Basic Photo Enhancing
‘Editing photographs’. A phrase which to many come to mind as a cheat, or a way of capturing something far more dramatic than what is really there. Yes, this is sometimes the case, as with HDR seen below for example, but heavy editing can be a great way to evoke a certain mood in your photographs which after all are your own artwork.
With this aside, you must not forget that editing photographs with a ‘less is more’ mindset is often an important step in making your images appear closer to what you actually saw with your eye in full definition, than what the camera could capture. Simple tweaks of the exposure, contrast, saturation, and even warmth, can help bring your photographs to life. The camera can often make blacks and whites appear grey, dull out colours, or make them look cold and bleak. Simple editing can put this right.
All the photographs we take on BTP now are edited at least very gently, just to bring out the colours in our photographs or to make them a little more punchy. A rule of thumb for standard outdoor shots is to tweak the photographs so there is a little ‘true black and white’ in them. This makes them look great on the eye and more realistic. Of course, it may not suit all environments, but a photograph taken in common daylight will benefit from this. You can do this in Adobe Photoshop, or for simple adjustment in Windows Live Photo Gallery. Try using the ‘histogram’ to adjust exposure, setting the left and right sliders to just touch either edge of the graph pattern, as this allows some pure black and white in the image.
Tonemapping & HDR – High Dynamic Range
HDR is a photographic technique applied to images after they have been taken. The basic concept behind it, tone mapping, is that all areas of the photograph are lit equally. Unlike the human eye, a camera lense cannot correctly light the foreground without making the sky bleached and lacking detail. Vice-versa, if the detail of the sky and clouds is fully captured in a photograph, the foreground will appear too dark and not very much more than a silhouette. This is why it is not a good idea to take photographs with the subject facing away from the sun.
Using digital programs such as Adobe Photoshop, or the quick tool we sometimes use called ‘Photomatix Essentials’, you can edit the photo so that both the darker and lighter sections of the photograph have their full detail restored. Hence why you often see the skies looking very dramatic in HDR images. Search Google for tutorials on how to do this effect as there are numerous ways already written about extensively.