C&C please - massive newbie


TPF Noob!
Nov 22, 2009
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Can others edit my Photos
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OK, I've not picked up my camera in months and practise makes perfect right... So I got off my ass and took a few quick snaps. The majority of these pictures were shot in aperture mode. I would like some critique on the technical aspect and any tips to how to post-process or what to do/not do next time would be sweeet.

I'm finding I'm understanding the technical side but perhaps not applying my knowledge very well.


I took a similar picture in colour but I came home to find that the couple was out of focus :(


I thought it didn't look great so I cropped it a bit


This was taken under a bridge so I cropped the stray parts of the bridge out


OK. This doesn't look right to me. I guess you could say it's overexposed towards the top right, with the sky blown out. Is there a way to fix this in Photoshop?


This one is underexposed to the right and left of the river. Is there any way to brighten the right and left parts without brightening the river? If I try brightening the whole picture up the river loses all its detail which is a shame.




And if anyone wants the above with less light: clicky
It sounds like you understand the issues pretty well and are starting to make some corrections. On #2, you realized it needed a lot of cropping, but you need to crop on the right also; I don't think the right-hand third of the frame adds anything to the image. It is possible to lighten dark areas without affecting others using Levels or Curves, but if the contrast of the scene is very high it will never really look great. As for white sky, this is best avoided by adjusting exposure in-camera. All you can do in PS is darken it to a uniform light gray, or fill with a light blue color, or fill color and also paste in clouds from other exposures - easier to capture what's there in the actual scene.
A lot of your exposure issues could be fixed by shooting in the "golden hours". Basically, the couple hours before sunset and after sunrise. The light is not so intense, so you can properly expose both the sky and the ground. If you shoot in the middle of the day, the sky is so bright that either the sky will be blown, or the ground will be underexposed. Or both, lol.
While what LCARS said is better advice than mine, I found that in Lightroom (Do you have lightroom? If not it's a great investment). I first use the recovery slider and then adjust exposure/brightness/contrast/lights/darks etc. so that nothing is blown (press J in lightroom to highlight what is blown.) and then use the brush to change the exposures of what will now be too dark (or vice versa). This can also be done more efficiently in photoshop I understand, but my experience is limited. I've also seen great shots done where the sky is exposed one way, and the ground another, and then the images are spliced. I also know a few people who keep a "stock" of great sky exposures, and stick them in where the sky is blown. All good tricks, in my book. (My newbie, inexperienced, probably wrong book).

$0.02 YMMV

Every single one of those images has a tilted horizon.

That being said, I think the last one would have looked amazing as an HDR image.
#4 looks a tad overexposed. #5, and 6 look a tad underexposed. The B&W images could use a bit of a contrast adjustment. Overall , not bad i would agree maybe play around with the time of day you are shooting outdoors, as it can make a HUGE difference in the lighting and your images you make.
Thanks for the input guys. I'll have a look into that program, it sounds pretty decent. As for the tilted horizons, ya.. I am going to try and work a bit more on that but I'm not using a tripod to be fair.

Also.. I thought i'd have a stab at making that image into HDR. Guess it's alright considering I did it via PS.

I really like the HDR treatment, well done

Reasonably new to the world of DSLR and have only dabbled with graphics software a bit but (and I hope you think this is at the very least flattery), I've had a play with your black and white couple pic.

I cropped it right and top and played about with the contrast and levels...you and everyone might think it's not right but I've been experimenting recently and your photo seemed a perfect choice...


Here's my result!

Might be a little too cropped on the right, but I didn't like the gate.

Feel free to abuse my efforts! ;)
OK, I've not picked up my camera in months .........a few quick snaps.
I underlined what I think are the main problems.

To get good at photography you have to do it regularly, daily is best.

"A few quick snaps" indicates you didn't have a plan and you don't "make photographs".
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Hey AlGordon,

Contrast does look better, thanks! Did you just edit the contrast levels via the curve in photoshop?

KmH: I agree, but I wasn't really focusing on composition - rather more on the technical aspect of the photographs. What use is having a good composition if I have not used the best abilities of the camera?
I actually used GIMP but that was pretty much all I did. Quite pleased with it to be honest as I'm quite new to all this DSLR/photo manipulation stuff myself.

Just ordered a copy of Elements 8, so that should be even more powerful. That said, GIMP is pretty good for a freebie piece of software.
KmH: I agree, but I wasn't really focusing on composition - rather more on the technical aspect of the photographs. What use is having a good composition if I have not used the best abilities of the camera?
Composition is a technical aspect of photography and requires even more practice than setting shutter speed, aperture, ISO, metering mode, focus mode, focus area, and white balance.

But ok, lets look at exposure issues.

Most of the skies in the photos you posted are overexposed, and blown-out (no detail): #1, 2, 4, 5.

The B&W shots lack contrast, particularly mid-tone contrast. It looks like the B&W was either made in the camera or just 100% desaturated. Converting a color image to B&W in Photoshop by using the Channel Mixer, or better yet a B&W adjustment layer, gives you much more contrast control. The holy grail of B&W images is contrast control.

In #5 most of the sky is blown-out and the foreground is badly underexposed.

What metering mode you are using? The EXIF data from your photos is gone.
Thanks for the in-depth response! I was using +1 to +2 for the metering as the foreground was pretty underexposed. I realize what should have been done is take two different shots at different exposures and merge them but alas I don't have a tripod yet. Any suggestions on an easy to transport cheap one would be appreciated!

I did click the B&W setting in the camera, I guess this shouldn't be done then...

As for #5, it was +2 metering, it was just the lighting of the area.

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