A cold Tuesday evening saw a good turn out of 27 members. We were able to welcome three new members, Paul Benham, Dave Evans and Alum Morgan.
Up for discussion was ‘Post Processing for Competition Images‘. The evening was hosted by Chris and Kathy.
Chris opened the evening talking about post processing in general, the ethics, and just how far you should go. Not many images these days have not had some kind of post processing.
- Advice was given on getting it right in camera, taking your time, walk round the subject exploring perspective.
- Make sure your intended subject is in focus, and good advice to take a slightly wider shot to give yourself more leeway to edit. For example, when straightening a horizon, you will lose some of the image, make sure you have enough to play with for it to look right.
Something that Chris stressed a lot, was to check for distractions round the edge. Judges eyes go straight to these distractions! A simple, but often forgotten action. Kathy reiterated the saying “Your eyes see what you want them to see, the camera sees EVERYTHING”.
Kathy showed some basic editing in Lightroom. Although she used LR, other editing software will have the same capabilities. She has kindly supplied her workflow and images here …
- Use ‘spirit level’ in Crop Tool – click + drag along horizon to straighten
- Basic Panel: reduce exposure – watch for any too dark or too bright areas (left & right boxes of histogram, or press J)
- Use Heal (like an Elastoplast) to heal oddment of rope on left
- Use Mask tool (dashed circle) and ‘Select Subject’ – use Shadows slider to move right & lift darkness on boat
- Right click on mask of ‘subject – move onto Duplicate & Invert
- In new mask reduce exposure, increase texture + clarity
- Check everything at 100% view
Another tip was to see if an image works better in black and white. Sometimes you will be amazed at the difference.
After tea and biscuit break Chris took us through some options in Photoshop and the power of cropping. The crop tool being a very powerful tool indeed. Chris demonstrated this on an image from the Lake District and he has also kindly supplied his workflow here …
Image 1, cropped, sky selected and darkened, water selected and darkened, foliage selected and lightened. End result is a more interesting image emphasising the width of the scene and removing sky and water that wasn’t adding anything.
Image 2, cropped to remove distracting posts and grass at the bottom and cropped on the right so as not to cut a tree in half. Used the curves tool to apply more contrast (darkening shadows and lightning the brighten tones) and finally a vignette to just slightly darken down the four corners. End result is more impactful and without edge distractions.
Brian also gave some tips on shortcuts for viewing images before and after side by side. These were …
- In LR press ‘Y’ to see side by side before and after.
- ‘F’ in LR to see a full screen image with black edges so you can spot bits at the edge.
- In PS press ‘F’ twice to hide all the other stuff, leaving just the image and so see any bright parts around the edge.
In both just press ‘F’ again to go back.
What was stressed several times during the evening was… “YOU TAKE AN IMAGE FOR YOURSELF”, not just to please a judge, although, it’s always a thrill to get a good critique, and a high mark. It’s like a pat on the back!
Thank you to Chris and Kathy for sharing your extensive knowledge.