Sunday, February 17, 2008

Photoshop Adjustments

After some good photo taking discipline while on holidays, I failed to even get out this weekend to do a photo of the week. But, here's a blog post for those few who do come to visit here.

I've had a conversation with a friend on Facebook concerning Photoshop. He uses it to color some of his sketches that he scans in to the computer and, like me, I think is in the process of learning more about the program as the days go by.

He wondered at how Photoshop is used in photography. Now, I know this is obvious to those who are photographers and who use Photoshop, but for others who may only be getting acquainted with the program or have just started to experiment with using it in other fields, it may not be as obvious. So, I thought I'd give a brief demonstration by just showing an unadjusted photo right out of the camera and the same photo after I have worked on it a bit in Photoshop.

The picture I will use was originally posted in my February 7 PAD post.

Here is how the picture looks right out of the camera. I shoot in RAW with little in camera processing so this is like a digital negative. As you can see, the contrast is poor and it is all rather bland.

This next one is how it looks after being processed in Camera Raw, adjusting it to get a better contrast and prepare it for final work in Photoshop.

This one uses a little bit different effect than in the original post referenced above. In addition to "developing" the raw file in Adobe Camera Raw, I also made some adjustments in Photoshop to increase contrast, clean up some sensor dust spots, darken the sky a bit and bring out some of the shadow detail in the bench. I also cleaned up some footprints in the bottom right hand corner of the picture. This version has an action applied that gives it a bit of a dark, gaussian glow to it. It has created some artifacts in the sky, but overall, I have just kind of fallen in love with the look of this image.

Hopefully, you can see that there is considerable difference from the straight out of the camera shot above.

You may think that this is a lot of work, but I consider it fun and the more I learn, the quicker it becomes. It is no different from the advanced hobbyist from the film days who had his own darkroom and produced his own prints. I never quite got there although I always wanted to. Digital gives me an opportunity to have similar fun without the chemistry and need for a darkroom. All I need now is a printer, the final step in this great hobby.