Optimizing the image/Managing tone

6 Dec

When loading images over from the camera to you computer you have to look at them and see if you can or should edit them to make them technically as good as possible.

In our course material the following points are recommended:

  • Contrast range
  • Brightness
  • Colour cast
  • Whites and blacks not tinged with colour

In my opinion you have to edit all the RAW files because they lack often the contrast and sharpness to make the pictures usable and stunning. JPG on the other hand are already processed in the camera and in theory, if you have the exposure right and white balance there should be not reason to edit the. But having RAW images gives you the freedom to choose what you want to do with the image as it has more digital information to “play” with. A correct white balance does not necessary mean an appealing white balance.

Down here are some of the pictures I have taken to see how editing can be done, specially with tones and exposure.

The first pictures show some boat houses in Northern Norway. As I was quite happy with the picture the editing was very minor. Increase of contrast, sharpening and a graduated filter to get the sky a little darker. This is an example of how an image could be used directly out of the camera if I had shot it in JPG.

 

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The second picture shows a rusting machine ion the beach, right at the same place I  took the shot of the boating houses.

My thoughts about the original picture was that I lacked contrast, the machine was a little underexposed but the sea and cliffs correctly exposed. The cool white balance was not really to my taste and was not how I remember the “feeling” of the moment.

Adjustments I did were setting the blackpoint, increasing the shadows a little to get texture back from the machine. After that adjustment brush on the sea and cliffs in the background to burn it a little. White balance changed to a more warm colour and in the end a vignette of about -20 to put more tension in the picture.

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Thirdly a picture of a friend that got minor adjustments. In my eyes it was a little too grey and the colour of his face was a little too saturated and gave him the looks of a lighthouse.

I increased as usual contrast and sharpness. That gave already a lighter sky as it was in reality. After that I increased luminance of the reds to make his face a lighter red. Decreasing saturation was not an option as lifesaver looked boring.

 

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