Roll over the image to see the before.

About This Section

All images in this section are actual stock images. The "Before" state is the photograph as it was provided by the stock agency or photographer to the licensee.

Three very important criteria apply to all images in this portfolio section:

  1. The image editing eliminated the need to find a replacement photo. (This makes photo researchers and designers very happy. They didn't have to start from scratch because selected photo did not meet technical requirements.)
  2. The Photoshop edits maximized color, detail, and visual impact.
  3. They are files prepared for optimum reproduction on press.


As noted, some of the photographs are from Martha DiMeo's personal stock library and are available for licensing.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

Posing perfectly as if modeling for a cat calendar, my cat, Highlight, allowed me to take just one frame before jumping down. Unfortunately, it was grossly under-exposed. Image editing to the rescue! By making corrections in both in LAB and RGB color spaces tonality, shape, and detail was restored.

Photography by Martha DiMeo
Image Available for Licensing

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

Exquisitely composed but slightly under-exposed, adjustments to contrast and saturation brought out the beauty of the delightful subject matter. With cleaner colors, the designer had a richer palette from which to build the page design.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Improve color and lighting; remove distracting objects

Increasing the contrast in this photo greatly enhanced the luminosity, completely changing the mood of the photograph.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Improve the lighting, contrast, and color

The post-processed photo is likely a closer representation of what the photographer experienced when taking this photo. The job of the digital imaging specialist is to create that experience for the viewer.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

The  imaging work needed for this image was four-fold: color correction, tonal correction, minimize digital noise, and the removal of the figure in the background and the dirt on the girl’s collar.

Color Correction:  The chromatic scale of this image fell strictly within the orange and red range of the color spectrum—save for the bit of green grass.  The client wished to maintain the overall warmth of the image as it worked wonderfully with the color palette of the layout. But, the flesh tones needed help. The heavy red cast was acceptable for the background, but was disastrous for the faces. (As noted in other images in this portfolio gallery, reds tend to intensify on press. Therefore, it is critical to evaluate and correct flesh tones with an eye to this fact.)

Tonal Correction:  The main subject—the two girls—was far to dark. Essentially, the foreground and background values needed to be flipped. The girls were lightened and the background darkened. With those adjustments, emphasis is now squarely where it needs to be—on the smiling faces.

Digital Noise: The file contained excessive digital noise caused by the use of a consumer level camera. In addition, the image had to be enlarged 140%—which would further emphasize the digital noise. The noise was minimized by combining several noise reduction techniques.  Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Improve the lighting, contrast, and color

The ravages of time: The "Before" is a scan of a 40 year old Kodachrome slide. A treasured family photo, it was especially meaningful to bring this photograph back to life.

If the perfect photo for a project is faded or discolored, much can be done to improve the photograph to make it suitable for reproduction.

Photography by Arthur DiMeo Sr.
Image Available for Licensing

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

Another example in which the experience of environment is more closely captured in the post-processed image. The available lighting was enhanced to better illuminate the couple in the foreground. Color enhancement corrections improved the hues of the aquarium.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

Another example in which the experience of environment is more closely captured in the post-processed image. The available lighting was enhanced to better illuminate the couple in the foreground . Color enhancement corrections improved the hues of the aquarium.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

The warmth of home and hearth is the feeling conveyed in photographs shot under the warm glow of incandescent lighting. In its "Before" state it's a bit too warm, rendering the people much too red. The highlights and quarter-tones were blown-out and the mid and three-quarter tones were flat.

The color corrections maintained the glow of the interior lighting while adding contrast and shape to all elements of the photo.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

If the photograph shown here was published in its "Before" state the design of the page would have been compromised. It suffered from a magenta color cast, under-exposure, and was slightly out of focus. Everything was manipulated– exposure, color balance, sharpness, and detail. This work was accomplished using both global and localized color corrections.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

I suspect it was atmospheric haze combined with the inherent limitations of the capture device that caused the original to lose its visual impact. By enhancing the colors of the sky and water and increasing the contrast, a visually inviting photograph was created. All the photos on the spread were now connected by color. A more appealing page design resulted.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

Dull and lifeless, this skyline view was suffering from atmospheric haze and smog. Recalling an architectural photography assignment from my RIT studies called "Dusk-Dawn", I knew where I wanted to take this image.

The "Dusk-Dawn" technique captures that magical moment when the building's lights have come on and the sky is transitioning from twilight to nighttime. Photographically it is often captured by a double-exposure a few minutes apart. In reality the building and skyline never really exist that way at the same time. Rather, it is a representation of the way the human-eye experiences a city skyline at twilight.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

There is probably no other lighting environment as unpredictable as concert lighting. In addition, concert photography often requires high ISO settings resulting in grainy originals if shot on film, and undesirable digital noise if captured digitally.

Removing the green stage lighting turned the photo into a portrait of the musician as well as a pleasing rendition of the live event.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

A challenging shooting environment–the photographer had to choose between exposing for the musicians and blowing out the sky or holding detail in the sky but under-exposing the musicians.

I'm glad he chose the latter. With Photoshop, it's relatively easy to open up the mid-tones and three-quarter tones to bring photographs with high dynamic ranges to a pleasing conclusion.

The new colors gave the graphic designer a vibrant palette from which to design.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

This is the same situation as the previous image. The dynamic range of the scene exceeded the capabilities of the camera's sensor. (A typical digital camera can capture a dynamic range of 10 -14 f- stops of light whereas slide film is limited to a 6 f-stops range. But the human eye far exceeds both. We can perceive a dynamic range around 18 to 20 f- stop.)

The image was used as a textbook illustration so it was important that the costumes, crowd, and architecture were visible to the reader.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

Also used for a textbook illustration, the image retouching had the same criteria as the previous image. The photo needed to engage the reader and support the story. It was important that the reader could see the architecture, flags, and massive crowd.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

When working on high dynamic range images where the main subject is dark, I envision what the photograph would have looked like if the photographer had used a fill-flash. I re-lit the scene making the woman in the foreground the brightest part of the scene. The light tapered off as it fell on the woman with her back to the camera.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

Concluding the series of high dynamic range images, tonal values were restored from highlight to shadow. The magenta color cast was removed. Pleasing flesh tones resulted.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

The originally image does not look particularly "off" until it is compared to the "After." The red color cast was reduced, taking into consideration the cast would intensify on press.

The image was used as a double-page spread in a textbook. When adjusting the tonal curves in Photoshop I lightened and darkened areas to accommodate text and graphics that were to be placed on the photo. As with retouching for magazines, other page elements must be taken into consideration when adjusting color, contrast, and tonal range.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

Task: Image Editing – Improving Tone, Color, and Contrast

It is unknown to me whether this photograph was taken digitally or shot on film and then scanned. Neither medium is capable of recording the variations of tone and hue as the human eye perceives them in this type of landscape.

What the camera sensor or film cannot capture can be fully restored through skillful manipulation in Photoshop.

Copyright Belongs to the Respective Image Owners

The Importance of Monitor Calibration