Post Production Part One


Vision-Driven Photography


Lesson Info

Post Production Part One

Welcome here, folks this is the third day of the vision driven photography workshop and so the first day we were talking about just to recap the first day we were discussing the idea of vision explored and the notion of beginning to discover your vision that's a journey that course for happens for all of us kind of really it's a lifelong journey because as we evolve is people is we change and we grow in life kind of happens to us um of course our vision changes and our opinions change in our perspective on the world change all of these things affect our vision both on a large scale and the vision that we will have on a micro scale when we're out taking photographs even for something as small as I like this morning we were out on lake union were photographing boats in the water and that sort of thing and the things that your eye is drawn to will of course be affected by the kind of person that you are and the things that you're interested in and your preferences your likes, your dislike...

s, all of those things and if you're more aware of those things, then you're probably in a position to mohr intentionally to see them and to photograph them, so if you know that you like graphic images, if you know you like color if you're drawn to reflections and you're you're going to be looking for them a little bit more actively and a little bit more intentionally and so that's the kind of thing I'm drawn to him, drawing two textures into color. So for me today, the few images I took well, I wasn't trying to crash our boat was, you know, I was I was zoomed in on some of the textures on some of the old boats, I was looking at some of the reflections in the water, and consequently, when I was looking at photographs, others took it was the pictures of the reflections that it was more often than not kind of going back to all that was fantastic, because I've just happened to be drawn to that and and so your vision, your and we've been using the word intention as well, your intention for a photograph comes out of who you are as a person and and that's, what we were talking about the first day, we gave a couple creative exercises that make it a little bit easier to begin to explore your vision and begin to discover, both on that larger scale and to become aware of it on a smaller scale image by image. The second day, we talked a little bit more, but actually, uh, expressing that vision, and so we discuss the ideas of taking an idea that you see and then how do you use your visual tools to kind of do that? And we walked through a couple of images and that sort of thing today we're going to talk about how you do that in post production because again, for those of you that missed maybe the first day um the idea that I've kind of got going on in my mind these days is that there are three images that go into a final photograph and you will be sick of this idea by the time of the the course is over, but it should be kind of firmly planted in your head and that's for me the idea that there's the image that you see in your mind or the image that you, uh maybe don't actually see a picture of like we talked about before some of us don't think visually we've never pre visualized an image in our lives, but we have an idea we could write it down with there's some intention there there's that image, then there's thie image that you capture in the camera and then there's the image that you finesse and refined in the in the digital darkroom for most of us that's the way we do it and the better you are at the last two which have to do with craft the expression of your vision through the camera and through the digital darkroom, adobe light room or apple aperture photo shop something like that the better you are at those two, the closer you can come to this first one and I think to the more aware you are of this first one, the better able you will be, too to choose the tools in the capture and in the post production tio tio accurately or as closely as possible to express that initial vision so that's kind of the direction that we've been taking today, we're going to talk about the the post production and that sort of thing, and then leader, we're gonna have a bit more of a general raft where we can talk about some things I want to encourage you on the topic of the flicker pool we've been sitting here, we've been looking at a lot of the images on flicker. The reason we asked for those let's begin with was because we wanted the possibilities to be there if we wanted to drawn on a broader pool of images and going into this worship, I really didn't have to any idea how much time you know, I knew I was doing three hour blocks, and I was thinking, oh my gosh, I'm never going to be able to talk that long turns out I was wrong turns out I can talk forever, and I've actually have had a little more curriculum than I could actually cover so we haven't really got to those except on maybe one or two occasions but I would encourage you to go to that flicker pool we have been sitting here and going oh wow look at that shot looked at there's some really truly good work and what's cool about it is there's an incredible diversity I mean literally you go from very artful I mean in some ways I think there's a couple of nudes in there so be warned not suitable for work necessarily there's nothing you know I think inappropriate but well nothing I saw you with I don't know what's up there um this is me washing my hands were not responsible but there's some beautiful stuff there there's there's landscapes there's some street stuff that there's really some incredible work there's some abstracts and so I would encourage you to look at that even if we don't have a chance to draw on it and we're grateful to you for wading through the legalese stuff because I know some of you are intimidated by the language this's not the beginnings around stock agency once you know once we've seen them we're not going to sell them or anything like that just so you know, so please do take advantage of that it's a great place to go and look at some photography and that the best ways to learn about photography are too to photograph and to do it intentionally toe look at your images especially the images that have failed they didn't pull it off look at them ask why it failed why didn't it work? What could I have done differently and then toe look at other people's photographs not with a night of copying it not because you necessarily even like that style of photography but so you can look at it so you can ask why did the photographer make those decisions why did they include that kind of lighting? What optic did they use here so you begin to develop your your language and your interaction with a photograph on kind of a more cerebral level um if you are able to express why a photograph work you will be much more able when you put the camera to your eye teo to use that kind of knowledge and in turn create photographs that are closer to your vision so having said that that's the recap and I want to very quickly ask you guys cana and susan are there are there any outstanding issues? Has anyone asked anything? Is there anything that we maybe could address right off the top before we get into my analyst talking um I have a question can david juggle chainsaws? Well depends who's asking and for how much um other than that I don't think there's anything really from yesterday um as far as wrapping that and and I'm looking at the twitter feed and a lot of people are just our retweeting a swell as making some comments and people are loving it loving it from yesterday some people are born they can't watch today but just saying hi so no questions yet good all right and uh and to you know, apologies I know there are a lot of people that are struggling, particularly in canada they're having a hard time with the feed and that sort of thing and to my knowledge that is not really um something that we control it just there have been issues and but, you know, nevertheless even though it's out of our hands I apologize that it's frustrating for you because I know a lot of people were looking forward to this and and it stinks when you can't get it so um of course many people can't get that apology because their feet isn't working and too bad for you um okay, so we're gonna talk about about post production and I'm gonna kind of do my intro on this just based a little bit on this book this is the last book that I produced um that I produced that I wrote and and stuff but the team of peach pit new riders voices that matter imprint did this book vision of voice and the reason I didn't was because I wanted something that addressed the idea of that last image I talked about the image that you refine in the digital dark room there are all kinds of thoughts about the issue of post processing and everyone seems to have an opinion some opinions her a little more forceful than others especially if you get on the internet. My take is this and the reason that I ruled the book is this I was doing a workshop in syria lecture in in delhi in india and someone asked a question and it was just a lecture about the photographs were taken while trekking in the himalayas were lecturing at the lake in malaya club and someone said, you know how much postproduction do you do? Do you do you ever use photo shop? And I said on almost every photograph I use for a shop which is what I was primarily using at the time and he said, well, how do I know then how do I know it looked like that? And my response as an often I will start talking before I know what I'm going to say as who found out um and as I started talking, I begin to process this and and I told him, um well one you have to look, you have to trust me because ultimately he don't know but more important than how do I know it looked like that azad artist I'm not trying to tell you this is what it looked like, I'm tryingto create a feeling and say this is what it felt like to me and so it may not have looked like that, but more than that, the point is when we're when we're pretending there's some kind of objectivity and so how do we know it looked like that? Well, I mean, you and I see it roughly fifty millimeters in terms of, you know, a focal length on a full frame camera, so if I shoot with a seventeen millimeter, well, how do I know it really looked like that? If I use a polarizing filter and I changed, you know, the light spectrum toe look a certain way and darken the sky and, well, how do I know it really? I mean, at what point are you going to accuse me of cheating? And so I have kind of