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In this installment of the Photoshop Lightroom 4 Essentials series, author and teacher Chris Orwig guides photographers through the process of improving images with creative color, sharpening, and other effects in the Lightroom Develop module. The course covers each of the tools and features in the Develop module, and shows how to perform basic adjustments, such as exposure enhancement; how to improve image quality through noise reduction and clarity adjustments; how to apply creative effects, such as split toning and vignettes; and how to perform advanced tasks, such as correcting for lens distortion. Exercise files are included with the course.
In this chapter we talked about how we can crop and even compose our pictures using Lightroom. And I mentioned this idea that when we creatively crop and compose our images using Lightroom, sometimes that can improve the way that we make pictures with our cameras. Well how can we take that even further? How can we create better compositions when we are shooting photographs? Well there is a technique that we can use that was used by Ansel Adams himself, and I think this technique might help. You know what he would do was when he would go out to make photographs he would bring his large format camera with him, and rather than setting it up and looking through the camera to compose the shot, he had a matte board and he would cut a rectangle out of the center of it.
He would then hold that up and look it, and he would compose the shot. Eventually after evaluating different options, he would commit to an image. Then he would set up his camera and make that frame. And I think that is one of the reasons why his photographs are so enduring and strong. And you know, sometimes when we compose our shots, we are perhaps a little too flippant, we are not really thinking about composition. So why not cut out a rectangle in a matte board and then hold it up and experiment a little bit? Sometimes if you experiment, it can help you come up with different ways to think about how you can compose your shots.
And you know, that reminds me of something one of my teachers once told me, it was my cello teacher. There I was, learning to play the cello, and when you are learning to play the cello it doesn't sound very good. I was trying to find one particular note and I just wasn't hitting it. And she said Chris, you need to make bold mistakes. You need to commit to it. That was the only way that I was able to find and eventually make and play that note. And I think the same thing can be said with photographic composition. We need to make bold mistakes.
So here is what I want you to do. Get a matte board, cut a rectangle out of it, and walk around and think about different composition options, and do this before you even reach for your camera. Then after deciding how you want to compose a shot, go ahead and grab your camera, and then make that image.
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