Bird with yellow breast on a bare branch
Birds,  One-to-Three,  Photographic techniques,  Themed galleries

Gallery: Great Tit three ways

Photography has no rules, it is not a sport. It is the result which counts, no matter how it is achieved.

Bill Brandt

Not everyone agrees with the above quote, I know, especially when it comes to editing. There are purists who say that only the shot as it came out of the camera is ‘true’. Others allow for a bit of mild cropping and straightening, nothing more. But some of us like to go further in the post-production editing process.

I do so for two different reasons. Most often it is to make the shot the best it can be. Sometimes it takes a bit of editing to create an image that feels like the scene felt to me at the time. The eye can play tricks on us, correcting dark shadows for instance. So I play with lighting, contrast, colour saturation until the image looks right.

But sometimes I take it further, using filters and effects to create something entirely different. I don’t see this as cheating, because it is always obvious that I have played with the image.

So this month I thought it was high time I joined the One-to-Three Photo Processing challenge. The aim is to ‘have some creative fun with photos’, just as I love to do!

The original
Shropshire Great Tit

I started with a simple photo of a Great Tit, taken last summer in Shropshire. This has been cropped but otherwise is as it came out of the camera.

Edit one
Bird with yellow breast on a bare branch
Shropshire Great Tit

For my first edit I used my favourite Color Efex Pro, one of the Nik Collection plug-ins, applying one of the vintage effect filters. I find these a simple but effective way of creating a mood. They work particularly well for flowers. Here I liked the way the effect brightened and softened the background, making the bird stand out a bit more.

Edit two
Bird with yellow breast on a bare branch
Shropshire Great Tit

This second edit used a mix of Photoshop Elements and Color Efex. I used the dry brush filter in the former and then added the rough border from the selection in the latter, pushing it to the roughest and widest settings. I liked the way this makes the image look as if it has been torn from a book or magazine.

Edit three
Bird with yellow breast on a bare branch
Shropshire Great Tit

For my final edit I turned to another favourite from the Nik Collection, Silver Efex Pro. I like monochrome edits and my original intention was simply to see what this shot looked like in black and white. But I felt it was rather dull, so I added a cyanotype tone and used a control point to bring back selective colour on the bird’s breast.

So there you have it; one Great Tit, three ways. I’ll be very interested to hear which edit is your favourite, if any, or whether perhaps you like the original best and think I should have left well alone!

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