photography page: Newborn Child & Family Photographers in Gwinnett County

Let’s be social – Like my Facebook Page

Follow my 365 Project on Instagram | Follow my professional photography on Instagram

Child Photographers in Gwinnett County | Before/After

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I love this picture of my three kids taken right at sunset at Little Mulberry Park in the Dacula/Hoschton area in Northern Gwinnett County.

We headed up to take grad pictures of the girls, but ended up getting there so late, I barely got anything.  But I do love this one, and used it as my picture of the day for my 365 Project.  If you’d like to follow along, check out my personal instagram feed. 

Here’s the Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) shot.  I used my Nikon d5200 and my Sigma ART 18-35mm f-1.8 lens.  My settings were: ISO 160 19mm f1.8 1/250.  In retrospect, I probably could have increased my aperture a good bit and/or increased my shutter speed too, as the original shot was much brighter than I wanted.

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photographers in gwinnett countyHi there!  I’m Amanda Myers of Crane Creek Photography and you’ve stumbled across my personal blog, which is a random assortment of things that I love.  I am a mom and a photographer in Gwinnett County, GA.  For more information about me, click here.  For pricing information, visit my pricing page.  Click here to contact me directly, or you can email me at or call/text 404-838-8997.  Thank you so much for stopping by!

To visit my business photography page: Newborn Child & Family Photographers in Gwinnett County

Let’s be social – Like my Facebook Page

Follow my 365 Project on Instagram | Follow my professional photography on Instagram

Outdoor Child Portrait Before/After | Photographers in Gwinnett County

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I wanted to share another fun before and after.  I enjoy doing these for two reasons.  First, I like to encourage all of y’all out there by showing you that my photos look a lot like yours right out of camera.  There’s nothing special or fancy about my camera or lens.  (For the most part…The lens used here did create a lovely creamy background.)  And secondly, because I occasionally come across someone who truly believes that photography is simply a matter of pressing a button, uploading and sending pictures to a client.  The price of hiring a good photographer takes into consideration years of work, practice and experience, and also how much your photographer invests into furthering their education.  I’ve spent a considerable (ask my husband!) amount of time and money over the years taking courses to improve my shooting and editing.  I also put a great deal of time into each photograph.  This one actually took me much longer than normal, probably a bit over two hours.  But in the end, I’m happy with the result and it matches my vision of the image when I pressed that little button.

This is a sweet little girlie, the daughter of a longtime friend of ours.  Actually we go waaaaaay back, before we were even married!  They came over Saturday to hang out and it was a lovely January day, probably 60 degrees, so we took the kids to Sims Lake Park to take a walk and run off some energy.

Because of my 365 project, I try to think about what my favorite part of the day will be, or what makes a particular day unique.  I also can’t resist taking my big girl camera to my favorite local park, where I’ve done dozens of photo sessions over the years.

I wanted to get a picture of this sweet girl to give to her Dad.  It was mid-afternoon, maybe 1pm, and the sun was rather harsh.  I needed to underexpose the entire picture, so I didn’t blow the highlights around her hood and hair.  This presented a big challenge during editing, because I had to bring up her skin tones and really struggled with finding the right balance.  I used Sarah Wilkerson’s CMYK method (which is typically waaaaaayyyy too technical and mathematical than what I normally dive into!)  But it helped me to correct her skin tones and I think I got pretty close.  I could go back and forth for hours, but after struggling for a long time, I think I landed as close as I’m gonna get for now.

Here’s the straight out of camera (SOOC) shot:

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And after again (Edited in Lightroom & Photoshop):

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To see more before and afters, click here.


Hi, I’m Amanda, a photographer in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  You’ve found my personal blog where I share posts on a wide range of topics, but please be sure to hop on over to my main business site for more information.  I hope you enjoyed this dramatic transformation! Thanks for stopping by~

Before/After Fun in Photoshop | Photographers in Gwinnett County

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This is one of my favorite photos, taken last Spring, of my best friend’s daughter.  It had been a really rainy few weeks.  (It’s been a really rainy year, no?)  So, we just gave up on the idea of a traditional Spring-y portrait session at a park, and instead we’d embrace the rain and go with it.  She already had cute boots and an umbrella, so why not? The day we chose for doing the pictures was off and on rainy, and not exactly raining at the time of our shoot.  Good for me and my gear…not awesome for “rainy” pictures.  Enter Photoshop.  I definitely took some serious artistic license with this one, just for fun, to make it fit what I envisioned in my mind.

