Today, among some photographers, there is a tendency to press the Delete button on the back of one’s camera if a picture is not, well, "picture perfect". Well my friends, don’t be so quick to delete and image. There is much you can do in the digital darkroom to save/improve a shot. Here are just two examples. I used Lightroom, but you can use Photoshop or Aperture to achieve the same results.
The opening image shows a cowboy and his horse silhouetted against a colorful sunset. The image, however, did not start out that way.
I took that shot in the Fort Worth Stockyards on an overcast afternoon. The sky had just a hint of color.
Compare these two screen grabs. The image on the left shows the Lightroom default settings in the Basic window. The image on the right shows my enhancements. My original image needed more color, so I boosted the Vibrance and Saturation. I also wanted an image that had more impact, so I boosted the Clarity. In addition, by adjusting the Tone settings, I was able to preserve the highlights and create more dramatic shadows. Increasing the Contrast and decreasing the Exposure also helped to improve the image.
Here’s a nice rainbow image from San Miguel de Allende. I took the picture with an early iPhone. Look for noise – you probably don’t notice it.
Here’s my original image. If you look for noise, you’ll see plenty of it. That’s because early iPhones produced images with lots of noise in low light, as well as in underexposed areas. Newer iPhones do better a better job with noise, but you’ll still see noise in low light shots and in shadow areas.
Now compare these two screen grabs. The left shot shows the Noise Reduction default settings, and the right shot shows my Noise Reduction adjustments.
Lightroom does an amazing job of reducing noise without degrading an image – to a point. Basically, you have two noise reduction choices: Luminance and Color. To greatly reduce the noise in my image, I adjusted the sliders as you see here. Had I reduce the noise a bit more, I would have lost some detail in the clock. So, don’t be overly aggressive when using this tool.
Have fun working and playing in Lightroom (or Photoshop or Aperture) this weekend.
Got questions? Drop by my website at www.ricksammon.com.