I’ve previously talked about how I create most of my black background images and also different methods of how to create them. Now it’s time to start looking at how I edit them. This year I will be bringing you more videos that delve further into my editing process.

equine black background portrait editing process
equine black background portrait editing process

Lightroom & Photoshop are your friends!

Which programme you use to edit your photos is a personal preference, but Adobe Lightroom Classic and Photoshop are the industry leaders and my programmes of choice. It is perfectly possible to edit most photos in just one programme, but personally I tend to use them in combination with one another to ensure the most polished final image.

Editing Process

The below video is an uninterrupted recording of my screen as I edited from start to finish a natural lit black background portrait. For a variety of reasons I used natural light in this instance rather than my normal studio lights, at the location the room we had as a choice to use wasn’t the deepest or darkest and it had white walls, so the image required more editing than the average image.

Lightroom starter for 10

I start editing in Lightroom by applying my standard BBG preset (which I created myself from scratch), which amongst other bits deepens contrast and shadows and exaggerates the texture of the horse’s coat.

After applying the preset using the adjustment brush I paint out the background. Sometimes I have to apply two layers to ensure a pure black background. I utilise the clipping option (press J) which shows all true whites and blacks to point out areas I have missed, this is when you see blue replacing the background. I then highlight the eye (increasing clarity highlights and shadows) with the adjustment tool to really make the image stand out.

equine black background portrait editing process

Photoshop Finale

I then move the image over to Photoshop using the ‘edit in’ menu option as this brings the edited back to Lightroom when saved. In Photoshop I remove the halter and any distracting bits of dust, scratches or similar. I do this with a combination of intelligent fill and cloning techniques. I normally use the doge and burn tools to create a bit more depth to the horse’s features, as portraits such as this shot in natural light I feel can be a bit flat at times otherwise. Lastly depending on the colour of the horse I will add a colour mask at a low opacity to enhance the coat colour again to combat the flatness of natural light before returning the image to Lightroom to export the image.

equine black background portrait editing process

Would you like to learn more?

I offer 1-2-1 training that includes Photoshop and Lightroom training. I also will be running workshops this year concentrating on creating black background portraits

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