Greatest hits / by Mary Pavlou

Truthfully, not every photo taken is Instagram-worthy, in focus, and filtered to perfection. Trying to achieve a flawless photo in-camera isn't always obtainable, especially when you're dealing with uncommon locations where the lighting is especially difficult and constantly fluctuating. I've dealt with my own fair share of losses (some fixable and some not) and I would be lying if I said that I didn't rely on Photoshop to fix my mistakes.  Nothing new.  There are countless photography blogs that will lecture you just exactly what settings to use and how to shoot whatever your subject may be. I've read them and you probably have, too. I am not one to give out advice (I've been shooting for years and I'm still figuring it out), but when it comes down to it, always always shoot in raw.  Just between us, I am willing to share some of my greatest hits, aka the worst of the worst. Photoshop & Lightroom really are a photographer's best friend. Before and after

Truthfully, not every photo taken is Instagram-worthy, in focus, and filtered to perfection. Trying to achieve a flawless photo in-camera isn't always obtainable, especially when you're dealing with uncommon locations where the lighting is especially difficult and constantly fluctuating. I've dealt with my own fair share of losses (some fixable and some not) and I would be lying if I said that I didn't rely on Photoshop to fix my mistakes.  Nothing new. 

There are countless photography blogs that will lecture you just exactly what settings to use and how to shoot whatever your subject may be. I've read them and you probably have, too. I am not one to give out advice (I've been shooting for years and I'm still figuring it out), but when it comes down to it, always always shoot in raw. 

Just between us, I am willing to share some of my greatest hits, aka the worst of the worst. Photoshop & Lightroom really are a photographer's best friend.

Before and after
Cinderella, Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights Dreamlights is really such a stunning parade, but (as with most nighttime parades) it's difficult to photograph. In this case, I played around with curves, camera calibration, and the masking tool in Lightroom. 

Cinderella, Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade Dreamlights
Dreamlights is really such a stunning parade, but (as with most nighttime parades) it's difficult to photograph. In this case, I played around with curves, camera calibration, and the masking tool in Lightroom. 

Prince Phillip & Aurora, Dream Along With Mickey I'll never forget the first time that I shot DAWM in the evening. I'll also never forget how unprepared I was for their terrible lighting. Here I relied on Lightroom to fix the white balance, curves to adjust the lighting, and also split toning to even out the colors.

Prince Phillip & Aurora, Dream Along With Mickey
I'll never forget the first time that I shot DAWM in the evening. I'll also never forget how unprepared I was for their terrible lighting. Here I relied on Lightroom to fix the white balance, curves to adjust the lighting, and also split toning to even out the colors.

Elsa, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration Ah yes, a day of firsts. This was the first day of Frozen sing-along in the new theatre (they switched from the Premiere to the Hyperion @ DHS) and it also happened to be my first time photographing with my new Canon. This was before I figured out where my white balance was (*HINT never try to figure out your settings in a dark theatre!!!) Here I adjusted the white balance and split toning. 

Elsa, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Ah yes, a day of firsts. This was the first day of Frozen sing-along in the new theatre (they switched from the Premiere to the Hyperion @ DHS) and it also happened to be my first time photographing with my new Canon. This was before I figured out where my white balance was (*HINT never try to figure out your settings in a dark theatre!!!) Here I adjusted the white balance and split toning. 

Elsa & the Earffel Tower, Disney's Hollywood Studios I thought it would be fun to match up the Elsa topiary with the Earffel Tower (RIP), but what wasn't exciting was the blown out sky. Nothing in my camera matched what I was seeing with my own eyes. I had to choose whether to under expose and capture the sunset or over expose to focus on Elsa. Luckily, Lightroom's masking tool and curves brought this photo back to life. 