decided that because I'm not a photojournalism because for most of what I do it's fine art, the question is not about fx, the question is not about should we or shouldn't we use photo shop? The question is, what is my purpose? And my purpose is making a photograph that feels a certain way that says a certain thing, so the beginning of the course, we talked about to frustrations that most people have at a certain point, and that is my photographs don't look the way I want them to, and they don't say the things that I want them to and probably the reason they don't say the things we want them to is because they don't look the way we want them to, because the look is what says what we intended and that's what this whole weekend has been about all of this navel gazing is about understanding what you want to say and taking the tools, which is how you say it and putting them together and that's why the artists and geek thing it's not artist or geek it's, artist and geek, and you have to find a way for them to live in a balanced tension with each other that's kind of background on it. Um, so let me go kind of into into a little bit of this kind of kind of thing, and and then I'll talk about what I call vision driven workflow. The book, by the way, is it is for I don't be photoshopped light room. It was written with adobe photo soft light room three in mind, however, um it really is not a how to book we cover, so I cover some of the sliders and what does what but on an aesthetic basis not on a technical basis on an aesthetic bases, this slider makes the photograph look like this this slider makes it look like this or like this and so you could read it with apple aperture open with photo shop open or it'll be a camera and the concepts are transferrable all of the sliders all of the aesthetics are kind of, you know, they're sort of the same, they create a similar aesthetic, and so my suggestion is even if you don't use light room, you will probably get a lot out of this book if you're looking to refine your your vision in the dark room because I'm talking about the why not the house so much? So now that that's out of the way um, here is what I discuss in what I call vision driven workflow and I'm just going to kind of go tto go teo, the keynote here um and vision driven workflow there we go. Oh, actually, in fact, I'm going to go back for now, I'll do that both they're my vision driven work look, this is what I call the process that I go through because it reminds me that the vision is primary, the geek stuff stuff is really important I'm not saying technique doesn't matter I'm saying technique serves your vision so that you can say what you want to make the image look the way you want teo and here is the way I do it I do it roughly in four steps the first step is to identify your intention your intention is that thing that moved you to take the photograph at the very beginning when you raise the camera and you made the decision to select a certain f stop to use a certain optic to capture certain lighting to be at a certain p o v er there were there was something going through your mind and last year were just mindlessly snapping photographs there was some kind of intention or vision and when you get the image open back open in light room and you're looking at it before you even begin moving sliders around you have to remind yourself because sometimes it's hours or days weeks before you're sitting down in front of that image remind yourself what was that intention and I suggest you actually write it down at the beginning when this is new to you actually sit down and say when I took this photograph I was thinking this I was feeling this I I wanted the person that would eventually look at my photograph to see and feel these things because what you're identifying is words that will help you establish your mood and we'll help you understand where the final step, where you lead the eye of the viewer, where do you lead the eye of the viewer? And in doing so, where you leading them away from? You're not always just bringing the eye to something, sometimes you're bringing away from something, and you don't know where you lead the eye, too, unless you understand is a photographer where you want them to look, and so the beginning step is identify your attention, and in a few minutes we're going to walk through a couple of photographs and and look at that the second is minimizing your distraction, so you've got a photograph, you're looking at it. If there are spots, you know, you might be from the sensor dust you want might want you could do these, you know, this step at the very end, if you want, I like to do it at the beginning, because if I am working on image was spots, it drives me crazy. It distracts me as I'm processing, and I just I go out of my mind until I finally, you know, d spot the image, and then I go back, or if there's a crop or rotation, if the horizons not straight, I usually do that at the beginning, not always, sometimes I don't notice it until the end after I've done everything you've boosted the contrast the spots actually come out a little more and then you go back so at especially with light room which is non destructive you could do some of these steps at any point I like to do it at the beginning just because it's you know you're cleaning your canvas a little bit then the second third thing sorry eyes to maximize the mood and that could be anything from the simplest beginnings. When I first started as a photographer and I was doing black and white darkroom work, I had someone who's teaching me darkroom stuff and he said, you want to make your blacks black and your whites white because my stuff he let me run amok in the dark room for a while and honestly the stuff was muddy and it looked like cac, he sat down he looked in my prince and he says, you know, make your blacks black and your whites white that's a great place to start in the digital dark room too often we sit down and we say, how do I make it look better? We talked about this yesterday well, how can I answer that if I don't know what better means and so I could say well, increase your contrast increase contrast may not be the answer it may be a low contrast image increasing the contrast could completely ruin your story removed the your initial intention get you further way rather than closer but if they're more often than not if there was black and your image that's meant to be black make it black if there's white in your images meant to be white make it white and that immediately will snap your image into sort of ah uh a starting point I start at a further step back and I'll go over that in a minute when we want to go into a couple images maximizing the mood also includes things like color temperature a lot of us talk about white balance and how do we get a proper white balance? Very often you're doing something that is color critical you need a on actual white balance that's that's you know you take a sample from something neutral and you make it look right but my kind of work for the most part has nothing to do with accurate color balance color malice is a tool for me to establish move so you know my eye in this room right now sees a couple of different you know it's he's cool light it seems morsi's warm light who's to say as you know, as an artist what the perfect color balance is well, if you want the room to look like a living room and you want to look a little you know, more cozy, you'll warm it up a little if you want it to look cooler, you'll cool that the lights down a little it's, not for me and for the work I do about right or wrong it's about is the color balance, helping the image and helping establish the mood in the feel of the photograph. Or is it not? Um, so I almost never. I mean, I shoot on automatic white balance on when I get in in tow light room I just look at the white mounds will say is it shouldn't be this warm so to be this cool should be warmer. Sort of the cooler and it's purely a subjective thing. That's again this and none of this is about ve alway to do photography. This is about a way to do. Photography is the way I do it. So that's one of things. One of the ways you can maximize the mood, you can maximize the mood with heightened contrast. You can do it by turning the image into black and white. You could do it by split toning it there's a lot of things you could do to bring back or enhance. The mood or change the mood of a photograph and the reason I'm telling you all of this stuff is because when we go into a light room or aperture or whatever we're using to do our post processing, you've got a lot of sliders and immediately becomes very technical. This is a discussion about aesthetics you open light room and suddenly it's ah, what do I do with this particular slider and those curves and there's? And and it looks technical and this is the one thing I haven't quite figured out is why we have a technical interface for anaesthetic task. I would love something that is a little bit more aesthetically driven, and there are some sliders that you know that kind of, you know light room uses one side of your clarity. What the world does that mean? It's not a clear because it doesn't give you clarity, it doesn't take away clarity has the name of drives me crazy? It does enhance texture or pull back texture. I wish they called it the texture slider because that's an aesthetic thing and people would kind of go I need more texture ah there's a text your slider said if I need more texture from I wonder what they called it and then go down and decode its like you know you check your decoder ring and texture equals clarity it it kind of seems silly to me have you said that I'm not a software engineer so you know what I know um so my encouragement to you is when you begin to open up photo shop when you open up adobe camera are light room that you look at it from an aesthetic perspective that you become familiar with the tools not based on um really what they do in terms of what how should I move this but what do they make the photograph look like again when you put a lens on your camera it's not about getting mohr less stuff into the photograph necessarily so but what do I want the photograph to look like which is the appropriate lens it's the same thing in post production what do I want the photograph to look like? You want it to feel like where do I want the eye of the viewer to go or to not go in the photograph? What is the appropriate tools do you use vignette ing do you remove in yet ing do you make the image warmer to make it cooler? These air aesthetic things do I draw the eye to the middle? Do I pull it back so I