Comments on Class Images – Workshop August 2011

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Thank you for the great images received. If I may comment on how to improve them, please regard this as merely my opinion. We all like different images and you may totally disagree with me!


I believe that the image can benefit from a simple contrast enhancement and perspective correction to straighten the buildings.

Bring up the Curves dialogue box and choose Strong Contrast

You’ll see that the buildings stand out better and the image has more “pop”.

Then select the crop tool, draw a box around the image, tick the Perspective box and adjust the crop box edges to be parallel with the side of the buildings which are converging upwards:

Voila! When you activate the crop, the buildings straighten up magically!

With this technique, you are free to point your camera upwards to frame the city and not include the foreground, then straighten the image afterwards.

RAW or JPEG? Duane said that RAW processing took more time.

Yes, I agree, but please look at the histogram above in the curves box. You can see that only approximately 10% of the area under the curve is above mid brightness. 90% of our image pixels lie below the middle line and about 60% of those lie below the 25% line.

If we were shooting jpegs, which have 256 tonal levels total, this means that 90% of your image data will be defined by 128 tonal levels.

More than half of these pixels will lie within 64 tonal levels.

This is going to seriously limit your ability to make any good quality adjustments to the image.

Persist! You will find it easier as you get to know the tools.

Duane has also kindly sent us this beautiful image which I will “interpret” in my own way and explain why:

Duane - streaky melbourne

If we bring up the Curves box, you can see that the exposure is as perfect as you can get it with a single exposure. Some slight clipping of the lightest parts of the sky on the RHS, and also of the shadows on the LHS. Although the foreground is darker than the eye would see it (the eye looks at small parts of the image and adjusts exposure accordingly), we can’t make overall exposure brightening adjustments because this would incorrectly lighten the beautiful sky.
Therefore, I’ll make a curves adjustment lighten only the foreground, like this.

Streaky melbourne - Curves Lighten Foreground

Now you can see that the buildings are lighter but the sky is (almost) the same.

All digital camera images are slightly “flat”, as if there is a haze. I like to correct all images to enhance contrast in the tones, to make the image “pop”. This is not the Photoshop Enhance Contrast function!

Streaky melbourne Tonal Contrast Enhance

All of the images submitted, would benefit from tonal contrast enhancement.
You can read more about tonal contrast enhancement theory at these links: