Archive for April, 2008

More Tulip Fest

rows of tulips


josh and me, last saturday


Photo Processing Lesson 2

Link to Lesson 1: “But why is my picture so dark?” AKA How to fix exposure using Lightroom

Lesson 2:

Let’s say you’re on vacation. You take a pic of your traveling buddy in this one location, really excited that hey, you got a pic of them with the statue of liberty/louvre/goldengatebridge/etc.! You get home, now hundreds of miles away from the city, put the picture on your computer and it looks like this:


Not only does the picture just look dull and lifeless, but your friend is all shadowed. To get the best pic possible, obviously go back to the place on a day with a blue sky, maybe use a flash.. but since it was a vacation pic, you just can’t do that. How do you salvage the pic?

Today’s Lesson: “How do I salvage dark vacation pics where I also want a blueish sky?”
Difficulty Level: Moderate (will take some gut feeling for what looks good)

Last week I showed you how to change a picture just using exposure. But if you were to just increase the exposure here, it would even further blow out the sky. So let’s try another tactic. First.. I am going to try to get the sky to appear a little more blue. A few tricks..

Step one: I change the temperature from 5300 to 4706. This gives the photo a slight bluer tint, which will help us make the sky appear bluer.


Step two: I scroll down to the luminance sliders. I slide the blue and the aqua down quite a bit. You have to do what looks right for your picture. Notice some grain may appear as you do this, so if you can minimize that, even better.


Step three: Saturation! Again, we are changing the blue and aqua.


Step four: Okay, so we’ve only seen incremental changes to the pic. When do we make it lighter? That time would be NOW! Check this out! I increased the Fill Light (one of my most absolutely fav sliders) to 69.


Step five: Even with the awesomeness this has brought the pic, I’m still not satisfied. I increase the exposure slightly and change the temperature again to make it a bit more blue.


Step six: Fantastic! A few more tweaks… play with the tone curve a bit.


Step seven: And lastly.. I want to add a bit of vignetting around the edges of the photo.


And we’re done… almost.

Before and after:


Now.. final tips.. tweaking the luminance and the fill light may cause your picture to be too grainy. Open a noise reduction program like Neat Image and use it to reduce the amount of grain if needed.


Eventually I want to redo my blog layout so that I have room for links on the side. But I don’t have the time to do it now.. but I do want to call out several places I visit quite frequently.

Food Blogs:
Orangette : Molly lives in Seattle and posts about food she eats, food she makes, and her life.
Smitten Kitchen: I just discovered this site a few days ago and I am so excited! It’s frequently updated (very important) and the food sounds soo good.
Cook & Eat: Another Seattlite! Not only are the recipes mouth-watering, but she is an amazing food photographer, which I admire, because every time I try to take photos of food it looks so unappetizing.
Simply Breakfast: Her breakfast is better than my breakfast. Hands down.

Live, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness:
Sweet Juniper: Wood, Dutch and two little kids. Live in Detroit. Dutch is a stay-at-home dad and takes the most amazing pictures of Detroit and his family.
Dooce: If you haven’t heard of Heather Armstrong, where have you been? She writes about her life and her family. She is an insanely good writer and can make the most mundane things sound interesting. She’s been mentioned in many major publications and been interviewed.
Nothing but Bonfires: Holly and her boyfriend Sean live in San Francisco, and like to travel. I still haven’t figured out what their secret is to getting so much time off to travel.. but I want to know. Holly is a great writer. Very worth reading.

Pretty Things:
The following blogs are all people who just blog about pretty things. I like pretty things, I wish I had more pretty things so I visit these frequently.
Oh Happy Day
Ali Loves Curtis
Black Eiffel
Unruly Things



Josh and I drove up north around Mount Vernon to see the tulips today.

The Field

Red and Yellow


Old Pic


OH Yes it Diiid.

Hail in Seattle. Last Friday, after work.

In the hail Hail

Photo Processing Lesson 1

You know the feeling. You went out and took some pictures. You thought they were really fabulous. But when you get home and put them on your computer… they seem.. okay. Not the fantastic pics you were expecting. Why don’t your pics look like all those you see online? Well.. there are a couple of things that can help photos.. 1. take a good pic straight out of the camera.. or 2. learn yourself some photoshop/lightroom.

I tend to go with choice two, because I don’t know enough about lighting and I don’t have filters. In the past, I’ve been asked by friends what I do to make my pics look the way I do. So I’ve decided to do a series.. maybe ongoing.. of posts about editing in lightroom or photoshop. Some will be simple, some may be more involved. (Btw.. if you don’t have lightroom, go download the beta version of lightroom 2 right now on the adobe website!)

Today’s lesson “But why is my picture so dark?”
Difficulty Level: Easy Peasy

First, the original image:

Original Image

I took a picture of these flowers from my boyfriend.. but the photo is just too dark. So.. the first step (and the big step) is to adjust the exposure. I raised it to +3.24. This number is pretty high for a lot of photos, but because this one was so dark and underexposed, it works.


The next steps are a few minor tweaks.. adjusting the Tone Curve. As you can see below, I raised the highlights to +26, Lights to +12, Darks to+2, and left the shadows alone.


And Done! Simple. Before/after below:


Of course, there is no rule for this. You have to do what feels right for your picture. And simply increasing the exposure and playing with the Tone Curve doesn’t work for every type of photo. For example, if you have a pic including a sky, it might blow out the sky too much. So this is just one solution. An upcoming post will touch on other solutions to fix a dark photo.

Last April


More with the Cherry Blossoms..


cherry blossoms