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J Gillispie

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1 hour ago, Cal said:

 

While I am in no way looking to contribute to the pile-on I do wonder what viewing equipment you are using? I know we had a slight disagreement about the importance of the histogram but I think for the most part your advice is sound, but I have noticed you have said on a few port reviews that there is flat lighting and/or something underexposed when I have not necessarily agreed. That said, it might be confirmation bias as I will only see when this is pointed out. I use an iMac 27" 5K and while I will hold my hands up and say it isn't calibrated I know not everyone here does and even uncalibrated it's a very good starting point. What are you using to view images? Is it an unusually fancy monitor?

No worries! Well you're definitely using a much bigger screen than me and no mine's not overly fancy. Dell 15.6" InfinityEdge display with a 3840 x 2160 4K resolution. I have colour calibrated my screen recently and I'm normally using the screen at a higher brightness setting than the calibrated brightness. When I say 'slightly' under exposed, I actually mean slightly! It might well be objectively not flat lighting at all - But if the OP uses the histogram, then she would know for sure either way ūüôā

 

I've not gone to the effort of checking the pictures in Lightroom that I'm critiquing, I'm doing it by eye. My take on underexposed would be if the picture looks darker than I would expect to see naturally and yes it is subjective to an extent - although some photos are obviously objectively underexposed. I see a lot of pictures taken in broad daylight (which I can tell by the shadows), but the lighting in the photograph looks like that for a grey day because the camera has automatically underexposed a very bright scene (which it will do most times unless you apply positive exposure compensation), and it hasn't subsequently been corrected post processing.

Edited by Steve F

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1 hour ago, Cal said:

 

While I am in no way looking to contribute to the pile-on I do wonder what viewing equipment you are using? I know we had a slight disagreement about the importance of the histogram but I think for the most part your advice is sound, but I have noticed you have said on a few port reviews that there is flat lighting and/or something underexposed when I have not necessarily agreed. That said, it might be confirmation bias as I will only see when this is pointed out. I use an iMac 27" 5K and while I will hold my hands up and say it isn't calibrated I know not everyone here does and even uncalibrated it's a very good starting point. What are you using to view images? Is it an unusually fancy monitor?

¬†Also, p.s. I guess I better ask for a mini critique ūüôÉ

 

Yellow flower, no direct sunlight:

An Echinacea Mango Meadowbrite (Coneflower), flowering in Lower Austria in July - Stock Image

 
Yellow flower, direct sunlight:

A Echinacea ‚ÄėGolden Skipper‚Äô (Butterfly Series Coneflower), flowering in Lower Austria in July - Stock Image

 

Do these look overexposed?

Steve

 

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Okay, I thought I'd make absolutely sure. I don't want to be giving bad advice to people!!

 

Here's the flower picture I commented on. As I suspected, it's slightly underexposed looking at the histogram and there's a not insignificant gap on the right hand side where the whites and highlights are.

2.jpg

 

Here's the roadkill image. Histogram skewed to the right, no blacks at all and missing shadow detail too.

1.jpg

 

As a final point, one of the failure reasons Alamy gives in their Guidelines for submitting images is "Poor exposure: Flat or washed out. Black point should be at 0, white at 255 (or within 5% of)".

I've already said previously in this thread that you might not stick to this for every photo, but it should generally be followed when editing pictures.

Edited by Steve F

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Your flower images look great Steve. Really punchy, nicely saturated. I agree with your conclusion that the OP's flower image you selected was underexposed and indeed the histogram agrees.

 

The roadkill one is not as easy though. You are right the histogram is pushed over to the right and there's no blacks. But then there shouldn't really be any blacks in the image - there are none (or very little). It's primarily a grey/blue sky. I am playing devil's advocate here because I agree a touch more contrast wouldn't go amiss but you must agree that in this situation a perfect histogram isn't going to be good for the image. I also don't think that image would look bad at all against a white background (webpage) which is probably how it will end up. There are also dynamic range issues. Sometimes you have to suck it up and accept that exposing for one part of the image will blow the highlights or sink the blacks. Yes you can pull and push parts of it in LR, but I am very wary of overdoing this as it can quickly lead to an unnatural looking image. There are a few HDR images in my port but I've tried to do it in such a way that you can't really tell.

 

I say this knowing fine well that there are some rather poor images in my own port, but I've left them in so a) I can go back and see how I've improved and because b) maybe there's use for images that are "flat" in perhaps an obscure case so I haven't bothered deleting them. Thankfully I am getting better (significantly so now I've got to grips with Lightroom).

Edited by Cal
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42 minutes ago, Cal said:

Your flower images look great Steve. Really punchy, nicely saturated. I agree with your conclusion that the OP's flower image you selected was underexposed and indeed the histogram agrees.