Here’s the Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) shot:

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Hi, I’m Amanda and you’ve landed on my personal blog, where I post all sorts of randomness related to my life and kids, photography, food, being a mom, etc.  Feel free to bounce over to my photography business site, where I keep it a bit more formal: Photographers in Gwinnett County

Children’s Photography | Before & After in Photoshop

I really enjoy messing around in Photoshop and even more, learning new tricks and tips.  I think in the couple years I’ve been using it, I’ve only barely scratched the surface of what’s possible.

Occasionally, I hear from prospective clients that I’m expensive as a photographer.  I take that as a compliment, thank you.  But actually, I think I’m pretty cheap considering that I spend so much time with every photo.  I do not simply press the shutter button, upload photos, press another button to batch edit them, and send them off to you.  I could…I used to before I learned how to edit.  But now, I could never go back.  It’s actually too fun for me!  But I typically spend about 45 minutes or so to hand edit ONE photo.  Might sound crazy, and I certainly couldn’t do that if I were a wedding photographer, but since I deliver small galleries of about 20-30 images, I can get away with it.  If I quoted you $600 for a two hour session plus 20 images @ 45 minutes a piece…you do the math 😉  That’s a lot of late nights because I spend my days chasing around three little maniacs (or cleaning up after them.)

So, before you say, “wow, your camera takes really nice pictures- what kind is it?” Consider that what comes out of my camera really ain’t nothing special.  The magic happens afterwards in Photoshop.

This is a typical edit for me, took right at about 45 minutes, and here’s the before and after.

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After raw adjustments in Lightroom and artistic editing in Photoshop

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SOOC (Straight out of camera- no adjustments made.)

Fall Fun with Photoshop | Photographers in Gwinnett County GA

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Here’s a fun before/after for you!  This is is one of my favorite photos from this Fall.  It was taken up in Young Harris, GA during our anniversary trip in early October.  The leaves had not yet really started to turn.  It was a terribly chilly and rainy weekend – not at all typical that time of year (I know since it’s usually gorgeous every year on our anniversary.  Our wedding day 10 years earlier was about 70 and sunny – utterly gorgeous!) When we arrived in Young Harris and took the turn off US 76 to Crane Creek Vineyards (where we were married and also where we stayed for the weekend, in their beautiful Vine Keepers Cottage) I couldn’t help but notice this scene: An amazingly huge tree with a tire swing hanging from it and a cool little red bike parked just up the driveway.  It was a beautiful epitome of childhood.  I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sadness, because the owner of that little red bike wasn’t able to ride it the entire weekend.  It actually stayed in that very spot for the four days we were there – lucky me, because on the last day, as we drove out of town, I had my husband pull over so I could take this shot.  That day, there was a car parked up by the house that I didn’t particularly care for, and it somewhat obscured the view of the tire swing that I really loved.   Anyway, I had a lot of fun with this one, hope you enjoy.

For the rest of my favorite pictures from the weekend, you can visit this blog post from my main site here, thanks for stopping by~


Hi, I’m Amanda a mom and one of many photographers in Gwinnett County, GA.  I love taking pictures of everything, but actually mainly take photos of newborns, kids and families.  I think what sets apart my work is that I love taking authentic, documentary-style photos but always look for an interesting and creative way to compose them.  I also am not afraid to zshuzsh them up a bit in Photoshop when warranted.  When I take a picture, I actually focus on “receiving the picture” and in my head I have a vision for what the final image should look like.  I love light, moments, emotion and connection.  My favorite photos are ones that actually make me giggle.  I hope you’ll check out more of my work at my main business site (this is my personal blog where I post about all sorts of stuff.)

