Amateur Photographer - - Technique -

YOU DON’T need me to re­mind you that most pho­tographs are bet­ter shot in raw, as this al­lows for greater flex­i­bil­ity in post-pro­cess­ing. When shoot­ing in chal­leng­ing weather con­di­tions, keep­ing con­trol of con­trast or en­sur­ing all the in­for­ma­tion re­mains within the 0-255 spec­trum can be dif­fi­cult, so us­ing the cam­era’s ded­i­cated raw con­ver­tor or Adobe Light­room is one way of over­com­ing this. You will need to pay for Light­room, but you can down­load the raw con­ver­tor for free at 1 This is a typ­i­cal im­age cap­tured in the rain. There’s a rea­son­able level of con­trast, but it’s in the wrong places. The sky is too light, while the fore­ground lacks some sparkle. This can be reme­died us­ing just a hand­ful of tools in Light­room or the Raw Con­ver­tor. 2 The sky in the im­age ap­pears pale, while the fore­ground shad­ows are too dark. I re­duced the high­lights by drag­ging the High­light slider to the left. I then cau­tiously pushed the Shadow slider to the right, which im­me­di­ately in­creased shadow de­tail. It’s easy to get car­ried away, so keep an eye on the his­togram. 3 The sky was still too light; by us­ing the Grad­u­ated Se­lec­tion tool, I made a smooth in­cre­men­tal se­lec­tion and was able to sub­tly darken it by pulling the Ex­po­sure slider slightly to the left. The great ad­van­tage of us­ing Light­room or ACR is that if you don’t like what you see, you can re­turn to an ear­lier step by click­ing Pre­vi­ous. 4 Pos­si­bly the most ap­pre­ci­ated tool in Light­room or ACR is the Clar­ity slider, which in­creases the con­trast in the mid-tones. By push­ing the Clar­ity slider to the right, the mid-tones are ex­panded, revealing the board­walk’s tex­ture. 5 The fin­ished im­age. Of­ten qual­i­ties we saw when we took the pho­to­graph are not ap­par­ent when we view it in the LCD or com­puter screen. By care­fully ad­just­ing se­lected tonal val­ues in ACR, much of the ini­tial drama that mo­ti­vated you to take the pho­to­graph is re­vealed.

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