make the image feel cozier don't make it feel cooler the aesthetics and the mood is far more important than the technical that's all I'm saying that's a lot of words for just saying that much okay and then lead the eye, and so leading the eye, then is usually a matter of the digital darkroom equivalent of dodging and burn. So it used to be that when we're in the dark room, we had a bunch of tools and pieces of cardboard on coat hanger and pieces of cardboard. With circles cut out, we would we would expose the print to a little more, a little less light in a siri's of cannibalistic moves that you could never, ever repeat. And you would have to learn all kinds of secret. You know, ninja darkroom moves to get this and god help you if you wanted to do another print like that because I had to do the whole thing over again and it was for someone like me, who's kind of a d d I would get the first one done and it would look great. And then I would just I'm never printing this ever again because I just take a photo copy or around, because I'm done now in the digital darkroom. You can, you can accomplish it. And if you want, you go back and you could make slight tweaks and because it's non destructive two weeks later, you realize all man, I was really heavy handed with that like you just you get affected by things, the closer you are to the time of shooting, sometimes you're more subjective, you're a little bit more like, oh, I got a crank, the saturation, I gotta crank the contrast, and two weeks later you look how to go, you know, and maybe it's because you were looking at you're watching a certain type of movie or you were in a certain mood all of this affects the way we work and and the ability to go back and kind of pull things back a little and sometimes really helpful or you've sat on it for a little while. Sometimes I create three or four images, and I realized after I've sat on it for a little while that one of those variations is actually much stronger than the other, because just because you have a vision that is going to look like this, you could express that vision five or six ways, none of them wrong, all of them right in their own way the question is which one is best for you? So I may do four or five black and white conversions I may do one that's, slightly toned warmer slightly tone tone cooler and all of them look right all of them actually jive with my initial vision or intention for the image in different ways. And then I sit and I look at these variations over the course of a couple days and I'll realize now it's not that one and all kind of all discard that is a virtual copy and then I have three left and I looked at them and I slowly begins and what'll happen sometimes is I don't actually choose one of the three virtual copies I realize I like this in this photograph because it does this and it adds this to the photograph and I like this in this photograph because it does this and maybe this one you know, the green channel light kind of tweaked on the black and white so it was a little different and I will often end up combining these three remaining ones taking the best of all of them and that's a really helpful it's very um it's a very synthetic way of doing things that's synthesizing things you kind of go from a to b equals c you know and and I think that's a very helpful way of doing it it's ah it's it's a little more organic but often it leads to a better print if you allow yourself some time to kind of synthesize the thing so um do you have any immediate questions about this and about this process do you do all of your own processing? Um the question was do I do my own processing? Um yes, I do always and so I mean, a lot of I mean, there is, like, kind of two camps like some who say just do all the outsourcing and yesterday you said a lot of photographers are not great editors. So how do you how do you balance that? So maybe you have those four images that you know, one day you think this one looks good in the next day? You think the next looks good? Where do you bring in other people? Where do you trust? Well, I think it it really depends on what you do and who's on your team. I mean, if if I were a wedding photographer, I know that if I were forced to do that and I say that only because I know I I I'm not good at it of shot weddings and I'm I'm not good at it and it would be disrespectful to those that are actually very good at it. I would hire someone to do my to do my editing and I would just sit down say, here's, what matters to me and I would pick an editor who I already trust who does work that I look out and go that's the kind of work I want but you know a wedding's a little more different different in the sense that I'm not sure I would be spending as much time on two hundred images I would do it at it and it you know but you're not going to spend copious amounts of time dodging and burning two hundred photographs and it's a little less fine art not that it's not artistic it is but I don't know any wedding photographer has got the time even giving it out to an editor who's going to pay an editor to take the time to do this kind of work on two hundred or however many photographs so I say you find someone to trust um that that does good work and you know and then maybe you you know you bring all the images back and you do final tweaks on two hundred and you just touch him up but those that I know that if hired editors just hire someone that they trust and they work through and say here's here's the way we do it here's our standards for the aesthetics that come out of our studio and and they get someone to do it or they have someone in house who they've just hired full time to do and you know you can always look over the shoulder and say this one needs a lot more this or more that but for me, I do it just because I am I enjoy this part I really like the post production in fact that's what brought me back to photography is hardened as strong as I came in too the digital world I kind of took a bit of a hiatus for a couple of years and my camera gear got stolen and and then I ended up getting digital gear and what I loved about it was theobald lit ito literally shoot, stick the card in and be be playing and because, you know, you send your prints to the lab and they come back and like, I wish it was this or I could do it right here, and it allows me creative control over both the capture and so that's why I enjoy it so much, I like the tinkering and, you know, on the plane, so so do you put any limits on yourself about the time that you spend on any, like if you're working on a personal project? Maybe not, but for clients where I don't, I don't put limits on myself, but if I'm doing client work, I'm not doing that and remember, my client work primarily is actually the humanitarian stuff, so I'm not doing a lot of I'm doing some of this stuff, but I'm not doing heavy handedly like I would on my fine art stuff because they have certain standards about, you know, the integrity there photographs and so I'm not removing things I'm not there's not a lot of its basic adjustments making a black black my white, white make sure the colors are okay do well, maybe a little bit of attention management with, you know, if there's I don't know if there's a bit of gunk on someone's skin that might remove it, but there's no, I'm not sanitizing it, I'm not, you know, fine art ing it I'm just doing a basic so and it takes, you know, like give the client three thousand four thousand five thousand images that still takes long enough to to do real work on all of them would still be working on stuff I did two years ago, so and I need to turn around usually in five days, so no, anyway, um yeah, any other, any other questions are the questions coming out of the the, uh, the twitter sphere at this point, if you there's a question about that percentage is if you were to take a photo and break it up into before, during and post production before being like conceptualizing during, you know, exposure settings and then after in post like, how would you break up a ce faras percentages percentages of what would it mean? Like time, time, time I guess or yeah time or effort or honesty it all depends I mean there is some photographs that I literally I walked by and I go oh look at that I get it I see it I captured it works and when I pop it into post production it also happens to I need very little and you know, man they're so I don't know it's image by image it totally depends again this is this is art you can't um you know, not to put too fine a point on it but there are no rules I mean I could on some images spend days because I'm having a bad day and I'm having a hard time where I shot a really bad file and it was underexposed and I got noise and but rarely do I spend more than about these days more than ten minutes on a photograph because I have fluid with it I understand my own process on I know the things that I generally just don't do I don't do a lot of noise reduction light room three especially is really good at noise reduction I just I'm getting I'm getting very streamlined at this and it's only later that I might I might tinker with an image occasionally just for fun but even then it's it's literally for fun and more for learning a new thing then because I need to take time when you get good at it like taking a picture I mean really there's not piles and piles of work but again that's me if you look at vincent versa cheese book welcome to oz the subtitle is a cinematic approach to photo shop or something like that and is quite involved I mean, he does image mapping and he I mean he really I mean the post production he does is quite phenomenal in the end it's worth it it's it could be a really beautiful image it's just not the way I do but I take some of his principles and I don't do an actual image math where I draw like okay, I want to dodge fifty percent here in twenty percent here on you know that stuff makes my brain hurt but I do look at the photograph and go I need this to be a little darker I need this to be a little lighter I want to pull the I here which means means making this brighter in this darker this darker and whatever I do it mentally I don't actually map it out and that for me takes a lot less time some people may take an hour on on an image or two hours everyone's got a different way of doing things and probably if I took more time my image store p better I don't know but what do you say your workflow stays the same I mean, I work most pretty pretty consistent consistent yeah, but again every now and then like I find like, you know, the on one software that we've given away I'll get a new