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Editing and Post-Processing of Trail Running Images

Lesson 33 from: Advanced Lighting for Adventure Photography

Michael Clark

Editing and Post-Processing of Trail Running Images

Lesson 33 from: Advanced Lighting for Adventure Photography

Michael Clark

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Lesson Info

33. Editing and Post-Processing of Trail Running Images


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Evolution with Lighting


Why Use Artificial Lighting?


Pre-Production and Pre-Visualizing


Equipment: Overview of the Gear


Equipment: Selecting the Right Gear


Strobes vs. Speedlights


Lighting 101: Flash Sync Speeds


Lesson Info

Editing and Post-Processing of Trail Running Images

Alright well even though we don't have time to see you do all the work on that next image, can you bring it up and talk to us about what you would work it up to be, or how you would work on it? What's your vision for it? For this guy... Same deal, I would pull up the trees. I'd even out the tones. So the foreground definitely needs to be darkened down, and the trees definitely need to be... they're a little too dark. It's the catch-22 of that background; if you pull the trees up too much, you're going to blow out the background with the sky, which is totally fine in this case, I don't really care if we can see detail in the sky back there. I did work it up I think in one of those. If we pull up... let me tab... get those out of the way. I think this is partially worked up. Open him up, or is it the other one that's worked up? There we go. Then it's worked up. So I'm just evening out the tones. You can see here I pulled up the trees, I darkened down the foreground. I would go in and d...

odge and burn more down in this area. I might even go in and do some serious dodging and burning on his body just to open up those shadows a little bit more. Though at some point it's going to look too HDR for my taste and I don't want it to look fake. I want it to look like a real image. The interesting thing is we've come so far with digital that this would look crazy HDR if we were just into the digital days and had been shooting film for a long time. I used to shoot Fuji Velvia all the time, where anything that was even partially shaded was pitch black, and we used to love that. But now we come a long ways where we want detail in our shadows, and we want our highlights not to be blown out. It's a constant battle of... it's not a battle it's a constant evolving of our tastes and what we think is acceptable in a photograph that I've found. Especially in terms of saturation, live Velvia, holy mackerel those greens were off the charts saturated. We loved it, and now at least for me, I'm backing off the saturation from those Fuji Velvia and Fuji Provia film days a little bit. There's some photographers that crank the saturation too and that's part of their look, but I think for me when I work up images I'm always going for a little bit of an understated look; I'm thinking about... I have certain code words in my head like elegance, understated, graphic, beautiful, is how I'm thinking about how I'm processing. And then sometimes in a portrait scenario, I might process that same portrait ten different ways. Like right here, let's just go to black-and-white on this since we have a little time I suppose. I'm going to go to Silver Efex Pro. Has anybody here used Silver Efex Pro? It's a great black-and-white option. I'm going to choose Adobe RGB, the rest of that's fine. See if this opens up. It's just a really quick way to get a really solid black-and-white image because it shows you the entire Ansel Adams grayscale at the bottom. Let me make this full screen so you can see it. And I have some favorites in here that I like, but you can basically go along the edge over here and see what you like; High Structure is one of my favorites and that instantly creates a pretty powerful image. Push Process, there's hundreds of these things. Full Dynamic, meh not so much. You choose what option you want, Full Contrast and Full Structure, and that's super bright. Not liking that. And then you can massage it from there. Let me just stick with this one at the top, where was it... High Structure, and I'll adjust the tones over here, and I can adjust the brightness of the highlights the midtones-- no that's not good. Maybe want those shadows, Dynamic Brightness of the overall image. I'm going super fast here. Structure is kind of like Clarity. The one thing you've got to be careful with is, you can tear up your image very nicely. As you can see we're bring out quite a bit of noise in it already. And if I choose Histogram here, it actually shows me in the image as I mouse over these numbers, where all of the different tones are in the image, and how I can affect them with the sliders up here. So that's pretty cool. I can amplify the blacks by making them deeper with the contrast. I don't want to amplify the whites but I'm also looking at the Histogram down at the bottom. Soft contrast, something like that. I might save it here, and it's not finished yet; I'll go back into Lightroom and work it up. Lightroom itself has a great black-and-white conversion program because you can put the color version up right next to the black-and-white and then you can use the black-and-white sliders in the right side of the develop module, and adjust those colors on the fly. So if I come back here... My exposure looks a little hot there, might pull that in. But I'm gonna actually go back down to these sliders to adjust overall highlights. And I did those the opposite way, so I removed contrast. I'm fully just playing around at this point. Before and after as you can see, I'm just basically increasing the contrast. Might go wild with Clarity... whoa, we're getting super graphic and crazy there, but that does add a certain look! That may be something that you're really excited about, it just depends on what you're going for. We've created definitely a really graphic image that's much different than how I originally worked this one up. And if I do this, you can see... Removing the color does make it more of a graphic image, and I actually prefer it in black-and-white than I do in color for this one as well I think. But again, I totally missed it. I should have moved the camera when we were shooting... I'm looking at this now and I'm like, wow, I just totally did not get the shot that I could have gotten. That would have been so easy, just move the camera at a slow shutter speed; do a motion blur. I would have had to change the flash heads out to the action heads, cause if I tried to do a motion blur with the HS heads, which we're shooting here with, everything would have been blurred because the flash duration on the HS heads is not that fast, and remember we were shooting at what... What were we shooting at here? Two thousandth of a second, so to do the motion blur I would have had to lower the ISO all the way down probably to 32 ISO, and then I would have had to use a shutter speed for running somewhere between a tenth of a second to a twentieth of a second, would probably be about the right shutter speed for motion blur, and then change the flash heads out. Power levels could have stayed the same. We probably would have been shooting at F11, something like that, cause the lights are so close, and then I would just pan the camera with him and that blackground would just... The background would just totally blur out. And that would make this a much more solid image. Just pointing out my mistakes, and what I didn't see while I was there.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Reference Guide
Chapter 2: ABCs of Lighting by Michael Clark
Advanced Lighting Keynote PDF - Day 1
Advanced Lighting Keynote PDF - Day 2

Ratings and Reviews

norah levine

This is a course that I could watch repeatedly and be able to learn something new each time. Michael is a truly an expert in his field and is so generous with his knowledge. This course really breaks down the process of adventure photography, but it's more than that. I don't think you need to even be an adventure sports photographer to get tons out of this course. Michael is really good at breaking down some very complicated technology. Thank you!

a Creativelive Student

Great course that combines the technical aspects of shooting with light in different situations, with the art of making a great image of athletes. Michael is a great teacher and I'm sure his lessons will continue to help guide over and over again!

Jeph DeLorme

Great class with dozens of tips, ideas and lighting strategies for tough outdoor lighting challenges. Advanced class taught in a way that allows even a beginner to get a handle on lighting tough situations. The location videos provide real life examples that make this class a definite must have for my Creative Live collection. Thank you Michael Clark and Creative Live! Jeph DeLorme

Student Work