Two roads diverged in a wood,
“The old-fashioned perennial known as the Bleeding Heart has a wonderfully descriptive name. And the heart-shaped flowers contain clues to a legend of long ago love. ” Read more at https://suite.io/cyndy-irvine/36jf2cw
Even when surrounded by death, the beauty of life can never diminish.
There is no limit to your imagination, and what can be done in post processing can add so much magic to your images. That said, it’s important to not get so caught up in post processing that you end up completely ignoring the magic that can be made within the camera itself!
Cropping can be an invaluable tool during post processing. It can take an otherwise fairly normal composition and spruce it up into something magical. However, when cropping pictures, it’s important to keep in mind that too much cropping can lead to a lot of noise in your image. The overall quality will decline and your image may not look very pleasing to the eye. Cropping should never be used as a substitute to getting the perfect composition in camera.
Typically, when cropping an image, your goal is to get the subject at the perfect spot in the frame, or get rid of unnecessary details that may be in the picture. This usually leaves you with a somewhat rectangular or square image.
An interesting way to spruce up an image through cropping is making a panoramic image, which can be horizontal or vertical. Usually panoramic images are done by taking several shots that are later stitched together during post processing. However, if you already have an image that you think can be cropped into a panorama, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try and see what you come out with.
This picture of these two ducks were taken at the Riverdale Farm in Toronto, Ontario. The original image had goats in the background and a small barn on the left side. But the positioning of the ducks with their beaks crossed perfectly, almost as if they were about to kiss, really caught my eye, so I cropped the image as a panoramic shot of just the ducks. The fact that the image is panoramic also adds to the overall symmetry in the image, which is something that often catches my eye.
I hope this post sparks some ideas for you on revamping your photographs. Are there any cropping techniques you use when editing? I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to leave any comments and/or questions below! 🙂
Bad weather can bring on some of the most fascinating and interesting shots outdoors. However, you don’t have the necessary equipment to keep your camera safe, or you just don’t feel like going out, here’s a cool little project you can try out in the comfort of your home.
I call this ‘Around the house in circles’ (so creative, I know)
What are some rainy day projects that you have tried? I’d love to hear about it! Leave it in the comments below! 🙂
HDR, which stands for ‘High Dynamic Range imaging’, is a method of adding more dynamic range to your images. Check out the this article here to really understand the concept of dynamic range in more detail: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/dynamic-range.htm
This effect is usually created in photoshop by using three different images at different exposures (high, medium and low) taken using exposure bracketing, and combining them together into one single picture. Mobile devices that have an HDR option in it’s camera settings also uses that same method, which is why it usually takes longer for those images to process.
In Lightroom, we are not able to use layers to combine images, but we can still create a similar effect using just one image and the tool bar options.
Before I get into the tutorial, I’d like to remind you that the values I used for the example image below may not be the best values for your own image. Remember to use your own judgement and adjust the values according to your picture and your own taste.
The image that I will be using was taken at The University of Guelph Arboretum, in Guelph, Ontario.
Here is the image before adding any HDR effects:
The first step to creating an HDR look is to decrease the highlights all the way to -100 and increase the shadow bar all the way to +100.
This gives us the following image:
As you can see the shadows in the fence and the grass underneath have become lighter in the picture, and the trees in the background pop out more. Overall it just looks so much more defined. There’s such a huge difference already with just adjusting two bars. (The magic of lightroom ;D )
Next, we’re going to bump up the whites and bring down the blacks. The trick to getting this part at the perfect spot is by pressing the option key on Mac while clicking on the slider (in Windows I believe you would use the alt key, but I could be wrong). This causes the entire image to turn black. While continuously pressing down on the alt key, move your slider to the right until you start seeing specks of white or colour. As soon as you see those specks, move your slider back to the left just a tad to get to the spot where the image stays all black. (I hope this makes sense.) For the blacks, you do the same thing but in the opposite direction and opposite colours. So instead of black, you will see a white image and as you go further left you will see specks of black. However, for the blacks, you want to stop the little pointer at a spot where there is still some black on the image. Unfortunately I couldn’t print screen it, but I did take a picture of my screen with my phone.
This is a Lightroom 5 tutorial, where I show you how to take an image with neutral blue tones and give it a warm sunset effect. The image that I will be working with today was taken during the afternoon while the sun was still fairly high and bright in the sky. This effect would work better on images that were taken later on in the afternoon where more warmer tones were available, but I wanted to give you an idea of the range of possibilities available in Lightroom while only using the sliders, especially when trying to get the most out of an otherwise unimpressive image.
I did not use any graduated filters or brush enhancements in this tutorial. All I did was play around with the sliders to achieve this look. This is a great tutorial for beginners who are still getting used to Lightroom and post-camera editing.
Next, I increased the contrast to about +50 to add some depth to the image. I also increased the shadows and blacks while decreasing the highlights and whites to add even more depth.
And we end up with the following image below:
We can give a nice boost to the image by adding additional contrast through the use of an ‘S’ curve, which will deepen the shadows while brightening up the highlights.
Since I did crop the image, I decided to add some sharpening to give it a crisper look.
Cropping an image, as well as sharpening and adding depth through shadows and highlights, is bound to give the image some noise, so it’s a good idea to incorporate some noise reduction to smooth things out.
I have always dreamed of becoming an environmental photographer, but it seemed so far fetch to me that I never took it seriously until recently. And I am so glad I did take it seriously because I have been accepted into Environmental Visual Communication, a 7-month post-graduate program at Fleming College!! I hope this will allow me to really work on my skills as a photographer and give me the field experience that I need to get my career rolling. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I am beyond excited to start this new adventure! Good things are coming! 🙂
P.S. I apologize for the inactivity recently. I’ve been extremely busy with school and just haven’t had the time to mess around with my photography. But I will post again soon! 🙂
I created my own versions of the lightbox today, one with a black background and one with white. The fabric I chose to use was white fleece, simply because I already had some lying around at home. But any type of fabric will work well. I wasn’t very picky with the box sizes, since it was just to try it out and see how it works. But after seeing the final results, I wish my white box was as big as the black box. I may end up creating another one that’s a bit bigger.
I also created my own lighting (with the help of my awesome dad). At first, I went looking for table lamps and desk lamps that I could use, but I was unsatisfied with everything I saw, so I ended up creating my own version of lighting that can be used to light up the lightbox, as well as be used for portraits and other shots. Here’s what my light looks like:
As you can see, the cone is pretty tall. I tried different sizes, and this was what satisfied me the most in terms of how well it lit up the lightbox. Of course, the sizes will vary according to the light bulb you use and the size of your box.
To make the light, I took an old extension cord I had lying around at home, and cut off the end that had the sockets (don’t cut off the end with the plug!). Afterwards you need to pull out the wires from inside the outer rubber covering and attach it to a light bulb holder (my dad helped me with this part). Basically, you need to get one of those light bulb holders (I got mine at Home Depot for 3 bucks) and attach the wires on one end and the light bulb at the other end, and screw it all in place. It only took about 5 minutes to put everything together. I used a bright white light bulb, and a 12ft extension cord (this allows a bigger range of movement if I decide to use the light for portraits). For the cone, I used a piece of black bristol board, with white paper glued on the inside, and wrapped it around the holder and taped it in place.
Here are some samples of how my pictures turned out when taken inside the lightbox:
It’s super easy to make, super cheap, and works super well!! 🙂
If you decide to try it out for yourself, let me know how it turns out! 🙂