Elsa & the Earffel Tower, Disney's Hollywood Studios
I thought it would be fun to match up the Elsa topiary with the Earffel Tower (RIP), but what wasn't exciting was the blown out sky. Nothing in my camera matched what I was seeing with my own eyes. I had to choose whether to under expose and capture the sunset or over expose to focus on Elsa. Luckily, Lightroom's masking tool and curves brought this photo back to life. 

Anna, Festival of Fantasy Parade Photographing FOF is quite exhausting when the dreaded Princess Unit revolves sides and you cannot keep up with your settings. This photo (and countless others) fell victim to that blinding Florida sun. An overexposed photo, in my opinion, is worse that an under exposed image in post-processing. Thankfully, shooting in raw and some highlight adjustments even saved the details on Anna's skirt.  

Anna, Festival of Fantasy Parade
Photographing FOF is quite exhausting when the dreaded Princess Unit revolves sides and you cannot keep up with your settings. This photo (and countless others) fell victim to that blinding Florida sun. An overexposed photo, in my opinion, is worse that an under exposed image in post-processing. Thankfully, shooting in raw and some highlight adjustments even saved the details on Anna's skirt.  

Mary Poppins, Mickey's Soundsational Parade In terms of bad nighttime photos, this isn't my worst. However, I will say that Soundsational (and A Christmas Fantasy) without a doubt has THE worst nighttime parade lighting in all of the Disney parks. Something about Disneyland... This photo was processed with camera calibration (profile is amazing) and curves. Know your curves!

Mary Poppins, Mickey's Soundsational Parade
In terms of bad nighttime photos, this isn't my worst. However, I will say that Soundsational (and A Christmas Fantasy) without a doubt has THE worst nighttime parade lighting in all of the Disney parks. Something about Disneyland... This photo was processed with camera calibration (profile is amazing) and curves. Know your curves!

Cinderella & Charming, A Christmas Fantasy Speaking of ACF... For such a pretty (albeit outdated) parade, the lighting sure is ugly. The princess unit in particular might be darker than all of the other units since it is candlelight themed. Lightroom was able to fix the white balance and adjust the luminance to look a bit more natural. 

Cinderella & Charming, A Christmas Fantasy
Speaking of ACF... For such a pretty (albeit outdated) parade, the lighting sure is ugly. The princess unit in particular might be darker than all of the other units since it is candlelight themed. Lightroom was able to fix the white balance and adjust the luminance to look a bit more natural. 

Ariel, Paint The Night Parade Paint the Night? More like PAIN the night... PTN has yet to master even lighting, which causes seriously unflattering shadows across the face. Now I could just change the exposure and lift the shadows, but that causes a disgusting grain to over-power the photo. This is why luminance such an important editing tool in Lightroom.

Ariel, Paint The Night Parade
Paint the Night? More like PAIN the night... PTN has yet to master even lighting, which causes seriously unflattering shadows across the face. Now I could just change the exposure and lift the shadows, but that causes a disgusting grain to over-power the photo. This is why luminance such an important editing tool in Lightroom.

Elsa, Frozen Ever After The curse of the screen based animatronic face. Maybe it's just me(?), but my photos of screen faces never work out. I get a strange variation of magenta and lime green faces in between at least one regular frame. Fixing this error requires layers of color correction, white balance, and patience.  

Elsa, Frozen Ever After
The curse of the screen based animatronic face. Maybe it's just me(?), but my photos of screen faces never work out. I get a strange variation of magenta and lime green faces in between at least one regular frame. Fixing this error requires layers of color correction, white balance, and patience.  

*Disclaimer: The original photos are untouched, raw files converted to .jpg

“I am not good enough!” and “I’m horrible at this!” are common recurring thoughts that plague my mind when reviewing my photos. As discouraging as those photos may be, I find that they're a helpful learning experience. And let's be real, editing photos can be so rewarding; I feel a sort of satisfaction whenever I see a before and after of my own photo. 
Hopefully, I have inspired you to edit to your heart's content. Find that photo you once thought was done for and have at it!

Enjoy,
Mary