Freeman on... Staying real when you process
Striking a balance between strong, decisive processing and a believable, photographic look is a delicate balancing act
There was more to say about processing than we could fit in last month, not least because as a craft, it takes more time, and illustration, to get across; with processing, we really need the before, the after and the steps in between. These steps, and the skill, have a purpose, which is to get the best out of the image.
Given that we all have different personalities, there will always be different interpretations possible, just as there were in the days of darkroom printing, but the many digital tools now available enable a much wider range of expression. In theory that’s good, but in practice people get carried away. I believe that a bedrock for processing is maintaining a sense of reality, so that you can believe in the image as a captured moment, rather than something that’s been processed.
Here we’ll look at three areas of processing that play on the balance between honest tonal information and personal expression: one is the idea of re-processing to suit your changing taste; the second is a way of using the much-maligned HDR approach; and the third is treating a scene as an assemblage of parts that each deserves individual attention.
Our globetrotting Contributor at Large, renowned photographer and prolific author Michael Freeman, presents a monthly masterclass that’s exclusive to
N-Photo. Michael has published dozens of books on photography, including the bestselling PerfectExposure. Strong late afternoon sunshine called for sensitive processing to maintain bright areas while holding shadows, without losing the powerful contrast