How to realize your images full potential...
As a Professional photographer, taking the picture is only half of the process…to realize an images potential you need to add your own brand of magic. In this article we’ll look at a couple of options, one of which will blow your socks off.
For some time now, I’ve wanted to write an article and share with you some thoughts on post processing, something simple that would be meaningful whether you use a smart phone, tablet, Gopro or a full DLSR camera.
This wasn’t going well, as personally I use several high end image processing solutions which are expensive and in truth rather complex to get to grips with. So, I started on a journey to find you a solution which is simple, but equally amazing.
I also wanted to enter a couple of images into this year’s ‘iPhone Photography Awards’ and the rules state that you cannot edit the image on a desktop computer, so I started with iPad and smartphone apps to see what they could really do.
Love it or hate it, but rapid developments in smart phone (and Gopro) photography are forcing traditional camera manufacturers to innovate and step up their game…this is great news for photographers.
So, with high hopes I took this iPhone image from this:
Now, I’m very pleased with the results and did do the entire process with Apps, but it took nearly half a day and would have taken 8 minutes on my PC.
Still, it is amazing that you can do this on a smart phone or tablet with apps, none of which even existed a couple of years ago, but at this stage in their development it took several apps and even more patience.
I decided what I needed was a desktop solution which utilized software that some of my readers may already have or could purchase cheaply and that I could simplify for you or find a bolt on solution which did just that.
If you already have Adode’s Lightroom 4, you’ll know it’s aimed squarely at photographers and if not you can pick it up for as little as £92 ($109) on Amazon and even cheaper on Ebay.
It’s very cheap for such a very powerful tool, but the downside is its not super simple and there is a reasonable learning curve to get it to sing. I spent a day trying to simplify it for you and gave up!
Enter SLR Lounge’s Presets, which costs a mere £66 ($99), it bolts on to utilize Lightroom’s powerful engine, but makes the driving experience super simple. As a Professional Photographer it’s depressingly good and gives everyone the ability to produce amazing images without having to invest in many years of learning.
SLR Lounge’s philosophy was to produce a system where you could take an image from any device or camera and within a few clicks could transform it into something spectacular.
So, let’s start with a smart phone and a GoPro image and see what we can do:
This is shot in Rome with an old HTC Desire HD phone using the standard camera.
One click later it’s a very strong black and white image.
The devil is in the detail and in the background it does a lot more that remove the color, so the result is a much stronger image than if you’d used an app or the standard Lightroom convert to B&W.
I love my GoPro Hero 3 and often use it for stills, but the forums are full of people wanting to take its unique, but rather underexposed images and make something special. Well, here’s the solution for all of them.
Here’s the original image straight out of the camera:
7 clicks later, this:
Where the SLR Lounge’s Presets really shines is when the image is shot in RAW format which is mainly found on traditional cameras and basically captures more information than a jpeg file can hold. The extra information gives the software more latitude to make adjustments.
Here is an image I shot recently at a wedding, maybe I should have been concentrating on the bride, but I just love this guy and his direct gaze. This is straight out of the camera:
I want to enter this into the highly coveted ‘Taylor Wessing Prize’ at Britain’s National Portrait Gallery this year where image quality is obviously critical. Three click’s later, it’s ready:
This system applies a basic set of adjustments on every image imported as a start point. You then start with a base adjustment, choose a tone curve and then add color correction or effect.
There are several presets called ‘mixologys’ already built and I used the ‘Portrait soft color’ as a basis and made several other simple adjustments to the image above using this system.
You can very quickly save your own ‘mixologys’ for your favorite look. This is great with getting constancy when you develop your own signature look.
It comes with a ton of videos tutorials and you should invest the time to watch them all and resist the temptation to go off and play with bits of new found knowledge. Other than the video’s being a touch verbose and installation could be more automated, this system rocks!
What I like is that each adjustment effectively forms a layer (like Photoshop) which can be undone or built upon. This next image is from an article I wrote on Lighting up objects from the inside. I applied a blue adjustment and then amber on top to make the eggs really pop:
I’ve recently stopped using my ‘high end’ expensive solutions and use this to simply whiz though my images, because who doesn’t a simple way to get amazing results?
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