plug in and then I might incorporate that into my work flow and then it changes and it becomes different like nick nick software silver effects pro is ah black and white conversion that's really powerful and extremely good and so very often now I will jump occasionally out of light room into neck and play with the black and white and that and that because I'm less familiar with it that adds a lot of time so I'm kind of fussing with the technical of it that's okay I mean again it's art you know there's no there's no one leaning over my shoulder going come on this should have been done five minutes ago I could take all day if I want I just don't generally have time so again there's no rules there's just figure out your own process what works best for you if you have to take three hours on photograph take three hours if you've got it you know this is art make it take a long as you need to make it beautiful and allow it to express your vision as long it's not working for a client who needs it after lunch and so and so there there are no rules, but people do have a lot of questions about your personal, how you do things because they have you in the audience. There are no rules, but you must do in the following three ways, so ah, a couple of people bunny trails and smart shot photo in twitter want to know if you do use photo shop or do you right now, do you just use light room for all the work or wendy, you take the lead to? I have over the last couple of years gone probably ninety five two even more. More than ninety five percent of my work is now on lian light room or an associative plug in like silver effects or the uh the on one pro software plug ins photo shopped for me is actually when I want to take it out and you know, at a add some text to it for an e book or something like that. It's actually, photo sites become more of a graphics program because, again, the kind of work I do, I don't do heavy cloning the the other yesterday I showed you that till shift image I actually went into photo shop and pulled a piece from one frame and attached to another, I do that's so rarely, and really more for the sake of illustration. It's become for me, light room is is almost all because you could do everything there, you can catalog key word it you can process it, you can output it to print everything in one place, and I just find that easier for for the way I do things. But again, there are people that have certain needs, and they want to do things a certain way. And again, it's art, you know, use the brushes and the canvases and the paints that appropriate to your task, I just and they're so similar I mean, photoshopping light room they're you know, they're so similar in terms of what they could do with the core that you use whatever to you like, which actually leads me to another question, please, quite a few people have asked at what point does post processing processing become graphic design? You're taking a sky from another picture and putting it in or, well, I mean, I that's a good question. I actually think photography is graphic design in a sense, I mean, not in the traditional discipline, but the two share a lot, and when you're when you're looking through the frame it's the same as when you know you're you're putting things on a piece of paper, you've got a frame, you've got elements, they're both two dimensional it's very much the same things that the camera is your way of organizing those things you put a different lens on to change the relationships and but it is theory ancient of existing elements is the same thing with graphic design now in terms of removing a sky and taking it one sky and putting another I generally don't do that I know there are there are some that do and I don't know I don't have a philosophical reason why don't do it I just prefer not to know I do abi putting in filters now andy filters or whatever but out pat skies in and that kind of thing but the big bigger question is what's digital imaging and what photography and I know there's people out there they're like it's no longer photography and I just don't get it I mean at what point is it or isn't it photography you know we're still writing with light we're just doing it onto a digital sensor unit was only pure photography when you're using doggerel types and you know or I just it to me I don't understand the need to draw lines in the sand do your thing love what you do but there's no there's no canon there's no this is photography and thou shalt and it's just photography we're not curing cancer here so you know weigh only to lighten up you know do you go to your art have another question about your personal process from rob in brighton he wants to know if different moods can be created in post production do you discard those that don't uh reflect your original vision or do you keep those for later date? Um I assume it means the different versions yes yes in a different mood doesn't know I mean you know they're especially virtual copies virtual copies don't take any space on your drive at all and so sometimes I will sometimes I'll keep them around but generally once I've decided on a version of an image and I've really settled on it yeah generally that becomes you know get shuttled into kind of my master file but the others they're just you know, they they become part of my sketch process so they'll they'll sit with the bulk of my images and we talked yesterday about the sketch process where you create sketch images as a way to get to that refined vision and I see no reason why that shouldn't occur in the post processing as well as in the capture so you create thirty sketch images to get to that final image in capture will now you bring it into a light room and you may create several versions as sketches to kind of play and toe look att at things because there's a lot going on and you want to play with removing color, adding, you know, adding some saturation or contrast or whatever because all of these things pushed the I in different ways, all of them pull our emotions in certain ways were having a discussion after things wrapped yesterday about the power of color and painters powerfully understand how color can compel and and manipulate our emotions photographers I think, are blissfully unaware and to our detriment because we really, truly don't understand and so someone will so show me a photograph and I look at the colors and I just go these colors are terrible but I mean I wouldn't say that I would find a more diplomatically but that's what that's my reaction and usually their reaction is well that's what it looked like well okay but if if your only goal in photography is to replicate and say this is what it looked like, then where is the rule of interpretation, where is the role of impression and saying this is how I felt and to me the role of an artist is to interpret what he sees in the outside world and you put yourself onto that and say not here is what the scene was, it secures how I saw this scene and then you present it to the outside world as as really is a gift as here's a new way of seeing what I felt and so the question was, you know, do I discard the virtual copies I often will keep them as kind of a record of the process to which I got to this end and sometimes they're informative and you just want to hang on to him and later you'll use is you know, he used to develop settings used on one image on something else as a way to get you know, to get there we have some people saying it's great to hear and know that professionals also used the plug ins and programs that that amateurs dio but you know that you also taken range of those that software now if there's no dear that's right we're all creating all creating something that we want to be true and beautiful and we're all creating something that we hope will will express something and other people will see that and go I feel that way too. And so the only thing that separates the so called amateur from so called professional is the fact that one of us draws a paycheck and the other dozen um it has it's not meritorious at all there professionals that produced total garbage and they're amateurs that produce stuff that is so much better than I will ever accomplish in my lifetime and the only dividing line is am I getting paid for it what's happened lately is that the amateurs it's almost like everyone wants to be a pro because that means you're better at what you do well, olympic athletes are not professional athletes by definition, they usedto not even be allowed to be professional athletes, and yet no one would ever say, well on olympians, not a real athlete, you know? And if you're not a professional photographer, you're not a riel photographer? How does that that is the anyway, we should probably not even get on the topic because I will just get it will give me the rage because I think we all of course, we all use the same tools because we are all artists were, I hope, all growing, and some of us obviously are more skilled than others, but that has nothing to do with were the thrower or amateur amateur means to do something for the love of it. So whether you make a paycheck or not, I hope everyone still doing it for the love of it, if, if not life's too short and I'll go find something that you love. Well, then there's also photographers that might make a couple hundred dollars a year. Sure, and still and yeah, you make a couple hundred bucks a year, and that has nothing to do again with whether you're good or you're not, you may only make a couple hundred dollars a year and be a phenomenal photographer. You may create work that is just so stunning and, you know, there are photographers out there working professional photographers that their personal stuff that no one ever sees that they never sell, I have never sold a single print off is far better than anything you've got but it's their work that it is so close to them that they don't want to sell it. It's just not for public consumption. It's what I do on my spare time and you will never see it and I I admire that I think it's fantastic and so yeah, of course, you know, we're all using the same paint and the same brushes and too short, isn't it really? Yes, it is a good answer. Okay, that's all right, you guys have any questions before we won? I think one thing that's really been a revelation the last two days for me because I was a writer first or I mean, before I became a photographer. So all of your analogies about writing have really been like a revelation for me because the way I approach my writing is that much more free and forgiving and like with a lot more grace like, if I write like the first novel I