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Processing fisheye and wide-angle images

From: Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses

Video: Processing fisheye and wide-angle images

Of course, you choose to shoot fisheye and wide-angle lenses because you want a very wide field of view. Very often, the problem with a really wide field of view is that there are going to be light sources on the ends or in the edges of your image that are very distracting. I like the flower here, I like all these lines on the background, but, boy, this whole big bright white thing back here, it needs to come under control. It's not always going to be a big backlighting situation like this. Sometimes there might be a situation where there is simply a lamp or a light source over on one side. The point is that when working with wide- angle lenses, you are very often going to face the tonal problem of having to darken things.

Processing fisheye and wide-angle images

Of course, you choose to shoot fisheye and wide-angle lenses because you want a very wide field of view. Very often, the problem with a really wide field of view is that there are going to be light sources on the ends or in the edges of your image that are very distracting. I like the flower here, I like all these lines on the background, but, boy, this whole big bright white thing back here, it needs to come under control. It's not always going to be a big backlighting situation like this. Sometimes there might be a situation where there is simply a lamp or a light source over on one side. The point is that when working with wide- angle lenses, you are very often going to face the tonal problem of having to darken things.

For the most part, editing a fisheye or a wide- angle lens is just like editing any other type of image. But because they are so wide, and because you don't always have control of the light sources in your field of view, you're often going to need to darken things. So I want to talk about a few different ways of doing that. I'm here in Camera RAW, and I can see that I've got bad over-exposure. So I'm going to start by trying to pull the highlights down, and lucky there, that's brought back a bunch of nice detail. I think I need to get even more back by working the exposure slider. I can also try and pull the whites down some, which is helping.

That's darkened up my flower, but I can easily fix that by brightening with the adjustment brush. Oops, it's set for darkening right now, and you turn that up, the adjustment brush, of course is always set to whatever your last adjustment was. So I can choose to brighten this up this way. I can go into Photoshop and brighten it with an adjustment layer, and so on. But this is a critical step in managing a wide-angle image like this is to get those over-exposed bits under control. Now, that part is still over-exposed.

I want to show you a way to deal with that and a way to dim things on non-RAW images. I'm going to cancel out of this and go back here and open the file again. And I'm not going to do anything in Camera RAW this time, I'm just going to open it on the Photoshop so that you can see if I had been shooting, say in JPEG mode what would my options be. Now, because I'm not in RAW, I no longer have a Highlight Recovery Option, but the best way to darken things in Photoshop is to go here to the Adjustment layer pop-up menu and choose an exposure adjustment layer.

Exposure lets me adjust the brightness of my image in actual stops of exposure, so I can just darken my image there. Now, I'm not getting detail back but I at least don't have bright white over there, so I might then choose a gamma correction, Gamma correction the other direction to brighten things back up. So I haven't gotten that, you know, really nice recovered highlight, punchy look that I was able to get in Camera RAW, but I've at least calmed the background down some.

This, of course is a reason to shoot RAW. The ability to recover highlights like we did is kind of critical. And now I'm just putting all that brightness back so I'm going to need to mask this off here. Oops, I'm doing this backwards. I manipulate my layer mask to get that adjustment right and where I wanted. I know I'm just stepping through this real quickly. Again, this isn't a Photoshop course, so there are plenty of other places you can learn to work with adjustment layers and layer masks. So let's go back to the RAW image for a second.

Now, let's combine these two steps. I'm going to first recover my highlights in Camera RAW. So that's going to give me some detail back. I'm going to go ahead and do a fair amount of tonal adjustment here in RAW and try and get the image as good as I can. I'm going to up the contrast to try and get more stuff in there. Now, this is going to need to be brightened. So rather than doing that doing that here in Camera RAW, I'm going to do that in Photoshop. I find Camera RAW's paintbrush to be a little bit of a blunt instrument.

So I'll fix that later just to add a little bit of clarity. So let's take this into Photoshop and see what we can do with it here. I'm going to grab my Quick Select brush here. Increase my brush size with the Right Bracket key, and I'm just going to brush over the flower to do a very quick grab of the flower. I am going to go up here and feather the edge by 8 pixels. And now I'm going to add a Levels Adjustment layer.

And I'm going to hide the edges of my selection and brighten up my image. Because I had a selection made before, I created Levels Adjustment layer, I had a lousy selection made. I need to go back and fix this with the Refine Edge command would be the way to do that, or I can ditch this layer and start over. I'm going to deselect, create a new adjustment layer, and this time I'm just going to brush the edit, and I'm going to brighten up the flower, that's brightening up the background as well.

But if I fill my mask with black and do that with Command+Delete there. And since black was my background color, just filled the adjustment layer with black. I'm going to paint my mask in here and then go back and adjust my settings. So there, I brightened up the flower. So I'm using a combination of Photoshop and Camera RAW to get detail back in here, get brightness where I want it, but I still got this bright stuff up here. So I'm going to go ahead and try and make an Exposure Adjustment layer.