French Cathedral | Photoshop Editing Fun

atlanta photographerOk – don’t look tooooooo closely!  But this photo (above) used to be this photo (below.)

atlanta photographerFirst, let me disclaim by saying, this is NOT my photo.  I did not take this shot, but was given permission to edit it.  I belong to several photography Facebook groups and I’ve learned a lot from them.  When possible, I like to give back and when it comes in the form of editing an incredible photo, I say yes.  Plus, I’ve had a little more time on my hands since finishing up my last sesh last night!   The original poster of the photo was seeking help in removing the white car, a distracting element from the photo, definitely.  But there are actually three cars.  And three people.  Again, please don’t look too closely.  But there are also such cool elements in this photo that I wish I could highlight better.  The red umbrella person – oh, yeah, if you zoom in (which you wouldn’t because I asked you NOT to, right?) it’s actually a woman on a cellphone carrying a fabulous satchel purse.  There are motorized bikes on the left side.  Many, many crosses all over.  A fab fountain that you can’t really see….Oh – and a French flag that I tried so hard to make stand out more, but just couldn’t without making a composite by pasting a different flag photo.  I just didn’t feel it was warranted.  Oh – and the sky.  That was more for fun.  Someone on Facebook suggested it and I thought it would work too.  Why not?  Blue skies are better, right?

All in all, I had a lot of fun on this edit, and helped out someone who needed it.  Win-win.  Great photo.  I wish I knew which church this was, I hope someday I can visit it in person myself.  Comment below if you know!

Here’s the progression, first the cleaned up version:

atlanta photographerThen, the edited version:

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And finally, if you’re into blue skies, here ya go:

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Before and After:

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Amanda Myers is an Atlanta photographer who enjoys taking lifestyle photos of her kids and really, really enjoys a good Photoshop edit.  Thank you, Anne.  😉




Before/After | Atlanta Newborn Photography

Here’s a fun before/after.  A clean process in ACR and then pulled into photoshop for some work.  Big credit due to Damien Symonds for his teaching and assistance.

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SOOC – Straight Out Of Camera (WB set in-camera with a grey card.) NO editing has been done. Nikon d5200 Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 lens @ ISO 200 26mm 1/100 f-1.8

Atlanta Newborn Photographers


Amanda Myers of Crane Creek Photography offers a variety of options for expectant parents for their newborn photography.  Whether it be glamorous maternity shots, birth photography, Fresh 48 Hospital newborn photography, or traditional posted portraits, we’ve got you covered.  Also consider a Newborn Homecoming Family Photojournalism session.  Capture life as it unfolds in your home, in the first hours that your child joins your family.

Rainbow over Harborside | by photographer Amanda Myers

This morning, I was struck by an image I saw in my Facebook newsfeed.  My friend Lisa took this stunning photograph of a full rainbow over the marina near Michael’s Harborside restaurant in Newburyport, Massachusetts- just north of Boston.

Rainbow over Harborside BEFORE

photo credit: Lisa McCray

I asked her to send it to me to play with (which she did, about 2 minutes later!)  I’ve been learning Photoshop since last Christmas (previously, I’ve only used Lightroom) and it’s totally changed my editing workflow.  I’ve used it extensively for retouching portraits, but I’ve never done an edit of a landscape.

This photo had so many beautiful, perfect elements.  I just tried to accentuate them and remove any distracting elements.  Perhaps I went overboard, but I was truly just playing around and trying to learn more of the software’s abilities.

Here’s my take:

Rainbow over Harborside

Rainbow over Harborside
photo credit: Lisa McCray
edited by: Amanda Myers

It’s definitely not perfect.  Seeing the uploaded, larger version on this site, I already see some things that bug me that I’ll need to work on.  But it was a fun edit with a beautiful photo.  Thank you Lisa!



Before/After, edited in Lr & Ps

Lisa McCray is the owner and an instructor of The Body Bar in Smyrna, Georgia.

Amanda Myers is a portrait photographer from Duluth, Georgia specializing in newborn, children and family photographs.