Saturday, September 15, 2012

Street Guitar Player

Street Guitar Player - M9, 21 Super Elmar, ~f/4.8, 1/80s, ISO 160
I made this image as I was walking down a side street in Seville taking in the highlights of the city.  One of the questions I often get from novices is just much color processing my images have had in post.    For example one may look at this image and wonder, was the wall really that deep orange color.  So I'll walk through all the work I did on this image to give folks an idea.

First, I was walking quickly down the street.  I knew the framing I wanted, I knew that I wanted as much of that wall as I could get.  So before I got to the spot I was going to shoot from, I pre-focussed using zone focusing.  Then when I arrived at the spot I was going to shoot from, I framed from the hip, made the frame and kept walking.

Next, my camera's white balance was set to Auto which in most scenes sets a reasonable white balance.     In this case, that super orange wall threw the meter off and the camera decided the white balance should have been closer to tungsten (2850 temp, -18 tint).

With these two facts, the image as it came into Lightroom, untouched looked like this:


The first two things I did was to correct the white balance (setting it to 5000 temp and 0 tint) and crop the frame to the way I had wanted it, which results in:


Then I usually do some tonal adjustments so that I get the kind of global, shadow and highlight contrast I am looking for.  In a lot of images I prefer having areas with deep shadow tones.  This was a tricky image to work with as small changes to some highlights sliders could result in regions of that orange wall taking on wild colors.  I had to experiment and the resulting values at times look contradictory.  I made the following tonal adjustments: Contrast +23, Highlights +18, Whites 0, Blacks +40, Clarity +37.  In Tone Curve: Highlights -68, Lights +25, Darks -17, Shadows +31.  I also applied a post crop vignette which I usually do if I want to darken the edges a bit to bring the attention to the center.  This gives the final image (same as one above):


Note that I didn't say anything about vibrance, saturation or the HSL settings.  Thats because these were all 0 and were untouched.  In fact, looking through a lot of my images, its rare that I apply vibrance or HSL saturation adjustments (one some images I will due targeted hue adjustments).
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