Exercise 4: EDITING
I have decided to combine the exercise 4 with the assignment 1. The theme revolves in and around Singapore. I thought this would be a good theme, “Singapore is an ongoing project for me as I live here. Some photographs were shot on the same day as I started working on the assignment, where as some images were shot earlier as part of the project.
When I am clicking out and about, I like to travel light. So mainly I carry 2 lenses, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and 14-24mm f/2.8. Mostly my tripod waits for me in the car and comes out only when needed.
That day I shot images based on two topics “Spiral stairs” and “MRT system” (Mass Rapid Transit). In total, there were 80 images. Out of that I am going to use a series of 32 images, which reflects the first topic. I have done this to avoid the repetition of the editing process. I would like to mention that in general I always try to follow the same editing process for any of my photo-shoots.
At the end of the explanation of this combined exercise, I will also provide a link to other images that are part of this ongoing project but not shot on the same day.
1. Pre-shoot planning as described in exercise 1.
2. Transferred the images with LR 3 to The Dorbo and made a copy on other external drive for archives.
After the above basic preparation, I started the editing process.
Step 1: The technical edit
I browsed the images in full screen mode and removed the ones that were technically incorrect, blurred or under/over-exposed. After I was sure about the technical flaws, I flagged the images as “rejected”.
The rejected images are shown with the black flag in the image above. Note: once the images are marked rejected they are greyed in the library grid view. This makes it easy to manage the remaining images.
Step 2: The selects
After after the step one, it was easy to select images that I liked in general. I flagged these images.
The flagged images are shown with a small white flag at the top left corner of the image thumbnail. Only 5/32 images matched the standard I was expecting.
Step 3: The first selects
Basically I selected above 5 images due to their ability to convey the story and in general they looked more attractive when compared.
I had to be very objective and selective, as the choices were narrowing. To get the clear comparison of the images, I analyzed them side-by-side in LR3. In the image below one can see the comparison between the images of the same subject. These images have almost of the same angle and quality.
I used the star system (3 stars – maximum potential) to further rate the images by their potential of becoming the final image. At this stage, I preferred the top two images. Hence they were assigned 3 stars and bottom 2 images were assigned 2 stars.
Step 4: Group and review
After the suggested break I came back to review the images (both selected and rejected ones). I realized, the first image was not so good and there was other image in the rejected set, that had better potential. Hence I interchange the images.
I was quite happy with the selection.
Step 5: A final choice
I found this to be the most difficult step. I had already narrowed down the selection to 3 images and to be very frank I liked all 3 of them.
After looking and comparing the images for quite some time I decide to go with the image 1 and 3.
Image 1 has a completely different perspective compared to the image 2 and 3. Hence it was easy to choose.
I preferred the image 3 compared to the image 2 because; light and shadows were forming better. More over image 3 also has a man climbing up the stairs. That adds to the liveliness of the image. This also adds a point of interest.
Now I was through with the editing process (exercise 4). At this point, I also assigned 5 stars to the images.
Next few steps will explain the effective workflow, all the way through to the finally displayed image.
I feel overall it was a well-executed image; hence I did not have to do too much of the processing.
- Used the preset and converted the image to B & W (I felt this will bring some variety to the images. I also found the B & W more interesting for this composition).
- Very small parts of the highlights were little over-exposed, hence pulled the recovery slider to 14
- Increased clarity to +69
- Right top corner was a bit dark so used graduated filter
- Tweaked the tone curves a bit
1. Exposure was spot on
2. Increased clarity to +57, Vibrance to +24, Saturation to +7
3. Tweaked the tone curves a bit
4. Used dodge toll to brighten some parts of the stairs
5. Cropped the image to avoid part of the wall on the right
Other than this I have left the image as it is.
Normally once the image is processed and I am satisfied, only then I rename them. I then transfer the renamed images to a separate folder labeled as “Selected”. This folder is a sub-folder within the folder. I am sure this might be debatable, but I find it easy to navigate with this structure.
After this process is done, I work on the metadata of the file. Caption, tagging, geo-tagging and copyright protection is added. Now the image is ready for uploading. I find the LR publishing service excellent for this purpose.
I use Facebook, Twitter and Flickr for social media. Of course, the images are also added to my website. Please visit www.lenstrail.com for more images.
There are many things about these two images that I like.
- The variation in patterns across the images.
- Both the images are very captive. They literally pull viewer’s eyes into the photographs.
- In the “final image – 2” contrast between the spiral shape and the straight lines of the stairs really makes the image interesting.
- In both the images it’s the same subject, but both have a very different feel to it.
- In first image (B & W) lines and curves make the viewer travel away with the image. It can literally hypnotize the mind. The image makes you concentrate more.
- In the second image, I have tried placing the circle more towards the right. This changes the perception of the image. The man climbing up the stairs guides our eyes in that direction too.
I had gone to this place with a plan. I had researched the place before going. I had also taken in account the time of the day. Overall both the images are exactly the way I had imagined the shot.
Reflection on my digital workflow
- Having a planned workflow always helps
- Logically deriving at the final image not only makes it easy but also ensures that I do not miss out on quality
- This also gives an insight into the mistakes that I have made during the shoot, thus helps me to improve next time
- A good digital workflow is a key to successful post-production. Nicely structured digital workflow ensures easy access to the file in the future. It also helps to eliminate duplication of the images, resulting in to less confusion.
A good digital workflow saves my time in doing basic things, thus I am left with more time to decide on the right image and post-production. This ensures that I bring out my best and improve with my every experience.
Planning and Preparation
As I had planned, in which sequence I want things to happen and exactly knew about my expectation. It was easy to achieve the final image. I had to wait till the direction of the sunlight was perfect. The next thing that challenged me was introducing the life in the image. For this I literally had to request the man to climb the stairs one more time. Thankfully he co-operated, and I got what I wanted. By following the digital workflow, I saved my time to work on the post-production. Overall the experience turned out to be an enjoyment and learning than a stressful evening. Needless to say that resulted into a better photograph.
Scope of improvement
Truth time! Is this a unique image? Probably not, but definitely one of those classic images, that everyone wants to have in their kitty.
Every time I look at the image I feel, I could have introduced 7 people (these stairs run across seven floors) on all the 7 floors, and surely the image could have been even more interesting.
However, I am also afraid that might make the image too crowded.