Tragic Or Magic
Mollie Isaacs & Mary Lindhjem
Awake The Light Photo Tours
How many times have you gone out to shoot, come back excited about what you photographed, only to be disappointed once you looked at the images on your computer screen? They can look gray, murky, or lacking in punch and vivid color. You expected magical images, but what you see are tragic results. At least you think they are tragic, and we have all been there.
“Why?” we ask ourselves. “What happened?” In actuality, much of the time NOTHING bad happened. Often it is just the inability of the digital representation to reveal its sharpness, proper colors, or the contrast that existed in the original subject, and still exists in your images. Those missing attributes just have to coaxed out from behind the digital veil into the visible spectrum.
To do this, all that is generally needed is a little massaging of your images with post-production software. There are many options out there, and they all do similar things. We happen to use Lightroom 4, but if you already own post-processing software, do not feel that you must change.
Our program at the upcoming NatureVisions Expo will go into more detail, but here is just a taste of what you can accomplish quickly and easily with post-production software.
Compare these “Before” and “After” images. The Before image is what appeared on the computer screen after downloading from the memory card. It looks gray and the colors are very muted. It was shot at dawn on an overcast day in Alaska, but the original scene did not look as dark and murky as it does in the Before image. Based on the histogram, the original image was not underexposed. The dark colorless look is what the sensor presents to us, but is NOT representative of all the information that is actually in the image. Pulling out that information is the job of post-production software.
Some photographers do not want to take time to learn about software, or do not want to spend hours in front of their computers. We agree completely. As photographers, we want to be out shooting, not chained to our desks tweaking images. The good news is that basic image optimization, as seen here, is neither time-consuming nor difficult. It just takes a little practice and a short course or tutorial to get up to speed and be able to bring your images back from the edge of tragedy to the land of the magical.
Mary Lindhjem and Mollie Isaacs co-own Awake The Light Photo Tours and Workshops www.awakethelight.com They are popular speakers and tour leaders. Find them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Awake-The-Light/123508281034128
Their NatureVisions program is scheduled for Saturday, November 10.