wrote, I put it in a drawer and I just knew it was gonna be crap and that's the only way I could right I mean they actually say most the time you have to give yourself permission to just go right crap and know that it's sorry final but keeps saying so and and so writers will tell you that that is just that's expected and every writer who's published actually has an editor where is photographers we feel like we'll have to keep all my stuff I have to be a great photographer and a great editor and you know all of these other things and it's just been it can be very like at least for me like a lot of self doubt and self deprecating and why am I not good at everything and why is it you know I don't know it's just been interesting for me and this like freeing experience tto see the way that I approach writing I can start approaching photography and just sort of open it just opens my eyes in my world and photography in a way that I can love it as much as I love it but at the same time I always sort of had that underlying like you suck and you're a fraud kind of feeling that I I think so many people deal with it it's because of the things that you're talking about that we do to ourselves by thinking we have to be at a certain level as soon as we pick up this camera which you called a retarded translator. You know, we know when we pick up a pen that it's, not the pen that's going to make us great. And yet we pick up a camera and we think I picked up this great camera. So now it's supposed to be great. And it it's, just seeing it differently has really been powerful for me. You said that, you know you you can approach photography as you do as a writer. And I was so not only can you but you must. And I think I strongly believe, increasingly that that we need to really abandon not abandon the geek because the g caste to be there because it's what allows us to pull off the technical stuff, but we need to go back to the artist thing and give ourselves permission to be like other artists. We need to give ourselves permission to suck t to create total crap there's, a book by a writer called and lamont and shorter book called bird by bird, which is about the craft of writing. And she she talks about writing crappy first drafts, although she uses somewhat stronger language that she and she doesn't say, you know what it's okay, if you do, she says you must create crappy first drafts because that's what allows you to get the garbage out and get it on the page and and it's it's really it's equivalent of graphic design you get the elements out and you shuffle through him and you take the garbage out, but you got to get the garbage onto the page before you can move it, and strongly I believe that for photographers when we give ourselves permission. Not only is it okay to say why stink you, you have to say, I stink! I feel this way you have to be okay with feeling I feel like I suck and I'm a fraud every day, and every time I go on a sign, I think you know what? I've shot my last good photograph, I've I've had my last good idea I've had every artist I know feels that way at some point time performance artists feel like it writers feel like it's sculptors feel like painters feel like it, you have to give your self permission to have a messy process because we are messy and your art you know, the discussion of does art imitate life? You know it's, art and life are the same. Art is a reflection of life and the one feeds back into the other, and if you're trying to create through a sterile process where you going to get sterile art no one resonates with sterile art no one wants your cliche aide perfect soulless photographs they just don't no one wants something that comes out of me how much do you love a perfect person right I mean e I mean not that you know when he had the people in your life you perceive as oh man they just everything there just so perfect frankly I want to hang out with you know the people that are screwing up and rok was screwing up and a wrestling with becoming better people don't want to hang out with the people that have everything together and don't wrestle with these things they're not only do I not understand them not only their will they not understand me frankly they're boring you know I wanna hang out with people that have something to say about the human condition whether it's just creating a beautiful photograph of something not very deep or something really complicated an abstract that I don't understand I want to be able to wrestle with it and a sterile process will lead to sterile art a chaotic process will lead probably very likely to something this complex and and has something of you in it because you're a complicated person so give yourself permission to suck and that includes the postproduction wrestle with it don't this idea that you should open light room apply a preset boom I've done cookie cutter processes create what cookie cutter art and I'm not convinced that there's room, if we want to change the world, even if that's the world of one person was something powerful and moving. I'm not convinced that there's a way to do that without being messy and why photographers have been for so long, okay, with especially in the digital world, with everything being, you know, I mean, you look at these books that sell you look at the podcast, and I get so discouraged because I watched the process and and they it's like, they go into the studio and they set their lights up, and they're perfect the first time in the model smiles and catching, and then it goes in the light room and there's this's this and then this, and then they print it, and I'm like, not once has it ever worked that way for me? I mean, not once even the printing, you know, the paper jams and the slats, and and I just, like, how do other people do this? How much more comfortable around other artists who, you know, express the same frustration? And because of all of that happening at the end, when you do actually have that final print and it works out it's, almost like a miracle, and I think we just need to give ourselves that permission so I'm glad that you've you know, you feel that way because I think when that happens that freedom happens when you don't feel that freedom it blocks you and all of that stuff that wants to come out you've kind of holding it back we give yourself the freedom, then you've got this messy process well, that's good because you've been holding it back because you didn't want it all go on the page well, once you free yourself to let it all I'll do this and to shoot a hundred really crappy images like I said, you know, get the hundred crafty image is out to get that one amazing photograph that might not otherwise have have come out and that's that's why all of this vision stuff is important and it's not because this is it's really important to be super introspective it's because you give yourself the freedom to have a process that allows you to get to a certain point and create something beautiful and true and something that's you know, even again, even if it's just an abstract photograph of something blew that came out of a process which for me means I created something that actually really resonate with its just a photograph of blue but it's it's art for me and that's all that matters so um anyway thank you she's talk a lot, eh? Well and I'd like to say they're just a lot of people who that's resonating with so much online without people are really thinking you for good excellent by the memorial and denise I'm not sure how to pronounce her name says david whether you want to be or not you are now my guru keeping it real good you know when I got to tell you this story when I was in grade seven there was a there was ah and I remember I mean great seven so I'm you know I'm still a kid and I'm if you haven't noticed I'm mildly sarcastic at times um there was this guy that came to ottawa and he was there were posters up everywhere his name was guru dev and he was teaching yoga some some form of yoga and his saying was I will not teach you yoga I will teach you love love itself will teach you yoga and I remember being seven years old thinking that is the biggest pile of crap I've ever heard I understand the principle minded now is an adult and yet at the same time I think if I paid to go to this I'm gonna be really upset if all if he teaches me is love because I was kind of open to learn some then I thought what if we applied that to mathematics or food? I will not teach you photography I will teach you love love itself will teach you photography and then we put out you know guru david I think that's pretty cool we got a new so I wouldn't want it to look like I said I always wanted to lead a cult so um at the break we will be having kool aid ok so um so let's let's move on huh so wildly off the rails are coming back coming back okay um how do we get out of here uh escape all right so what I wanted to do is bring up um light room and I wanted to show you not him uh not him okay to do this the hard way um let's start with this one um this is I'm gonna walk you through my so called vision driven workflow and again this is what I talk about envisioned voice vision of voices now shipping is available online and get it amazon dog amazon dot com and and so on and you can actually now get it in the peach pit version sort of peace but the pdf version from peach pit press and um I'm not sure if it has drom issues for ipads and that sort of thing but I know you can buy it in a pdf so there you go um and that is the book actually talks but we're going to talk about now the last half of the book goes through twenty twenty lessons the reason I call it vision of voices, of course, the vision is the first part where you realize your intention for the photograph and the voice is taking your tools of expression like your clarity, slider and your exposure in the brightness in your tone, curve and all of this stuff and applying it, and that becomes your voice that becomes the way that you express yourself through the print. And so the last half of the book is me taking twenty photographs and just going from a zero draw file all the way through to completion. This book is on ly about the develop module. It doesn't cover library. It doesn't covers on ly the processing of an image because that's what the book is about the other stuff other people got more competently, teach that and doesn't talk about printing. It doesn't even talk about sharpening because that's output related. This is purely development book, realizing your vision, getting it, too, what you want it to look like on the screen after that you're on your own because I still