 

The roadkill one is not as easy though. You are right the histogram is pushed over to the right and there's no blacks. But then there shouldn't really be any blacks in the image - there are none (or very little). It's primarily a grey/blue sky. I am playing devil's advocate here because I agree a touch more contrast wouldn't go amiss but you must agree that in this situation a perfect histogram isn't going to be good for the image. I also don't think that image would look bad at all against a white background (webpage) which is probably how it will end up.

 

I say this knowing fine well that there are some rather poor images in my own port, but I've left them in so a) I can go back and see how I've improved and because b) maybe there's use for images that are "flat" in perhaps an obscure case so I haven't bothered deleting them. Thankfully I am getting better (significantly so now I've got to grips with Lightroom).

Thanks Cal!

 

Yes, the roadkill one is a bit subjective and you can certainly go for a certain look with your photos as Andy mentioned. That is still a very skewed histogram nonetheless for a daylight scene and low contrast.

Steve

Edited by Steve F

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On 29/06/2020 at 15:08, NYCat said:

Steve, I have noticed that you spend a lot of time checking out someone's photos when they ask for advice. I suppose it is possible that you could make sure the person wants editing advice as well as captions, keywords, etc. but I haven't noticed anyone seeming insulted. I am just impressed that you will spend so much time on helping another contributor. Bravo.

 

Paulette

Paulette,

Thanks, I agree! If I didn't want someone's advise then I wouldn't have asked but I do want advise.  Another perspective tends to help rather than hinder. I do indeed appreciate the feedback I am getting.

Juli

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1 hour ago, Steve F said:

 

 

45 minutes ago, Cal said:

 

 

Steve and Cal,

 

Thanks! I do see what you are talking about regarding the histogram and will need to pay more attention it as a guide but still let my creative side impact editing decisions. Digital photo editing is relatively new to me and I still a lot to learn. Thanks for all the great feedback and discussion! 

 

Juli

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8 minutes ago, J Gillispie said:

 

 

Steve and Cal,

 

Thanks! I do see what you are talking about regarding the histogram and will need to pay more attention it as a guide but still let my creative side impact editing decisions. Digital photo editing is relatively new to me and I still a lot to learn. Thanks for all the great feedback and discussion! 

 

Juli

Juli,

You're welcome. I totally agree, get to know the 'rules' and then break them as you see fit to be creative!

 

The histogram is only a guide, and I look at it in conjunction with the sliders in the edit panel and at the picture at the same time, so I achieve how I want the picture to look. And also to modify something I wrote earlier, you might want to e.g. increase the contrast for a picture taken on a dull day beyond what was actually there to 'improve' the picture. It's hard to write everything down and the rules are generally only guidelines and there are exceptions always!

Steve

Edited by Steve F

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12 hours ago, Cal said:

There are also dynamic range issues. Sometimes you have to suck it up and accept that exposing for one part of the image will blow the highlights or sink the blacks. Yes you can pull and push parts of it in LR, but I am very wary of overdoing this as it can quickly lead to an unnatural looking image. There are a few HDR images in my port but I've tried to do it in such a way that you can't really tell.

 

True. You can mitigate this to an extent, depending on how much time you want to spend on a photo, by using a graduated filter for e.g a blown out sky, or an adjustment brush if you have highlights or shadows that are clipped locally somewhere in the image. I'm using them both more and more these days. I'm still learning editing too.

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1 hour ago, Steve F said:

 

True. You can mitigate this to an extent, depending on how much time you want to spend on a photo, by using a graduated filter for e.g a blown out sky, or an adjustment brush if you have highlights or shadows that are clipped locally somewhere in the image. I'm using them both more and more these days. I'm still learning editing too.


Oh believe me I know. Having become quite fond of taking photos of swans I found all too well the limitations of dynamic range and finding often I had to mask certain parts of the image. There are also a few images in my port each of which I spent several hours removing power lines...! That has to be something only done occasionally or I suspect it will send one round the twist with insanity...  but the result I have to say was impressive. 

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46 minutes ago, Cal said:


Oh believe me I know. Having become quite fond of taking photos of swans I found all too well the limitations of dynamic range and finding often I had to mask certain parts of the image. There are also a few images in my port each of which I spent several hours removing power lines...! That has to be something only done occasionally or I suspect it will send one round the twist with insanity...  but the result I have to say was impressive. 

 

I try to limit the amount of editing I do. I occasionally use Photoshop to delete things too complicated for Lightroom to deal with, but at that point I'm practically ready to abandon the photo unless I really think it's a keeper. The worst ones for me are actually a lot of macro closeup shots of screens. You think they're clean, but then there's lots of microscopic bits of dust which suddenly look huge when photographed 1:1 and you end up using the spot removal tool over and over.

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