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Posts tagged ‘editing’

Up for Discussions: Images in Monochrome

The Monochrome Madness challenge has been wonderful, yet I am finding many people feel their own work is not good enough, or they don’t really know, or think they don’t know, how to do monochrome images.  I offered to write a post about it.  I thought why not, but I don’t feel like I am in any way an expert on monochrome images, or black and white, so I am going to get the discussion going, and like we did with other discussions, like common mistakes newbies make, I will talk about what I do and give some ideas and hopefully other people will keep adding to the discussion. What happens, I will start the conversation.  The first part is how to choose an image, and the second part will be about how to convert them to black and white.  The post will remain open and as people, you, make suggestions I will add marysville-steavensons-falls-water-monochrome-100-2them to the post.  So please leave what you want to say in the comments, I will cut and paste them.  Remember this is about helping people who have trouble creating monochrome images. Shall we get on with it.

The Image

Textures and Patterns

Not every photo you take will be a good monochrome image, sad but true.  There are things to look for when you are going to convert an image.  Images with lots of textural elements or patterns are great for monochrome, the patterns and textures can laurent-melbourne-littlecollins-building-monochromereally stand out.

Contrast

Really what a great monochrome image needs is lots of contrast.  I am going to try and explain contrast because I know a lot of people say they know what it is and they don’t.  I used to be one of them.  People say to me it doesn’t have enough contrast and it took me years to work out what they meant. So contrast is about the difference between the whites and the blacks.  If you have ever used the threshold on an image, and converted it to just blacks and just whites, then you will find an image with a lot of contrast.  Though the image would look crap, but a good image would have blacks, and whites and lots of shades in between.  What you are looking for are lots of tones, or greys from light to dark.  Often images that don’t have a lot of contrast just look grey royal-exhibition-building-reflection-museumand not very good.

Tones

If you want to know if an image will be good for black and white, look at the tones in the image, the lights and darks, is their enough of a difference. Remember that some colours will have the same tones when converted. For example red and green will have the same tone, and when you convert they may look the same. Dramatic images often lend themselves very well to monochrome as well.

Camera

A couple of people have mentioned how you can take photos in Black and White with a setting on your camera.  One way is to take Black and White photos, but then you loose the flexibility of your image because you can’t make it colour again. The other option is to make your screen show you the preview in B&W. The images are still colour, but you get an idea of what it looks like in monochrome. I don’t do either, but I know people who do.  To be honest, I just don’t think of it.  If you are new to this and learning, then changing your screen to give you the preview could be very beneficial.

Zone System

The zone system that Ansel Adams developed has been mentioned.  I’ve never been able to work it out, but there are others who have read it and used it to get better images.  If you are really stuck, could be good to look at.

Taking Images

It has been suggested that if you have the intention of getting images in black and white, then when you set out to take them, remember that, and look at what you are taking.  Think about whether it will be a good image for monochrome.

From Merilee, her point of view.

The best way to learn the language of black and white is to work only in black and white. And I don’t mean allowing the camera to take black and white images for you. You must go out and take the photograph in color, and really LOOK at what you are shooting. Before you shoot it, you need to train your eye and brain to convert the image from color to black and white in your mind first. After awhile it becomes automatic. You can be looking at a sign that’s in bright colors, but you know instinctively that when you convert that color photograph into black and white, that the colors on the sign will all turn the same shade of grey. You must do this and do it a lot to learn the language. Also, when composing for black and white, it will be different than composing for color. Because your color becomes part of the composition itself. When shooting for black and white you need to SEE the large, dark areas and the large light areas while you are composing. Work like this for two or three years. I’m not talking about a few weeks. This takes years. I know. It’s what I do. All the time…

Chris had similar views as Merilee

Have to agree with Merilee, to some extent. it does help to convert to black and white completely . I did this about 4 years ago and only shoot for black and white images as an end product, unless some one asks me to do specifically colour for family shots or something like that.

I shoot with a Nikon and preview only in black and white when out and about, I use the histogram a bit when out . The images a raw colour images though. Lightroom is the program I use for conversion, just my preference, presets are good to get a starting point, then the B&W sliders , contrast and lights and shadows sliders used a lot, and the tone curve box fro very subtle changes , lights out – to isolate the image on the screen , then export to PS for resizing and a little sharpening maybe .

Sometimes I use PS for doging and burning using layers.

