Tuesday, September 3, 2019

My Other Passion...

... is photography!  Ever since I commandeered my father's old box camera when I was nine years old, I have been fascinated with photography. I remember spending hours in a dark closet practicing changing the film with an old roll so I wouldn't ruin the film I bought with my hard earned berry picking money. (Yes, I worked in the berry fields when I was nine.  It was legal back then!).

OK, enough with the reminiscing.  What I really want to talk about today is photo editing. Yes, that's right.  Photo editing.  If you want to use your photos on cards or put them in an album, there will be times when you need to edit them first.

For instance, last weekend, I went to a wildlife refuge and one of the things I shot was a really cute squirrel. No, not THAT kind of shooting! The squirrel is fine, sheesh!  Anyway, I had just walked into the forest out of bright sunshine and I forgot to adjust my camera settings (I shoot mostly in manual mode).  I THOUGHT I was getting some great shots, but they all turned out more or less like this.

Oh no! I can't even see the squirrel, it's just a dark blob.
Rather than give up and delete the photo, I decided to pull the raw file into Luminar 3 and see if I could salvage a passable image. 
Guess what setting I adjusted first?  If you guessed exposure, you guessed wrong.  For a picture like this, adjusting the exposure so you can see the squirrel will blow out any bright spots including the sky. 
Instead, I started with highlights and shadows. I brought the shadows all the way up to 100, It was still a little dark, so I bumped the exposure by 0.78.  I also took the highlights down a tiny bit (-6) and adjusted the white and black points (-19 and -4 accordingly).   I made a few more minor changes, including cropping and this is what I ended up with:

Aha!  There's my furry little friend!  Pretty amazing, huh?

OK, I hear you, you'r saying, "But my camera doesn't shoot in raw..."  Well, don't despair.  You can make similar edits to a JPG, but it will take a little more work because you'll need to do your edits in layers and "paint" your changes onto the areas you want to lighten or darken.  It also will not have quite the depth of color as it would if you started with a raw file. But, still, not bad considering what I started with.

1. Always remember to check your settings before shooting!
2. If at all possible, shoot in raw format so you have more options for editing your photos.
3. Even if you don't shoot in raw, you can still make substantial edits with Luminar 3

If you'd like to get a copy of Luminar 3 for yourself, please use my link:
If do, and purchase something, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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