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Friday, April 15, 2011

No it wasn't "Photoshopped"!!

Photoshop is a great tool, don't get me wrong although CS5 is a little overwhelming if you are just getting into Photoshop. I started out with Light Room 2 (LR2)  (Now Light Room 3 (LR3) is now out). But sometimes I have seen people's reactions to photos along the lines of "Wow, that is great, how did they do that in Photoshop?" I.E. if its a really good picture, its been Photoshopped.

The two photos you are about to see have neither one been "Photoshopped". (OK technically Light Room is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom but nobody refers to it or sees it as Photoshop.) The distinction is that Photoshop is a pixel editor that allows you to literally edit the pixels of the photo. I.E. Draw red horns and a tail on your sibling!! Lightroom is a photo processing tool that does what most consider to be about 80-85 of what we do with photos (serious photos). Another big distinction is that Lightroom is non-destructive, that is when you process a photo, the photo is not changed, the file remains unaltered, all changes are stored in the Lightroom program catalog. Edit a photo in LR and then open up the original file and you will not see any of the changes you made. That is why there is no "Save" option in Lightroom, the changes are stored in the program catalog. (IF you don't back that catalog file up and one day it crashes, you can start editing photos all over again as soon as you quit crying and pulling your hair out for not backing up the catalog. Yes this happened to me after working on a set of wedding photos for a full day. Got up the next morning and the power surged and the catalog with aaallll my days work form the previous day gone! I now have it set to automatically back the catalog up every time I turn Lightroom on.)

Back to the example of photos.

The first photo is straight from the camera, no retouching was done. The only thing done was to convert from Raw format to JPEG. (I always shoot Raw).

The second shot has had no Photoshopping done to it. I ran it through Lightroom 2 and cropped to get the lamp post on the left out, increased the clarity and vibrance, and most importantly (this made the biggest impact) raised the contrast to high. A little tweaking on the tone curves and voila - that was all.

BTW - For those interested, I put the camera in spot exposure mode and single point focus and set the focus and exposure point to just above the sun. This helped darken the houses and all below the sky and made the sky properly exposed. Using matrix metering for exposure (taking in the entire image, would have made for a different outcome.) 

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