Tag Archives: masks

Think Globally, Act Locally (With Video Tutorial)

Turquoise Lake, CO. This image is a great example of how local adjustments will serve you better in post-processing. I enhanced the foreground rocks without affecting the smoothness of the water and background elements by applying Clarity via the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom 5.
Turquoise Lake, CO. This image is a great example of how local adjustments will serve you better in post-processing. I enhanced the foreground rocks without affecting the smoothness of the water and background elements by applying Clarity via the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom 5.

When it comes to post-processing your images, we’ve got a ton of tools to work with, both in our RAW editors and in plug-ins. Sometimes, though, I’ll see images that just look completely over-done. Usually this occurs when the photographer sees an effect and cranks it up really high. But the problem is bigger than that. Often, we’ll create images that have regions that look great with a particular effect, but at the expense of other areas. This is what happens when you apply adjustments globally (to the entire image).

The majority of adjustment tools operate globally; contrast, saturation, sharpening, etc. While we need to make global adjustments to set the foundation of our image, some adjustments can wreak havoc when applied globally. A good example is the Clarity slider in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. This slider affects local contrast (textures) and is extremely powerful. It’s also a tool that can quickly get out of hand. While certain features look great with added Clarity, other areas of the image can start to look extra-terrestrial.

The solution for these types of images is to place specific adjustments only where you need them. I like to use the Clarity slider to examine my image for areas that would benefit from its application, but then I’ll add the effect with the brush tool in Lightroom. The same technique applies to Photoshop users, who can use selection masks to add effects subtly to specific areas of their image.

Here’s a short video I made that illustrates the “Think Globally, Act Locally” paradigm for digital photographers.

[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/NFv3zEgKFGU” title=”Digital%20photography%20tips%20with%20Jason%20P.%20Odell” fs=”1″]

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Using Tiffen Dfx3 to Create Custom Studio Lighting Effects

I got several comments on yesterday’s post asking how I was able to create the background color and lighting effects in my otherwise boring head shot. After all, I only used a single light for the image and the background was a blank wall about five feet behind me. The trick I used was Tiffen’s Dfx 3 software, which I think is an indispensable tool for home studio photographers.

First of all, it’s important to note that I used an 85mm lens to take this image; doing so threw the background completely out of focus. That’s desirable for head shots where you want to tweak the background color/look later. I processed the RAW image (Nikon NEF file) in Lightroom 4.2 to open up the shadows a bit (note: click on any image below to see a larger view).

I did initial RAW processing in Lightroom 4.2 to open up the shadows in the image.

Then I sent the image to Tiffen Dfx 3. Side note: when using Dfx3 from Lightroom, choose Adobe RGB 1998 as your color space, as ProPhoto RGB may, in rare circumstances, cause color banding within the Dfx3 environment. Continue reading Using Tiffen Dfx3 to Create Custom Studio Lighting Effects

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