DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHIC PRODUCTION
For this complimentary studies module we are exploring the world of digital photographic production, the processes of taking, and editing photographs using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.
THE BASICS: EXPOSURE, DEPTH OF FIELD
In photography, exposure is the amount of light allowed to fall on each area unit of a photographic medium (photographic film or image sensor) during the process of taking aphotograph. Exposure is measured in lux seconds, and can be computed from exposure value (EV) and scene luminance in a specified region.
A long exposure showing stars rotating around the southern and northern celestial poles. Credit: European Southern Observatory
In optics, particularly as it relates to film and photography, depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image. Although a lens can precisely focus at only one distance at a time, the decrease in sharpness is gradual on each side of the focused distance, so that within the DOF, the unsharpness is imperceptible under normal viewing conditions.
In some cases, it may be desirable to have the entire image sharp, and a large DOF is appropriate. In other cases, a small DOF may be more effective, emphasizing the subject while de-emphasizing the foreground and background. In cinematography, a large DOF is often called deep focus, and a small DOF is often called shallow focus.
Landscape photography is intended to show different spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic. Photographs typically capture the presence of nature but can also focus on man-made features or disturbances of landscapes, especially within contemporary photography. Landscape photographers often attempt to document the space as well as convey an appreciation of the scenery.
Portrait photography or portraiture is photography of a person or group of people that displays the expression, personality, and mood of the subject. Like other types of portraiture, the focus of the photograph is usually the person’s face, although the entire body and the background or context may be included.
A flash is a device used in photography producing a flash of artificial light (typically 1/1000 to 1/200 of a second) at a color temperature of about 5500 K to help illuminate a scene. A major purpose of a flash is to illuminate a dark scene. Other uses are capturing quickly moving objects or changing the quality of light. Flash refers either to the flash of light itself or to the electronic flash unit discharging the light. Most current flash units are electronic, having evolved from single-use flashbulbs and flammable powders. Modern cameras often activate flash units automatically.
Flash units are commonly built directly into a camera. Some cameras allow separate flash units to be mounted via a standardized “accessory mount” bracket (a hot shoe). In professional studio equipment, flashes may be large, standalone units, or studio strobes, powered by special battery packs or connected to mains power. They are either synchronized with the camera using a flash synchronization cable or radio signal, or are light-triggered, meaning that only one flash unit needs to be synchronised with the camera, and in turn triggers the other units, called slaves.
Cosmetic retouching (also called photoshopping or—before the rise of Photoshop software—airbrushing) is the application of image editing techniques to photographs in order to create an illusion or deception (in contrast to mere enhancement or correction), through analog or digital means.
Here are some retouches I have done in the sessions with Tim using LightRoom:
Here is a shot I took of Rob Smith during our first on location shoot exercise, I saw potential in his mirrored sunglasses and, after a few tries, I took this shoot of the building in the mirrored reflections. I am over the moon with how this shot turned out, it didn’t take a lot of retouching or mass editing work either which I was pleased about. As you can see in the before and after shot, I took out some pimples and spots on the forehead, I bumped up the detail on the building in the reflection to make it more dominant, and set the overall tone and mood of the picture with a blue tint.
This next shot is one that I wasn’t too keen on in the beginning, I thought it was quite messy, generic and it didn’t really hold much value. After a couple of weeks, I came back to it and looked at it with fresh eyes, and I saw a lot more than I originally did. I immediately got the feeling of “a diamond in the rough”, that theme stuck with me every time I looked at it. I liked how the strands of grass made a triangle around the flower which I think highlights it’s beauty. I like the way it isn’t completely centred in the frame, it being off to the left mirrors the rough beauty theme I wanted to capture. In terms of editing, I made the colour more vibrant, I highlighted the detail in the flower mildly to bring it to life, I also gave the background a colder feel to bring out a rougher, more threatening feel to the picture, but not too much that it dominates it.
This photograph was also taken on the first on location shoot exercise, I like the order and separation between the rods and the depth of field, I cropped it in to make the focussed rod dead center of frame, and as the orignal photo was way over exposed, I brought that down and it just sprung life into it. I boosted the vibrance and sharpness/detail on the focussed rod to make it more dominant. Again, I used the colder feel to the photograph (I think this is becoming a recurring theme here…), I think it makes it look and feel more industrial and rugged.
Here is my last photograph, I know what you’re thinking; “What on earth?” This photo of myself and Rob Smith was taken on one of the location shoot tasks we were given and was taken on top of Regent Street car park. We really didn’t take into account that the police station was right behind us and that could of caused some problems but luckily all we got was a reminder email from PCA Staff advising students not to photograph the police building. All of that aside, I don’t know what it is about this photograph but something draws me to it every time I look at it, which is strange considering how silly it is. Not a great of editing was needed for this picture, again, I gave the blue tint that I recently realised that I love, I ever so slightly smoothed the skin tones and gave a very minor glow quality around us, which to me suggests something spectacular is being seen. I boosted the saturation and vibrance, brought out the shadows slightly and cropped in to make it tighter and more focussed on the two subjects.
I’m really glad I got Photography for complimentary studies, as I have always been into the film side of the industry, I never fully explored the processes of photo manipulation and photoshop even though I knew I wanted the skills to do this well, because I would always try to make posters and things of that nature for my own films but I could never do it at a professional looking standard.
Complimentary studies has given me the skills and knowledge I’ve always wanted and needed, but could never find the time to bring myself to sit down and learn it all, like when I had to learn video editing which was a painstaking process.
I know now I can implement the new skills I have learned into my own projects and ventures which I am very happy about.