Do the VSCO film presets have a place when it comes to editing wildlife photography? I’ve made it no secret I prefer to photograph wildlife from a somewhat photojournalistic standpoint — meaning I won’t remove or add anything, nor will I stitch photos together, etc. It’s just something I practice, as I have a different perspective and mission in mind when photographing wildlife and other aspects of nature and I really do not want to change anything about the animal; this includes injuries (see first pic below), radio collars, etc. I leave as is and just do the normal amount of editing in either Lightroom or Color Efex: clarity, while balance, exposure, possible crop or vignetting, contrast, tonal contrast, and that’s about it. I prefer and try to use light and weather conditions to make (or break, as it happens) a photograph of a wild animal.
I was called out by this and my ‘double standards’ by another photographer — one I greatly admire, when it comes to my shooting and editing wildlife vs. landscapes vs. all aspects of nature. I had mentioned I don’t care if folks edit the crap out of landscapes if they were not shot / used for environmental issues or conservation, as I really don’t, but I usually do not like doing so with my wildlife images. I plan to address these comments directed at me, as it’s a valid question and point and a hugely complicated subject, and I’ll do so in this blog in a little while, but it got me thinking about editing …
Of course I do break my own rules to some degree now and then and once in a while, I’ll edit the animal image by changing the colours, textures and overall tone, usually by running them through Silver Efex Pro 2 or heavier editing in Color Efex 4 and I’m okay with that. That’s as crazy as my editing will get with wildlife. No biggie, right? Since I’ve dabbled a bit with the VSCO film presets I purchased for rural and urban work, I decided to see what wildlife looks like with VSCO edits. I snagged some outtakes from my inventory and ran with it, using their presets as is …. Some of the results are complete rubbish (too flat or vibrant) and a few I definitely think are okay as they remind of me of — shock — that filmy goodness of old Jasper wildlife photos from decades ago. Success for the folks at VSCO, eh?
… you do not always get what you wish for. I parked my bottom in an area I know the ever elusive bull elk to frequent and I waited … and waited some more. Moved around the area a bit, but during this early May sunrise, there were no elk to be found. You just know they were hiding somewhere behind those trees, as it’s happened before.
See no elk … hear no elk. Ah, the joys of wildlife photography.
See you in the field!