If you take a look at many portrait images these days you'll see that plenty of them look different to how the scene must have been when the image was taken.  The colours are different, perhaps stronger or more faded or maybe the colours have been changed, either subtly or dramatically.  Black and white images can also appear very contrasty or perhaps more faded?  Sepia tones have been added, etc...

In fact what happens with many images follows the trend of what may be popular at the time, this can often be seen in wedding photography, where perhaps a soft or dreamy look is sought.  Using software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop (to name the major player in the digital image editing world) makes applying filters and presets no more difficult than a couple of clicks of a mouse button, this  can easily be done with other software editing applications too.

I took an image of Tracey the other day and applied a few presets for you to compare.  These are quite popular and how they look really is completely subjective, it's up to you to decide...   

The washed or desaturated look is achieved by removing absolute black and only allowing a dark grey value to be the darkest part of the image (the dynamic range of the image from absolute black to absolute white is reduced).  This is done (at least by me) by adjusting the tone curve in Lightroom and saving the result as a preset which can then be added with a single click of the mouse.  

To take things further you can edit an image and save all the colour, contrast, white balance changes you make as  a 'preset'.  The sepia image is one such example, if I select the desired preset it will instantly run the through a saved series of actions and produce an effect like the one you see here.

How do I do all this?  Well, rather than me explaining the procedures it's far easier for you to look on YouTube where there are countless examples of people making presets (or filters) for you to see.  Some people even sell their filters, the possibilities are endless as variations on a theme are pretty much infinite.  I hope you like the effects I have chosen and can see that the style of editing can lead to a dramatic, and sometimes subtle, yet very pleasing result.

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