Post Light effects - C & C wanted


TPF Noob!
Aug 12, 2012
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Michigan and North Dakota
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I took some photos and did a little editing using Gimp, it was kind of a "grey" day so I wanted to try and add some light effects. Now I am very new to any type of post effects, but I would love any tips/tricks that you guys can give me on how I could have done this better. If you can give examples that will be great too. Mind you, I use gimp because its free and I don't do this enough to justify buying a better program.

1. Pre-Light


2. Post-Light


3. Pre-Panlight


4. Post-Panlight


Thank you for the tips,

p.s. go somewhat easy on the C/C this is my first real attempt at doing something like this =)
I think you should have added the light to the front of your group.
So you could the people's faces because without their face the photo is essentially nothing. Why have a group of people stand in front of the background without seeing their face? I understand some artistic photos do a great job of portraying someone without showing their face. However, I don't get that impression from this photo.
I'am not really sure what you mean by that. I'am very new to all of this....

I'm pretty sure he meant: you should have put lights in front of the group.

you camera exposed for the sky, not the subject, so they are completely silhouette. You needed a light source in front of the group so you can actually see them.
Yup - you played with the background light but you needed to add some foreground light, as if you had been using a flash or there had been facing the other direction and the sun was on their faces, not at their backs.

I don't use Gimp but I imagine there are some 'fill light' settings that you can look for.

The people actually aren't quite in full silhouette but in a way, that might be worse. At least then, it might seem as though you meant to do an artsy silhouette. There's enough of the people showing, however, that it's clear that we are supposed to see their faces. We can't, though, and that is a bigger issue than the flat grey sky in the background.

And as long as you're doing PP on the shot, crop out the garbage can in the foreground, please! :)
I suppose you could have driven allll the way to the other side of the lake, to get the group by the water, and posed them on the other side of the lake, with light coming from the front side. I'm surprised nobody has suggested that remedy. :blushing: A flash on the camera would have lighted their faces up too.

I am wondering if,maybe, the people might be able to be "lifted" a bit in post processing software...using tools like "digital fill light", or "shadow recovery", or "lifting the curves", to use some of the common expressions that more advanced users are familiar with. I am just going by the pre-lightened image, and evaluating its overall exposure...I think there's at least "some detail" down in the shadows. To get to it, you need software and methods that can "lift" primarily the shadow values, while not blowing the skies too far out of whack. The lighting is not especially high in contrast, so I think the group's faces might be achievable.
Being familiar with GIMP, I think your best bet is a curves adjustment. Go to Color/curves, and then adjust the levels similar to this. I could possibly get a bit more detail but the image you uploaded was saved at a very low resolution which made it hard to tell just where the best levels should be:


Once you've done this, then you can apply whatever color adjustments you had done previously.
You could have metered them. It would have helped.

Set your camera to auto or P. then focus on the sky above their head. Look at you shutter speed and aperture. Then set your camera to Manual. Set those same settings and focus on the group. It will lighten the subjects, because it is the same settings as the sky.

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