From Dan

As you know, I “convert” several of my seascape images to B&W. Seascapes are difficult due to lack of contrast in water. I find that adding other elements (clouds, sand, rocks, people, etc…) to be very effective. The key is the light… the sun’s direction and height specifically. Midday sun can be too flat, but early morning and late afternoon (just after/before golden hour) can be a great time to shoot. Look for clouds to add drama, shading on rocks, and wet sand for some glimmer. Here in San Francisco, I like to go out in the early morning. It’s typically overcast which softens the light. Remember that the sun is still shining through those clouds adding that much needed contrast. You just have to figure out its direction.

My final tip is to know what your goal is “before” you push the button. Visualize your final image in B&W. It becomes easier with practice, but an important goal, nonetheless.

Converting to Black and White

Simple Editing

There are so many ways of converting images, and it really is an individual thing.  There is no right way or wrong way of doing it.  You can do what works for you. apollo-bay-funghi-rainforest-monochromeThe most common thing to do is to reduce the saturation and take out all the colour in the image.  You can go to the menu and find where you can convert it to greyscale. They are the two most common ways that I can think of to convert your images.

Black and White Adjustment Layers

Photoshop has an adjustment now that allows you to convert them, you can click that and your image is monochrome, then you can adjust the individual tones in the image to make them darker or lighter, according to how you want them.  It is one of my preferred methods of doing the conversion.  I will often give the contrast slider a little push as well for extra effect.

From Judy

On choosing what to convert, I am not sure I do. I think the picture choses. Crazy I know but I just see it and must convert!! For me using Photoshop or taking advantage of such software as Silver Efex, I find the starting point of color very powerful. Once you are in a neutral black and white stage, you can use sliders to lighten and darken various colors in the scene. For example green leaves with lighter yellow areas can be separately lightened or darkened to give highlight and interest to the leaves. Once I like the look of the image, then I can take that composite as a black and white with no more help from underlying color and adjust lighting and contrast in various ways so the final image has a nice mood. If you love nuances of light on just about anything, water, rocks, leaves, trees, birds…then a black and white treatment will always be a wonderful temptation.

Toning

From InfraredRobert

However the photographer goes about the conversion, don’t forget that when all is said and done, you can still use one more ‘trick” from the old days of printing on paper – specifically: Do you want a warm tone or cool tone image? Often this final step (by using a photo filter in PhotoShop) really gives a nice finishing touch to a monochrome image.

Plugins

There is also lots and lots of software that will help you get that black and white effect.  You simply open your image in them and hey presto there is your black and white image.  There are many around, with the most popular one being apollo-bay-treetops-rainforest-monochromeSilver Efex from the Nik Collection. I know Topaz Labs also have one, but I have never used it, so I don’t know what it is like. They usually have a heap of presets, to help you decide exactly how you would like your image to look.

Actions

I have also seen some actions that when you apply them they will make your image black and white, however you need Photoshop to use them, though I believe you can also use them in Elements, but I’m not positive about that. You can often pick up an action quite cheaply or a bundle of them.  I am experimenting with doing them, perhaps I should do one for people.

Other Software

From Victor

Another piece of software for Mac uses is MacPhun’s Tonalality. It’s got lot if bells and whistles that make it easy and fun to use.

Conclusion and Photos

I am leaving it there, so I am hoping those that are much better at monochrome will help add more information. What little tips can you give people who want to get better at doing them?  For those of you who want to learn how to get better images, try looking at more monochrome and if you don’t like an image see if you can work out why, or why the black and white doesn’t work. I am not going to put everything in the article, so you should also read the comments, as people might add information to what I’ve already said. All the images today are ones I’ve done in monochrome.  I am fairly certain they have been on the blog before, some for monochrome madness, and some just, well just because I wanted to. If you look at the file names and see SEP in it then it usually means that it was done in Silver Efex.

Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs: The Planning Continues

It does seem like this year is all over the place, that I have my fingers in so many pies hoping that one of them will pay off and be fantastic for me, a great opportunity that leads to other things.  It is a bizarre world we live in.  I’m not complaining, okay maybe a little, but I guess the main thing is that I am still trying to get me and my photography out there.  I guess I hope that persistence will pay off eventually.

Behind the Scenes

scpi-h20120512-0765I was sent a request recently, and while I didn’t have time to do it, I thought I would mention it and Jasmine here.  This is what it is:

I’ve basically started a link up for photography bloggers to show their behind the scenes. The post does not have to be primarily behind the scenes, it can be your interpretation. All you have to do is add your link to your post by clicking the blue button at the bottom of this post: Behind the Scenes and comment on the post before yours with constructive feedback or a friendly compliment, and the next person will do the same to yours.

