Free­man on... Stay­ing real when you process

Strik­ing a bal­ance be­tween strong, de­ci­sive pro­cess­ing and a be­liev­able, pho­to­graphic look is a del­i­cate bal­anc­ing act

NPhoto - - Nikopedia | Freeman On -

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

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