Two Swans, Three Ways

I took a couple of photos of this Mute Swan, who was completely engaged in preening and oblivious to me and my camera. I was able to get pretty close- they truly are elegant birds, with their long necks and snowy white feathers.

It was a fairly bright day, as you can see the warm light of the late afternoon sun in the ripples of the water. But since this picture was taken in the shade, I lightened it in Photoshop. I have a few Photoshop Action Presets which I have never really mentioned here. Mostly I use them for efficiencies like adding light to an image with one click. I use The Pioneer Woman’s presets quite a bit.



I downloaded a few presets from Florabella and CoffeeShop a couple of years ago and they are a lot of fun to play with. I like the image as it is, but the subject is so feminine and I felt that it needed softening and warmth. One of the presets is called frosting, which essentially adds a pale, opaque wash of pink over the image:

Mute Swan Soft 1

Mute Swan Soft 2

Then of course I had to try it in black and white. The Pioneer Woman has a high contrast black and white preset that works well on certain images, but on others it can make the white overpowering. There is so much white in this image that I had a feeling it would give it and interesting advantage: cleaner lines and fewer shades of gray:



I have learned a lot using these presets, most of them are left open so that you can adjust the layers and levels yourself. Of course I could do a hundred things differently~ the possibilities are endless! What are your thoughts on the process? Do you use presets? Which ones do you like best? Which of these effects do you prefer?


2 thoughts on “Two Swans, Three Ways

  1. Hi Cait! How are you?

    Love these images of the swan – they are so sculptural and graphic. In that regard, the black and white ones are especially beautiful.

    As for presets, no I don't use them much, except my own that I've developed for Lightroom. I find it's nearly impossible to have one that works for most images without a lot of adjustments. But that's just me. I know lots of people that love them.

    Have a great week!

    xoxo – g


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