Wedding Photography Post Production – Part 2

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

In Part 1 I gave a general overview of wedding photography post production and in this second part I will go into detail about more specific techniques using examples.

Exposure Correction 1

One big advantage to shooting with RAW files as opposed to JPEGS is the amount of detail that can be salvaged from overexposed highlight areas. In this shot of Rich and his daughter, I caught the moment happening while I was photographing someone else and with no time to make exposure adjustments, I swung my camera around and got this shot. Now, if I had been photographing on JPEGS, those blown out highlight areas would have been gone for good and the shot would have been unsalvageable. But using RAW, it’s quite amazing the amount of detail that has been pulled back. The final photo gives no indication of its original state. By pulling the exposure slider down nearly a full 2 stops and also pulling down the highlights slider significantly, I was able to easily compensate and arrive at a correct exposure in post production. I then made a black and white conversion and added a vignette to darken the background somewhat and focus attention more on the two figures.

 

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

Exposure Correction 2

In the below image of a picnic from Noel and Gill’s wedding, there is the opposite issue of underexposure. On bright, sunny days like this, high areas of contrast can be an issue. One solution to filling out the shadow areas on the day would have been to use flash. Since I didn’t do that, the only option was correction in post, which is easily done. Here I boosted the shadow areas by using the Shadows slider rather than the Exposure slider which would have overexposed other areas of the shot, which as it was, needed pulling back somewhat. For that I used the Highlights slider. Using the Portrait profile in Camera Calibration boosted the saturation and produced a more colourful image.

 

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

Cross Processing

Cross processing is a term that was used in film photography and means deliberately developing one type of film in a chemical intended for another type. Say, regular film for print developed in slide film chemicals. This produces higher contrast and unusual colourations, effects that have been used creatively by photographers. In digital photography, the effects can be mimicked in post production by adding colour tints to the highlights and shadows. In the below shot of Vicki and a young guest, I decided to use a cross processing technique. Here are all the steps I took in developing the image:

  • Used ‘Portrait’ in Camera Calibration and checked boxes for ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ and ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’
  • The shot is underexposed so I raised the exposure setting by a stop and a half.
  • This resulted in overexposing Vicki’s dress, so I pulled down the Highlights slider to bring the detail back.
  • Slightly de-saturated the image, by pulling down the Saturation slider.
  • The cross processing effect was done in the Split Toning panel by adding a darkish, pastel yellow to the highlights and a fairly light purple to the shadows.
  • The image was shot with a low ISO of 250 so only a small amount of sharpening was needed and no noise reduction.

 

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

Black and White Conversion

Routine black and white conversion is something I do only in Lightroom, but if I’m looking for an unusual effect or something a bit different that needs more experimentation, I will edit the shot in a plugin for black and white images called Silver Efex Pro. The below image from Tom and Katy’s wedding was edited just in Lightroom.

  • Used ‘Camera Standard’ in Camera Calibration and checked boxes for ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ and ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’
  • To remove the distracting pedestrian and put the focus squarely on the couple I decided on a square crop.
  • Converted to black and white.
  • I focus on getting the blacks as I want them which usually means getting them very dark by intentionally clipping them, a technique known as “crushing the blacks”. In Lightroom, if I hold down the Alt key while clicking on the Blacks slider, the whole image becomes white with just areas of black clipping, if there are any, showing in black. I can then use the slider and get the amount of clipping I’m happy with.
  • I then focus on the whites. Similarly, areas of clipping in the whites can be seen by holding down the Alt key and clicking on the whites slider. This time the image goes black with only areas of white showing up the areas of white clipping. In this image, the streetlight was such an intense area of brightness I needed to adjust it’s exposure (as much as it was possible) separately from the rest of the image. So I ignored it in adjusting the overall whites, and made sure that I had the correct values by moving the slider to boost the whites to the point where they just started to show as being clipped and then cutting back just slightly. I now had the tonal range throughout the image I wanted.
  • I used the Adjustment Brush to work specifically on bringing down the intensity of light in the street lamp as much as possible.
  • I used the Spot Removal brush to get rid of a stray strand of Tom’s hair and also a small portion of distant building protruding over the top of the bridge.
  • I added a post-crop vignette.
  • The image had quite a high ISO rating of 2000 so a good deal of noise reduction and sharpening was necessary.