If you are interested in taking a look the link is there.

Individual Online Classes

I received another student to do some learning online the other day.  It is fun doing them as each student comes to me with different problems, or different things they want to learn so it is very varied, it is something I really enjoy doing.  I have my new computer all set up and got to use my new webcam today for a session with a student.  If you are interested in learning photography or photo editing from me check out my page on Online Classes.

My Book

I have had a meeting with Banyule Council about my book and the direction it should go in.  We are going to look at seasons and how the land looks through the seasons.  It is very exciting and I’m very keen to get down to Banyule Flats and start doing some photos again.

scpi-HDR20120512-1250Maxwell International Australia are lending me a Tamron 150-600mm lens to try out and review. It will be good to take it to the flats and photograph some birds.  Nice to see how it handles it.

Other Books

It has been suggested that I should consider doing an art book of my fine art images.  I wondered what you thought of that, if you would like to see me produce a book on my special images.

I was also toying with the idea of writing a book on taking photos, my way of course, but not sure about that yet.

I think I like the idea of writing as well.  Though with everything else who knows.

Social Snappers

I’ve been thinking about doing the Social Snappers for free and then adding some extra classes for people to do.  I am finding that I am having trouble getting people to do them, and I am sure that part of the reason is because I don’t have a network of people who know me here, so maybe if I scpi-20120512-1257do them for free, then people might do my other classes.  I thought I would try it for a term and see what happens.

Photos

Today the photos are from my old cycling days, well when I used to photograph cycling.  I was taking photos at an event down on Phillip Island, so some of the photos are of the grand prix track down there while others are from one of the points on the island.  Not sure about them now, but it is fun to go back and look at them.

 

Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs

This last week has been great, not a lot happening around here, but as we run up into Christmas I’m sure that could change.  December already, and I suppose I should start thinking about Christmas a lot more.

New Macro Lens

Well I was at the grant presentation last week for my grant and got my envelope, so the next day I ordered my new macro lens.  It arrived on Friday and the two of us have been out a couple of times now.  Part of the grant was for a Nikon micro 105mm lens, so that is what I had to get.

macro-nikon-back-yard-476

Backyard

The lens arrived in  a lovely gold box, as all Nikon lenses do.  My first impression of it was that it was cold, the metal around the lens was cool to the touch and then it was heavy, it felt good, it was a good weight in my hand.  The next test was to take it out into the garden and see what I could get with it.  There isn’t much left in the garden to photograph now, as we are heading to summer the flowers are disappearing and the plants are conserving what they have for the summer ahead.  Still I found a few things, and was photo bombed by a bee when I was photographing one of the flowers on the raspberry plants I have.  I will include some of those photos in this post.

On Sunday morning my daughter and I went to Bulleen Art and Garden Centre to look at some plants, and of course I took the macro with me and took some photos of the flowers.  It was hard as the sun was out and it was hot.  We’ve had a few

macro-nikon-baag-nursery-483

Bulleen Art and Garden

days of heat now and humidity, I don’t like humid days.  I will include some photos from there as well.

Social Snappers

The last two excursions for Social Snappers is on this week, one on Thursday and then another on Sunday.  It is unusual that both are doing the same thing, but we will be this week.  The excursion is into the city and we will be taking photos of the Christmas decorations before and after sunset, which should be great.  I love doing this, but marketing them is proving to be challenging.  I think I am going to have to start thinking of different ways of doing it.  This blog, facebook, and social media

macro-nikon-back-yard-474

Backyard

really aren’t doing anything, unfortunately.  Hopefully they will pick up next year.

Teaching Photo Editing

After being asked about Photo Editing in all my classes I’ve decided to try teaching it.  I am going back up to the Mallee in March, on the long weekend, to do more workshops and a big component of those is going to be teaching people about putting their photos on the computer, organising them and then how to do some basic editing.

macro-nikon-back-yard-475

Backyard

I love editing, and it is one area that I think I know quite well, so I feel it is something that should do a lot more of.  I would like to offer some classes down here, but I will need to find somewhere to teach them, so I will be looking into that soon.