I'm going to go and lower the exposure. And this time I'm going to again fill my mask with black here by hitting Command+Delete, and it goes to black because black is my background color. And then I'm going to take a white brush and paint in here. Ooh, that's too dark. So I'm going to go back and back off on that edit and just see if I can get that down. See, the thing is we can't darken an area that's complete white because the computer sees the complete white has no data. So there's really nothing for it to darken up.

But I've at least calmed that down, so it's not quite the eye magnet that it was. I think to just finish this off I'm going to duplicate my background layer and go here to Filter > Lens Correction, and I'm going to add a vignette, thinking that that will darken the corners and bring a little bit more attention to the center of my image where my flower is. So let's see what that looks like. The preview that I'm seeing in here does not show the effects of any adjustment layers that are above the layer that I'm editing. Okay, that's looking pretty good. So there's before the vignette and after.

And the entire before-after, there is the image that we took out of Camera RAW. There is our edited image. I might play with this mask a little more, but for the most part I like that. Anyway, the point is when you're working with fisheye and wide-angle lenses, you're often going to face this issues of needing to darken things. I might want to do something about this highlight right here. Probably the best thing to do. I'm sorry, I didn't notice this before I started my little conclusion there. I'm just going to clone that, and that's going to take that out. I have some transparency on my clone brush here.

So I can take that out, clean that up a little bit, I might want to do the same there. Anyway, as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, when you are working with fisheye and wide-angle lenses, this is a very common problem you're going to face, how to dim bright lights. What I should have done shooting this was bracket my shots. I should have shot something under-exposed, I didn't have time. So in Camera RAW I can recover a lot of those highlights using Exposure Adjustment layers. I can calm down others using clone tools and spot healing brushes. I can take out others.

Just something to look for when you're reviewing your wide angle and fisheye lenses. Make sure that bright lights are not attracting undue attention.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses
Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses

50 video lessons · 17940 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 4m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 46s
    2. Roadmap of the course
      2m 24s
  2. 3m 53s
    1. Words about focal length
      2m 6s
    2. Understanding camera position
      1m 47s
  3. 39m 19s
    1. What filters are for
      2m 37s
    2. Shopping for filters
      3m 55s
    3. Understanding neutral density filters
      4m 53s
    4. Applying neutral density filters
      3m 55s
    5. Polarizing filters
      3m 4s
    6. Some shooting tips for working with a polarizing filter
      2m 32s
    7. Using infrared filters
      9m 15s
    8. Processing the infrared image
      6m 7s
    9. Handling stuck filters
      3m 1s
  4. 38m 37s
    1. Working with ultra-wide lenses
      7m 19s
    2. Using a wide-angle lens
      4m 43s
    3. Understanding fisheye lenses
      4m 2s
    4. Working with fisheye lenses
      3m 59s
    5. Understanding fisheye exposure
      3m 3s
    6. Taking fisheye further
      4m 16s
    7. Processing fisheye and wide-angle images
      7m 38s
    8. Correcting tone in fisheye images
      3m 37s
  5. 35m 37s
    1. Understanding super telephoto
      6m 21s
    2. Shooting distant subjects
      8m 26s
    3. Compressing the sense of depth
      7m 53s
    4. Working with shallow depth of field
      5m 35s
    5. Working with teleconverters
      2m 38s
    6. Editing telephoto images
      4m 44s
  6. 16m 47s
    1. Understanding macro basics
      2m 47s
    2. Shooting close
      4m 52s
    3. Shooting macro
      5m 20s
    4. Working with a point-and-shoot for macro
      1m 58s
    5. Using a two-lens strategy
      1m 50s
  7. 16m 39s
    1. Understanding tilt shift
      3m 37s
    2. Correcting perspective
      4m 29s
    3. Creating the toy effect
      4m 41s
    4. Deepening depth of field
      3m 52s
  8. 32m 39s
    1. Working with specialty lenses
      2m 43s
    2. Using the Lensbaby
      9m 13s
    3. Working with the Lensbaby Macro attachment
      3m 50s
    4. Shooting with a Holga attachment
      3m 4s
    5. Using an alternative mount lens
      2m 18s
    6. Using super-fast lenses
      1m 47s
    7. Correcting Lensbaby images
      9m 44s
  9. 39m 48s
    1. Correcting perspective
      10m 41s
    2. Creating the toy effect
      6m 31s
    3. Getting the lo-fi Holga look
      11m 17s
    4. Reproducing the effect of a Lensbaby
      8m 17s
    5. Cropping and enlarging images
      3m 2s
  10. 2m 47s
    1. Choosing whether to borrow or buy
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      47s

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