Post-Processing - When I Use it and Why?
let's talk a little bit about post processing. We won't get it right every single time in the field, even if we are using all of our minimalist techniques for those times, we can take those images home, pop them in the lightroom or Photoshop and give them just a little bit extra attention. Normally my edits are quite light. I don't do a lot of Photoshop work. Not every image needs it, but I'm also not against it. If a photo does require extra editing and I'm able to do those edits, I will just do what feels right for you. So we're not gonna go too crazy with this lesson. Just gonna go over the crop tool a little bit, maybe the clone stamp and the content aware field to help clean up some of those distractions. Then we'll cover extending that canvas to help give your images if they needed a little extra breathing space and then we'll finish up with a little black and white conversion where I popped some contrast and work with the crop tool to help Balance out the image a little bit bett...
er jump right in and go over. Probably the tool I use most often. And that's the crop tool in lightroom and I'll use this crop tool for all the work that I do. Not just the minimalist work what we've got here are two examples taken on a whale watching tour on the east coast of Newfoundland. One is a pretty extreme crop and one is not as extreme a still a little bit aggressive but not quite as crazy. This first one is a pretty typical scene. Um, and you're out there bobbing around your head is kind of on a swivel and the whales are doing whatever they, you know, the whales are going to do and you're trying to keep a respectful distance, obviously a safe distance and you don't always know where the action is gonna happen and that's what, what's going on here. I've got a couple of whales coming out of the water, they're blowing some nice backlit missed and this little puffin guy kind of just went right into the frame here of one whale's blow and I really, really love that part of the image. So I'm gonna use an extreme crop. I'm gonna just take an eight by 10 aspect ratio. Bring it in really nice and tight here and isolate just the single part of the image and I'm going to use the rule of thirds grid on the crop tool here to kind of like balance out the humpback whale, the puffin and then this beautiful curl coming off the top of the blow, go ahead and acknowledge that and here's our final crop. Um which I feel is much tighter, much stronger, much more clean. Obviously it's pretty aggressive and you don't want that to be your standard. Um, but sometimes it's necessary and it's nice to be able to do what we can, here's a fun assignment for you guys if you're interested in playing with the crop tool, I want you to go back through some of the photos that you've already taken, try to find a couple of shots that you think might have some minimalist potential and then take your crop tool and try some extreme crops in there and look for the minimalist images within the larger scene. You don't necessarily have to find something you can print and and turn into or call a minimalist image, but it is going to help train your eye to help see these scenes much more clearly as an example. I've pulled up this image of the sand dunes in Mongolia and it's a really nice black and white conversion, I believe it's really strong as is. But if I take the crop tool and just bring it way down and try a couple really extreme crops, you're gonna see that there are a couple of other nice minimal compositions within this one composition. So here's the first one. I really like this really soft, subtle line of light, this sort of s coming in. Mhm. And you know, maybe even that, that's even stronger I think. So that's, that's nice. I like how this strong diagonal line is coming down up here. I might try to go with a lot of sky on this. Also pretty tight, pretty clean. So that's just to within this one image. And if I keep hovering around like this and looking, I'll probably find one or two more. So grab your laptop, fire up lightroom and go look for some photos that you've already taken, throw the crop tool on there and find some minimalist images. Next, we're gonna go over something I run into from time to time when I need a little extra breathing space in a shot. So this is an example of instead of cropping in, we're going to extend the canvas out, we're kind of cropping out for lack of a better word. I need a little more space in the image somewhere, some element of the subject a little too tight or maybe the balance is off. Mm hmm. I've got this example from a snow kiting shot that I took up my friend Erik boomer up on baffin Island. He's basically jumping over a snow machine. My friend Willie is riding on the snow machine. There's a whole lesson on this later in the class where I create this image and a couple other ones that you guys should check out. But in this case his kite is a little too close to the top of the frame and that's the result of just not being able to control exactly where he was going to be in my space. You know, you only have a little bit of room for the, you know, the snow machine on the bottom, The kite and the skier all I could do in this situation was frame it up and hope that nothing important was going out of the shop. I knew that if I had a little bit of space there, I could extend the canvas. So I'm going to duplicate that layer. Then I'm going to grow the canvas out from the bottom. Gonna work in inches. I'm gonna say I want a height of about four extra inches so anchor down here on the bottom. Let Photoshop do its magic. Mm hmm. And then I'm gonna grab our marquee tool over here and I'm going to select the area that I want to fill. I'm gonna say content aware, fill and Photoshop is going to figure out what needs like what information to draw on to fill in that space. That's this green area here. I've just got it on auto. The auto setting for more complicated scenes. You might have to go in and like create something a little more custom but there's nothing complicated about the space that needs to be filled. So I'm going to say, ok, let Photoshop do its job de select and here you can see this is without, this is with it by zoom in. Should be pretty clean. You can see that this is the shot before we extended it versus the shot afterwards and it's much more nicely balanced. There's definitely more space for this kite room for eric and the kite to breathe a little more the whole image now just feels like the weight makes more sense. And I've got this photo here of a red boat on the beach in apex in new, just outside of Halloween, you can see overall that this image is pretty clean the sky, it's pretty clean. There's not a lot of distraction in the