By way of introduction, I'm not keen on horses. They are lovely, beautiful, great animals, but I've had no chance in my life yet to keep myself close to them. In spite of this, you can see many photos about horses in my portfolio. No, I'm not a liar. :) Horses are easy to shoot (with camera, of course :)), they're calm and funny in same way, so really good models for an amateur, too.
Second stage, I'm not a Photoshop guru. I don't like hard modification in an image - but now I realized that good, small things can help you. I never use layers (don't laugh loud! :)) – once I tried it and I did not like. I’d like to share you some simple tools to get better photos without that “duplicate layers” function.
In first photo, I simply use Distort/Lens Correction/Remove Distortion to flex the scene: black horse get into the middle and closer to you and photo became more dynamic than before. You can see original scene on next shot.
In second photo, sun was not there originally. The middle of shot was darker and clouds burnt out there because of noon lights. A little Lens flare effect (on 35 mm) could help me to remove those problems from my photo. It’s not a big deal, but counts a lot.
In there, background was too sharp, horses simply disappeared in photo. I should might use Blur tool simply, but I decided for Magic Wand tool – I simply select the background and hit Blur option a few times…
There I must used high ISO because of low light – but window in background burnt out anyway. So I use 15% sepia filter to undetect blurred window. In the meantime, I create three images from original with simply +/- exposures and create a fake-HDR from them in my free program Photomatix Basic. I bet you can’t tell that!
Have you got some more tips for a layer-hater?