 

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

Adding a Vignette

A portrait of Sarah from her wedding with Rich.

  • Used ‘Portrait’ in Camera Calibration and checked boxes for ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ and ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’
  • Converted to black and white.
  • Increased the exposure very slightly.
  • Adjusted blacks and whites, boosted the shadows slightly and took the highlights right down.
  • Lowered the Clarity slider.  Clarity boosts mid-range contrast, so by reducing it, it produces a slightly soft-focus look.
  • Added a vignette. In the Effects panel I selected High-light Priority from the Style drop down box and increased the Amount to give a white vignette. I gave it an increased amount of feathering to give a smooth gradation. The overall effect is a vintage look to the portrait.
  • Finally, with a relatively high ISO of 1000 there was a fair amount of noise reduction to do and also sharpening. I used a high Masking value in sharpening to protect the skin from artifacts or an overall added harshness, while giving details like eye lashes an extra sharpness.

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

Sepia Tone

Sepia tone gives a photograph a reddish brown tint and is produced in brown scale rather than gray scale or colour. It gives an image a warm, antique look. This worked well with the below shot of  Simon and Amanda.

  • Used ‘Portrait’ in Camera Calibration and checked boxes for ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ and ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’
  • No adjustments were necessary to the exposure.
  • Applied the Sepia preset, which created the effect by adding a pale yellow to the highlights and a darker, browner yellow the shadows.
  • The shot was taken at ISO 800 so a small amount of noise reduction was applied.
  • Applied sharpening with a high level of masking.

 

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

Vintage Look Preset

In this following image of Katy I applied a Dror Eyal preset which I have used a lot in my wedding photography and gives a desaturated, vintage look to an image.

  • Used ‘Portrait’ in Camera Calibration and checked boxes for ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ and ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’
  • No adjustments necessary to the exposure.
  • Applied the preset. This reduced the Saturation and boosted the Vibrance, while cutting back on the Clarity to slightly soften the image. There were tweaks throughout the Hue, Saturation and Luminance settings in the Colour Adjustment panel and in Split Toning a pale yellow was added to the highlights (very similar to the one use in sepia toning), while a pale purple was added to the shadows.
  • The image was shot at a high ISO of 3200 so a large degree of noise reduction was used, plus strong sharpening with a high level of masking.

 

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

Cropping 

Cropping (adjusting the size of an image) is a fairly routine procedure. Sometimes it’s used to radical effect, as in the case of this image from Gill and Noel’s wedding where I used it to change a landscape format to portrait. On the day, I shot in both formats but the image that I shot of the couple in portrait didn’t satisfy me. It didn’t convey their feelings as well and there wasn’t the same focused engagement with the camera. So I decided to take the image of them I preferred and make it into the more appropriate portrait format in post.

  • Used ‘Portrait’ in Camera Calibration and checked boxes for ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ and ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’
  • Cropped the image to portrait format, which put the focus squarely on the couple.
  • Raised the overall exposure slightly, cut back on the highlights and slightly deepened the blacks.
  • I needed to highlight the couple more so I used the adjustment brush to raise the exposure on their heads and upper bodies, which were cast more in shadow by standing up in the train.
  • Boosted the Vibrance slightly.
  • The image had a low ISO 0f 200 so no noise reduction was needed.

 

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

Soft Focus / Softening an Image

The processing here both softened and warmed the image, a detail shot of Fiona’s lucky horseshoe gifts.

  • Used ‘Portrait’ in Camera Calibration and checked boxes for ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ and ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’
  • Applied a square crop to achieve a better, more focused composition.
  • Applied a Dror Eyal preset. This slightly desaturated the greens and reds and in the Split Toning panel added a pale, greenish yellow to the highlights and a pale, wine red to the shadows.
  • Boosted the exposure slightly and cut back considerably on the highlights.
  • Dropped the Clarity down significantly, which is what gives the image it’s soft, glowing effect by decreasing the mid tone contrast.
  •  The image was shot at ISO 1600, but still did not need any noise reduction. It was given a significant amount of sharpening with a high level of edge masking.

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer

 

wedding, photography, near me, york, photographer