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When you're traveling, you sometimes want to spend a day or two exploring the neighborhood where you're staying—just walking around with your camera, absorbing the neighborhood's personality, and assembling a collection of photos that, together, form a portrait of the neighborhood. These photos are a great way to bring your experiences home to share.
In this course, photographer and teacher Mikkel Aaland explores one of the oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods of San Francisco: North Beach, home to iconic architecture, beautiful vistas, delicious food, and more than a few interesting people. He explores the area on foot over a three-day period, taking you up hills, inside restaurants and shops, and into encounters with people on the street. Along the way, learn how to take advantage of natural light, shoot a city at night, pack and prep for travel shoots, and enhance your images in post-production.
Male: Whenever I'm photographing, I always keep in mind the capabilities of my image-processing software. So that when I'm making a photograph for example with very high ISO. I shoot with the confidence that I know later I can reduce the noise associated with high ISO using software. Let's walk through some of these images and I'll show you what I've and you'll get an idea of the process I go through to make my images better. I use Photoshop Lightroom this is a program that I've been using for, for many years now.
I'm really, really aware of it's capabilities. So for example I know that it does a great job of noise reduction. I also know that if I'm shooting raw. And for example if my white balance is off, I know that its really easy to correct that in Lightroom. Okay so this picture here the woman holding the machete. The first thing I notice when I see it when I open it right out of the box is it's a little flat. It lacks the punch or contrast that i like in an image. So it's really easy in Lightroom to fix that.
The exposure values are good. In other words, we have a really nice range of tonal values, but I just need to increase the contrast. and I do that using the contrast slider in the Basic tab in Lightroom's Develop module. I also use the clarity slider in Lightroom to boost the mid-tone contrast. I use clarity a lot in most of my images. In this picture here, we also have some cases where there's highlights that are blown out.
And what I mean by this is that the highlights don't have any there's no detail in the highlight. Lightroom has a wonderful highlight recovery slider. So by just slipping that over to the left, I'm able to recover highlight detail that wouldn't otherwise have been showing up. I also have a shadow slider in Lightroom. I can open up some of the shadows so that, again we get detail in the shadow that we might otherwise not see. As far as this picture goes the other thing that I did was go in with the adjustment brush in Lightroom.
And the adjustment brush allows me to come in and give a localized correction. And in this case the machete I wanted it to pop because that's an important part of the image. I came in and used the brush, and, and added a little more contrast to the machete so it would stand out against the background. And then, the final thing that I did to this picture, even though I shot it at 1600 ISO which is not that high for my camera.
There still was some noise, and I just used the noise reduction slider in Lightroom and reduced the noise slightly. So that was that for that image. Now let's look at another image. this photograph here I shot at pretty much on the fly, I was outside the the store and shot it fairly quickly and I wasn't level at all. In other words, my horizon was, was crooked. And besides just doing the things I normally do to a photograph like this which was boost the contrast using the clarity slider.
and moving the black point over to the negative values and then using a little bit of the highlight recovery slider. Besides those things what I used in this image to level the image to make it straight was Lightroom 5's new upright controls I could have done it manually. Would have been easy to do also in previous versions of LIghtroom that way. But in Lightroom 5 its just done with one click and boom it, it looks much better. I'm much happier with this image now. For this next image here again boosting clarity mid tone contrast recovered some of the highlights that had been lost using the highlight recovery slider.
Opened up some of the shadows and then here the upright control also came in handy. And I went ahead and clicked on it just, it's all automatic. And watched what these controls will do. And you can see that it really did level it and make it much more natural looking. So in this case the upright automatic controls worked really well and I, I went ahead and, and used them on this picture. For this picture of the of the shirts, I used a technique that really requires kind of thinking ahead of time. Because I used the Macbeth color chart, took a picture of that and then I had a record of the white, white balance value.
Vis-à-vis the Macbeth color checker. This was a really complicated lighting situation, and it was a mixture of window natural light, and there was also, kind of, artificial light. And it was very hard to figure out the white balance, and my camera did an okay job. By throwing in the Macbeth color checker I think I got a much better chance of getting the right white balance. And I also use the perspective controls on this and, and, straightened out the the, the lines, the horizontal vertical lines.
And I think it it really improved the picture. I did boost the, the contrast a little, using the clarity slider. pretty much, really the standard things I do in terms of the contrast and the tonal values. and the main thing here was getting the white balance correct and the perspective. Okay you can see here my techniques were pretty straight forward for the most part. with the exception of using the adjustment brush on the machete in order to bring out contrast in the machete /g, everything I did was really straight forward.
Now. Granted I work a lot with Lightroom and I'm very familiar with the controls, but, I can't imagine that each one of these pictures took more than a few minutes each. And that's really important to me, because, I want to spend more of my time out there taking the pictures. I don't want to spend a lot of time fooling around with the image afterwords. I just, I love Lightroom for the simple fact that it does allow me to do all these things I showed you, very quickly, very easily, and move on to the next image.
It's great to keep in mind that processing will help improve your pictures. But that shouldn't be to the expense of you spending all your time working on the image later. It's great to learn this stuff, but remember it's out there shooting that we really, really have the most fun and ultimately it is about taking those photographs.
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