Three manipulation questions I’ll receive
At art shows, I’ll periodically be asked questions specific to my fine art prints.
“Do you edit your images”.
“Are your images PhotoShopped?”
“What post processing do you do?”
Yes – to the first
The answer to the first question, is “yes”. Upon importing the images into Lightroom on my computer, I go through each and every image and edit out (delete) those I do not like.
Out-of-focus images are immediatedly deleted. Other images are deleted if I’m not pleased with them.
Typically I may only keep 15-20% of the images from any one event.
No – to the second
When PhotoShop is used as a verb, from my experience, the question really being asked is “Did you add anything to this image”?
To that question, the answer is no.
Lightroom – to answer the third question
I do so using Adobe PhotoShop Lightroom (commonly called “Lightroom”).
Lightroom is designed for photographers. This software allows each image to be processed according to the photographer’s desire.
Do I manipulate my images?
Yes, I do.
As an artist, it is important to create the image I envision when depressing the shutter. Part of this includes making all the decisions, from capture settings through to the final print.
Even before clicking the shutter, I manipulate the scene to my desire by the choice of lens I use and camera placement.
Each lens provides a different visual effect, visually manipulating the items within the scene accordingly. Camera placement adds to this “scene manipulation” providing different perspectives.
I create the final image
As an artist, I’m free to create the image as I desire.
Everything is captured in full resolution, 14 bit, Camera RAW using manual settings. With the largest file setting (in my case, over 21 MP), I obtain maximum scene data which is utilized to the fullest extent later in Lightroom, with a color calibrated monitor.
Adjustments will be made to exposure, contrast, luminance, tone curves, black and white points, cloning and healing, dust removal, just to name a few.
Honoring the natural scene
Though I may remove a small element to improve the image, I do not add things that didn’t exist in the original scene.
If something wasn’t there when I snapped the shutter, it isn’t going to be in the final image.
With single exposure
The question of HDR has been raised a few times. HDR is a process where one takes multiple images of the same scene with different settings. Using software, the multiple images are merged into one.
All images are single exposure. I do not use HDR. It’s just not the way I choose to convey the scene.
Black & White – image manipulation
While speaking of image manipulation, there are some images I’ll view as potential black and white candidates.
Again using the power of Lightroom, I process the images as I see them, complete with the black and white tones.
High contrast images make the best black and white candidates.
The ultimate expression
In consideration of the above, I always view creating the best image in the field (via lens selection, composition, etc.) the first criteria for a successful print. Post processing only amplifies the visualized image that I had initially created.
The final print, which I print myself, allows for this ultimate expression of my initial visualization.
I often hear, “this print speaks to me”.
It is through my artistic vision, from initial exposure to final print, that I am able to provide you with the emotional attachment you feel toward your selected print.