Processing Someone Else’s Image


For the past few weeks I have been participating in a weekly before/after image processing series curated by my friend Stacy over at Visual Venturing. The remarkable part about the series is that last Friday’s post marked her six month anniversary publishing the After-Before Friday posts. To mark the occasion, Stacy asked everyone who has participated in the series to submit an image to be voted on. The winning image would then be edited by each participant, and unveiled at last week’s anniversary post.

Here’s the unprocessed version of the winning image by KarenΒ Chengelis of KCinAZ.


Processing another photographer’s image was an interesting exercise, and I’m still trying to digest the feeling. Now, I an in no way an expert retoucher, but I have often wondered what it would be like to retouch an image made by someone else.

This image is an excellent one, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got a very similar one from my trip to Florence, but I’ve come to realize that there are certain elements that photographers either look for or plan for when they’re out shooting on the streets or in a studio. This is a well exposed image, and nicely composed, but it helped me realize that I intentionally (or perhaps unintentionally) under expose my images to suit my preferred contrasty, sort of gritty editing style.

Below is my version of the image, and if you click here you can see the other bloggers interpretations as well. It was a really fun exercise and I wouldn’t hesitate to edit someone else’s image again.

ABFriday - Shane Francescut

What are your thoughts on post processing? Do you have a certain style? Can you envision the finished image while you’re shooting it? Have you ever edited another person’s image, how did you find the process? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.



  1. What a fun exercise to do . I’ve followed your friends blog now. I took a look and I have to say yours is prob my fav because I like the warm colours you’ve brought out in the building versus the pretty dramatic sky , lovely x

    1. Victor, I agree, and I wanted to take it to black and white. I think my comfort lies in colour images, but perhaps you’ve given me the push I need to revisit this shot and work it in B/W.

  2. Last week’s 6 month anniversary post was Epic. I couldn’t believe how many different interpretations there were, and all like a fingerprint of the photographer. I am finding my style, slowly. But, at this point, enjoying the experiment each new photo I process is. I have never processed someone’s image, well, except my mom’s because she has no idea how to do it.

    I really like your version for a number of reasons, mainly because I just like your style of editing, you walk the line of sharp/cold vs. subtle/warm very well. And I LOVE the sky in your image too.

    1. Thanks Carrie πŸ™‚ It’s funny, skies seem to the the most commented-on element in most of my images. It’s definitely not the most realistic interpretation of the scene, but I found that since it wasn’t my image, I had the freedom to process it as I liked.

  3. I am surprised by how much of your own style shows in this image! The colors pop and the water looks cleaner, but the most obvious signature, to me, is “Shane’s Dramatic Sky.”

  4. Both are good – there’s a touch too much contrast in your for my liking, but it’s more dramatic and less like a snapshot than the original.

    As to post-processing, it has its place, but I’m not keen on overprocessing, unless it’s a means to an end for artistic purposes. πŸ™‚

  5. Shane, I love how you have stuck to your self-described gritty, contrasty style in post-processing Karen’s image. I remember saying way back when that I could recognize a Shane Francescut image because of it! You’ve done a great job balancing the ominous-looking sky with the dark, foreboding-looking river. But that is offset by the detail and beautiful light you’ve given the buildings. Great effect! So fun to have you a part of ABFriday πŸ™‚

    1. Only four days late on the reply, but thank you Stacy πŸ™‚

      Ya, it’s funny, but the skies in my pictures is probably the most commented-on element. I sometimes feel like I force the line of over processing a bit too much, but for some reason I really like bold and super contrasty images.

      Really glad to be a part of the group!

    1. Yes, it was jpeg which definitely limits the amount of work that can be done on the image. I have really become used to working with RAW files, and it would have been nice to work with the blown out section of the sky in particular.

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