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  • Writer's pictureJessica

editing magic

Seascape acrylic painting
Sweatshirt Weather, 12x12, acrylic on canvas, 2020

If you think it's hard to paint a beautiful painting, imagine trying to photograph it and capture it accurately! It's HARD to get the colors right. Sunlight shifts it warm, cloudy light shifts it cool, and your camera often makes its own adjustments! Unless you have a background in photography, it can seem impossible to get all the elements to come together in an accurate photo.

So what's a painter to do?! Thankfully, my background in graphic design gives me a chance to edit the photos in photoshop after I take them. Here I will show you a step by step process of trying to get a color-accurate image!

Here's the original that I shot in bright, cloudy light. The wall is a light grayish green. You can see how far off I started:

So the first step is color balance! Here I adjust the colors of highlights, lowlights, and midtones on 3 scales - cyan-red, magenta-green, and yellow-blue. By making slight adjustments as I look at the painting in real life, I can get much closer to an accurate representation:

See how the wall looks grayish green again? That's a good sign! The next step is to adjust the saturation, brightness, and contrast. That's actually two steps but I'm simplifying it here as the changes start to get so small!

Here's the final version, cropped to square at the top of page:

It's amazing how much work goes into getting a painting ready for the screen! Thanks to some careful editing magic, this one turned out beautifully.


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