This week's assignment was to:
1. Calibrate display monitor.
2. Crop, fine-tune, and process colours for all shoot images.
Based on new adjustments, re-select top 10-15 images.
3. Do a composite mock-up if applicable
4. Re-select best 2-5 images, highlight your top favourite and explain why
I definitely see the value now in getting your settings down securely at the start of a shoot. This makes the editing process much easier when you have large batches of photos that all have the same settings, then you can synchronize your adjustments with Lightroom or Camera Raw. If you switch up your camera settings frequently during the shoot, you will have to do more manual tweaking of each image, but, if you shoot in batches using the same exposure (camera settings + lighting) then you can easily synchronize your retouching across many images. I would also add tags in future shoots for certain poses, which are based on specific framing I establish in the concept boards.
Processing shoot images
I selected these as my favourites because they were good exposures, they captured my intended poses from the mood and concept boards well, they successfully blended character traits from both of my inspiration sources, and the model’s expressions were genuine and relaxed.
The major drawbacks in these images can all be traced back to mistakes made when shooting. The backdrop should have been ironed more thoroughly, and draped on front of the couch, to eliminate the colour contrast the dark couch produced against the light backdrop. This limited my cropping a bit and tended to take over as a predominant consideration when cropping. Another con which easily could have been solved on set was that my model’s hair often blocks the prop. If I had paid closer attention while shooting I simply could have brushed the hair away. As it stands now, the overlapping locks of hair will be nearly impossible to fix in Photoshop, lesson learned.
Overall though I liked my model’s poses and I found the direction of the model’s gaze to be a powerful driving force in deciding how to crop the image and where to place my gradients. I aimed in each of these final images to provide a bit of open space in the direction of the model’s gaze, and luckily I didn’t have too much trouble doing that. While I wish my key light had been a bit stronger as a dominant light source, I found in most of my images that I had decent exposures that gave me plenty of room to tweak in RAW, and I had a lot of freedom to re-define the lighting direction with gradients.
Old(er) school photo processing
I wanted to use my native Camera Raw app and see how it compares to what the instructor demonstrated with LightRoom. I had previously only done very simple exposure adjustments with Camera Raw, so this gave me an opportunity to explore more of the functionality. I was pleased to find that most of the key functions from LightRoom were present, such as the Gradient Tool and Noise Reduction, both critical features for this step of the process.
Using Camera Raw as opposed to Lightroom does have some drawbacks though, for example:
- You don’t have the same control over some features
- You can’t narrow down image sets with Filters + Ratings
- You can’t do virtual copies
- You have to jump over to Adobe Bridge to get some of the LR Library functions
- If you click “Done” to save all changes, then re-open in Camera Raw, you can’t toggle changes off/on with “Preview”
Using different settings for different photo batches, I ended up actually pushing these differences quite a bit. I found the adjustments for a particular set of photos was usually necessary because that batch had a unique pose and mood, so it made sense to push what I was aiming to achieve in those “takes” using colour grading.