Archive for the ‘photo processing’ Category

Jazzing up Photos

Link to photo lesson 2
Photo Lesson Three 

Sometimes you just have to jazz up a dull pic. The picture may not be bad.. but you know it could be better. So for this post processing “lesson” I’m gonna show you the steps I took to jazz up this photo:


Step 1: I boosted up the fill light to 85.


Step 2: Decreased the temperature by 11.


Step 3: Boost highlights to 27, lights to 18, darks to 60. Decrease shadows to 55.


Step 4: Decreased the luminance on the aqua to 15 and the blue to 22.


Step 5: Change vignetting to -100.


Step 6: Decrease the green hue to -39


Now.. the before/after


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.

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.