ice here. Pretty nice snow in the foreground. But we do have a couple of distractions that I couldn't quite handle in the field or frame past the security camera on the back. We've got a little sticker down here, you've got, you know, some troublesome beach exposed over here. We've got a little bit of boardwalk or beach exposed again. So there's not a lot but there is enough that I would bring this photo into Photoshop if I thought it had potential and clean it up with the clone stamp tool and that's what we're gonna try to do here right now. So first thing I'm gonna want to do is get in really nice and close, have a better look at what I'm dealing with. You can see this section. So I grabbed the clone stamp, not too hard, not too soft. Just select the area right here. Get a little bit from the top, nothing too complicated, nothing too precise again. Same thing down here. The only thing I'm really doing is making sure I'm grabbing from areas with the same exposure values and such that it doesn't look like I'm repeating a pattern over and over and over again. So just be mindful of where you're grabbing it. You can see the little crosshatch or the cross that's where it's selecting from areas of straight lines. You want to make sure you're selecting from a part of the building with a straight line. So I would do the same thing with this patch down here and the security camera and this is what the final image would look like. I think in the final final image I applied a crop as well just to get a little bit of that building out of there and we're left with something a little more like this. The final thing I'm going to touch on for the post processing part is just a simple black and white conversion, the lightroom and I wanted to finish up with this because this is quite often the most common thing that I'll do to my minimalist images, especially ones that I know I prefer to have in black and white. It's just some contrast, some sharpening and maybe a little bit of crop tool play this photograph I took with my Maverick air. I was out dog sledding with my friend Torsten and it was a beautiful sunset night. We have wonderful patterns and shadow and lines. If you want to see how that image was created and see some fun drone footage of the north and those happy dogs dogsledding, check it out in a later lesson. But for now we're gonna try and see if we can take this color image from the magic air and kind of give it that classic black and white clean processing feel other than the fact that I really wanted this image to be black and white. Another reason why I'm doing this conversion is because I had a filter on the lens of the maverick and there was some weird coloration or discoloration happening I think because of the direction of the light, the angle of the lens and stuff like that. But you can see there's like a sort of a slightly weird bluish tint and you have this magenta and then blew back down here isn't necessarily bad, but it's not what I wanted. So first thing I'm gonna do is just hit v which is the shortcut and lightroom to convert over to black and white space and I'm going to keep an eye on the hist a gram up here. Maybe pull up the exposure some just to get it back in that realm of nice and clean when your image is this bright, like a lot of snow and very little shadow. Your camera set to auto is going to under expose most of the time. So if you can't control that setting in camera, you're gonna have to bring the exposure up a stop for a stop and a half. Sometimes in lightroom then I'm gonna throw a little contrast in here. But mostly I'm gonna play with the white, the black balance, uh some clarity and then uh an adjustment curve down here to really give it that classic black and white look. Holding down on the altar. Option key sliding the white all the way to the right until you start to see it clip into your space. Same thing for the black. I'm gonna slide it down and I really do want sort of that higher dynamic look here. So I don't mind that it's a little more pushed even if I'm clipping a little to be honest. Same thing with the lights on the curve darks down a little bit, pumps clarity and texture in there backslash. Key to see that before after I think we can go a little bit more aggressive on the darks so I'm just gonna let those bleed into the scene. I know I'm clipping but I don't mind wait as well. And then the next thing I'm gonna do is grab the sharpening tool down here. You know, see if I can sharpen this thing up, pop the radius up a little bit and then hold the altar option key down, slide your masking over. This is light rooms way of masking out the areas that you don't want the sharpness applied to. So in a shot like this. I'm really hoping to increase the sharpness on the dogs and Torsten and the sled and the texture in the in the ice and the snow. But anywhere where it's a little less textured. I don't necessarily want extra texture going in there so you can see from the masking that that sharpness is only getting applied to the white and the black is where it's not being applied. And then the final thing that I'd probably do with this shot is I play with the crop tool a little bit. I didn't get the perfect direction or angle that I wanted with the dogs. I wanted them to be like perfectly in line with the top of the frame going straight out of the frame. But the drone, you're flying a drone in the arctic with the dog team, you know, you get what you get sometimes. So I'm gonna use the crop tool and just see if I can bring those guys a little bit more in line with the direction of travel. That I was hoping to gab maybe something like that. We're gonna use the top of the crop tool here as my center point to line up with sort of the lead dog and back to the sled. Unfortunately Torsten is off access a little bit here, he's going back into the left little but I'm more inclined to concentrate on getting these dogs in a nice flight path than the sled itself and making sure they're centered. Yeah. And then I'll just nudge this around a little bit, play with the weight a little more, make sure it's nice and balanced and here's my final image. I'll use shift tab l to kind of open up the lightbox, get rid of all that distraction. So you're not looking at the lightroom interface anymore, you really get a better idea of what your image looks like. So this is pretty good. I like this, I'm gonna leave it as such, and I think that might be it. Sometimes I do get a little bit aggressive with the whites in these situations. I don't know why, but I really like that classic white, really white, uh and the dark, really, really dark for the stark arctic scenes, but that's far enough. I think that's good enough. Here's the before, one last time, and here's the after.