Gila's Place | SOOC, proof, portrait; it's a process and the magic of imagery

SOOC, proof, portrait; it's a process and the magic of imagery

October 31, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

When I tell a client it will be two to three weeks before their proofs are done, some look at me like I am crazy. Why so long? Don't I just plug my camera into my PC, download the images from there and then upload them online for my clients to see? Isn't it just that simple?

I would love it were that simple.

Not counting how many other dozens of projects I may have going when I do a particular shoot, there's always those clients waiting in line before you and the whole process of just getting your images to a "proofing" stage is well, a process. Uploading them to your online galleries may take a full 24 hours for that step alone.

So what does happen from shoot to proof to portrait?

Each shoot is an experience all it's own, in it's own atmosphere, weather conditions, and with individual subject matter, so each set of images will have it's special needs.

Below is a chart showing the basic process of taking images straight out of the camera (SOOC), to a proof, and then to a final portrait.


This is an image straight out of the camera. This is a proof.

1. SOOC means "straight out of the camera".

This is what the image looks like when it is transferred from my camera straight to the PC. It may not be all I thought I saw when looking through the lens, but it's what I was able to capture with glass and a sensor. It's this that becomes my canvas.

While a photographer can look at this image and see the potential, it's likely that many of our clients cannot.

Minor edits like exposure, temperature, contrast, and sometimes cropping are made before an image is presented as a proof.

2. Once the images are on my PC I make minor edits on exposure, temperature, and contrast, and sometimes cropping, before the images are presented to my clients as a "proof".

This is the beginning of the "post processing" stages of an image.

It still has not yet become what my eye had seen or what I have envisioned, but it is a good basis for a client to choose the images they prefer, based on pose, facial expression, etc.

All poses a client chooses from their proofs are then put back into processing to achieve the final portrait.

Post processing explained  

3. After a clients have made their selections, the images go into the final post processing stages. 

For the conditions this image was shot in, my camera was set to over expose the background (see previous image) and in order to let enough light in for the models face to show up without shadow. In doing so, I lost all the color in the sky.

So in my first step of post processing, the image split into layers and the exposure was adjusted to return the color to the overexposed sky.





4. One glaring issue with this image, for me, was the models shoe behind her left shoulder.

I know it is a shoe, but not enough of it is showing so that the viewer will know what it is, so it has to go. At this point it is just a distraction. 

Cloning is one way to remove an object from an image but with the overgrown tree in the background and so many shades of various colors in the area, cloning could get pretty tricky and come out looking tacky.

So I got rid of the shoe by splitting the image into another layer and gently sliding the top layer over to the right a bit. This is so that the empty hole where I cut the shoe out, is laying over the branches of the tree in the bottom layer. This looked more natural than my cloning effort. (you can see the layers askew on the left hand side of the image)

5. Now that I have gotten rid of the distracting shoe, I further cropped the image and added a slight tilt for a more interesting angle, bringing the models face closer.

This is now a finished portrait.

Please note that this process will vary from photographer to photographer. This just happens to be the process I have become comfortable with and accustomed to.


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