For today’s After Before Friday, I thought I would pick a picture that, at first glance, I might throw out.
In August, I went to Birmingham for military duty. Our ceremony location was at a park that had a tall monument. I was shooting a few pictures of course and in this one, I was exposing for the sky, not the statue. The result was nice clear blue sky and clouds but a silhouetted state. Sometimes silhouettes are great, but it doesn’t really do much for this photo. Therefore, I wanted to see what I could do.
Here is the untouched original photo.
The first thing I did was to open the raw file up and adjust the settings. Shooting in raw really saves me a lot it seems. If you look at the screen shot below, you can see the options of recovery and fill light. I rolled these levers back and forth until the statue became more visible, as opposed to a silhouette.
Once it was lighter, I notice some lens dirt under the raised arm of the statue (see above). That required a quick clone stamping of sky over it it (see below). That was going to be my edit, but I wanted to try something new. I thought, what about some light rays? So I googled some tutorials on that subject on YouTube. I watch three videos. The first two were fairly confusing and I wasted a lot of time trying them. But the results were not there. Clearly, I was doing something wrong. So I tried one more. The below picture is my before the tutorial shot.
The video, which is below, was very helpful and I was able to go back and forth between the steps until I caught on what I needed to do. I may have to find more tutorials from this gentleman, Glyn Dewis.
I played around with the sun rays and went with sometime pretty subtle. I didn’t need a lot. (Though I did want more than what I settled on.) I really just wanted a good idea on how to make them. This way will come in handy. I am sure there are others though. If you look below, you can see the light ray layer is on in this shot. Again, it is a subtle effect.
After that, I thought I would tweak the brightness and contrast some. I also clone stamped out the lens flare. I thought I liked it a first, but then it just got on my nerves. So poof. It was gone.
I think there is definitely more pizazz I could add to make this photo better, but for now, that was enough. Also, I needed to start prepping for my family who is visiting this weekend:) So, for this week, I am happy with this edit. I learned something new! And using the gradient tool has always been useless to me since I couldn’t use it properly. Now that I have somewhat of an idea on it, you just may see more gradient edits in the following weeks.
Feel free to comment with suggestions or tips on what you may have done differently or with what you liked or didn’t like. Comments are a great way for me to learn even more.
Make sure you go to the host page, Aperture 64, so you can see Ben’s post for this week. His link will also show you other AB Friday contributor’s posts. Go check them out and join in the fun next week.