Category Archives: digital editing

Photo editing tips for dog and cat photos done in Photoshop and Lightroom. Tips on how to make images look better after they come out of the camera. How to edit dog and cat photography, step by step.

the power of lightroom (and photoshop)

most of the editing on this image was done in LR2, with the exception of some touch-up cloning and adjustment layer masks in PSCS3 to bring the catchlights in the eyes up. Otherwise, major cloning, color, cropping, contrast and everything else was all Lightroom, which is pretty impressive, because anyone who has tried to clone blue sky knows it’s nearly impossible. It’s pretty amazing what software can do.


View full post »

revealing the lie

One thing that I think is a great misnomer among photographers just starting out, is that those amazing shots they see on the uber-talented really well known photographer’s blogs come out of the camera looking like that.

While yes, the really talented folks can nail exposure shot after shot after shot, the amazing clarity, contrast and sharpness often has just as much to do with post-processing (work in Lightroom and Photoshop) as it does with the original digital image.

And for those photogs who shoot in RAW (as many pros do- not a value judgement here! just saying that many do, ok? no arguments, please) they pretty much have to process their images otherwise they are left looking muddy. I have talked before on this blog about the ‘grey film’ that appears to coat each digital image that comes from the camera, and how it’s necessary to rid oneself of the film lest one have images that all look like they are suffering from a bad hangover.

Before my new lover (Lightroom2) was introduced into my life, I was pretty much wholeheartedly against processing images. I felt like it was cheating, and in a way, I still believe that. Although now that Lightroom has blown my brain wide open, I really don’t care if it’s cheating or not.

I do it, my pet photog friends do it, wedding photographers do it, we all do it. And the really good ones that want you to believe that they are just amazing photographers and that their shots are born looking phenomenal, yet give half-assed answers to questions about processing? Well, they’re full of something my dog eliminates every day.

Want proof? Here it is:


I forgot to mention above that the shot was taken with the 24-70mm f/2.8L lens, which, sadly for me, is a fairly soft copy (and getting softer over time). I guess $1300 doesn’t get you very much these days. :-P

Now, not everyone may like this processing technique in terms of looks, but it’s pretty hard to argue that there isn’t a big difference between the before and after.

If you are a photographer just starting out, and you are hard on yourself believing that the pros have some secret magical formula that you don’t and never will, just stop it right now. Those who have images with amazing clarity and sharpness and contrast aren’t any better, they just have more tricks up their sleeve.

I just decided to come out with my naked RAW truth and reveal my own. :-)

Comments, criticism, linkbacks welcome! What do YOU think about processing??

View full post »

Fergie and Jamie go to Whidbey

Bet ya didn’t know that I took off for a few days this week with my pooch, didja? Well, ok, if you follow me on twitter, you knew of my little escape, but I never mentioned it on the blog. I had plans to go the previous week but they fell through (very sad story) and I didn’t want to jinx this trip by talking about it. But it happened this time, yay!

So the Fergermeister and I took off and stayed at the most lovely cabin on a bay near Freeland, and I brought my camera, and we did as close to nothing as possible. I took lots and lots of pictures, so I am posting lots and lots of pictures, because I found it impossible to narrow them down. Hopefully this will enable all of you to enjoy our trip with us vicariously!

This is what was awaiting us when we arrived on Thursday evening. Ahhh heaven.


I love these shots because even though they are both imperfect, they give me the feeling as if I was back there in that moment.


There was a dedicated doggy area at the cabin (the owner is a multiple dog owner), and Fergie couldn’t believe her luck when she spotted the balls and toys. I have never ever seen her so happy. It nearly made me cry.


The adorable neighbor pooch Cooper. He was a doll.


I wish I had taken more shots of the inside of the cabin, but honestly we were outside almost the whole time. But the cabin was positively darling, very clean and comfortable and furnished exactly as I would furnish a summer cabin.


