Thursday, November 13, 2014

Editing Camp H 2014 - Part 4: Different Lights, Same Ideas

In this post, I'll apply the same composition ideas to a different lighting setup in my photos from Camp Hollywood 2014, showing emphasis through contrasting warm and cool.

For one of the jam circles, the chandeliers were either off or down really low. I stood up on the stage so the LEDs lights (discussed in Part 2) were front lighting (instead of being rims in the other example) and used my flash. I don't remember if I used a CTO gel on my flash or not. I often do, but I don't remember if I got it out in time.

My goal, as it was in the previous example, is:
  1. Figure out the subject of the photo. That is, decide what I want the viewer to look at.
  2. Figure out what may draw the viewer's eye. This includes distractions that are really bright or saturated.
  3. Try to resolve 1 and 2 so the viewer is looking where I want them to look.

Original photo with preset applied
Temp 2500, Tint +12, Exposure +0.5, Saturation -20
This is what I get when I blindly apply the preset from the last few entries. I didn't tune that preset for this lighting setup, it is not surprising that it doesn't completely work.

Most shots from the weekend are like the one I discussed in Parts 1 and 3 - underexposed, no flash, ... But this shot is overexposed.

The intended subject of the photo should be pretty obvious. I want to emphasize the dancers at the center of the jam circle.
I have 3 major complaints about the composition:
  1. There is a big uniform empty space in approximately the top third of the frame.
  2. Everything is completely washed out in the violet light (except maybe the red dress in the background). This is actually okay for the background because I want everything except the dancers at the center of the jam circle to mass together. But the dancers are caught in the violet haze too.
  3. Looking at the bottom left of the photo, everything masses together. The dancers, especially Lily (screen left), are lost in this bright rectangle.

Basic Crop and Exposure -0.13
First, I crop in to get rid of the excessive wall. I wanted to leave a little bit of space above their heads. His head isn't exactly where the "rule of thirds" would suggest, but I thought keeping at least a little bit of wall at the top keeps it comfortable and the background gives a little bit of context. (I.e. we're at Camp Hollywood)

I crank the Exposure down -0.13 from the original image (without preset), so this is down -0.63 (almost two thirds of a stop) from the above preset.

The left side of the photo is still too bright, especially the head in the bottom left.

Gradient tool Darken left side - Gradient Tool with Exposure -0.3
I applied the gradient tool to take down the left side.

Adjustment Brush area Adjustment Brush - Contrast +25, Clarity +20
I painted a matte in the Adjustment Brush and started working emphasizing the dancers.

Everything is already really bright, so I don't really want to push up Exposure like I did before.  Contrast and Clarity can still be somewhat effective.

I don't want to crank Saturation either because everything is this uniform violet. Making them more violet won't do much to separate them from the background.

Same adjustment brush
Add Temperature +56 (warm them up a lot)
Here's what I got really excited about: In the same adjustment brush with the Contrast and Clarity, I also cranked up the Temperature +56.

That is, I really warmed up the dancers. Everything else in the frame is a cool violet, but their skin tones are warm.

Since the LED lights really were violet, and in person, it all looked violet, I still wanted an overall violet look to the photo. That is, I wasn't trying to make all of the white clothing really look white, which would be the normal use of Color Temperature and White Balance. But I thought it was an effective tool to separate the dancers from the background.

Brush Adjustment mask to darken head Applied Brush Adjustment
Exposure -0.3, Highlights -24
That head in the bottom left still feels too bright.

I used another Brush Adjustment to darken it a little more.

Brush Adjustment mask to darken audience. Applied Brush Adjustment Exposure -0.3
Also, the background audience draws focus so I darkened them just a little.

With that, I get the image at the top of this post.


In this post, I wanted to work through the same composition goals in a photo with a different lighting setup. In this edit, I showed how Temperature can be used in Adjustment Brush to separate the subjects from the background by contrasting warm and cool tones.

Adjustment brush temperature can also be used to correct the temperature if different parts of a shot were lit by different sources (florescent lighting in one part of a room, candles in another) and the intent wasn't to have one part of the image to be very green or very orange.

In the next post, I'll go over a couple shots from Miss Camp Hollywood, which had radically different lighting (outdoor, early afternoon), then I'll wrap up and discuss process and logistics.

Side note: Strangely enough, when I was originally processing this one, I was really sloppy and didn't even consider a Temperature other than my preset 2500(this really was not like me). Now that I look at it in Lightroom at 3150, I'm starting to second guess myself. Maybe one day, I'll come back and process it warmer overall and reduce the violet tint, but for now what's done is done. And sorry, no, I'm not going to share/show what that looked like.

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