Yes, almost all editing software or programs to order prints have a button to change a colored image into black & white (B&W). If you like the result, by all means, use it. It’s a quick tool for everyday photographs. But I think you deserve better especially when it comes to your family’s portraits! You deserve to not blend in with the background, to have your child’s skin glow, to have tiny toes pop out of the image. That’s what a professional photographer offers.
Which would you rather? The auto-button:
Or a thoughtfully, transformed image?
For my portrait packages that include a private preview (an in-person consultation & review of your portraits just prior to completion of the portrait package) sometimes I get requests for a black & white copy of a portrait. Absolutely! I will transform your portrait into the black & white image tailored to the style & mood of the original portrait. First, I will return to the originally edited NEF or PDF so when I save the B&W image the quality will not be affected. (Versus editing a jpeg file & then saving a new jpeg file which results in small losses each time you save). Then I convert the image into black & white using the color filter that will best blend certain elements & distinguish others. Contrast, lighting & sharpening may be adjusted to better serve the photograph.
Is all this editing really necessary, you ask? If you think in the old days photographers just pointed-and-clicked, think again. Back when there was only black & white photography photographers chose colored filters to better capture certain aspects of an image. A colored filter darkens the complementary color (red/green, purple/yellow) & lightens anything that is the same color as the filter. These filters were placed over the lens of a camera but now we have the luxury to do this in post-processing. Photographers in the past would also edit their photographs… in a dark room. For example, they used techniques like dodging & burning to lighten or darken different parts of a photograph. Today, we continue the tradition of creating portraits through both technique & processing. In fact, many of the tricks used in a dark room can be found in editing software like Lightroom or Photoshop.
Anyone can take a photo; photographers create photos.
(And anyone can become a photographer who desires it.)
Until Next Time,
I started to shoot a couple before asking everyone to empty their pockets. My surprise? When I asked the dad-to-be to remove his cell phone from his pocket… he pulled out a pocket Bible! What a strong man of God!
Until Next Time,
What do you do when you realize a cell phone sneaks into a shot towards the end of a photoshoot?
When working in photoshop there are easily 10 different ways to get a similar result but I like to use the PATCH TOOL. Hightlighted in this picture on the toolbar to the left of the screen is the patch tool. Draw the shape of the object you want to remove making sure to leave clear margins. Depending on your edition of Photoshop you either select “content-aware” before or after hitting the delete key. If a pop of box appears, make sure content-aware is chosen after you hit delete. And voila! The program will take content from it’s surroundings to root out the problem.
If the first patch tool doesn’t meet your needs sometimes reshaping the patch selection into smaller & smaller segments helps.
As a side note, Lightroom’s SPOT REMOVAL brush works similarly to the patch tool.
At some point I’ll write a post about shooting in RAW vs JPEG but I want to share a story from tonight now.
I’m trying to cull & edit some maternity portraits from yesterday’s session tonight after a 12 hour shift at the hospital when I come across some UNDERexposed shots. When my youngest nephew Oliver became disinterested in taking photos I started rapidfire captures (where you’re almost taking continuous photos because you don’t know when a toddler will jump out of the shot & you might only catch one smile). At one point I set my camera down to either pull Oliver back in the frame or to catch a dog to my lap…gotta love on-location photography 🙂 . When I resumed shooting it took a couple frames before I realized my flash was off & with the setting sun in the window a flash was required. If I had shot this in JPEG (where you trust your camera’s software to choose things like sharpening & contrast) it would have limited my editing capability afterwards. For many photographers, that’s not much of a loss at all but this picture straight out of camera (SOOC)…
…would have been lost! But since I shot it in RAW it gave me the ability to edit different parts of the exposure to create this image:
And thank God for RAW because that little boy on the right side was done smiling after this.
Until next time,
This year I have learned a lot about myself, photography & running a business. I’m kind of embarrassed by what I learned this week. Images shot in RAW (vs JPEG) make HUGE files. This is helpful when clients want lovely, big prints. Here’s the tough lesson I discovered: apparently some programs will compress the image size in order to use less processing memory. When images have already been compressed for web use or were smaller originally (think shot in JPEG) the difference is hardly noticeable. But… when large image files are compressed in these programs it leads to ugly, gray images or zombies as I’ve come to think of them. The following images may be disturbing to some viewers. 😉
I didn’t notice when I updated my blog on my laptop because I have a good computer & a color-accurate program. It wasn’t until I saw my own website on safari on my iPhone or an iPad that I noticed the zombie invasion. Facebook images appeared normal on an iPhone but when the same images were viewed on my website in Safari it looked like a different photo! Here’s a side-by-side comparison from the SAME IPHONE:
Trying to assess the damage & what I’d have to fix I took a look at the rest of my site. I felt a little like Shaun from “Shaun of the Dead”:
I can’t see any. Maybe it’s not as bad as all that… Oh, no. There they are.
Windows does the same image reduction to desktop backgrounds or full screen slideshows. I wish there was a display option to opt-out of this but sadly, there is not. The solution I’ve found is to compress the image size myself prior to posting to the web. Unfortunately, it takes time to update the larger files I’ve already added prior to this revelation.
Lesson learned! Goodbye zombies! No double tap required.
Until next time,