The cabin had a fully stocked kitchen, washer and dryer, very comfy queen sized bed (and also a loft and pullout bed in the tv room, not pictured here), and sleeps up to 4 people. I can’t wait to go back and bring my mom and sister, who I know will love the place. I’ll leave details at the end of this post on how to rent the cabin for yourself. It is dog friendly, and even has a separately fenced side yard that you can contain your pooch in, and, get this, a new doggie bathing area outside with both cold AND hot water (awesome). The property is huge, and the most fun place I can imagine a dog being able to explore and sniff around while being completely contained by the fence around the property.


Late that first night I could not get Fergie to come inside. She was having so much fun throwing her new toys around the yard that she didn’t want to go to sleep. So I brought my camera outside and decided to try and take some nighttime shots. That’s moon flare you see below.


And that my friends, is the moon! Woohoo!! It took a long time for me to get this shot, but I finally got it, and it was worth it.


Our view the next day.




There are gorgeous flowers in bloom all around the property, and I was even greeted by sweet-smelling fresh cut flowers inside the cabin. It was awesome.




The Cabin owner’s beloved passed german shepherd pooch is buried on the property, and Fergie and I spent some time laying on a blanket near her grave keeping her company. I only wish I have a spot as beautiful for Fergie once she is gone. Dogs live such short lives.



The hardest part of the trip was trying to decide where to lie down outside. This was one of my spots under a giant cherry tree in the side yard, and this was my view.


Warning: there are A LOT of Fergie images coming up. My lenses were focused on her nearly the entire time, so I ended up with like 450 shots of just her. Hopefully you will think she is just as cute as I do. Man I love this dog. :-)


I’m thinking this one needs to go big on a canvas.




I LOVE this shot. Totally imperfect, and I love it for it’s imperfection.


This is the look she gives me whenever I ask a question. “Fuurrgee? do you wanna….?”, then this. She is sooo cute!



If you need just one reason why I love this dog so much, it’s looking at you below. I would do anything for her.




Sarah left a comment on one of Fergie’s Facebook images saying she had a little black olive nose. So the whole trip I referred to her as ‘little black olive’. Here is a shot of that little nose.



Stick induced happy coma below.



The sky changed colors throughout the sunset, and then I couldn’t believe my eyes when it turned purple. I tried everything to get the color right in the shots in-camera, and even went so far as to change the custom white balance (K) in 10 degree increments over about 100 degrees both up and down, and never got the color right in camera. That is one of the most frustrating things about digital photography- so often what you see with your eyes is nearly impossible to duplicate with your camera. I suppose seasoned landscape photographers would have told me I needed a special filter to get the shot. Oh well, in this case Lightroom did the job.


I don’t have words to express how much I love this shot below. Fergie is such a good model, and held still while I craned my neck to try and get her in focus and the sunset perfectly exposed.


Then we were off to Double Bluff beach, where it was hot and very dry.





Look at her face in that shot on the left below. LOL.


A commenter had asked how I made the ‘flash’ file on Bella’s post. It’s actually really easy. It’s an animated GIF file, made in Photoshop. You just drag all of your images as layers onto one image, so you end up with a multilayered file, then go to ‘window’, ‘animation’, create new frames, and select the layer for each frame, set the duration of each frame in seconds, and then save for web as a gif. Here is a more in depth tut: animated gif tutorial.


And that my friends, was my trip to Whidbey Island with my doggie daughter! Hope you enjoyed the images and my cute little girl. :-)

If you are interested at staying at the same lovely cabin we did, check out the listing on VRBO, and when you contact the owner Julia, be sure to tell her Jamie at Cowbelly sent you! Can’t wait for my next stay there.

For more Whidbey vacation options, check out, where you can also get a list of dog-friendly activities on Whidbey island.

View full post »

Bailey pink storyboard

Bailey is possibly the most feminine dog I have ever photographed, and I wanted to design a storyboard that fit with that quality. I can’t think of many things more girly than this. Except perhaps a cosmopolitan and mirabou feather slippers. :-)

Close up of the silhouette I designed of the cute girl.

View full post »