Often when I am shooting nature images, I take a lot of photos, with the thought of later editing mostly for clarity, retaining the story as is. And then there are the times when I chose to edit the story itself:
In this original file, I think the story includes the protective nature of both the adult swans. My edit includes just one:
I’ve taken a lot of liberties with color as well. The result is a completely different story. In this new image, the row of cygnets is much more important. From that, the lines and textures in the water and on the birds become elements that are more dominant than they were in the original file.
If you are wondering about the backstory of this photo, it was taken in June 2018 at a small lake near where I live. The cygnets who were born in this clutch did not make it to maturity. The adults are still on the lake and within the last week, I am fairly certain have constructed a new nest.
What do you think of the liberties I have taken with this story? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Added to A Photo a Week Challenge: Getting Your Ducks in a Row.
Picfair version is here.
Sometimes a little bit of curiosity can be a good thing. When it comes to photo editing this translates into: just push that button or slide that slider and see what happens. It’s usually pretty easy to back up if you end up with a result that you don’t like. All you need is curiosity and a little bit of time. This image below was taken at Pointe du Hoc.
My first edit was this one:
It features a lot of the edits you would expect from me. I’m hoping you think this edit pops a bit and is a bit more clear. I’m hoping that you don’t think that it varies too much from the original. With this type of edit, I’m looking to represent the scene as it was.
As per my recent blog post, I saved a version of it. Then I continued to edit. I was looking to create something a bit different:
When I am in this more creative mode, my layer panel starts to look like this:
If you have no interest in using layers or already know all about them, feel free to skip the rest of this post, leave a comment or like below if you that appeals to you. The rest of this post is a bit about layers and how to use them.
In the screenshot, the original file and then the layer above it is what led to the natural version of the photo. The layer marked, “silver lining” and the two above that are part of the more creative version. I’d like to mention a few things that I think are important to consider when making a creative edit. The first is that I think it is really helpful to have additional edits on separate layers. This makes it easy to see what you have done and remove or further work on any particular edit. Making a new layer is easy and pretty universal in photo editing applications. In this particular case, I clicked on the “+” to the right of “Layers” and a drop-down option was “add adjustment layer”. Let’s say on Adjustment Layer 1 I wanted to adjust the exposure. I do that and then add Adjustment Layer 2 and edit for clarity on that layer. I could then click on the eyeball from Adjustment Layer 1 and that would turn off the exposure adjustment if I wanted to see what the photo would look like with just the clarity adjustment. That gives me the flexibility of having several edits that can easily be adjusted or even deleted independently of one another. Also, It is possible to rename layers, for example, the layer that is called silver lining, that is the name of the filter I put on that layer. In this case that not only makes it easier to know what adjustment is there but also functions as a reminder to myself as to what filter I have used. Changing the name of a layer is done by clicking over the text, and changing the text when the text box appears.
Your thoughts on my edits and the use of layers are all welcome below.
Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Wonder.
Picfair version here.
When it comes to editing, there is always a bit of deciding what to leave in and what to take out. Here is a file I was working on last week:
In my edit, I decided to take out the people. In this case, the eraser tool was sufficient for this:
I’ve cropped the image, but just slightly. I wanted to leave in the shadow of the tree. The tree itself I wanted to leave in the center of the frame, despite this being against the “rules” of photography. I wanted to leave in the feel of a sunny day, but I did decide to add a vintage film filter to this file.
All the edits here are pretty basic, but they do change the image. What do you think of these changes? feel free to comment below.
Picfair version is here.
Add to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Shadow.
This photo was taken in Caen, France:
We had spent the day looking at many of the sites in the city, Caen has a lot to look at, and it was a beautiful day to be out and about. The photo above is the ruins of St. Gilles. Here is my edit of this photo:
I used a wide angle lens to take the original photo. I did start with a crop for my edit because there were a few buildings on the right side of the frame that I found distracting. I also took out the piece of red trash. My other edits were just boosts, a bit of tinkering for things like the white balance and detail enhancer. I find that in Luminar 3, I am using the details enhancer slider in place of the clarity slider. Why? the details are broken into three sliders, small, medium, and large details, I find this allows for a bit more nuance in the sharpening of the image.
Small edits, but I do like the result. What do you think? feel free to comment below.
I often have conversations through this blog about workflow, including management of files. The photo in this post is on my “slow but steady” track. I keep all my files in folders that are arranged chronologically by date. The folder will also have the name of the place where the photos were taken, in this case, Caen. When it comes time for that folder to be edited it is often months later. In this case, the photo was taken last May. It’s at this stage of editing that a lot of files end up in the trash bin. It’s also at this point where I often refer to the photos I have taken of the scene on my phone as they have the GPS location data and I find that helpful for things like pulling up the name of this church. I fall into the camp of people who frequently move photo files off of my phone and on to my hard drive, so those iPhone files were in the same folder, that just makes things easier in my opinion.
Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Architecture.
Part of what I enjoy about photography is the editing process. These days there are a lot of editing software choices on the market. Then once you are settled on one that you like, the edit options within that software are usually extensive. That’s great. Except when it is so much that it becomes a distraction. The reality is that I shoot a lot of photos like this:
When I then open this photo in the edit tab of Luminar 3 I have a lot of filter options, but there are a few that I almost always use. The rest are helpful sometimes but are just clutter to my process at other times. A way to clear that clutter is to create a custom workspace with just select filters. I did just that and here is what it looks like:
To create this, I did the following. First, where the dropdown now says “Amy 1”, I clicked the down arrow, and selected “clear workspace”. Then from the filters I picked the ones I almost always use and in the order I use them, opened them, that added them to the list you see there. Then I clicked again on that down arrow and one of the options is “save custom workspace” it then prompted me for a name, that’s when I added “Amy 1”. Now anytime I open a new image, I can click that down arrow and my saved workspace is there. Or, even better, I also clicked to have that show as the default. Here are those filters applied to my original image:
From there I could have added more filters and done some other editing. Sometimes I will, but in this case, I wasn’t really looking to do anything else with this image.
I spend quite a bit of time thinking about my photography workflow. My hope is that this workspace will make the process a bit smoother. Do you use a custom workspace in your editing process? I never have before so this is just something I’m giving a try. Feel free to comment on that or on my edit below.
Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Round.
From my walk around Cambridge American Cemetery last week I had this file:
I took several shots in a row because the light was changing rapidly, but it was the one above that was my favorite. My first edit was a crop, as the marker on the right side of the frame that was half out of the frame bothered me. I’ve used a few filters here but a few smaller edits that I applied I’d like to point out. The first is the vignette, that is a filter that will darken the edges of a photo. Its default setting is to the middle of the photo, but that point can be changed. In Luminar 3 it’s as simple as clicking the button marked “place center” then clicking the point you would like in the photo. In this case, it is the small stones. I’ve also used the dodge and burn tool to lighten the rocks just a bit. Here is the outcome of those edits:
What do you think of this framing and this edit? It’s different than a straight shot of just the grave markers, does it appeal to you? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.
Below I am including another photo, a similar grave that I posted on Instagram. This one shows more of what a full marker looks like:
Added to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Close-Up.