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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 15 Sep 2014 (Monday) 22:02
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Making my picture pop with Lightroom

 
amderk
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Sep 15, 2014 22:02 |  #1

Within the last year I've taken the Light room course and have played quite a bit with it. I just find that every time I take photos I never seem to give them a wow factor. What do you suggest with these pictures that are soc?


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Sep 15, 2014 22:12 |  #2

The biggest thing I see you can do on all of these is pull the Blacks slider over to the right. If you clip a bit on the histogram, as long as it is in shadow with little detail it won't hurt anything. The other things to try are a bit more clarity and vibrance. But try the blacks level first.


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amderk
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Sep 15, 2014 22:42 |  #3

If I pull the black slider over to the right doesn't that lighten up the picture?


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CRCchemist
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Sep 16, 2014 02:48 |  #4

amderk wrote in post #17157320 (external link)
If I pull the black slider over to the right doesn't that lighten up the picture?

I think what he meant was that you should pull the blacks slider over to the left, so you get some darker shadows. Your images are kind of washed-out looking, and pulling the black slider into the negative range will give the image a bit of drama that you might be looking for.

On the other hand -- you can go the opposite direction and try to give your images an analog-film look to make them pop. That is done by dragging the blacks to the right into the positive range, and then clicking on your Tone Curve adjustment graph, and manipulating the Tone Curve to clip the blacks and whites at their threshold levels. This is the kind of pop that I prefer to give to my photos. Add grain and a vignette under Effects - and don't sharpen very much. You'll now have a gorgeous classic photograph look. Everyone still loves that look of film.




  
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Sep 16, 2014 04:09 |  #5

Really, this has nothing to do with Lightroom, but with portrait/photo processing. Lightroom gives you Raw processing tools, which can do a lot, but then for "serious" portrait processing, there are other tools and people into serious portraiture that get into those other tools, so if you want to go there ask about "portrait processing"!!


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PixelMagic
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Sep 16, 2014 05:51 |  #6

Forget Lightroom or any raw processor for now. You need to go back to first principles and learn how to recognize good light. Secondly you need to learn to control the amount of light added to the scene when a flash is used to supplement the ambient light (also known as the flash contribution). Once you understand that your images will "pop" on their own and then you can enhance that with post processing.

Looking at your images I can see evidence of flash use in at least the first three images but the third image offers any real potential since it demonstrates a balance between flash and ambient.


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Sep 16, 2014 07:01 |  #7

PixelMagic wrote in post #17157773 (external link)
Forget Lightroom or any raw processor for now. You need to go back to first principles and learn how to recognize good light. Secondly you need to learn to control the amount of light added to the scene when a flash is used to supplement the ambient light (also known as the flash contribution). Once you understand that your images will "pop" on their own and then you can enhance that with post processing.

<snip...>

In my novice mind the emphasized statement above is a very true and important one. Either I pull up an image SOOC and immediately start struggling to correct over/underexposure, bad contrast, whatever...or, I pull up an image that I can immediately tell is "a good one" and which is a pleasure to "tweak". With the first image I'm trying to make a questionable image "good" but with the second image, the good one, I'm trying to make "good" turn to "better"...or maybe even "best". :)

amderk, in my feeble self-schooling I'm trying to learn to seek (good) natural light, use the varying depths of (large) open shade, to not get too caught up in my main subject that I fail to pay attention to the backgrounds, and shooting "manual". And of course, always composition. Lots of other things to work on, but these just readily come to mind....and trust me, I've got lots to work on. ;)

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Bianchi
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Sep 16, 2014 09:43 as a reply to  @ Intheswamp's post |  #8

I am no portrait finisher, but maybe you are looking for something like this.
All done in LR

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/gif' | Redirected to error image by FLICKR
Sep142014-076a (external link) by Sett N trenZ (external link), on Flickr

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Eyeball2
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Sep 16, 2014 10:12 |  #9

I think you have some solid shots here. The most problematic is the backlit girl. That last one of the little girl with the wildflower is really great.

Here are the same images with some adjustments, all done in Lightroom. There were too many small adjustments to list one-by-one but they were primarily adjustments to exposure, white balance, and so on with some dodging and burning and a very small amount of cloning/healing.

I think for portraits, it is about the subjects and the faces in particular. Anything that distracts from that should try to be addressed. I do that by darkening or lightening the background, brightening the face, reducing saturation and contrast of colors in non-subject areas, and so on.

On most of these I added a little pop to the eyes with increased contrast, clarity, and saturation. Hopefully, I didn't overdo it. Sometimes I need to come back next day to correct for over-aggressive editing.

For on-location shoots, it can be difficult to get the lighting perfect so doing a little dodging and burning in the face to improve facial structure can sometimes help and add a little pop.

I though most of your flash lighting was pretty decent but on the backlit girl it looks like it was pretty much straight on, creating some pin-point catchlights right in the middle of the pupil. I eliminated those catchlights and added my own off-set ones.

Obviously there is a lot of subjective editing, especially where things like white balance and contrast are concerned but I tried as much as possible to play to the strengths of what you shot and avoid the weaknesses.

I hope that gives you some ideas. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

IMAGE: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/12145446/Sep142014-076a.jpg
IMAGE: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/12145446/Sep142014-055a.jpg
IMAGE: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/12145446/Sep142014-082a.jpg
IMAGE: http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/12145446/Sep142014-103a.jpg



  
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CRCchemist
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Sep 16, 2014 12:34 |  #10

PixelMagic wrote in post #17157773 (external link)
Forget Lightroom or any raw processor for now. You need to go back to first principles and learn how to recognize good light. Secondly you need to learn to control the amount of light added to the scene when a flash is used to supplement the ambient light (also known as the flash contribution). Once you understand that your images will "pop" on their own and then you can enhance that with post processing.

Looking at your images I can see evidence of flash use in at least the first three images but the third image offers any real potential since it demonstrates a balance between flash and ambient.

Yes, I was going to agree that the flash isn't being used very well, but I didn't want to get I to the lighting aspect of these shots. You are correct.




  
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amderk
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Sep 16, 2014 13:42 |  #11

Feeling a little frustrated with these images and comments, because these pictures were taken as part of 1 on 1 photography lesson with a very well known photographer in our area. I was hoping that with her help I was going to learn and nail some awesome shots of my kids.

Questions-how can I save and make this pictures look good?

#2 where do I find the portrait procession in Forums?

#3 What should I learn and focus on in order to improve my shots?


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PixelMagic
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Sep 16, 2014 14:27 |  #12

Did you shoot raw? Then perhaps you can upload one or two of the raw files and others can have a crack at them. Use a service like Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive to upload the files and post the links in this forum.


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Sep 16, 2014 14:30 |  #13

It's funny how programs like Lr have become such a part of our photography.

Here's my take on your first image.


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amderk
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Sep 16, 2014 14:41 |  #14

Yes I did shoot raw. Let me try to figure out how to upload them. Can I use photobucket?


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PixelMagic
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Sep 16, 2014 14:55 |  #15

No, Photobucket will not allow you to upload raw files. You need to use a general file hosting service, not a photo hosting service.


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Making my picture pop with Lightroom
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