5 Take Aways from Week 3

October 02, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

1) Vignettes: Go easy on them!  This week we submitted some of our images for our instructor to give feedback on.  I was almost embarrassed because some of my vignettes were a little too much.  I love vignettes, but you can easily go overboard on them.  Really depends on the image and if will add to it and help you focus on where you want to focus on.  Remember subtlety is the key when in doubt!

2) Noise in an Image: This is noise:


See all that grain?  Noise is the digital age of cameras come from many things.  One of the most common ways is shooting at a higher ISO.  For example this above shot was taken at ISO 6400.  Below is an image shot at ISO 100.


The trade off is sometimes by keeping your ISO too low, you may miss the shot.  I personally stay between 100 and 400 ISO.  When shooting in dark lighting conditions, I stay below ISO 2000.  I have shot both with Nikon and Canon and Nikons do a better job with minimizing grain.  But the newer Canons have done a better job.

So now that I've explained noise.  Here is what you can do in Lightroom to recover your image with a high ISO.

 
Now compare this to the first image.  See how much of that grain is gone.  Remember that as you smooth things out with the NOISE REDUCTION slider you will loose sharpness.  But it sure looks a lot beter with the noise reduction.  Back to why this is a HUGE LESSON for me.  Hold the OPTION | ALT key while moving the Mask slider under the sharpening section in the Lightroom DEVELOP module.  And drag it to the far right.  This is called a mask.  This mask allows you to sharpen the edges only.  Then the Noise Reduction in the middle areas removes the grain while the sharpen slider keeps it sharp.  This was a BRILLIANT discovery for me!  I use this method on almost every image these days when reducing noise.
 
3) Cropping: Sometimes we try to put too much into a picture.  Here is a crop my instructor shared with me that after she did it kicked myself in the shin for not thinking of it.
 
 
Before: 
 
After:
 
Notice how simple it is?  Don't try to do too much in a shot.  Here is another tip: see how the chopsticks are coming in from the bottom left corner.  I planned that!  I probably will write another post one day on it, but try to frame things that come from the corners.  Gives your eyes something pleasant to look at instead of everything so straight.
 
4) Sandbox Time:  Spend 30-60 minutes each week playing in your sandbox.  As a kid playing in a sandbox is a fun place to be.  Making things up digging and creating.  Well as adults we get so busy in life that we don't take time to just play.  So as you are learning new things like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.  Spend 30-60 minutes just playing with an image.  You can really learn a lot!
 
5) Be creative: I'm working on a calendar project for 2012 and one of the homework assignments I had was to be creative with an image.  So it was kinda like a forced sandbox time.  As I was playing around in Lightroom I started messing the presets and colors and check out this before and after shot of Asia's LARGEST train station.
 
Before:
 
 
After:
 
 
 
The second image just pops and add's in a creative element.  Wish you could see it bigger, not as black as it appears here.

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