Facebook and Privacy

It seems Facebook is doing the rounds again about what they can use of your information and such that you put on there.  Everyone is in an uproar, though I have to keep wondering why, as this has all happened before.  Basically if you put your personal information, photos, videos, etc up then you give them a royalty free license to use it as they wish too, however, you still own your images.  Those are the conditions you agree to when you sign up to it. People have been putting notices up, saying they don’t give FB permission to do that, but it is hoax, and there is nothing you can do about it.

macro-nikon-baag-nursery-480

Bulleen Art and Garden

I have made the decision to put a massive watermark across any images I post on Facebook, that way if they use the images and try to remove it, then they are tampering with my copyright, which I am fairly certain is illegal.  I also read

Facebook adds, “[t]his IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

So I would think if you continued to delete your photos after they have been there for a while then Facebook can no longer use them, that is how I read that.  IP refers to Intellectual Property.  It is something I have been doing, going through and deleting all my old photos, not easy, there are a lot on there, but if it helps to protect my work then I will.

I think that is enough for today, I hope you have a good Tuesday and there is a lot going on in your world right now.

 

Introductions – Laura Macky

Laura Macky and I haven’t known each other for long, but during that time she has become a great friend.  Now we do the Monochrome Madness Challenge together and that has been great too. Emails are always going backwards and forwards.  I know you know her, but I thought you might like to get to know her a little better.  You might say I thought it was time to do one of my introductions posts on her.

cockpit2-webMost of you are aware of her monochrome work.  She picks some great images to do in black and white.  She has a great eye for photographs and it is a joy to look at her work and see what she does.

I asked Laura why she takes photos.

I take photos because my original hobby of being a pianist went by the wayside when I developed nerve damage in my hands and had problems with my right leg which made it hard to pedal the piano.  I missed expressing myself artistically, so I thought perhaps taking pictures might be a good outlet.  I started about four years ago on my first DSLR but in the last year I’ve been more serious about it.  After all, in order to express a myriad of human emotions through the lens of a camera, it takes technical and artistic effort which I’m enjoying trying to improve upon.  I love a challenge!

organ-webPhotographing architecture is something I have a real passion for and I think Laura does too.  I like the way she sees things,  the angles she chooses to photograph things.  It is great seeing all her architectural images.

I asked Laura about inspiration.

One inspiration is my drive to always be better.  I’m that way in general and I try to translate that into developing my skills in photography.  It’s also inspiring when I make a connection with someone else through one of my images in that they are seeing and feeling the same thing I do.  Lastly, there is a lot inspiration gained from the incredible images I see every day here on Word Press. I look at them and wonder how they process their images and try to pay attention to how they see things.  That really helps to open my mind a lot more creatively.

lighthouse3-printLandscape and the natural environment are not something that I am very good at doing, I don’t think, I do love seeing other people photographing this.  I find a lot of inspiration in seeing what other people do, and Laura is no different here.  I love seeing how she photographs the landscape, but also how she processes it.  That is important to me as well.

I asked about her gear and if there was anything special about the way she worked.

I usually try to think of the emotion I feel when I see something through the lens and then I try to convey and enhance that in post processing.  I’m a huge fan of Nik Efex plugins, so I usually use those to fine tune my images.  As for gear, I have a Nikon D7100, three filters, and a few lenses.  I love my little 35mm 1.8 lens and my wide angle as well as my telephoto.

moon2-webI loved seeing the moon images as well.  You know know that it is something I want to do more of, so I was really happy when I was going through her blog and seeing some images with the moon in it.  They are great.

I want to thank Laura for letting me do my introduction post on her.  I would love it if you could visit her blog, Laura Macky, and see how wonderful her work is.  I have a gallery of images for you to look at now. Please enjoy.  I have you have had a great break.

Taking Action

Recently I have been thinking about doing more portraits, though not so much the fine art ones, but more just normal portraits.  I still love the idea of doing portraits of teenagers as they are finishing school and moving onto the next part of their lives.  I have discussed this before, the idea of doing them here, and how the whole concept of Senior Portraits wouldn’t work in Australia.  I am still thinking of names, but I did get to take some lovely photos of a friends daughter last weekend.

LeanneCole-alannah-1883She is a gorgeous girl, but has issues about her body (what teenage girl doesn’t?), so we did more head shots, which I think she was more comfortable about.

I have been looking at lots of portraits lately, and looking at what the photographers do to them.  I have also been hearing a lot about actions. Actions are like recordings of processes in Photoshop that you can then play over and over again.  You just click a button and then things happen before your eyes.  They are quite amazing.

I seem to see actions everywhere at the moment.  You know how when you suddenly become aware of something, how it seems to be all around you, well, that’s what’s happening with actions.

You can find free ones on the internet, and you can also buy them.  I was given some actions by Lara Jade when I did an online course that she was teaching.

LeanneCole-alannah-1883-ljaAfter a couple of clicks, this is what I got.  You can change some things, but it can give you a great overall effect.

