My goal, with every photograph I take, is to make each image be the very best that it can be by my standards and by general artistic standards. I realize that this is a lot to ask of myself but still, for each image that I think is presentable to the public, I try my best to reach my set goal. For some images this might just mean some gentle processing, mostly with Adobe Lightroom, but for other images it may mean some work in Photoshop or in other software programs. I should probably say, at this point, that I like to process photos and I like to create with my images and working with RAW images works well for me because of this. I get satisfaction in seeing the end result and by knowing that I can, most of the time anyway, create a more artistic, more perfect image than what I was able to originally photograph. In order to reach my goal in this endeavor I realized early on in my photography journey that I needed to know whatever base software I intended to use very, very well and that I also needed to know at least parts of other programs as needed. I do believe that not being proficient in digital processing software can leave some photographers behind the “photography curve.” I use Adobe Lightroom CC Classic 90% of the time (which I know very well but still continue to learn new things about) and became Adobe certified in and use Adobe Photoshop most often as a secondary program (which I know marginally well enough in the areas I need to know). I often use plugin programs from several other companies as well as other base processing programs. I believe it’s important for a photographer to find a processing program that works well for him or her and then get to know it intimately so they can use it effectively to create images that meet their vision.
Visoning Your Shot
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-120, ISO 400, f/8, -2/3 EV, matrix metering.
The first image is of a tree that I saw on a beach street, but a stair ramp and many homes were in the way. I shot the tree right underneath it in order to eliminate the majority of the surrounding stuff that I did not want in the shot. I envisioned it as a longer tree without the surrounding foliage and ramp and was able to obtain that vision with the use of Photoshop.
Click for an enlargement
When I return home from a photography journey I almost immediately download (read link) the images directly to Lightroom using the cards from my cameras. I know that many people have issues with Lightroom, especially the Library Module where the bulk of downloaded photos are viewed and arranged, but for me it works perfectly each time because I always do my download using the same process each time: a way that I took time to decide on and that helps me to avoid confusion. I’ve found that consistency works well for me in managing my digital files. I always backup to an external drive as I download just in case something goes wrong and I do somehow manage to “lose” my images. My first pass consists of throwing out all of the mistake photos (the sidewalk, my foot, etc.) and blurry photos (why did I not set that shutter to a faster speed!), which can oftentimes be substantial in number depending on the subject. Then I’ll go back and choose an image to work on and will begin with global or general edits moving to local edits as needed. Most often I process each image individually but I will use the tools in Lightroom to mass edit, too, at times. In Lightroom Library Module I use the X-flag to mark rejected photos because I can then delete hundreds of photos (which I sometimes do after a photography outing where I have been photographing animals) with one command. I mark photos to delete with the “X” key which places a reject flag on each photo and then use Command + Delete for a Mac or Control + Backspace for a PC (one of the few functions that is different on the computer platforms). I don’t often use the menu at the top but that is always an option, too: go to Photo and choose Delete Rejected Photos. I always choose Delete from Disk from the pop-up box for this particular process.
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