Will I Ever Take a Good Picture?

My journey trying to take good photos.

Bridge of Flowers edit.

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Didn’t feel like going for a picture walk today so I went back to a previous shoot and worked on one of my favorite photos from that day. Well as you will see the photo isn’t that great so maybe I should say it was my favorite scene. This was actually my first time out with the T3i. I have upgraded Lightroom and I have Photoshop now so I wanted to see if I could do a better job.

Here is the picture as I took it. This is from the camera with no edits. Yes I know I should have taken the picture a bit differently by compensating for the darkness but I didn’t. Maybe today I would!

Image
Canon T3i, EF18-135mm f3.5-f5.6@33mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100

Here is what I did in Lightroom 3:

Image
Canon T3i, EF18-135mm f3.5-f5.6@33mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100

I was happy with it but a few things stick out.

1) Sky is washed out

2) Some areas are bright (lower left, the sidewalk).

In Lightroom 4 I did some global edits. I didn’t fix the red spot in the lower middle because I thought that would be easier to fix in Photoshop. Here is the result:

Image
Canon T3i, EF18-135mm f3.5-f5.6@33mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100

Then off to Photoshop. The first thing I wanted to do was try to make the sky more like it was that day. Other pictures from that day show the sky was blue with some clouds. Here is another shot from that same shoot that shows the what the sky really looked like. Not sure why this shot had the sky so washed out.

Image
Canon T3i, EF18-135mm f3.5-f5.6@18mm, 1/200 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100

To select just the sky I selected highlights by using Select->;Color Range and in the drop down I picked Highlights. I created a Brightness/Contrast layer with the selection selected and inverted the layer mask and then painted over the areas that weren’t sky. I then set brightness to -112 and contrast to -50. Very heavy handed but it did bring the sky back.

Then I wanted to fix the sidewalk. It was a bit bright. I selected the walk by using Select->;Color Range and with the pull down set to Sampled Colors I selected the sidewalk. Then I created another Brightness/Contrast layer with the selection selected and inverted the layer mask. Set brightness -57 and contrast to -18.

Next I wanted to brighten up the bushes in the middle of the picture. I created another Brightness/Contrast layer with a black layer mask and then selected just the bushes. I set the brightness to -30. I left the contrast alone this time.

At this point it looked good but on the right side of the picture there was a patch of bright flowers so using the same method as I used for the bushes in the middle of the picture I set brightness to -47 and left the contrast at zero.

Then I fixed the red spot in the middle of the picture. Here is the result:

Image
Canon T3i, EF18-135mm f3.5-f5.6@33mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100

So what do you think? Do you think my newest version is better? Here is a comparison side by side.

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Left is last years edits, right is todays changes

That’s it for today.

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