really wrestle with that kind of thing, so it walks through twenty. Uh, the photographs it talks about here was my intention for the photograph is what I wanted to look and feel like and here's the way in which I did it all the way through until the end. And it does that with with twenty images, one of one of which I'm going a little bit walk through the blacksmith image and that sort of thing. It also there's a link on here once you bought the book and registered it with peach pit, you can download these dmg raw files so you can actually bring them into your computer is the full dmg file and you can work along with me on on this. All I ask is to things with the dmg files. You do not sell the photographs and you don't let joe mcnally use the dmg files for his own work. That's all I'm asking, um so anyway, that's vision and voice and I wanted to give that a pitch because that's my book. So, um, this is a photograph that I shot in at the park, yet that did not do what I wanted to do. How do you do serve a view? I thought it did what's that I know, but look, I'm twenty survey and it's off because I'm not so okay, so this is the before and after obviously the before on this and this and the reason I'm starting with this one because this is a really simple image and I think people will look at my post process and go yeah that's all well and good but I just I just have a picture of you know, a flower I'm not going to spend I'm going to dodge and burn my flower I don't become complicated it's just for crying out loud is a picture and I just wanted to look better and again I'm going to go back to this and say first we have to define what better mean and that's not very hard this's not again some deep existential thing you just have to ask yourself what are you trying to do with the photograph what do you want it to look like? And so in this case my only driving principle was I wanted toe look blue beyond that I was also thinking, you know, I really like the difference in these tones so I would like that actually be visible and I really like these rivets I mean these air the shapes that make the blue interesting and keep me in the photograph is this you know, these receiving line of rivets and and this kind of kind of quadrant that they form here this kind of cross shape I just really like that so I will draw some attention to that so the first thing I do is I establish my intention I just asked myself when I took this what was I trying to do, what I feel what I want people to look at and that's basically it I want it to look blue I want it to be a strong graphic image I want to draw a little bit attention to these these bullets or whatever these things are and I want to make sure that this kind of and there's some texture there I want the text to be visible not some fancy you know I don't have a huge list of intentions for this I've just said what I don't want it to look like and why why? Because this was a photograph of blue and and I like the texture and so that's where I'm going to go with it alright not complicated was starting with easy one uh so let's take this is the I'm going to try to replicate this that other one was a virtual copy so the first step is what minimized the distractions now there's no sensor dust on this but what do you see a distraction in this image the top right corner okay so I don't like this I don't want it there it little triangles that the corners of your image is bright spots they pull the I and they trap them in fact now might be a good time for me tio just leave this here and talk about kind of visual literacy a little bit it's really important for us to understand if we intend to write a novel, you have to understand for one what language is the person that's going to read this in? So if my audience is going to be in english, I should probably write the book in english, right? And you understand, because english is a language that there's a convention there, we understand the rules of grammar, you're going too right according to the way people are going to read that well, people read a photograph, at least in our culture, very much the same way we usually read from left to right and our eyes drawn to certain things before it is to others, and because of that, certain things are more important, and if you learn what those things are, when you use that knowledge, you are saying to the viewer, look here, this is more important and don't look here because this isn't important. So bye by knowing that the eye will be drawn to bright things before, usually before they're drawn to dark things. I look at that and go that's going to be distracting, I could leave that in there and go wealth it's the readers fault if they look they're you know they know not to look in the corners or and that's lazy photography and I've have got other images where it kind of cropped it in but I realized I realized that later so um this is the image I'm using to illustrate the distractions I would prefer to shoot in camera get it done right just so I don't have to do this and I'm a bit of a you know, perfectionist when it comes to that um because now I'm gonna have to crop and I'm going to lose something I would rather get it right and, you know, adjust the camera and that sort of thing so you could do a couple of things to get rid of this obviously you're going to crop it in some way but you could also rotate it right you could you could play with the rotation of the image because one is very different from the other if I crop it like this right? It keeps it keeps everything that's saying but I'm going to lose certain things if what you do is play with the rotation, you're gonna lose certain things and gain a little bit more of this you know, diagonal if you want to straighten it out or or whatever, I'm not saying one is better in the other I'm just saying it's two things that you can do and most often were thinking well, I got a crop it in well yeah, but you could also rotate but that will also take care of it you could do you could if you if you really really must have this bottom bolt in there um that's scary there we go if you really must have this bottom bolt in there you could take it to photo shop corner or you could just dodge and burn a little bit you could just get your brush out and do a little you know make it darker because again the ice drawn to the light stuff so if you want to pull the eye into the corner by all means make that lighter meyiwa straight to the corner if you want if you want to push the guy away you could just darken it so you don't have to crop you don't have to clone there are a number of tools and if you understand this in terms of pushing and pulling the eye then this just becomes a matter of which tool do I want to use in this case I wasn't really so picky um I would pull it in like this I don't want to do the rotation because as I rotate um yeah as I rotate this way I lose that diagonal I could I guess go this way but anyone are you pretty particular about keeping the aspect ratio I'm not you know what it weirdly enough I'm really particular about that and I have no idea why I just it drives me crazy tio to not lock that aspect ratio to to do this on and also for those who aren't familiar with exactly what we're talking about uh there's this little come on there's this little lock here and so when the lock is on I can't change the ratio of one side to the other when the lock is off I can I could actually just you know, pull this down like this and that changes the aspect ratio a little I don't know what it is I just have this hang up put my aspect ratio and even when I'm watching like my buddy matt brandon I traveled to india with him and he doesn't have that hang up so he'll go and we'll all be watching in the crop in town and I just like it's like thinking about a black car like ah you changed the aspect ratio it's not it's not a philosophical thing I've no ethics about it I just for some reason I've just got this o c d thing a boat aspect ratio unless of course I was cropping it to like a square or I don't know why that is therapy um so anyway that's the first thing you're going to do is reduce your distract or minimize them in this case it was just a matter of a crop was the simplest way for me to do it really doesn't change the rest of the photograph, but if if you were picky uh we're not picky about the aspect ratio you could do this and that way you would keep a little bit of the length here which I'm losing by doing this I'm losing that it changes the balance a little bit so you know that may in fact be a better looking image it just changes the aspect ratio you could you know you could keep it the same by pulling it this way let's seals oh, no now now if now I've locked it at a totally off that will give me nightmares let me correct this here we go so you could you could bring it in and then you know she shifted over like people at home are going to even know what the heck he's doing this is so this is the program called light room I've never used it before I'm just kind of experimenting with someone said it was good um so okay, so let's let's keep that as our crop um now the other thing I should tell you that I start off with and I forgot to mention this I always start off with uh and we're am I um where did it go there we go I always start off by zeroing my canvas in adobes um light room there is a um there's a preset called zero and and I start off by zeroing my canvas and it looks terrible this is not when you bring your image in tow to adobe camera roar like remote this is not the default this is past the default this is a step backwards it will remove everything the defaults are usually like brightness I don't know brightness something in contrast plus twenty five it's got some defaults that make the image look considerably less sucky. The reason I do this is because it gives me the cleanest canvas possible the moment you used the the light room preset switch so here you are plus fifty and plus twenty five the moment used the light room presets light room is in some ways telling you here's what I think your picture should look like and I just prefer on most of my images to start off zeroed even though it looks terrible and in fact because it looks terrible because now every decision that goes into this is when I intentionally have to make and it forces me not to be lisi so this is how it would start having already minimized the distractions. The first advice that might darkroom teacher gave me was what make the blacks black and make the whites white so I start generally at the top of this I'm gonna ignore white balance for now because that's more of a mood