lunchbox session 2

Do you remember a week or so I ago, I answered one of Michelle's questions in the first lunchbox session? Well Michelle posted 2 questions and here's the second of her questions.

When I look at your travel shots, I really like the way the lighting appears - rich and vibrant but not too contrasting like lots of difference in shadow and highlights. Nothing burnt or washout, both indoor and outdoor, really nice and even lighting. Is it possible to ask you for any tips that you would share for achieving the rich and even tone?

A simple question but one that isn't all that easy to answer because there are so many different elements involved, so here goes.

When I bought my new camera I did a bit of online research looking for the best way to set up the camera. I followed their recommendations and now have a few pre-programmed settings for portraits and landscapes. One is a bit more colour saturated than the other.

I prefer nice even lighting so I look for the best light.

If I can't find it in one direction, I turn around and shoot from the other direction, or I look for shade. If I can, I'll come back later when the light is better. I wait for people to move so I can get the cleanest shot I can.

I shot this image at Carriageworks, an old railway maintenance building flooded with beautiful light. All I had to do was point and shoot.

Window light is also nice light, which is how I light all my food photography.

For my food photography I control the light. I move around my apartment as the lighting changes during the day. Sometimes I'll shoot by the window in the kitchen, later on I shoot in the living room or in my sunroom. I usually shoot food either back-lit or side lit. I use white foam board to either block or reflect light. If it doesn't look right to me, then I change the set-up.

Colour Management
You need to make sure your monitor is colour calibrated so what you see on the screen is what you see if you get your work printed.

For print I use the colour space recommended by the lab or printing company and soft proof in Photoshop if they have a specific colour profile.

For the web I prepare my images using the sRGB colour space. If you don’t, your images will look very washed out once uploaded.

I use an old version of Photoshop, CS2, which suits me fine but I am thinking of investing in Lightroom 3. I shoot in RAW and make adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) if needed, then export as jpegs.

I've made a few presets in ACR which adjust brightness and add a vignette.

If I don't like the outcome from the presets, I make some adjustments manually.

You can always save those as presets, which you then apply across a number of images shot under the same lighting conditions. That helps to speed up the image processing saga.

Once the jpegs are exported I do little else except resize for web and sharpen, though sometimes I might adjust the levels.

Apart from a Nikon black and white conversion action, I don't use any other Photoshop actions other than resizing actions I've made myself to speed up the blogging process. I want my images to look as much like film as possible and still shoot black and white film when I can.

Before uploading the images, I use Boutwell Magic Glasses from Totally Rad Actions at ~25%. It's a sharpening action which I got it as a free download from their website.

I've always loved photography but didn't take it seriously until my Dad bought me a Nikon film SLR many years ago. I took some camera courses but pretty much shot everything on AUTO. Then 9 years ago I bit the bullet and enrolled in a Certificate in Photography course.

It took me 2 years to complete the course and everything I learned was film based. Each week we shot on film, which we then developed and printed in the darkroom. Whatever processing I do is similar to what I did in the darkroom.

I had to learn how to use Photoshop and a digital camera after I graduated.
I took some courses; looked for answers online and practised, practised, practised. I shoot every week and have done so for the past 3 years. That way I have stuff to show on my blog but it's enabled me to know my camera's strengths and weakness/how it meters/what it's focus is like.

I still shoot as though I'm using film. I try to get the image as right as I can in camera to avoid too much post processing. I consider what I'm shooting/why I'm shooting that scene and how best to shoot it. I then try to put my own spin on it. I don't want my images to look like every-one else's and that's why I've attached this image of Sacre Coeur, shot from behind. It's a different point of view which I think is just as beautiful.

My style developed through shooting weddings as weddings involve fashion photography/documentary photography with a bit of food and interior photography thrown in for good measure and there are no second chances!

I've got a busy weekend ahead with another wedding, though this time I'm going as a guest. I'm sure one of my cameras will be coming along with me though.

So until the next time then,



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