For some time now I’ve been using and teaching a process of working on photographs in Lightroom. It consists of basically four steps: manual adjustments, tonality adjustments, hue adjustments and finally saturation adjustments. Quite some time ago I had the brilliant idea of converting the image to black and white before doing the tonality adjustments. The technique I used was the B & W tab in Lightroom’s HSL group. Once the tonality adjustments were done, the image would be converted back to color and the process continue.
It didn’t work out because when I converted the image back to color, the colors were so oversaturated and unnatural that the image looked horrible. It was just easier to do the tonality adjustments on the color image. So I quickly gave up on that technique. But the other day I was reading an article in Popular Photography magazine that rekindled this idea. It took a different approach. It turned the image to black and white by setting the Saturation adjustment to -100. Now the author did this in the middle of the process but I thought that if I applied this to my process and did that at the start it just might work. So I was eager to give it a try. Let’s try it with this image of the Watchman in Zion National Park.
This is the original raw file. I haven’t done anything to it yet. It doesn’t need any mechanical adjustments. These consist of removing spots, straightening the image, maybe some noise reduction and the final crop. But since none of these are required we can move on to the tonality adjustments.
Continue reading “Making a Photograph – A New Approach to Tonality Adjustments” »
Tags: black, black and white, color, contrast, exposure, graduated filter, highlight, HSL, hue, Lightroom, luminosity, saturation, shadow, spot removal tool, tonality, vignette, white
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Composition is one of the four pillars of a strong landscape photograph (See Making a Photograph – The Four Pillars). There are many approaches to mastering composition and certainly countless excellent books on the topic. Many books discuss the elements of design and how they relate to composition – line, shape, form, texture, pattern and color. Others go into the various rules of composition – rule of thirds, golden rule, leading lines, near / far, layers, frames, etc.
All of these rules or principles are very analytical and, I think, are necessary and useful building blocks. Often creating a strong composition is very much of a problem-solving endeavor. But in the end I believe the goal of the composition is to support what the artist wants to communicate through the image. And this comes more from compositions that just feel right, not ones that are mechanically created from the rules. That’s not to say that one is not aware of these principles as the composition is being worked out. Rather these principles are like words in a sentence. They are carefully chosen so that the sentence as a whole communicates the author’s message. There are several techniques that lead us to this goal. And one of them is to ask yourself, ‘’”What am I photographing?”
Continue reading “Mastering Composition – What?” »
Tags: balance, Big Sur, blue, coast, color, composition, cool, design, form, hue, isolate, landscape, leading line, line, pacific, pattern, photograph, photography, rule of thirds, Salmon Falls, shape, simplify, texture, warm, waterfall, workshop
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Lightroom is a great tool. It’s quick and easy to use – once you get the hang of it. But sometimes mastering the workflow, the steps you go through to take a raw file to a ‘final’ image, can be a bit daunting.
Let me say up front that Lightroom is an important part of my workflow but it’s not the only part. Every photograph I work on starts in Lightroom but is completed in Photoshop. Nevertheless, Lightroom gets a photograph to about 80% of the final product. I know many people who use Lightroom exclusively and Photoshop only in rare circumstances if at all.
So back to the workflow. Can it really be made easy? Yes it can. There are four major steps (not counting import – see Lightroom Tutorial – Importing Photographs):
- Mechanical adjustments like dust spot removal and cropping
- Tonality adjustments
- Hue adjustments
- Saturation adjustments
Let’s skip the first step and start with the second. The example will be in Lightroom 4.
Continue reading “Lightroom Tutorial – Workflow Made Easy” »
Tags: adjustment, adjustments, Adobe, amount, Basic, black point, Blacks, blue, brighter, clarity, clipping, color, contrast, cool, corners, creative process, crop, cropping, Death Valley, dust spot, dynamic range, edges, elements, emotion, enhancement, exposure, Global, grain, green, greens, highlight, highlights, histogram, hue, image, images, impact, Lightroom, Local, luminosity, magenta, photo, photography, PhotoShop, Post processing, post-crop vignette, radius, RAW, saturation, shadow, shadows, tan, temperature, Tint, tonal, tonality, unsharp mask, Vibrance, vignette, warm, white point, Whites, workflow, workshop, yellow, yellows, Zabriskie Point
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There are about as many definitions of “fine art photography” as there are people who call themselves “fine art photographers.” For many of us, fine art photography is an expression of our view of the world. Much of what we see in the world is captured in the images we capture in the field. But that’s not the whole story. Why? Because the true expressive quality of our photographs comes to life in the post processing – the digital darkroom if you will.
Continue reading “Lightroom Tutorial – Workflow” »
Tags: brightness, color, contrast, exposure, fine art, hue, Lightroom, luminance, photography, Post processing, saturation, tonality, workflow, Workshops
Posted in How To Articles, Lightroom, Workflow | Comments (4)