Princess Edit – Using Greater Than Gatsby Actions

I’ve lost count of how many messages I’ve received asking for mentoring, tutorials, or editing videos, so I decided to record one to show you how I use Greater Than Gatsby actions in my editing workflow.  I am in no way affiliated with GTG, I just happen to love their actions.

I started this edit off in Lightroom, and did a few adjustments to exposure and white balance, and then moved on to Photoshop.

It’s really helpful if you know how to work with layers and masks before purchasing their actions so that you can tweak and customize them to your liking.

Here’s the progression of the edit you will see in this video.  The straight out of camera (SOOC) image on the far left, then the adjustments I made in Lightroom, and finally finishing up with GTG actions and a little hand editing in Photoshop.

Before and After - Princess Editing Video - Jo McVey Photography

The GTG actions used in this video are from the following collections:  Innocence Retouch, Innocence I and II, Newborn Essentials, and Newborn II.

Side note: I shoot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, and this particular photo was shot with a 70-200mm f2.8 lens.  I always shoot in RAW, never JPEG.  I just like having more control over my images.  Settings for this photo were 1/200, f2.8, ISO 500.

I hope you like this video!  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Also, I’d love it if you’d like my Facebook page: Jo McVey Photography

Or follow me on Instagram: jomcveyphotography

And, if you’re a child and family professional photographer, please join us over in my Facebook group The Art of Child and Family Portraiture.

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Joanna McVey specializes in maternity, newborn, child, senior, and family photography.  Serving Nashville and surrounding areas, including Hendersonville, Gallatin, Goodlettsville, White House, Madison, Hermitage, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Bellevue, Old Hickory, Donelson, Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, Castalian Springs, East Nashville, Germantown, Nolensville, Green Hills, Ashland City, 12 South, Belle Meade, Cool Springs, Clarksville, Greenbrier, Spring Hill, Dickson, Portland, Fairview, and all other Middle TN areas.

Before and After

Besides God and my family, photography is my biggest passion.  I picked up my first DSLR camera in 2011 — a Canon Rebel XTi that I bought, along with some lenses, from my extremely talented sister-in-law and wedding photographer, Stacey Pentland.  Seriously, she’s amazing.  I would know.  She photographed my wedding in 2011, and if you’re getting married in the Bay Area in California, you should definitely consider hiring her to capture your wedding.  You won’t be disappointed!  I know I wasn’t!

Anyway, I’ve since upgraded to a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and have tried to learn as much as I can about photography and editing in the past 4+ years.  I am mostly self-taught, and my only education has come from some online video tutorials.

My favorite part of photography is post production, or editing the photos.  I love taking a mediocre, or even sometimes a horrible, seemingly unsalvageable photo, and turning it into something amazing.  (Although I try my best to get it as close to perfect straight out of the camera as I can.)  I always start my editing process in Lightroom, and then change over to Photoshop.  I would say I do about 10% in LR and 90% in PS.

So, without further ado, I wanted to show you some of my favorite before and afters.

Before and After -

This photo was taken at a local pumpkin patch, and the sky was so beautiful that evening.  It was getting pretty dark, and I knew that if I set my camera to expose for the subjects (Grayson and me) so that we’d be bright enough, it would blow out the sky and make it just a bright white, instead of showing any of the beautiful pink clouds.  So I exposed for the sky and hoped that I could fix it later.  Thankfully, I was able to.

Before & After -

Here’s another fun one.  I had to expand the floor, delete the cable, make the floor a darker, warmer color, among other things.  This photo turned into one of my favorite photos I have ever taken, and it was even featured on Greater Than Gatsby’s Facebook page!

Before & After -

This was a shot I took of our boys playing on the beach in St. Augustine during our vacation this past summer.  The lighting was just perfect, and the sky was beautiful, but I underexposed just a bit to make sure I didn’t blow out any part of the sky or beach.  I love how it turned out.

Before & After -

This one was quite a challenge.  I don’t typically shoot families in my studio.  Normally it’s just newborns and babies one year old and younger.  The reason for that is because I don’t have any backdrops big enough for more than one person at a time.  Trust me, I want to by ALL the backdrops!  But at the moment, I can’t justify spending the money when I’m only doing about 8-10 sessions a year.  (I’m taking this time to focus on raising my two crazy boys while they’re young and not in school).  Normally when I take my parent shots, I have them standing in front of my tan wall, which acts as a backdrop.  But for this photo, I had them sitting down so that they would all be on the same level.  I must have a lot of confidence in myself to think that I could pull this off, when I looked at the back of the camera and thought, “Yah, I got the shot.”

Before & After -

And of course, a before and after post wouldn’t be complete without a composite of my two crazy, hilarious, lovable boys.  Rarely do I ever get a good shot of them both at the same time.  So more often than not, I have to swap out heads, bodies, you name it.  Anyway, this was their official Christmas picture that I took for the calendar I make every year for their grandparents and us.  This was “December.”  As you can see, Grayson was not cooperating while sitting next to Oliver, so I had to take his photo separately and then swap his body into the photo with Oliver.  These boys make me work, I tell ya!

Anyway, that’s my fun little before and after post for today.  I wasn’t sure if this would be my last post of 2015 or my first post of 2016 since we’re nearing midnight, but it looks like 2015 it is!  I wish you all a very Happy New Year!  Stay safe and take lots of pictures!!!

Grayson’s 15 Month Photos

It has been quite a while since I’ve taken any pictures of my son, Grayson, with my good DSLR camera instead of just my iPhone, so I decided that since he had just turned 15 months a week before, I’d take some photos of him at the park.

He started walking only a few short weeks ago, so he got to show off his new skill to some of the joggers on the path!  Of course he smiled his shy smile at every single person who passed by, as he always does.

It can be pretty hard to get good pictures of a fast moving baby, so I found this awesome stump for him to sit on.

After a few minutes he had had enough sitting and wanted to walk around again.

And since I don’t have many pictures of Grayson and me together, I attempted a selfie of us with my super heavy camera.  Let me tell you, that is no easy task!  And when I saw the result, I couldn’t help but laugh at Grayson’s fish face.

And in case any of you thought my photos always come out of my camera with perfect lighting, coloring, and blemish free, here is an example of why photographers charge what they do. The picture on the left is straight out of my camera, and the picture on the right is after 45 minutes of editing. I always spend this amount of time on each and every photo I provide for my clients. Just remember that even though it may seem like a lot of money just for pictures, you don’t know just how much time the photographer is spending on editing your photos. It’s not just the hour or two they spend with you during the session, it’s countless hours in front of the computer making sure each and every photo is perfect.