Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and Canon DPP Imaging Tips
I am going to sound old to many people here but when I started photography with film cameras, when there were no computers or digital imaging…at least not for the masses. In a way I am glad I started out that way as I really enjoyed working in the darkroom and really seeing images come to life in a darkroom!
However, time moves on and we are all in a hurry these days and digital imaging certainly speeds up the workflow so why not embrace it!
If you can though, try not to rely on post processing software for most of your work, try and get great shots straight from the camera…spend more time taking the shot than correcting or repairing it. All too often these days I see heavily Photoshopped images adorning many galleries when the image doesn’t even need it most of the time.
Just because your camera and software has all this amazing functionality, it doesn’t mean you have to use it!
I mainly use software for minor tweaks such as cropping, straightening, contrast and colour saturation…mostly things that the film labs used to do when you sent in your roll of Kodak 36 exposure film anyway.
Note: That is why many of these processes, using somewhat dated versions of the software (Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop etc), will still work with later releases.
Other areas that people like myself tend to use most are:
(Note: If you have read our Absolute Beginners section, you will have seen similar processes in Adobe Photoshop. For these tutorials I will be using Adobe Lightroom 2.
Lightroom is a much cheaper alternative to Photoshop and is my choice for processing most of my photos these days. Photoshop has a lot of functionality and features that Lightroom doesn’t but for straight forward processing, Lightroom 2 is hard to beat! If you can afford it, get both).
- Levels and curves – To help with contrast
- Colour saturation – To enhance colours
- Colour Balance – To remove red/yellow colour casts
- Shadow/Highlights – Great for helping out in areas of overly dark or bright exposures of an image
- Clone and Healing brushes – For removing unwanted artifacts from photos such as blemishes, litter, cracks etc.
- GRID AND WARP FOR STRAIGHTENING WALLS
- Filters – Saves money by being able to apply certain effects such as black and white conversions after the shot is taken. “Plug and play” action sets like those from Kubota Image Tools are amazing and I use all 4 sets myself.
Check out the Optikverve Labs site as there is a new upgrade…again, it is free! Or why not install the standalone Virtual Studio…again, free!
Obviously there are many, many more functions and features to most editing software packages available but as with the camera, most are quite unnecessary most of the time…don’t be fooled into thinking you need to learn them all.
When you are out and about with your DSLR and favourite lens…always keep your eyes peeled for anything interesting and try to imagine how you want the final image to look before you press the shutter.
Homework ; )
Set yourself tasks and allocate each day of photography to a different topic so you then focus on that one area…maybe spend a day shooting:
- Using just aperture priority and learning how to use and abuse depth of field
- Shutter priority to learn the effects of fast and slow shutter speeds
- Manual…go for it!
- People – Spend a day just shooting people you know or strangers in the street. It takes some courage this one but is all together possible…just be careful not to upset anyone.
- Architecture – I love shooting strange, old, new, modern and contemporary buildings…great for stock photography too. Look for the finer details in buildings and not just the entire structure.
- Landscapes – A good excuse to go out for a healthy stroll and have fun at the same time. You don’t have to shoot wide angle landscapes all the time…try closing in on and picking out interesting features with a telephoto or zoom lens if you have one.
- Cars, buses, reflections, angles, shapes, shadows, colours, animals, flowers, litter and any other theme you can think of…the choice is endless.
If you set yourself targets and a theme for each “outing”, you are more likely to open your eyes to what is around you whilst focussing on how to make each shot different from the last. You can do this by changing the depth of field, composition and lighting as we explained right back at the beginning.
Go off the beaten track to places you have never seen. Go to places you know like the back of your hand and see if you can now see anything new as a photographer and not just as a citizen or “Joe Public”!
Above all, be confident , take control of the camera (not the other way round) and enjoy it!