….except when it isn’t.
When doing post-production, make sure that the areas of your image that should be totally black are in fact totally black.
Take this image.
The photographer is black. But is he?As you know, a RAW image has much colour space, so are you sure? Go to the histogram in Lightroom’s Develop module, and click on (or hover over) the little arrow on the top left.
Now you see what is really dark:
Blue areas are lacking detail, i.e. pure black. And not all of the person is blue.. so uh oh, there’s still detail lurking in the image.
Well, then drag “Blacks” to the left in the BASIC pane:
…until you see something like this:
And now finally the blacks are black, and no amount of increasing exposure will bring back detail. (OK – this is not really true: Lightroom is very conservative and preserves some detail even when blue shows. But to all intents and purposes, you’re good, and that detail will not be seen.)
Allow me to once again point out these few additional learning opportunities:
All workshops will be announced via email and press release shortly, but you, my readers here, still have first option!
What went wrong here?
Hint: f/8, 200 ISO, at 1/400th second, lit by strobe flash.
More about simplifying to make pictures better. A recurrent theme here on speedlighter.
Consider this image, of Jane Dayus Hinch the other day:
It started like this:
I would argue that the above crop and the straightening (“disciplining”) of the verticals makes this a much better image.
Straightforward (forgive the pun) simplifying changes can have major effects. Every time you have an image, ask yourself:
- Does everything in it belong in it?
- Can I remove anything? Anything at all?
Do that, and you get more professional photos.
As you know, I believe that as a photographer, you should, as much as possible, make your photos in the camera, not in post-production (like Photoshop or Lightroom).
But there is always some work to be done in post. This is one reason that photographers cost money – time is money.
Yesterday, I shot celebrity wedding planner Jane Dayus-Hinch of “Wedding SOS”, at the National Bridal Show in Toronto:
But at an event, circumstances are never ideal and as the photographer, I try to be quick. That means there is work.
Take this shot, of Jane in front of her booth:
Fine, but this was at a busy show. So we had to clear space and shoot with what we had (a Canon 1Dx and an off-camera flash in an umbrella). That gave me this:
So what kind of “Post” work did that need?
- Cropping, probably the most important step.
- Rotating, to make horizons horizontal.
- Perspective correction – parallel lines should be parallel, not converging.
- Lens corrections to remove barrel or pincushion distortion, common with zoom lenses.
- White balance and exposure fine tuning
- Removal of “stuff”, like exit signs and columns in the background.
Only after these steps is it a professional photo. And those steps take time. And there’s 100 photos to be looked at this way.
So when you hire a pro, or when you are the pro, count on a lot of extra work to finish the product. Fortunately, Lightroom (and Aperture of you are so inclined) are lifesavers – they have cut 80% off my previous “post-time”.