thing for me, not an accuracy thing, so I'm going to start at the top and work my way down. You see, this exposure hissed a gram appear I have lots of room to move the blacks and have lots of room here. Um, I way under exposed this image way under exposed it. Um, so I can move that two, two make it bright now, are there any whites in this image? So anything I want to make true white other than the little magnifying glass? No, so I'm not going to move this until this is, you know, right at the clipping, because that would mean there was something in the image that's white and there's nothing here to be white, so in this case, make your rights white, your blacks black is more of a principle that you've got to apply, then because you're going to going, I don't see any whites. How do we do that? You just want to make what would have been if there was a white sticker on there, make your whites white or close to it and watch what happens to the image. This is just the simplest adjustment you just bringing your exposure up let's say we stopped there and you're bringing your blacks down let's say we'll stop kind of here that's a pretty significant difference. I mean, just in terms of how do I make my picture look better? You have increased the contrast. You've made the blacks closer to black. You've made what would have been white, white. The colors are better. This is this is, uh, the last night of before and after. Hang on. So there you go. So that's, what we did, I should have just history that, um that's what we did then we went to hear and then we went to here ish let's go a little more on that. What do we do? Hundred so let's, go there. I didn't need saturation, I didn't need contrast. I just made the whites, white ish and the blacks black ish and it automatically took care of issues of contrast and that's something I'm still going to use those sliders to kind of bump things into fiddle. I don't I don't approach this scientifically, I don't approach it like a geek. I just moved the sliders and pushed him until it kind of looks right and it's like cooking it's you do it to taste and people will look at my work. Go well now, why did you move it to one point seven, five and not one point eight why did you go a little further than one point? Six five white just I just didn't until looks right and it's a it's an intuitive thing. You move it until it looks right, but my principle is I want to make the dark blacks black in the whites white usually I will move brightness up a little bit because that kind of pushes a little bit more into the mid tones. If I've made my blacks a little, you know, if I've moved them over, I like my images to be bright. I like them to be a little bit cheerful sometimes I will even throw in a little bit, phil, just to brighten it even further. But again, there aren't a lot of this is in soft light, there's not a lot of heavy shadows, so I don't really need to fill on this. The recovery sliders, more of a correction kind of thing recovery slider will pull back your highlights if you blown them. It'll also kind of reduced some contrast, not really keen on the look of that, um and I could play with the contras. I don't often use the contrast slider sometimes it's a quick fix, but I prefer to use my contrast to do it with the tone curve. And and again I'm looking at at this and st clarity and going and no in no way would I ever looked at this and then I need more clarity on this image I would look at it and say I would love to push the texture a little bit and so if this was called the texture slider which is more an anaesthetic term that a technical term look at the difference if I go this way it really punches the texture if I go back it actually removes the texture and makes it funky looking I don't want that I do want that because this isn't just a photograph this is a photograph that was shot about blue but it's about blue with texture and the textures and important part of this image so pushing that slider to one hundred pulls that texture out later in er if I output this for print I will also use some sharpening to pull the texture out a little further to make it a sharper image way uh like exposure most and I'm guessing you probably wouldn't push that full but you've got yeah I think you remember that a digital file is it's sort of like a piece of silly putty and you can only stretch it so far before it breaks so if and actually that's really right well represented on the history um you know the more you try to get out of that information pull it it only has so much elasticity so that's a good argument for a lower iso which clearly I did not use here it's a good argument for getting your your exposure right the first time which clearly I did not do remember I just I get distracted and I'll start shooting and I will suit blue for ages before I realised I'm well way under exposed I mean, I shot this morning some shots for like, fifteen minutes before I realized auto focus was off and I wasn't focusing because at my sunglasses on it was bright out I was distracted and I was just you know, I make mistakes, so I try as hard as I can to give myself the most chance of six test by explosion, right? But I don't always get it I'll just play with until I can see noise and this picture I could probably push it quite a ways before because there's not a lot of shadow hear noise shows up in shadows so yeah, I don't push the exposure too far um vibrance and saturation you push him too far, they look really clownish sometimes, you know, like they just kind of okay here's not going to do it, but if you push him really, really far, you often will get posterized ation and kind of just it looks khaki and nasty, so you just have to be subtle with it. You know, this is not a sledgehammer. Like for sochi, said use photo shop is as more like an emery board or sandpaper. Oh, and you do a sledgehammer is for finessing, not for bashing a bad image into goodness, right? You just can't. If it's a sucky photograph, all the photo shop in the world's just gonna make it. I really, really worked on sucky photograph, you know, I'm saying so. So in answer your question. I just I go until it looks right. And if I see noise, I pull it back. If I see postal ization, I pull it back. But you do have to be aware that digital files even shooting raw, even without loya so's, they only have so much elasticity. So then I would go into something like the tone curve, because again, what we're trying to do is give this. I already established that what I want is a contrast between these two blues, and I want to bring some attention, tio here to these, to these rivets, part of the way you can do that is through contrast, right? Because contrast, is the difference between areas of light or dark, and so I could do a couple things I could, I could push this a little bit. Pull this, um, like this or I could just and this is what I usually do. I just pull the tone curve with the handles here, and I just make it. I just play with it until it looks right. So I'm lightning the lighter areas here like this and that's lightning down here. It's also lightening up here where the where there's, some glare and I might later choose, probably would choose to go back with a brush and just dial this down. Okay, because that's, just the easiest way you make them biggest adjustment first. And then where that pull affect certain image and go all that's just created new problems. Well, that's. Ok then go and fix that new problem with a slightly, you know, smaller brush or or whatever. But go from big to small. All right. So that has has given me more contrast in here. And it's and it's punched up the texture a little bit. This is getting closer to what I want. Now then, I think, why is this blue exactly the way I want it? So you could go into the age of cell panel? You picked the hue. And with this targeted adjustment to wanna apologize for those of you at home that don't really are familiar with light room my purpose is not to show you how to use light room here my purpose is to show you why I'm making the changes that I do in post production um there are books on how to use light room my book included so um you can use the target adjustment tool and and play with the hue of the blue is it yes it's blue but is it the is it the blue I want and and you could do that with color balance but you can also do it down here with a little a little bit of finesse and you know I may decide to go there where it introduces a little bit more it's it's not about saturation which is how intense is the blue it's not about lou eminence which is how light or dark is the blue it's about what color is that blue is it is it purple your blue what was a green year blue and this does that this this picks up the blue and allows you to shift and some of you may go I really like that and some of you may see a little more more purple and a guy like that for me I kind of like this I like that it gives it a little bit more purple e it's just it's richer to me and I'm drawn to reach your colors and I already know that about myself so I might leave it there. I might also go back up to the t to the white balance now and just kind of play with that and see how does the white balance effect the look of my image? And do I want it to be really blue like that's? What? That's really blue it's also a little garish and so, you know, maybe something like that is good. You might play with the tent, remember these air? All this isn't when you think about it, just in terms of white balance. Often we think about accuracy, but these air aesthetic tools and even when the image is turned into black and white, doing this with the white balance changes the way the tones relate to each other. So you can use this in a black and white image as well. So you can play with this and cd like, for example, do I want more purple? Not really. So you play with it until you like it. And then, um and then you move on and again. A lot of people will never know when to stop. You just and that's the danger with photo shop you could do so much with photoshopped that you could play and play and play and I mean you could you could play forever and never know when to stop but if you have already said this is what I want my photograph to look like he was my vision for this image you kind of start you've already set an end point you got I want it to look like this one, so do the work when it looks right, you're done, they don't spend four hours on it, and if you're one of these people who will nerd out for an hour say I'm gonna work on this for fifteen minutes and then I'm done give yourself some constraints even in post processing