Photo of the Month – August

Hi Folks:

I’m still editing the images I made in August, but I’m far enough along now to pick a favourite.  This image actually relates to another blog post we have coming up called ‘Walking Victoria‘, but as I haven’t written it yet I thought I’d talk a bit about Lightroom presets instead.  There are presets in a number of different areas in Lightroom: import presets, metadata presets, print, slideshow and web templates for example, but for most people the word ‘preset’ in Lightroom refers to Develop presets.  Some people love them and others say they wouldn’t deign to use them, insisting that each image is unique and should be treated as such.  To each his or her own, as the case may be.  My position lies somewhere in the middle.  There are a number of websites that have presets for sale; personally I haven’t found the need to buy any.  There are other sites that offer presets for free, and I have downloaded and installed some of those.  I’ve also made some of my own.  Mostly I use presets as starting points for creative ideas, or for suggestions when I’m not sure how to present an image.  I almost never leave the image ‘as is’ when using a preset, but continue to build onto what the preset has to offer.

This photograph is a case in point.

Stair Railing, Before

The image is of a stair railing I found when Marcia and I were walking around the shore at Timber Park in the Cordova Bay area of Saanich.  The rusted out portion of the railing caught my attention but I wasn’t sure what do with image.  As it is, the photograph looks rather flat and uninteresting.  In scrolling through some of the presets I have on my computer I came across a ‘High Key’ preset from Matt Kloskowski at ‘Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips‘.  Normally used for wedding images, this high key preset created a nice contrast between the railing and the background, drawing attention to the former and blurring out the latter.  In this case I found that the overall effect was a little too much so I adjusted the Tone Curve to increase the contrast a little.  That helped, but it didn’t do enough of what I wanted, and pulling down the darks any more would affect the entire image.  To that end I added an adjustment brush that targeted only the region of the pipe in the middle of the image and decreased the exposure by about 3/4 of a stop.

Here’s the final result:

Stair Railing, After

Okay, that’s it.  Now go out and make some pictures!


P.S.  When reviewing presets in the Develop module, one can see a preview of the preset in the Navigator window of the left side tab.  However, if that preview window is too small, try this:  On the bottom tab bar, press the ‘Before/ After’ split screen.  Now, with the left tab open, click and drag a preset onto the ‘Before’ picture and the ‘After’ picture will update to reflect the preset.  You can press Ctrl/Cmd-Z to back up a step and try a different preset.

P.S. II, the sequel:  You can find more of our posts on photography and Lightroom tutorials here, and you can find links to over 200 other sites that have Lightroom tips, tutorials and videos here.

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