Process to con­tinue what shoot­ing starts

Think of pho­tog­ra­phy as one sin­gle, con­tin­u­ous ac­tion, from shoot­ing right through to pro­cess­ing, all of it work­ing to the same end

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Each time you shoot, there’s a rea­son and a mo­ti­va­tion, which may or may not have any­thing ob­vi­ous to do with ex­po­sure, colour and con­trast. We may not al­ways think about it at the time, but usu­ally there are some qual­i­ties in the scene that sim­ply at­tract us. For in­stance, you may like the way the light flares and suf­fuses part of the im­age, or the sharp pat­tern of dark and light, known as the chiaroscuro. If you’re rea­son­ably aware of this as you’re shoot­ing then you’ll prob­a­bly al­ready be think­ing of how you’ll process the im­age to make the best of that ef­fect.

Even if you’re think­ing about more fun­da­men­tal things than the play of light, such as the right tim­ing to cap­ture a ges­ture or ex­pres­sion, or a con­cep­tual idea such as con­vey­ing a sense of emptiness in a scene, you’ll al­most cer­tainly find that pro­cess­ing can help (or hin­der) in get­ting that across to the viewer in the fi­nal im­age. Strong pho­to­graphs gen­er­ally have an idea be­hind them, and if you can ar­tic­u­late that idea, even just to your­self, find­ing the pro­cess­ing tech­niques to en­hance that idea will be more straight­for­ward. The re­sults may be nu­anced rather than out­stand­ing, but that doesn’t make this kind of at­ten­tion to de­tail any less im­por­tant. In this del­i­cate scene on West Lake, Hangzhou, China, the aim was to repli­cate a tra­di­tional Chi­nese brush paint­ing, with its use of white space and lighter ink wash to con­vey depth and dif­fer­ent planes. Par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to achiev­ing this was sep­a­rat­ing the planes of the boat and the peach tree in blos­som



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