Then during the week I was sent a discount coupon for Greater than Gatsby.  They sell actions, and you can end up with some great ones, the following image was done with one of theirs.

LeanneCole-alannah-1883-ggaOf course you have to learn how to use them, and I am sure eventually I will get the hang of it, but it is interesting to see what results you can get with them.

I purchased The Radiance Collection from Greater than Gatsby and it came with 110 actions.  I have only played with a few of them so far, but I was really impressed with what you got.

LeanneCole-alannah-1815-2This image I did myself.  I tried some things I had learned from Lara’s workshop.  I don’t mind this at all.  My next step is recording my own actions.  I have tried it a couple of times, and some things have worked and some haven’t, but I think I just need to practice more.

I think I am going to like actions, though I think it could be something that I need to work out how to do myself.  I hope my friends daughter likes what I have done to her images.

Here is a gallery for you.  The first image of each pose is the original with hardly any editing, and then the actions applied to them.

Changing the Feeling

We are still experiencing our heatwave here.  Today it is predicted to be 44ºC, and we have already reached 40.  My poor cat Tiddles just doesn’t know what to do.  We keep trying to cool him down, and I think he appreciates what we are doing.

The heat itself is uncomfortable, and annoying, but the worse thing about it is how terrifying it also is.  When we have really hot days like this, it means thunder storms, which mean lightning, and then fires.  There have already been lots of fires in Victoria, and with the worse day for winds predicted to be tomorrow.  I have a massive park across the road from me that goes along the Yarra River, so we are also on high fire alert.  It has never been a problem before, but you just never know.

The hardest part, and perhaps the scariest is that they are saying these are the same conditions that lead to the worse fire storms in Australian history, the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 where almost 180 people lost their lives, and thousands and thousands of acres were damaged, and whole communities destroyed.  No one wants to ever see that happen again.

I know people think we are being whinges, that the temperatures are not that high, but we are all living on the edge of our seats, it is a scary time to be in the state right now.

Now on another note, before the temperature gets too hot and I can’t work on my computer anymore, I thought I would work on another image and see what I could do with it.

I did an image a couple of years ago and I was curious about what I would do with a similar image.

sccity-hpm6608-5

I have always liked this image, but over time my processing has changed and I know a lot more about Photoshop now.  I didn’t want to just repeat the image, but thought if I took another one it would be interesting to see what I would do.

city-20140111-6464

This image was taken on the weekend, I showed it to you on Sunday and I decided that I would use this image.

LeanneCole-city-20140111-6464-2The most obvious problem with the image was the sky, so I tried to find a sky that I could add to it that would help with the mood of the image.  I have added lots of textures to the image to help give it an aged feeling.  I think I was trying to go for the feeling of abandon.

There are problems with it, but I know the more I do these, the better I will get at doing them.  I need to start collecting some different sorts of photos now, I think. Things that I can add to images like this that will help with that feeling.

I am going to put the images into a gallery now so you can see them a bit better.  Take care everyone.

Emotion Coming Through

On Saturday when I taught my class I got some many fantastic photos of my model and so I have prepared two more for you today.

LeanneCole-thea-20131116-1449I do love this table, it is quite amazing.  I also love this pose, though I do wish her eyes were different.  I love the feeling of the image, is she just lying there because she is feeling depressed, or is there more too it.  I did tell her to pretend she was dead, as though she had been poisoned.  I think the image could convey many things.

I know a few people have asked me how I edit my images.   I don’t want to do a tutorial on it, but I am looking into software that I could do a screencast of it and then make it go faster for you, so you don’t see everything, but you get an idea of how one of my images comes together.  I don’t know much about this kind of software, but if I find out I might try it.  Though would prefer it to be free, so if anyone knows anything about software, screencasts for Windows, I’m all ears.

LeanneCole-thea-20131116-1561I was trying something different with this image.  I told her to pretend she was terrified sitting in the corner, and then I worked on making the image darker.  I wanted to convey a scared girl trying to hid in the corner at night.  The original image was so white, so it took a bit of effort to get it like this. I am not sure the scared part really came out.

I am really happy with where my images are going.  I do feel like I am growing as an artist and the work feels more like my own, rather than me imitating what others have done.

The weather has been horrible here, but we are finally seeing some better weather.  I really want to get out and some preparing images for the compositing, so this week looks like the first time I can do that.  So fingers crossed it holds and I can get on with it.

As I did the other day, the before and the after shots, one after the other.

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