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Cheap/free photo editing utilities

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Re: Cheap/free photo editing utilities

Postby djkest » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:31 pm

I downloaded Lightroom 3 yesterday for the 30 day free trial. My wife was recently a student so I can get the student version for $60 I believe. Sometimes it seems to work amazingly well, other times it just seems the image is just poor. I've been increasing the color temp a little because my Nikon tends to take "cool" pictures. Also a little bright so I usually lower exposure or brightness. I definately had some moments where I said "wow", and it seems to work very fast compared to my old method.

Questions:
1) Know of any good tutorials on basic use of lightroom?
2) Any way to easily adjust the sky apart from the rest of the photo? Hard to get the sky looking right- usually appears too bright.
3) what is "recovery" that you can adjust with basic sliders? It seems to make mountaintops black when cranked too high.
4) What is the difference between changing the exposure and changing the brightness?

Thanks.
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Re: Cheap/free photo editing utilities

Postby OmahaAdam » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:44 pm

Hopefully these answers will help:

1) Start here:
http://tv.adobe.com/watch/creative-suite-podcast-photographers/how-to-get-started-with-adobe-photoshop-/

2) One thing you can do is use the adjustment brush in the 'Develop' section. FWIW, I don't even bother with the Quick Edit feature. Anyway, you can do some work with selectively adjusting exposure, among other things, using the brush tool. Another way to help with this is to use the gradient tool. If you want to address this when you're shooting the photo you can bracket your shots or purchase an ND filter. Finally, another method is to use LR to export two exposures, one set for the sky and the other for the ground, then recombine in photoshop.

3) Recovery deals with blown highlights. If you mouse over the 'Exposure', 'Recovery', 'Fill' and 'Blacks' sliders you will see a portion of your histogram highlighted to show you what sorts of changes to expect from that adjustment slider.

4) Brightness adjustment, well at least for me, works more of an overall lighten/darken adjustment with really no sort of tact or focus (pardon the pun) of what part of the image is affected where 'Exposure' deals with the middle to brighter range.

hope it helps. Shooting in raw can also help nail your color temp, as can including a white reference in your frame (or test frame)

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Re: Cheap/free photo editing utilities

Postby EricB » Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:25 pm

OmahaAdam wrote:
hope it helps. Shooting in raw can also help nail your color temp, as can including a white reference in your frame (or test frame)

Adam


That's a good idea. I should hike with a white card and put it in every photo and then later crop it out of frame. :)

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Re: Cheap/free photo editing utilities

Postby OmahaAdam » Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:04 pm

EricB wrote:
OmahaAdam wrote:
hope it helps. Shooting in raw can also help nail your color temp, as can including a white reference in your frame (or test frame)

Adam


That's a good idea. I should hike with a white card and put it in every photo and then later crop it out of frame. :)


Thanks! You don't need to do it in every frame though. Assuming you have generally consistent lighting conditions, one test frame with a white card (or other white reference) will suffice. If you're shooting raw you can then use that test frame in LR to set your white balance and apply that across all frames you shot under those lighting conditions so they all match. To do this you would set the white balance on your test frame (by numerically specifying or using the dropper tool), then select the additional frames you want to apply that to and click the "Sync" button. That will open a window where you may choose which adjustments you want to apply to the selected photos. In this case choose white balance, or whatever else you want to batch adjust.

You can adjust your jpgs the same way, however the luxury of specifying kelvin isn't afforded as the white balance adjustments are made more relative to the jpg you're editing, assuming you're using auto white balance.

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Re: Cheap/free photo editing utilities

Postby djkest » Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:48 am

I found a really good tutorial on lightroom on Youtube. I hope to be able to do some more tweaking soon with it. It's not really "cheap" or free but I think sometimes it's worth it to dish out some money. Maybe I'll include some before/after shots.
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Re: Cheap/free photo editing utilities

Postby djkest » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:46 am

Here are my initial offerings from Day 1 of our recent Adventure- please check them out! I modified these in Adobe Lightroom 3 and scaled them to 1280x960 for internet useage. They were all taken with my handheld Nikon S8000 @14MP best quality. I mainly adjusted exposure, contrast, black levels, color temp, vibrancy, DNR, and sharpness; along with some cropping. I think my camera tends to take "cool" pictures. I warmed up most of them just a touch, and some of them feel a little "over-vibrant" to me, but I like the bold colors! I welcome any comments and/or criticism for these first efforts. I am very pleased with Lightroom and I think it's changing my life. The before/after split screen easily shows the power of this simple tool. Enjoy!

Hint: best viewed by selecting "full screen"
https://picasaweb.google.com/116598699074192561032/EpicAdventure2011Day1?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCOaC4p7Vkf3tmgE&feat=directlink
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