I recently decided to upgrade from my current infrared-converted Nikon D7100 to a Nikon D7200, taking advantage of Kolari Vision‘s Anti-Reflective coated glass (article to follow). In the process, I once again considered my filter choices. Although I had some decent results from a 665nm filter from another infrared conversion house, I was not satisfied with the overall results and had Kolari Vision swap the 665nm out and install a 720nm filter. I always thought the 720nm filter provided the best overall balance of bright white vegetation and false color processing capabilities, but admit suffering from occasional bouts of ICE – Infrared Color Envy. Some of the photos taken with the 590nm filter are… well… rather gaudy. But I have also come across some that are jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
In my last article on photographing winter landscapes article, I tried to list a few useful tips for capturing the beauty of a winter landscape. Since I promised to elaborate more on my post-processing technique later on, I would like to do that in this article. To get the unique look of some photos, I use a “negative clarity” method that emulates the very well-known Orton effect. For the classical Orton effect, Adobe Photoshop or any other software with layer functionality is needed. How can we achieve something similar in Lightroom that does not require working with layers? Please keep in mind that what I will describe here is not a complete post-processing workflow. The negative clarity method that I developed for myself is rather the finishing step in the editing process, which can give a distinctive atmosphere to your image. So how does it work?
One of the biggest frustrations with Lightroom’s built-in watermarking tool, is the fact that it often ends up making watermarks appear too soft / blurry, especially when extracting smaller JPEG images. This happens due to Lightroom’s rather poor implementation of watermarking on images. Not only does Lightroom seem to apply sharpening to images before adding a watermark, but also, the resizing algorithm used by the software appears to be pretty bad. No matter what image dimensions one chooses, Adobe has not provided a way to turn off scaling in Watermark Editor, even if one provides transparent PNG / GIF images with the correct dimensions. For this reason, many photographers end up using Photoshop for adding watermarks to images, which certainly does take more time and effort, but certainly delivers much sharper results in comparison. After seeing poor watermarking results, I decided to look into alternative methods to see if there is a way to make watermarks sharper using the same tools. After some experimentation, I came up with two methods that ended up working well and that’s what I am going to share with our readers in this article.
Sharpening remains a particularly confusing topic among photographers, especially given the tremendous number of post-processing options available. Some post-processing software has so many options that it is hard to know where to start; others do not let you use optimal methods in the first place. If you are trying to use the best sharpening settings – including the lowest possible levels of noise and other artifacts – the ideal method is three-step sharpening.
In this post the value of using high dynamic range (HDR) photography for landscape and particularly panorama photography will be examined. This combination of two fairly widely used photographic techniques, the making of panoramas with HDR photographs is described in books dedicated to HDR techniques. This discussion will provide the reader with some methodological starting points and provide examples showing why the extra effort is worthwhile. Previous Photography Life posts are excellent reference primers for landscape photography and should definitely be consulted for their insights. In this post the term “panoramic” is used to indicate that two or more adjacent photographs covering overlapping parts of the same scene have been combined to make the single final image. “Landscape” is used to describe final photographs produced from a single image. All of the photographs in this post are panoramas by these definitions.
What do you think is the possibility, when you are choosing and sorting images based on the JPEG previews, that you are going to discard the better-quality image, and keep the lesser-quality one? Let’s take a look at a typical “training” shot for a holiday – noon of a sunny day, blue Ionian sea, bright white limestone pebbles, bushes with dark-green, high-detail leaves (which lose all detail if the shot is underexposed), deep shadows under the bushes. These types of scenes typically have a very wide dynamic range. We will see later, however, that the real range of the shot we are examining is pretty much only 8 EV, if the exposure is technically correct.
A while ago, I wrote an article on low-contrast B&W conversions with Lightroom. After reading through some of the response the article received I was pleasantly surprised that so many of our readers actually prefer low-contrast look over the ever-popular high-contrast conversions. That is not to say high-contrast B&W photography is in some way inferior, not at all. It is merely the more popular, the more easily accepted sort of look, which is exactly the reason why I saw fit to go against the wave and start with the opposite. Now, ever since I wrote that piece, I’ve received several requests for a similar article on a high-contrast conversion. This topic is particularly tricky for me since I rarely do high-contrast B&W, but the requests did remind me of one occasion where I was deliberately working towards such a result from the very start. And so, as always, we begin with a photograph.
Have you ever wanted to do something a little different with your photographs? Not stop with the simple click of the shutter and turn it into an actual digital painting? That is what I am going to teach you in this article. I know not everybody is a painter and while painting skills would be beneficial, you really don’t need to be an artist to do this. The photo below is the result of me using Corel Painter to turn one of my photos into a digital painting. This tutorial contains some creative ideas and methods a photographer can use, even if they are not artistically inclined or have access to the same software as me. The idea is to open your mind to the possibility of using your images in an artistic manner. I am using a bird in this tutorial, but it could be a pet, your friend, a family portrait or anything else.
Many of our previous Mastering Lightroom series articles focused on specific Lightroom 4 features and tools, as well as ways of using them in your everyday workflow. I’ve explained how to use the Basic Panel and talked about the Tone Curve in great detail. We’ve also learned how to use External Editors, Spot Removal Tool and Virtual Copies. However, simply learning what each feature does is not our goal with these articles. After all, theory makes sense only when put to practice. In the end, we want to teach you how to actually edit your images, start to finish, no matter the subject or scene or desired result. We want you to be able to use what Lightroom has to offer without thinking about it, just as we should use our cameras and lenses. Learning what each tool does individually is essential, but what matters in the end is how we make them work in conjunction with one another. Perhaps then it is time to shift away from features and theory for a while and move towards editing images to achieve desired look in practice? There are many aspects of Lightroom we haven’t covered so far. Many tools, options, modules and tabs yet await our attention. But this time, instead of explaining specific settings, we will do some simple portrait post-processing focusing most of all on color and tones.
In my previous Lightroom Dodging and Burning Tutorial I chose a photograph that had multiple issues. I addressed most of them in that tutorial but specifically left out one major issue (which was quickly discovered by one of our readers) to be a subject for fixing selective color in Lightroom and Photoshop. If you take another close look at the photograph I chose in that tutorial, the face of the model is visibly brighter than the color of the rest of her body. While in many cases our facial color tends to differ from the rest of our body, it can look rather awkward in photographs. Especially in this particular photograph, it is obvious that the foundation on model’s face did not match to rest of her skin color.