Christian’s Baptism

On the 23rd of June Christian, son number four, entered the waters of baptism becoming an official member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It was a great occasion where the Spirit of the Lord was felt strongly.  I want to once again send my thanks to my parents who made the long drive from Utah to attend and my In-laws for coming down from Eugene.

Another purpose in posting these photos is to share some tips on post processing and to show its value.  The first post processing point I want to make with these digital photographs is that it is always better to underexpose a little than to overexpose.  When you under expose a photograph the data is usually still recorded unless it is too underexposed course.  It just needs to have the exposure and fill light adjusted.  When you overexpose a picture  the data is “blown out”  and usually is unrecoverable.  In Lightroom 3 you have many ways to lighten up a dark photograph.

The two ways I use most to lighten a dark photograph are first to adjust the exposure setting to the right which increases the exposure and lightens the photo.  The second adjustment is to add fill light.  Sometimes I find to get the look I want I end up using more fill light and then decreasing the exposure setting.  Play around with these two settings to get the look you think looks best.

The second post processing tip I’d like to give is on the management of white balance.  If I was a better photographer I would adjust the white balance in camera while I took the photographs, but alas I’m not and frankly it is so easy to adjust this setting with most post processing software I have become lazy.  I simply leave the camera on auto white balance and shoot away.  This setting usually does a pretty good job, but tends to overcompensate towards the warmer temperatures under harsh fluorescent lighting.

To adjust the white balance I either slide the color temperature setting back and forth between red on the right and blue on the left, or I use the eye dropper icon and simply click on what I know is a completely white object in the photograph.

The great thing about Lightroom 3 that I use is that once I set the white balance for one photograph I can sync this setting for all of the other photographs taken under the same light.

Another useful tool is the gradient filter feature of Lightroom 3.  I’ll post some picture in the near future showing the huge benefit this tool can be to lighten up only part of a particular photograph.

Some people shy away from post processing software thinking it is some how “cheating” to use this tool to get the image took to match the artistic image you wanted.  Post processing is not something new that has come about just since digital photography was invented.  The masters of photography such as Ansel Adams were also masters of “burning” and “dodging” and other post processing tools with their photography work in the dark room.  We just have the huge advantage in being able to do this work on a computer rather than in a dark room.  So if you are one of those people who has shied away from using post processing photography relax and remember photography is an art form where you use a camera and software to create the artistic picture you saw in your mind.

Thanks for reading, feel free to post any questions in the comment section.

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One Comment

  1. A fellow photographer and friend sent me an email after reading this post on exposure. He sent a link to an article on the Luminous Landscape website on exposure and using the histogram to move the exposure as far to the right as possible without overexposing the highlights. This is a great article exponding on using more of the dynamic range of your camera through looking at the histogram and adding exposure to move the highlights to the right edge of the hitogram without going over and blowing out the highlights thus loosing data. This article explains why doing this is important in digital photograph because over half of the tonal data collecting ability is on the right side of the histogram as I understand the aritcle. Thanks for sharing Rob!

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