So today I’ll show you how I go from the first image to the second one in a matter of minutes. I have a workflow, and it works great.
First I adjust the white balance, because who wants oompa-loompas?
Then I go crazy with contrast, as well as boosting the exposure to keep the highlights bright.
I don’t always go this extreme, but I do always adjust vibrance and saturation. It makes a huge difference on the mood of the photo. I also work in the individual color channels to do things like soften the brightly colored background items.
This is a subtle change, but I almost always do this to some degree as well. I like my photos warmer, so I’ll often drop a little warm split toning into the shadows. I also twiddle with the luminance on some of the clothing colors in order to darken them so the faces stand out.
Finally, I decrease the noise if necessary, spot fix any blemishes, and add a vignette. Often it is so subtle you can’t even tell. Here, you can obviously tell. I was trying to hide the background, and it worked. Also hid Daddy’s shiny head a bit, too.