he'll find yourself a lot more creative. If you know that you have an hour, you'll play and you'll play and you you never have to make any decisions and you need to make choices at a certain point in the art making process you need to make a choice. I will often use the lensman yet ng because I like what it does watch what it does when I pull this lens been getting in now if you look at my portfolio it's no secret, I could be very heavy handed with lens vignette ing I am not known for my subtlety that's. Just who I am, but lens bidding vineyard and could be quite powerful. The tool was initially created, I think, to remove the vin yachting from lenses. Lenses often will have natural darkens, darkened spots in the corners, so you just pull it until you remove that vineyard ing. I prefer most of time to reintroduce it. One of the reasons is it pushes the eye out of the corners into the middle of the frame, which is generally where our subjects are. The other thing it does is yesterday we talked about the ability of light to add some illusion of depth. Two things, because the way it feathers off when it feathers off on a rounded object, we're just used to that we know when, like, kind of does this and it feathers off. We know there's some depth and there's, some kind of fearsome dimension. Well, adding a vignette will often make the image feel like the middle is kind of popping out because it's, the darker, the further away parts that are darker on on a rounder object. So it gives the illusion of a little bit of depth, which pulls the I n to the center, so I will often vignette my images, but you can use it for other things. We were just talking earlier about about the creative edge effect that the taser was doing and your group's not that won tonys and you forget your fish islands at home. Just do it right here. Pretty cool. Okay, I'm gonna keep it like that just for, um but that was the wrong. That was the wrong thing. Um, effects is where they've now put the post crop then yet tool and there is a there's a way that you can give a really cool border effect. How did you do this? Ties where you put it was roundness, right? Well, we're gonna make our own preset here. So, um so what was it the and then you pull the midpoint in. So this is just a way that you could kind of create a bit of a burned border, which I think is actually pretty cool that has more to do with your final output, but I kind of like it, I think that's a really need a fact and I I haven't seen it before, so the student has become the master. I like it anyway. Um and then you could add grain and that sort of thing. Green really wasn't necessarily a part of my initial vision, I didn't feel like I needed to look like an old film positive or anything like that, but, um but those so those are the simple things that I that I have done to this image now I could go even further if I'm talking about drawing the eye I could go to the brush tool and now engage in some dodging and burning so we talked about this problematic spot up here um my version of light room is all of a sudden doing a really weird thing where you see that when I hit the brush it suddenly everything became light it's never done that before um very strange so I'm gonna do a real hack job here of painting painting in um this quadrant a little bit see that three strange um anyway if I go it's not going away now okay so I've painted in a mask and you can see the mask by doing this and now if I just kind of dial back the exposure and I've done a very poor job of painting this mask but there you have it you can uh you can see there we go again very strange you can burn away some of that um so so now that spot so uh turn this off and that's what this is what it looks like you've just darkened it a little bit and again where the eye is drawn to really light areas in this version of it your eye will tend to come up to here now it does provide some mood it's obviously you you, you can see a little bit more of the texture. You could get a bit of this slickness of the paint, so it gives you some information. But if it's not the kind of information you want on the image, it's not the kind of impact that you want, then painting it away will bring your image a little closer, perhaps to what you wanted. The other thing you could do is use the brush tool, and I won't do it now. But you could actually, you could darken around the these rivets here. You could do a little darkening, or you could do a little lightning. And that will again increased the feeling of depth on these rivets and make them stand out a little bit. And it will draw the eye even more powerfully to this trail of of rivets that are receding. And you could actually, if you wanted to draw a real attention to these ones, you make these ones a little lighter. Then then the receding ones make these ones a little darker, so it will give even more of a sense of depth. Right? And so that gives you that feeling that it's coming towards you. All right, so these are just some of the things that you could do to your photograph is you're as your walk working through the process, but again, you're not thinking technically you're not thinking, how can I make it look more clarity ish? You're thinking, how can I make it closer to my vision of what the aesthetic changes that I make to photograph to do that? Are there any questions at this point? Chat room people? In fact, while you're doing that, are there any questions from you guys? Do you understand the distinction that I'm making between the technical focus and the aesthetic focus? And does that is that helpful to you? What a scene just continues to playback in tow? No, your dear, no, your tools, you don't have to think about him, you know that is what you're looking for. Yeah, you know, so often we overthink this stuff and I know there are times when you can use special effects and that sort of thing, you know, photoshopped the hack out of things, but for ninety five percent of my work, it comes down and just doing what I've done now I go through the steps I minimize the distractions, I maximized my mood. And I draw the eye and pull the ida where I want it sometimes that means darkening an area to push the eye away sometimes it means lightning an area theis also drawn toe warm things before it's drawn to cool things primarily if it's if it's if this was a completely yellow thing and there was a blue dot in the middle well the blue's cool what's he going to be drawn to the yellow first or the blue it's going to drawn to the blue because the ice also drawn to contrast and that's it that's a big contrast there's a blue dot in the middle of my yellow picture the eye's gonna go up straight to the blue dot so again these are principles they're not rules is not always drawn to the I first if the eyes and focus it will be drawn to the I first if the person the eyes blurry and there's a big sharp smile the eye will be drawn to the sharp smile first not only cause the smile is bigger than the eye but the blur the smile isn't focused so there's always this this play and the concept that that I that I use in that has most been helpful to me is the one of visual mass and visual masses in one of the books that were giving away it's in drawing the eye. And the idea is that certain areas in a photograph can pull the eye, they have greater mass, they pull the I'm or and that does a couple things not only just pull the eye but it changes the balance of the photograph that's one of the reasons we use the rule of thirds because the subject of the photograph if you place it on the thirds that's usually where the eye is going to be drawn to and if you put it on a third it generally gives it a more dynamic balance you could put in the middle and the image would be would you balanced but then it would also be really boring and so we call that a static balance if you put it over generally onto a third somewhere it creates a balanced image but it's static it gives the image of sort of a little more interest and balance and the reason we do that is because usually the subject has more visual mass so if you put something heavy are on one side you need a little more weight on this side to balance it off on the fulcrum right so that's the reason we use rule of thirds rule of thirds is no more a religion than than the highlight warnings the bling keys it's just a principle is not actual rule you khun break the rule of thirds but you have to understand why you're doing I will often break the rule of thirds because the rule of thirds is not serving my vision. If I want an image that's really symmetrical, I will put something right smack in the middle and that it will not apply to the rule of thirds in that classic way. But it's still using the principle of balance and I, but I'm just applying in a different way. I want a balanced image, but I wanted to be drawn to that symmetry and symmetry is not about it. That's a symmetry. Symmetry means it goes in the middle or something. You can play with the rule of thirds, because it's, not a rule it's a principle. All right, so that's that's. What I talked about when I talk about visual mass and if you're interested in that really don't cover a lot of visual, massive vision of voice. But I do in the book that we've given away with the, um, the course thing.

Class Description

Join David duChemin, author of the best-selling Within The Frame, as he teaches you how to use your camera and the digitial darkroom to find and express your vision as a photographer.


Maros Matousek

I have just finished this great class and ended up with a notebook full of notes. I highly recommend this class to all who would like to take not only technically perfect photographs but more importantly who want to express their vision and create something that moves others. I read many books by David and still enjoyed and got a better understanding throughout this course.

Melvin Williams

This course may seem to drone on at times but I firmly believe that repetition or other restatement helps learning. I highly recommend David's course, his ebooks and his site. He gets to the important stuff about photography. He focuses on the conceptually tough stuff like vision, finding your own, and less on the "geek" technical stuff that, while necessary, is only a tool to accomplishing your vision, what you want to say in your photograph.

Phillip Ziegler

David is always worth listening to. The course might have been shorter given there was a lot of repetition and conversation that wasn't terribly interesting or valuable. But when it was good it was amazing. I learned a lot and it was worth the time and money spent.