I always hesitate about before and afters. First, because I shoot RAW (the digital equivalent to holding the film negative), images straight out of the camera (SOOC) look even worse than they would if I shot JPEG. But as you’ll see with this image, there is a very good reason I shoot RAW!
RAW images straight out of the camera (SOOC) tend to be very flat, lacking the color boost that the camera adds when it creates your JPEG files. The advantage of the RAW file comes when you edit, however. Had I shot JPEG, the details missing in the sky in the original image would likely have been lost completely, but with the RAW file, I was able to bring back all those incredible colors, and still have a well-exposed Mommy and Doggy.
Shooting RAW — if you have an SLR or even a few types of Point-and-Shoots, you can shoot in RAW. The downside is that you’ll need to process the images after you shoot (no popping over to CVS to print on your way home — but then, if you’re going to print at CVS, you don’t need to shoot RAW, anyway!).
On a side note, this edit is from a shoot last Fall; the client wanted a few additional images from her session. As it’s over 100 degrees here in Bethesda today, it’s been a little hard to look at the sweaters, lol. Hope you’re staying cool,