It’s time to have a look at the last shots taken during my sister’s exhibition and we’ll also see how an old shot got some new life. Very simple shots but I learned something in the post end of things.
As you can see from the shot to the left, I was working with a single light, a YN560 in softbox to be precise. I was using my sister’s boyfriend as a VAL and it worked pretty well. The good thing about a VAL (voice activated lightstand) is that you can make adjustments very quickly. The bad thing is that your light can get a bit inconsistent and, when the VAL is inexperienced, it might be difficult to get the exact results that you want. Simple shot, quickly done.
Now, if you look below, you’ll see the original edit I did of this shot compared to the final one. I think the original edit is just fine, it looks natural and enhances without getting in the way. The reason for the new edit is that I’ve just gotten Lightroom 4 and I’ve been trying to pick up some new tricks that I’ve been fooling around with. I think the final edit works really well, it certainly has a look that fits with the colours and light of the shot. However, it’s not a look I would use for everything, just when the subject calls for it, since it completely changes the mood.
If, again, you look below, you’ll see an older shot that I’ve reedited with a similar technique. I like the new result a lot better; it’s a different look but it fits the subject. For those who are curious, it’s the point curve I’ve been playing around with to change the feel of the images like this. In Lightroom 4 you now also have the ability to change the RGB curves separately, which makes for some interesting effects. To be honest I really have no idea what I’m doing when I’m fiddling around with these things, I just move stuff around until it looks good and sometimes I get lucky. As always, if you’re interested in having a closer look at how I’ve edited these shots, let me know and I’ll send you the Lightroom presets (you’ll need to use Lightroom 4 though).
My attitude towards post processing has changed a lot since I first got into this photography thing about a year ago. Back then it felt a bit like cheating, as though I couldn’t get a good result straight from the camera and had to compensate for that. Now, after learning a lot more, I find myself enjoying the time spent editing almost as much as the time spent shooting, and it doesn’t feel like cheating at all. In fact, I see the post processing as a necessary part to bring out my vision for a given shot and, the more I learn, the closer I get to that vision. Also, after looking at photographers that I admire and seeing their before and after shots, there’s no doubt that I’m in good company. That being said, the kind of look or effect that you see in these shots probably isn’t something I’ll use very often, only when I know that I want a particular look. I’ve mentioned several times previously that I’ve been gravitating more towards a natural look for most of my shots but that doesn’t mean that the post processing gets any less important. Everything I learn when I play around with different looks can still be applied without making things look edited, you just have to be subtle about it.