Evolution of a Photo #2   Leave a comment

I enjoy low-light photography, especially when the subject is something as inviting as a cobblestone street and lamp.  Below are the before and after versions of one of the photos I took outside of La Basilique du Sacre Coeur in Paris.  All adjustments were done in Adobe Lightroom 4 and took about 30 minutes to perform.

The photo on the left is straight out of the camera except for some basic cropping to an 8 x 10 format.  The greenish-brown color is what happens when you photograph a scene lit by fluorescent or mercury vapor lamps.  If you photograph in RAW format (which I always do) you can adjust this later on the computer.  However, I didn’t bother adjusting the color balance because I knew I wanted to process the image as a black and white photo, making tone adjustments unnecessary.

Even as a black and white the image would have been flat and dull if I had done nothing more than click on the b&w conversion button.  To get the final image on the right I instead applied a red photo filter and then adjusted contrast to push the darks to pure black.  Highlights were backed off to reduce intensity and flare, and I then used the brush tools to dodge (lighten), burn (darken), and add clarity (mid-tone contrast) to selective areas of the sidewalks, cobblestone street, and wall.

Thirty minutes of effort to turn a “blah” image into something a bit more compelling.


Posted July 8, 2012 by ~ Bruce in Architecture, Europe

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